Infinity Ward made me a lucky man when they released the first Call of Duty video game in late October 2003. The gameplay and graphics were fantastic. I remember breaking my LAN friends for countless hours. Those were good times and Activision refused to let them go. CoD's initial success has since grown into a multi-billion dollar cash cow with annual updates and countless mini-expansions.
Despite my interest in the early games, I haven't quite kept up with the franchise. I played some Black Ops single player campaigns last year, but I skipped the multiplayer experience. Likewise with Modern Warfare 2 from 2009. Don't get me wrong, it's not that they are terrible games, in fact they remain extremely popular, but in my book they just aren't particularly innovative.
As you've no doubt heard, Modern Warfare 3 launched this week. What can we say The game reportedly sold a record 9.3 million copies in a single day. It should be noted, however, that according to VGChartz, over 50% of these are Xbox copies and less than 4% include PC sales.
As usual, we won't pretend we've played the game enough to form a comprehensive opinion about it, but external reviews suggest that the game is a valid sequel that doesn't bring any new elements, but rather draws on the same old one Formula with a supports a few tweaks to deliver an overall fun game. PC Gamer concluded with the PC version: "Modern Warfare 3 is linear, poorly written, and a grade. From one point of view, it's still regressive. It's also fun."
In terms of graphical fidelity, Infinity Ward's recent endeavors are about as appealing as its predecessor, which was about as appealing as its predecessor. No, I don't stutter. Unfortunately, for the past five years, the company has focused on optimizing the game for consoles and ignoring PC development. If you want to see how your DirectX 10 or 11 GPU handles a DX9 engine, MW3 may have something to offer you.
Those who play the game on Xbox 360 will find that it runs at 1024 x 600 resolution with 2x multisample anti-aliasing. Of course, PC gamers get a wider range of resolutions in addition to 4x MSAA, but beyond that there are few visual improvements. Given our preferred platform, it's disappointing that there is no progress.
For obvious reasons, we've kept Modern Warfare 3 on our shortlist of games for review when it comes out. But when we got it we asked ourselves, should we even bother? We finally decided to give the series one last spin. Before we go to the benches, let's compare some in-game screenshots.