Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3|
The Wii has not fared so well over the years when it comes to the FPS genre. It seems odd that the console that was made for pointing and shooting just cannot seem to deliver on the genre, but there have been a number of attempts at introducing FPS franchises on Nintendo’s console but few have resulted in anything on par with their Xbox 360, PS3, and PC counterparts. A great deal of this can be attributed to the Wii’s rather limited processing power, its painful online support, and its lack of high definition output – which together force developers to downgrade the production value and prune features to make it work on the underpowered equipment.
Case in point, the most recent release in the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare 3 – easily in the top 3 games of 2011, Modern Warfare 3 is one of the most technologically advanced and feature-rich FPS titles in console history and is garnering widespread critical acclaim – at least it is so on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Sadly, Modern Warfare 3 is not nearly as spectacular on the Wii, where it is hobbled by grainy visuals, a plodding framerate, imprecise motion controls, and an almost unplayable online mode.
Modern Warfare 3 technically completes the storyline of the prior two Modern Warfare releases although Wii owners would hardly know the difference as they have only been introduced to one prior Modern Warfare title with the release of the original Modern Warfare: Reflex back in 2009. But the story is only a sideline for the game’s action sequences which are surprisingly exciting, if not a tad formulaic – pass checkpoint, cue next wave of enemies, battle to the next checkpoint, and repeat the process.
Enemies seem to spawn constantly until a specific task has been completed, so it does not pay off to sit still and attempt to pick off all of the enemies hoping for an end – it is almost always better to push to the next checkpoint as soon as possible. This is especially true given the poor implementation of point-and-shoot controls which are far more frustrating and imprecise than they should be. I never felt like the reticule was tracking as close to my action as I would have liked, and the awkward angle I was forced to hold quickly left my wrist and arm fatigued, even with recalibration. The game does allow for use of the Wii Classic Controller for a more traditional control, but even that came with its own issues.
In terms of presentation, the storyline is delivered by a series of fantastically produced cut scenes and with excellent narration. The in-game graphics do not fare so well – the visuals are grainy and washed-out, making it difficult to distinguish between allies and enemies, much less to aim with any degree of accuracy. Headshots are more of luck than skill, and all too often I was shouted to “check my fire” as I errantly shot a fellow squad member.
Modern Warfare 3 boasts some of the most impressive online capabilities – at least with respect to the Wii – including friends’ lists, matchmaking, and even online chat. The problem is, none of it works all that well – the online play is rife with lag and dropped connections, and getting a solid kill is nearly impossible with players hitching and skitching about, even disappearing altogether at times. Even the Spec Ops mission mode uses online connection for both multiplayer and solo play, which is affected by connection speeds.
I realize that I am painting a fairly bad picture of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and I admit that it is hard to be objective when I have already had the pleasure to play the title on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Comparing across the platforms is hardly fair when the Wii’s processing power is so limited that it forces developers to make significant modifications to the gameplay. But even considering that, Modern Warfare 3 is merely an average shooter compared to the other FPS titles on the Wii.