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Is Modern Warfare 3 being unfairly attacked?

Debate: Does the shooter deserve all the hate?

The greatest measure of Call of Duty's success is how many people want to see it fail.

In this day and age emotional investment speaks volumes. Next to the red hot emotional fury, the billions of dollars of revenue and millions of shipped units almost seem like insignificant barometers.

People always want to see the giants toppled, it's just the way of the world, but over the last few years this romanticised notion seems to have been taken a cruel angle in the gaming world.

The culture of Call of Duty bashing has become so prevalent that rival publisher EA has created a marketing strategy for Battlefield 3 that centres around exploiting that animosity.

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From its first unforgettable E3 showing right up until release, Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was an industry darling. It was heralded as a revolution in game design by critics and loved as the greatest multiplayer experience since Quake 3 by gamers.

Since then Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer and countless other behind-the-scenes toilers have laboured to deliver what are - statistically speaking - games that better their predecessors in every way.

Every year a Call of Duty game is released and praised by critics and punters, who show their support by racking up sales stats in the millions, buying downloadable content and spending hundreds of hours in multiplayer.

But the echos of disdain can't be ignored, and the developers themselves hear them well.

Which begs the question: is it really fair?

Much of the criticism centres around the lack of changes from year to year. But if it's delivering consistently high-quality, polished single-player campaigns and an improved version of its multiplayer every year does that really matter?

Given the amount of resources spent on creating and iterating the current Call of Duty engine do you think it's reasonable to expect to see the kind of leap in design or technology we saw with the first Modern Warfare in the same generation?

Very few games reinvent themselves significantly more than once in a generation. FIFA has stayed largely the same for almost as long, although it has made each game stylistically and aesthetically different Rockstar has used its Rage engine on Grand Theft Auto 4, Red Dead Redemption, Table Tennis, Midnight Club and a number of other games.

Bethesda has used the same building blocks for The Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout, Fallout: New Vegas and all the DLC packs they encompass.

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Is Activision being unfairly punished for what seems to be standard practice?

For many, the point of contention lies in the popularity of Call of Duty has had on gaming overall. The shooter genre has had a meteoric rise in popularity and, as a result, creative, thoughtful, interesting games are being buried in a landslide of sub-par shooters.

But should Call of Duty, one of the best the genre has to offer, really take the flack for that, or is it the gamer's responsibility to send the right message by only picking up the good games?

Another common criticism levelled at Activisions FPS pertains to the culture surrounding it, in particular the hostile online community. But is it up to the developers and publishers to bear the weight of responsibility for the droves of mouth-breathing, racist, sexist people playing online?

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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