Nov 17 2011
Read Journal #1 here first.
Despite what you’re thinking, this isn’t an angry post. The last time I wrote an “I Quit” installment to a journal, it was for Dragon Age: Origins, a game that was such a frustrating experience, I returned it to the store in a matter of days.
That’s not what’s happening here. This is a post born out of pure exhaustion and boredom, and me finally realizing that I’ve grown out of a series I used to love.
I spent my entire last journal entry for Modern Warfare 3 detailing how similar the game was to MW2, right down to the exact same menus and loading screens. Even though that’s exceptionally lame, It’s tough to berate Activision and (what’s left of) Infinity Ward for not changing much, as when you have a formula that sells $400M worth of product on day one, you don’t really want to mess with it.
So they added little tweaks here and there. A few new guns, a hybrid scope, a Juggernaut killstreak, and a slew of new maps, and then dusted off their hands and said they were done. To devoted fans, it’s the same game they’ve always loved, in part because more often than not, it’s literally the same game.
But something has shifted in my perception of this series with this latest installment. Though run, gun and die, has been the go-to playstyle for these games for years, it’s especially noticeable here to a degree where more often than not, it’s more annoying than fun.
These maps have to be the worst set I’ve ever seen in a Call of Duty game. it’s not that the landscapes or vistas aren’t impressive, it’s that every single level is so damn small, it’s ridiculous and almost unplayable. The biggest maps would probably be in the small-medium range in a different game, and the small ones? You quite literally can’t take more than two steps without taking a bullet in the eye.
Trust me, I tried to have fun. I played through every mode, hoping that the bigger team games or objective based ones might have some secret larger maps, but none were to be found. I played the much lauded “Kill Confirmed” mode, which die-hard fans were calling “revolutionary.” I call it killing people, and running around to collect gold coins. There’s perhaps 5% more strategy involved, and it’s hardly the shakeup the series needs.
I’ve progressed up to level 38, and in that time I’ve seen people have prestige once or twice already, meaning they’ve been playing the game nonstop since release. There’s very little room to be a casual player in these games anymore. Every lobby is made up of 75% teen boys who come home from school and do nothing but play this game. I was good at the past few installments, but here I find myself getting demolished more often than not.
My growing problem with the COD series over the years has been when you die, it rarely feels like your fault. 25% of the time when you’re killed, you’ve lost a twitch reflex battle with an enemy as you both round a corner. The other 75% of the time? I’d classify those deaths as “unavoidable,” be they because you’ve been shot by a missile sent from the heavens, stepping on a landmine you couldn’t see or far more often, you simply walk somewhere and you get spotted before you can spot them. Most shooters allow you to at least try to sprint away from an out of sight ambush like that, but here you die in one or two bullets at the most, and never have a prayer if you don’t spot the enemy first, and most deaths come from someone you never even caught a glimpse of.
Another frustrating combat occurrence is the age old problem of “I totally shot him first!” This is the kind of thing where you’ll put a shotgun in someone’s chest, pull the trigger, and somehow you’ll end up dead without them even being touched. Then, when you watch the killcam, it reveals that you didn’t even fire at all, and lag was the main culprit for your death. This happens in a lot of shooters, but here where bullet damage is so high, it’s a huge deal who can get off those first few rounds. Have that account for about half the deaths in that 25% of twitch reflex battles I mentioned, and you have about 12% of deaths where you did something actually wrong.
If these numbers aren’t completely accurate, it’s at least what it feels like. These problems have always been around in COD games, but in MW3, they’re heavily, heavily amplified by the tiny maps, and are frustrating to the point where I’d much rather turn back to Battlefield, a game which has made me a convert.
More Unreal Posts
- Debate of the Day: Are You Buying Modern Warfare 3?
- Growing Tired of the Grind of FPS Games
- The Hell with Shooters, Give Me Some Action!
- The Modern Warfare 3 Journal: Day 1
- The Morning Link: Rejected Call of Duty Ideas