Did No Russian further the story or hinder it? Is the graphical content disregardedly offensive or avant-garde? Does it make a statement about "murder simulators" in video games as a whole or not? Did it prove anything at all?
When I first played MW2, I was impressed and even unnerved that Infinity Ward would take the risk and place you at the helm of a murdering terrorist. That you would take a 100-round LMG with no direct order to kill and make that split-second decision to fire or not. The brief silence before the bloodshed. 12 year-old me was blown away in awe.
But looking at now, six years and six games later, it was incredibly impotent in its message and convoluted as all hell. So what, Joseph Allen is supposed to be a patriotic soldier handpicked by Shepherd to stop worldwide terrorism and joins TF-141, yet he agrees to Shepherd's plot to infiltrate the Inner Circle and attack Zahkaev Intl. Airport. Why he never stopped to question why participating in a terrorist attack would achieve anything except to further Shepherd's plot for US ultranationalism and jingoism. More so, why would he need to get in close to Makarov if he already managed to stand next to him with a fucking M240? The only possible answer is that Shepherd indocrinated him in his ideology, or at the very least, tricked him into committing mass murder, but even that is vastly stretched in Troy Baker's two lines for the whole game. This idea of avant-garde storytelling in No Russian stands in contrast to the allegorical storytelling in Aftermath or Death from Above.
In Aftermath, the critical allegory of the Iraq War presented throughout the game is reflected within this level, which speaks greater themes about the ultimate futility of war. War is unbiased, impartial, all-encompassing, and unforgiving. The nationalistic bravado of the US following 9/11 into the Iraq War is forsaken and shown as government ineptitude, misconception and hubris as reflected within Modern Warfare. A player can ride helicopters with grenade launchers, blow up tanks, rescue fellow soldiers and win the day until mortality rears its ugly head and eveyone and everything around you is dead.
In Death from Above, the level makes a critical statement regarding the disconnection of reality in war, namely the technology that divides human empathy from apathy. Because the level was highly inspired by this footage, the critique is undeniable as in the level crew members mark down enemy casualties and joke about rerunning footage reels of their mission.
But in No Russian, they just say fuck-all to subtle storytelling and critique for the reasons listed above. What are your thoughts regarding No Russian retrospectively?