Modern Warfare 3 has just knocked my socks off. Last week I started off my little globe-trotting adventure and was very impressed with the opening salvo. I sat down over the weekend determined to finish the fight and save the world, and that's exactly what I did.
What an incredible campaign! The multiplayer seemed up to scratch as well. I haven't even looked at the Special Ops side of things (though if it's similar to the MW2 version, which I suspect it is, then I have a pretty solid idea of what to expect). Overall, it's fair to say, I was very impressed with the feast laid out for me Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer. You could also say that I was pleasantly surprised.
Like many people, I wasn't sure that the developers could keep up the extremely high standards that we gamers have come to expect from the series. I was expecting something smaller than before, something less accomplished. Boy was I wrong. This is a worthy addition to the series.
After witnessing the scale of the set pieces in the first two Modern Warfare games, I don't think I was alone in thinking that Infinity Ward had taken the games ridiculousness to its logical conclusion. Wrong again. MW3 is bigger, more ludicrous, more explosive and more fun than any of its predecessors.
But superlatives aside, this isn't a review.
Playing the campaign through was, at times, a breathless affair. (Spoiler alert) Whether I was having gun fights on airplanes, rescuing presidents or blowing up historical French landmarks, I was constantly aware at how exaggerated the whole thing was. It was completely ridiculous and unbelievable. That sounds like an insult; it's not. One of the things I enjoyed most about the game was the preposterous storyline.
It got me thinking about other games I've played recently. Battlefield 3 opens with you jumping off a bridge and onto a moving train. You go charging in, clutching nothing but a gun and blissful ignorance, and start shooting the hell out of ‘baddies'. It is a brutal, frantic and, at times, confusing opening to a game. However, it is another example of a developer ‘turning it up to 11' in a bid to grab our attention.
There is some serious posturing going on at the moment, with EA and Activision facing each other off to see who has the biggest (ahem) game engine. And let's not forget that Battlefield and Call of Duty are supposed to be the more realistic of shooters released this Winter. If you throw Gears of War to the mix then I think it's fair to say that this years heavy hitters are all aiming for bigger, louder and, hopefully, better in almost every single department.
What's clear to me is that we, as consumers, love it when we get given ridiculous gameplay features to mess about with and outrageous set pieces to immerse ourselves in. And long may that trend continue.