Let’s put aside the fact that people are sliding around like literal snakes and screaming from the rooftops about SBMM in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and speak about a burning topic. It has been almost two weeks since Modern Warfare 3 was released, and three since it went into early access – for the campaign only, of course.
Now, in those three weeks, the game has been plagued by bad press, competitive concerns, and cries from fans the world over that the entire game ‘is just MW2 DLC’. But is that all there is to take home about Modern Warfare 3? It seems not, as Sledgehammer Games happily pointed out that it has been the most engaging game in the rebooted Modern Warfare series since 2019.
So, what’s going on? How can this be the worst-reviewed but most widely enjoyed Call of Duty game for years? Did everyone review it too soon?
Something Doesn’t Add Up
In a recent release from Sledgehammer, three key points were revealed:
Players have spent more hours overall at this point playing MW3 than they did MW2 or MW.
Modern Warfare’s Zombies mode is the ‘most engaging third mode’ in Modern Warfare history.
Campaign players are putting in more time per player in MW3 than in MW2 or MW.
It’s still a best-selling title, it’s still topping charts around the world, and it’s still dominating social and streaming platforms. There’s still a packed esports season lined up with the Call of Duty League, and the world’s best COD players are busy getting neck-deep into the competitive world of their game once again.
But why are there so many negative reviews? At the time of writing, Modern Warfare 3 scores just 56 on Metacritic, making it the worst-reviewed Call of Duty game ever. It’s a devastating low for the series, but is everything what it really seems? It has a user score of just 1.8, which is classified as ‘Overwhelming Dislike’, but if there’s one thing opinionated gamers love doing, it’s complaining about something thatdispleases specifically them.
Too Much, Too Soon
As it was masterfully pointed out by Forbes’ Paul Tassi, many of Modern Warfare 3’s reviews came on the day of launch – or very shortly after – and many of the more negative breakdowns were heavily biased towards the campaign and its short, underwhelming delivery. It can be argued that Call of Duty’s bread and butter is in its multiplayer, and given how fast these reviews were churned out, there’s no possible way the bulk of these reviewers could have sunk their teeth into the online offering to any real extent.
Now, as a Call of Duty fan of almost twenty years, I’ll be honest and say that the multiplayer is far from being perfect. It suffers too heavily from network instability, there are spawn issues, and too many exploits for players to maliciously take advantage of – but it’s not bad. It’s a work in progress, which is typically the state that every game launches in these days.
But that’s the key thing to take away here – it’s a work in progress. It is already getting better, with Sledgehammer Games leaning into the community to decide what changes to make. Sure, the developers aren’t being entirely honest about SBMM – or ‘EOMM’ – but that’s their business, right? Nobody is asking Colonel Sanders what his eleven secret herbs and spices are that keep people coming back for more.
What’s The Solution?
Nobody wants to wait for a review – that wouldn’t make sense. They’re game-day game changers, and people rely on them to decide whether or not they want to buy something because some people simply can’t make their minds up for themselves. So, when one big-name reviewer says Modern Warfare 3 sucks because it has a short, unfulfilling campaign, while at the same time basing the multiplayer review on the beta or a handful of rounds in team deathmatch, that’s what happens – everyone takes it at face value.
Look at the state of play now. There are millions of people enjoying Zombies with their friends, we’re weeks away from a new Warzone experience, the Call of Duty League is on the horizon and pro players are excited, and the multiplayer is stabilising enough to genuinely be enjoyable, provided you can look past the flaws on the surface.
And let’s not forget – according to Sledgehammer, it’s now the most engaging Modern Warfare game ever. It’s adding up – some of the more recent reviews are painting the game in a more positive light overall.
Did everyone just review it too soon? Is Modern Warfare 3 actually worth so much more than its metascore of 56?