I can’t believe people pay a full 60 dollars for over celebrated mediocrity.

A common practice for big budget games is to spend money months before release to garner positive reviews from all the review sites willing to trade integrity for money. Activision spared no expense this time – but may have over done it. Or under done it, if we’re talking about producing a good game, which is what they should care about, but clearly don’t. Here’s a snippet of a “9/10” review by Dan Ryckert of Game Informer Magazine that I am amazed was even published:

“On the surface, this ‘Call of Duty’ experience is similar to the other ‘Modern Warfare’ games. If a casual fan sat down for a few rounds of team deathmatch or domination, it would be easy to forgive them for mistaking this for a map pack. Its visuals look familiar, most of the weapons are recycled from previous games, the tight gunplay feels similar, maps are still fairly cramped affairs for the most part, assembling a party operates the same, and many of the killstreak rewards return. “Modern Warfare 3’s” most noteworthy tweaks may be smaller changes, but they add up to contribute in a big way.”

This leads to a near-perfect score. I didn’t want to quote the entire paragraph but it’s so absurd it needs to be read in its entirety. You can find the rest of the “review” [HERE] if you’re in the mood for tripe. I’ll spare you with a summary:

‘This CoD experience is a glorified map pack with the smallest of updates elsewhere. It has an embarrassingly short single player and the same exact multiplayer you are used to from something like 8 previous installments. I mention casuals to sound edgy.  Lazy game design is good! In fact, all of these bad things are good. If you paid full price you aren’t a sucker and aren’t the cancer killing gaming.  Rejoice!  9 out of 10; would get paid to say this again!’

Mr. Ryckert isn’t the only critic coming up with ways to spin shit game design and more-the-same into positives.

IGN, Gamespot, Eurogamer, Machinima, and 1up have all taken their turns going to great lengths to put a good spin on this Madden-esque roster update of a game.  Metacritic scores the game at an 88/100 (6 points lower than MW2 which received a 94/100).  Hundreds of user scores on the same site place the game more honestly at a 2/10, which is lower than it deserves in a vacuum, but much less of a stretch than the near-perfect that Activision bought.

Many of the reviews struggled to find synonyms for “disappointingly short” when forced to turn something as phoned-in as a 5 hour single player into a good thing.  These are reviewers who have been paid to eat shit for so long they’ve acquired a taste for it; their lies are becoming routine.

I was recently disappointed when a game company I like, id, released a 10-ish hour (18 if you did everything) campaign mode – so much so that I couldn’t honestly recommend an otherwise stellar game at full price.  Five hours?  That would be cutting it short for fucking DLC.  Punctuate that with a multiplayer experience literally described as “tweaked” by the sellouts and you have a game not worth paying for.

If you absolutely must prescribe to the brown and gray era of McDonald’s Shooters, just keep playing Black Ops/MW2 – it’s the same shit.  Activision doesn’t need any more of your hard earned dollars.