Video games have always been in a strange gray zone when it comes to having a message. Many people I see on the internet want them to be taken seriously as an art form, yet want it to stay stagnant in its themes to avoid any criticism beside the usual microtransaction and mismatched marketing.
Video developers and writers decided to rewrite the “Modern Warfare” series with more realistic and grounded topics rather than the bombastic set pieces that populated the 2009 game. Seeing the game in my own backyard though, I am conflicted.
This leads me to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II,” not to be confused with “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.” (Yes, this game was so nice they named it twice.) The current game was released this year, while the previous game was released in 2009.
My struggle — MWII (2022) has a side story plot where your squad, the revered Task Force 141, has to take down a Mexican cartel hiding and protecting an Iranian general. Said general wants to launch missiles to the United States in retaliation to the United States for killing another Iranian general.
Hang on … I think I heard this before… oh yeah! It was January 2020. Timely …
As a Mexican, I felt somewhat strange while playing the game. I love the fact that one of the protagonists is a member of the Mexican special forces because it shows that not all big strong Mexican military men are narcos or border patrol. Seeing the British members have a bromance and speaking Spanish together with the Mexican character Alejandro Vargas was so fun to see because it brought in this sense of both culture shock and appreciation.
The masked stoic character Ghost saying “ahuevo” is one of the greatest gaming moments of 2022 for me because it shows how the writers of the game did research into Mexican slang. The Sinaloan big band, “Banda MS” made a corrido for the game too! Telling a musical tale of the exploits of the 141 task force.
Sadly, I feel this marketing representation was to hide the dark things from this game. One mission, where you play as a Mexican soldier, literally has you illegally crossing the border, getting stopped by racist police and pacifying nervous civilians by pointing your gun at them, and that’s not even the worst part.
Later in the story you are controlling a gunship providing air support for Task Force 141. This leads you to a small town that contains a market, church and a school. To protect your team, you need to provide close air support and effectively rain hell upon your nameless enemies.
Every missile I shot was effectively leveling this small town and racking up millions in property damage and war crimes. I didn’t feel like a hero, I felt like a monster. Yet I still kept going, why? For trophies, the story, internalized American propaganda?
I finished that mission recently and it still rings in my mind. How can I have so much representation while also destroying my heritage? Most don’t even touch the campaign, they just go to multiplayer and spit their venom through their headsets, but for this game, they released the campaign early for pre order adopters.
I’ll continue the story, just to see it through, but let’s just hope that “No Mexican” doesn’t become the new “No Russian.”
The corrido slaps, though.