Modern Warfare 3 Is Great, But Hot Damn It’s Ugly

Dear Reader,

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ has maybe the best campaign in the MW series, and the multiplayer is swiss-watch-smooth, but hot damn did the graphics take a nose dive from the ugly tree and hit every branch coming down. How do you release this thing to a world that has seen “Uncharted 3,” and keep a straight face? You’re richer than Croesus, Activision, you can afford to do some bloody texture work. I love MW3 long time, but the next one better be prettier, or I’m not buying it.

Stop right there, COD fanboys, I already know the words that are about to come out of your mouths: “60 frames per second!” And yes, a clean 60 is nice for death match, but we don’t need it for campaign, so there’s no reason they couldn’t let it slip to 30 and pump up the lighting and particle effects; and by the way, 30 fps is more cinematic anyway. Besides, all that smoothness kind of makes everything look weightless and fake sometimes, like a 120 Hz refresh rate on an HDTV.

The problem is stagnation: the engine COD runs on hasn’t seen a massive overhaul since MW1, and in that time, standards have gone up. “Modern Warfare” was gorgeous for its day, but MW2 and “Black Ops” were just okay, and now with MW3, the franchise is finally behind the curve. As gripping as the campaign is, and it really is terrific, I kept getting yanked out of it by muddy, unimpressive textures. The cityscape of New York was particularly bad in this regard.

Does this really look good enough for anyone?

I want my shooters pretty. Maybe that’s shallow, but I want it anyway. Remember that these games are supposed to be immersive, and technical excellence is an important part of creating that effect. I make exceptions for things like the Source engine, but if anyone has any illusions about “Call of Duty” being on par with “Half Life,” let me disabuse you of them now. And hey, “Portal 2″ was pretty damned beautiful, so suck on that.

Now I know that MW3 is going to make a truckload of money anyway, so maybe the joke’s on me for even thinking they care, but they should. No matter how rich and successful you are, Sledgehammer/Infinity Ward, you’re still artists, and craftsmen, and you didn’t get to where you are by taking the path of least resistance.

You made a great game here. I just hope you’re not getting lazy on your throne.

_AA

it’s not worth remembering, the way things used to be between you and me

 

 

 

 

 

  • Anonymous

    You really think its the best campaign of the series? Wow…

    • Anonymous

      Mecha, I haven’t been here as long and yet I’ve read enough of Andrew’s reviews to know he tends to be more easily amused than most. From what I’ve read else where the campaign is fairly mundane except for sections dotted with interesting semi-interactive events.

      • Anonymous

        Ouch.

        • Anonymous

          Relatively speaking of course. The rest of you nuts are much more harsh on games than he is. Best of both worlds.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

            Crimson, you’ve made a powerful enemy this day. 

        • Anonymous

          I <3 you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

        I know, right back atcha. But I am NOT easily amu–ooh, look a butterfly!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

    “From what I’ve read.” Crimson, can I take that to mean you haven’t actually played the campaign?

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, I shouldn’t have an opinion about this game if I’ve never played it. I was jabbing at you, nothing personal of course. I’m more or less bitter towards this series considering I’ve thrown lots of money at it. I have a strange sense of humor.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

        Dude, give it a spin, it’s actually really good. This coming from someone who did not care for Black Ops.

    • Anonymous

      So I picked it up yesterday to see for myself and I think this review says it best.

      “This is the BEST map pack for MW2 so far. It’s a little over priced though, they’re usually like $15. There is a glitch however- usually my profile carries over from one map pack to another, but my stats reset.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

    Hahaha, there may be some truth to that, it’s definitely a similar multi package. If I had purchased Black Ops, instead of just playing the hell out of a rental, maybe I’d have passed on this.

    But I still think the campaign is great.

  • Anonymous

    It’s certainly not horrible, but I only played it for about and hour in 5-10min intervals because it was giving me a headache. I think I’m jaded, and I’ve become a bit of a player hater in the gaming world. However, I respect your tenacity with the series, it’s a formula that works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

    You know what’s weird? I actually had that EXACT problem with Black Ops. The game was dialed up so much all the time that it just wore me out and annoyed me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.hall1 Dustin Hall

    Really? I think Andrew tends to come off as a bitter, cantankerous old man, unsatisfied by anything. But, hey, we all have our own interpretations.

    Virginian, what ho!  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

      What ho, the Virginian!

      It’s true, I’ve actually always been accused of being too forgiving and too harsh at the same time from different people. I must be doing something right.

  • http://twitter.com/aronh17 Aron Hale

    Erm… I think it looks perfectly fine. To talk about Uncharted to compare… I bet the Xbox is the reason :) Plus pay attention to how huge the campaign levels are. I’m surprised it even looks like that in the New York level.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Allen/7605503 Andrew Allen

      Oh, I definitely don’t agree with you there. I’ve seen the 360 render New York beautifully in “Crysis 2,” there’s no reason it couldn’t do it here.