Well, I still expect a worthy single player experience out of my CoD-- especially as they're asking me to fork over 60 bucks each year and haven't made a significant improvement to the multiplayer since cod4 (modifications, yes; improvements, no).
Speaking of CoD4, that game had a fantastic campaign! The game actually has a narrative and uses it's set pieces to build tension and draw the player in to the plot instead of just giving them a pretty explosion to stare at. The big 'moment' of the game was undoubtably the nuke going off which not only strengthened your resolve as it kills YOU as a player (despite all the heroics you perform before the blast) but also let you know within the framework of the story what you were up against! One of my most memorable experiences in ANY video game will always be the the final act of CoD4: right as you're infiltrating the Russian nuclear facility and, surprise, a war head launches right before your eyes and the radio chatter heats up and it's ON. The race to the finish in that game is one the most tense and exhilarating moments in gaming-- and the climax, oh man. It's not like CoD will ever be known for It's strong character development but the last minutes of the lives of each of your squad members had weight. I remember thinking to myself: this can't be the way it ends.
CoD4 wasn't just a great shooter it was a great GAME. Personally, I don't have a problem holding ANY developer that slaps the CoD title on their product to that same lofty standard.
Just as an aside: I actually enjoyed the campaign of MW2. While certainly not as nuanced as CoD4 it at least made an attempt to uphold the theme of the first modern warfare and it definitely has it's moments: fighting in an abandoned US suburb, the assault on the capital, the surprise in the gulag and who can forget the betrayal that actually made me say aloud "oh, you're dead mother ****er!" lol! But overall it fails to deliver as cohesive a story as the first game and has several glaring plot holes like: who was the dead guy in the panic room at the crash site? What was the purpose of the abandoned fallout shelter with the presidential seal? And how in the hell did captain Price survive the end of CoD4!? Ultimately an enjoyable sequel that falls short of it's predecessors greatness.
Mw3, on the other hand. Campaign was complete ****. The pacing of the previous games is thrown right out the window. You just skip from one big action set piece to the next with no sense of what you're doing or why you're there. There is no weight to the story at all. Character development is laughably terrible for a series that is mostly recognized for not having much of any character development! Why did we need another character with a connection to the villain's past? Was that really necessary? Wasn't Price's and Soap's desire to end him motivation enough for the plot? Why are we introduced to a whole new squad of rangers when the group from the last game was already (somewhat) established and ready to take the fight to the Russians? And what the hell was up with that ridiculous ending? Jug suits? Really??
I don't know. I wasn't a huge fan of the black ops story but I give them credit at least for trying something different. Yes the ending was bat **** insane but the little plot twist was fun even though it was so telegraphed. I liked the cold war setting and it was fun having ice cube along for the ride!