The Modern Warfare series has done an immeasurable service for the FPS genre by introducing cinema, suspense and excellent gameplay into its games. But has Activision exhausted the franchise? Other pretenders are clawing at the top spot and innovators are showing off the latest in engine technology, notably Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3. So what does this mean for the pioneer of the modern shooter?
The first Modern Warfare was revolutionary, it bought the FPS genre out of the WW2 quagmire it had been languishing in for over a decade. It was unashamed junk food gaming that provided high velocity entertainment for a cross section of gamers, from those who didn’t have much time and wanted an injection of adrenaline to those who committed themselves to reaching prestige multiple times (I still walk down the street shouting ‘FLASH OUT!’). They continued this winning formula for years to come, never really being challenged by the likes of the Battlefield team, until now .
Much of the reason Battlefield is finally a genuine contender for the FPS crown is because the single player (Bad Company) missions have been steadily improving and the multiplayer has always been fantastic. But most importantly the game will be running on DICE’s new engine, Frostbite 2.0. Having played it a few months ago I was impressed at how realistic it looked, graphically it was a step up in comparison to other games in the industry. On the other side of the spectrum you have the MW3 engine, IW, which is a slight improvement on that of the first two MW titles, and, having played MW3, I can safely say it looks like a new level for MW2 rather than a massive graphical improvement two years in the making.
There’s been a lot of criticism in the press about MW3’s IW engine recently and General Manager, Glen Schofield’s “people don’t know what they’re talking about” defence only inflames the matter further. The fact is people will expect a new experience for their £50, granted they will get this in the form of a new storyline and a few new guns, but they won’t get this in the form of a graphical masterpiece from what is arguably glorified DLC.
What we have here is one franchise on an incline and the other on a decline. MW2, as much fun as it was, failed to live up to the hype and produced a complicated convoluted storyline that left gamers confused and out of pocket. But, leaving the storyline aside, the biggest pain the dedicated player had to put up with was the astronomical amount of hacking online and balance issues which still hasn’t been properly resolved.
At one point the hacking was so bad the vast majority of matches resembled DC Universe Online with players flying around invincible to bullets. This will probably be resolved in the new title but the sheer arrogance of not properly addressing the issue will have already lost a lot of customers.
In contrast Battlefield 3 has a very accomplished multiplayer mode that has consistently impressed since the first Bad Company title and a single player mode that has continually improved. Because of this consistency, Battlefield 3, released this week, has shown itself to be a genuine contender with the established MW3 franchise and a possible future market leader. MW3 on the other hand will lose its dominant grip on the market if Activision fails to tackle some basic issues.
|Modern Warfare 3|