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Modern Warfare 3 disappointment has COD players hankering for the grand old days of Infinite Warfare

Time to once again escape to the one place uncorrupted by capitalism?

Every so often in the course of our irregular series of Gamers Hate Thing posts, I like to chuck in a Gamers Love Thing post just to shake things up - though in this case, Gamers Love the Thing in question partly for not being another Thing they Hate, and the Thing they Love is something they Hated back in 2016. Erm.

Let's start again. As you may know, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - not to be confused with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - is out from today, 9th November. Pre-ordering players and a few lucky journos (whom we absolutely don't fear and resent for receiving copies early) have been able to play the campaign since 1st November, and the reactions and reviews thus far haven't been great.

According to our stablemate site VGC, the story mode is around 3-4 hours in length which, OK, I am generally pretty keen on succinct FPS campaigns, given that I tend to fall asleep two hours in, but not when I'm paying a full £60 for the privilege. VGC also calls the campaign "baffling", "frustrating" and "basic". The game isn't going down much better on Steam, where Recent Reviews have congealed into a Mixed rating based on a multitude of issues, including the game's whopping file size (a lot of the guns have been ported over from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - not to be confused with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2).

Still, one COD's loss is another COD's gain. The other game in question is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the spaciest of Call of Duties, released in 2016 long before all that Warzone stuff became the focus, which has received a slew of nostalgic endorsements on Xitter in the wake of the Modern Warfare 3 psychodrama. Patient Zero is this Xeet about the game's thunderous opening trip to orbit, which has attracted thousands of likes and shares.

Elsewhere, there's a rousing re-assessment from Alex Wakeford, a community writer at Halo developer 343 Industries. "Sad to see MW3's campaign didn't land so well for folks, but you can always replay Infinite Warfare," he wrote. "A massively underrated 8-10 hour campaign experience with some of COD's best mission design and gameplay variety, top-notch space combat, memorable characters, and a great story."

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Wakeford also cites the game's battleship hub, which is very much the bit of Infinite Warfare I remember most fondly, or at least, the part I found most intriguing when I reviewed it myself. The game is woven around a slick feedback loop of launching you out in your starfighter to a mission zone, and returning you to the hangar at the end for a walk-and-talk about current events. It's sort of like a really trimmed-down Mass Effect. The sinuous, high tech staging of the hub-mission alternation is also quite sinister in that you end up feeling like just another piece of ordnance, fed through a huge, unstoppable war machine.

I doubt Activision have seen a surge in sales off the back of all this, partly because Xitter popularity has approximately the exchange value of seawater these days, and partly because everybody's openly waiting on the Game Pass release. But recent Steam user reviews of Infinite Warfare skew Very Positive, up from Mixed overall, which isn't too shabby when you consider that Infinite Warfare's multiplayer is a graveyard and it doesn't even let you pet the robot.

Affection and disaffection for Call of Duty games tends to move in circles, with epochs of rising dislike bookended by changes of setting. As I alluded to earlier, Infinite Warfare wasn't nearly this popular at release. It arrived at a time when Call of Duty players were absolutely sick of exosuits and hoverships and eager to dive back into the long grass of Modern Warfare, or even the trenches of the series' World War outings. Others just found the game dull: our own reviewer Brendan "Ice Cold" Caldwell called it "Infinite Borefare", "Killzone again" and "not Titanfall 2".

Depending on whether you're a developer or a player, you might find this cycle of love and hate entertaining to witness or "utterly brain-melting in a way I can't verbalize", as Dusk and Iron Lung developer David Szymanski wrote in the QRTs for the first Infinite Warfare-praising Xeet above. "Like, seeing people hyped about 4 because everyone was tired of WWII games," he went on. "then seeing everyone hyped about CoD WWII because they were tired of modern warfare and exosuits, then seeing... MW1-3 release again... and now people want exosuits back..."

Let's all make a note to revisit this in a few years time, when Modern Warfare 3 is being hailed as the game Infinite Warfare 2 should have been. In the shorter term, you can read Jeremy's list of the Call of Duty campaigns in order of excellence - guess which game he placed at number one? (Jeremy's thoughts on this year's Modern Warfare 3 remake should be with you soon.)

Update: Did I say "soon"? Because I actually meant "now". Here's the RPS Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 campaign review, in which Jeremy describes it as "a stopgap schedule-filler with nothing to say."

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