It’s funny how popularity and quality never find equilibrium; sadly there’s this perception that being super popular is synonymous with being crap. Halo, Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Uncharted and the Batman Arkham series have this layer of ‘it’s not really all that great’ from those that view them too mainstream for their own good.

I remember how ‘amazing’ the reviews were for the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a game that honestly didn’t do much for shooters outside of placing them in a ‘real world’ modern day conflict. Yet, it was fun. It felt new. We’re not in World War 2 anymore, we’re fighting our war in our time. It didn’t hurt that the game looked amazing and ran like a fox, and let’s not forget the multi-player, while not a huge leap over Halo, it did offer a compelling alternative for the non-Sci Fi oriented. Leapfrog five years, sales for the Call of Duty franchise as a whole are astronomical, the quality of each game has been consistent and its appeal has reach bounds only match by the likes of Mario or Pac-Man.

So why is the gaming community so eager to shun this game? Lets start at the beginning.

The graphics engine that wowed us five years ago has gone as far as it can go. Yes it’s still 60FPS, yes it’s still look great, but we’ve hit been-there-done-that land. However, it still looks better than 90% of the games out there; it still provides some wonderful real-time holy-shit moments that would be designated to FMV in any other title and it still captures the feel of being in the middle of a chaotic war. It ain’t broke just yet, so don’t worry about fixing it.

The game-play is the tried and true Ridley Scott meets Micheal Bay action experience it’s been for five years. While a bit long in the tooth, again it still holds up — Black Hawk Down grit with Micheal Bay over indulgence. There are moments here that shock the jaded gamer out of me, just when I was getting ‘yeah okay’, the game did something that would blow me away. The airplane mission in particular gave me the Call of Duty thrill that I’ve been longing for. And as trilogies go, this is one of those games that actually wraps it up. Similarly Gears of War 3, this particular conflict is over, and its conclusion feels satisfying and fitting to the absolutely ridiculous narrative (that has actually been dialed back, if you can believe it) we’ve been dragged through.

The keystone to Call of Duty’s mass appeal is its multi-player component, and with introduction of Call of Duty Elite, the online experience has become even more of a selling point than the campaign. I’m personally not a big fan of playing shooters online but the only word to describe playing Modern Warfare 3 online is “awesome.” Its perks system has inspired many imitators, but none reward the players as much as Modern Warfare. Everything you do is praised, you never feel as if you’re wasting your time. This is the everybody is great online experience. Even if you’re terrible, you tried really hard, good for you!

So again, why is the gaming community so eager to shun this game? I don’t know…

Even at my most jaded, I can’t call this anything but a fantastic game. It still thrills me to play the campaign, the multi-player still rocks, the quality, resources and effort that goes into this product are matched by none. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis helped write this game for goodness sakes! C’mon! Furthermore, the 11 experiences that games now have are in-part due to the Modern Warfare series. All the of above mentioned games (especially Uncharted) have super blockbuster oments because Call of Duty introduced them to gaming.

Paul Haggis

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis wrote Modern Warfare 3…  Damn!

 Don’t believe me?

Remember the helicopter chase and train sequences in Uncharted 2? Or the chateau and airplane portions of Uncharted 3? How about that super awesomeness of the lucuts bursting out of the sands in Gears of War 3? The Scarecrow boss fight in Batman? The opening of God of War 3? All these events are 11 moments that we now expect largely because of Modern Warfare.

Hey Uncharted!  Welcome to 11 :oP

So, why all the hate? My best guess is that we hate being told what we like. Even if it’s true, we still hate it. I mentioned Michael Bay and Ridley Scott in this review, if I were to tell you which director has the better films and which has the more profitable you’d think it’d be the same, but we know it’s not. Call of Duty, as my friend Matthew Orona said, is ‘… a formula that works.’ This is gaming at it’s most mainstream, where a noob can pick-up a controller and have fun, and a hardcore gamer can experience a challenging romp.


Michael Bay, 9 movies Lifetime Box Office Total: $1,848,173,234

Ridley Scott, 18 movies Lifetime Box Office Total: $1,124,836,884
People speak with their dollars not message boards…

This is not my game of the year, but it is a fantastic one; among one of the best shooters I’ve played and it’s a testament to the reason Call of Duty sells as feverishly as it does. And while others may claim to be above and beyond the call, no one has an answer for what Call of Duty offers: A package that’s compelling for anyone looking for a fun gaming experience.