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I must admit, it was with a sort of resigned sense of depressing anticipation that I pulled up this week’s release of the “Tango Down” multiplayer trailer for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.” As a longtime fan of the franchise, I’ve felt let down in part by “Modern Warfare 2″ and in full by “Black Ops.” Despite introducing a few new twists on a tried-and-true formula, neither game really introduced much innovation beyond cosmetic changes to reflect the new setting and rapidly-concluded single player storyline. Unfortunately, my fears were proven to, at least as far as can be gathered from this trailer, be justified.

One of my key philosophies in grading not-yet-released media is centered around a simple concept; that if a trailer designed to promote the most impressive aspects of a media product is generally unimpressive, the final product is usually terrible. The logic behind this is pretty simple to grasp… a game publisher like Activision (which will be treated as the only decision-making entity in anything to do with the Call of Duty franchise, because they are) has the opportunity to search everything they’re presenting with the new product for the most flashy and impressive aspects of the product, which they then select for special feature in the trailer.

The “Tango Down” presentation really bites into this concept, and I believe that three things can be reasonably deduced from it. 1) That this game, from what we see in the trailer, essentially combines the best parts of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″ and “Call of Duty: Black Ops” to create a sort of new and improved Frankenstein’s monster of a game that only pretends to be new and innovative. 2) To that general end, the object of the multiplayer combat will remain restricted to killing as many people in a row as possible to access the game’s ridiculously overpowered killstreak bonuses, the proper use of which triggers a massive advantage for their controller. and 3) This is the same damn game as before with a shiny new coat of paint. Is anyone really failing to grasp this?

2 little boys smiling

The aforementioned console kiddies who don’t know any better. “Mommie, get Call of Duty and Apache 10 killstreak boom boom boom! Yeaaaaah!”

As this is a preview and I haven’t even gotten my hands on a demo, yet, further judgement needs to be withheld. As a longtime fan of the series, however, I can definitely say that MW3 is shaping up to be a very half-hearted and not well-thought-through competing offer to Battlefield 3, which is shaping up to dominate the market. Oh, I don’t doubt that the usual hordes of console kiddies who don’t know any better will buy it without considering this article or other statements of alarm, and that it will have some success. In fact, Activision by presenting it is probably counting on precisely that outcome, which is after all what sells the various map packs at the sorts of insane prices they push. Expect a more in-depth review on release day, or perhaps a hands-on if I manage to stomach the demo.

What do you think?