Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reviews

  • Don NielsonDon Nielson636,331
    15 Sep 2022
    1 0 0
    Call of Duty was once a series that ruled the shooter landscape, set the bar where only Battlefield could reach, and set the tone for multiplayer trends. On a foundation of a solid core of fanatic fans, the franchise has remained wildly popular, but in the last five years the series has clearly struggled with an identity crisis. There were those futuristic releases with jetpacks and double jumps that I found rather disappointing, a more or less successful revival of the World War II setting and a fourth Black Ops game that jumped enthusiastically on the battle royale hype, but sacrificed the single player campaign for that. So it's time to hit the reset button with a return to the Modern Warfare universe and a grittier, serious punch-in-the-mouth take on modern warfare.

    Strong campaign
    Fortunately, developer Infinity Ward has brought back the single player, because in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare we get one of the strongest campaigns in years. Forget the military macho behavior or the easily digestible Hollywood versions of world conflicts in which one spectacle scene couldn't follow the other fast enough. No, this time you get an uncomfortable and at the same time very daring look at the horror that such armed conflict really is. You experience the plot – in which the Russian involvement in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Urzikstan is central, but the terrorist group Al-Qatala also poses a serious threat worldwide – traditionally from different perspectives. The emotionally charged campaign mainly pushes you into the role of CIA officer Alex and British SAS force Kyle 'Gaz' Garrick, but the much less advanced armed freedom fighter Farah Karim also gets a lot of screen time. And while you don't play with him, SAS captain John Price and longtime favorite from the Modern Warfare subseries will once again be given a central role. The acting in the roughly six-hour single player is actually even stronger than the equally strong scenario and that makes for the most fascinating and mature story a Call of Duty game has ever told. Though I abhor the story elements that rewrite history, such as the inexplicable decision to rearrange the Highway of Death — a highly controversial attack by the United States and its allies during the Gulf War — as a Russian atrocity in the in-game mission of the same name. This switch of offenders has even resulted in the user rating of the game on Metacritic being bombarded with negative comments from apparently Russian players.

    Clean House
    Gameplay-wise, the story is just as linear as before and you get the unsurprising but, as always, very tight playing mix of action, stealth and sniper missions. It is mainly the way you are thrown into situations that are so disturbing that they will not leave you unmoved this time. For example, scenes of panic and terror in London's streets, where a bomb has just exploded at Piccadilly Circus, drop you on a battlefield full of civilians, creating intense moments where any misjudgment can claim innocent lives. The unraveling of the responsible terror cell entrenched in a London mansion in 'Clean House' produces an intense and nerve-racking raid scene. As you travel through the multiple floors of the pitch-dark building with the night vision goggles on, taking out the terrorists present room after room, the cry of a baby reveals the presence of innocents. It is a memorable mission that confronts you with some difficult decisions that soldiers have to make in such a situation. A little later in the game you experience the hard-hitting war reality through the eyes of 10-year-old Farah. This flashback mission chronicles the horrific events of a violent Russian raid on her village and, after a thrilling escape attempt, eventually pushes a weapon into her hands and then you have to pull the trigger. The violence is shocking and in-your-face, but the controversy is presented better here than in the infamous No Russian scene from Modern Warfare 2.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also runs on a completely new engine, which translates into stunning graphics. From the cutscenes that are close to photorealism, to the new lighting technique that mainly ensures that the operation of your night vision goggles has never been simulated so realistically, to the highly detailed (but still non-destructible) in-game environments, this game pushes your hardware absolutely to maximum performance! A Call of Duty game has also never had better sound effects under the triggers of its guns, and each bullet fired now follows a ballistic model and also provides a more realistic recoil for each weapon. Also new is the ability to rest your weapon on set pieces so you can enjoy more stability. The 'feel' of the weapons is always spot-on and the gunplay excellent according to tradition.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare scores very well with its controversial single player, but the majority of attention for this series goes of course to the multiplayer part and quite a bit has changed there too. This is the first Call of Duty to support crossplay, breaking down the barriers between PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Add to that the removal of the Season Pass, so that future maps and modes are available to everyone for free, and you have an addition that increases the player group on the one hand and one that prevents that group from splintering in the long term. There will still be a premium version in the form of a Battle Pass, but it would consist purely of cosmetic items.

    Regenerating health, which got another shot in the neck in Black Ops IIII, returns, kill streaks replace scoring streaks, and the traditional Pick 10 system is abandoned. After all, the entire online experience is based on the Gunsmith feature with which you can tinker extensively with the weapon in order to fine-tune it to your different playing styles and preferences. By using a weapon in question often, you level that gun and you unlock more than fifty different parts with which you can go completely crazy. There are pros and cons to every extension (a better zoom means a slower zoom speed, for example) and figuring out an ideal set-up is gunporn at its best.

    Small and big
    In addition to all-time favorites such as Team Deathmatch and Domination (in a classic 6vs6 or 10vs10 setup), Headquarters makes a comeback and with Cyber ​​Attack you get a new, fun-playing Search & Destroy variant. I couldn't get enough of Gunfight, another new mode played on the smallest maps ever for a Call of Duty game. They are lightning fast 2vs2 games where weapons are randomly selected per round, that deliver immediate action, are especially intense and finish almost as quickly as they start. This is competitive FPS gameplay in its purest form and in fact this mode has all it takes to become a new fan favorite. At the other end of the spectrum, you have Ground War aka Call of Duty's effort to imitate Battlefield with the largest maps where two teams of 32 battle it out and can even use vehicles to cover the longer distances. I'm not the biggest fan of such a Battlefield-like setup, so this one fascinated me a little less, but that's where the power of Call of Duty lies. With its wide range of game modes, there is actually something for everyone.

    Time to kill
    Leaving aside the claustrophobic Gunfight arenas and massive Ground War maps, Infinity Ward has decided to deviate from the familiar three-path design for the regular maps, which accommodate the familiar game modes. Rather than having three predetermined routes forcing players to predetermined chokepoints, Modern Warfare's maps are designed with a more realistic layout to allow for a more dynamic gameplay, but in reality the flow is still there in the majority of densely populated maps. not quite tasty and together with the low time to kill, a slower, thoughtful playing style is still encouraged and that takes some getting used to. But that also seems to ensure an even bigger campfest than ever in the first weeks after release. I can be very brief about Spec Ops, the four-player cooperative mode that completes the gameplay triptych. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the earlier Spec Ops missions, with its narrative extension of the campaign only creates expectations that it does not live up to and with its tough but perhaps even unfair difficulty level due to strange respawns from the AI ​​opponents. I quickly ignored this four-player co-op.

    The single player campaign is one of the best, most visually impressive and most controversial in years, the multiplayer has everything and something for everyone to become your new competitive thrill. Although some design choices will take some getting used to, but the cooperative mode is clearly the brute of the total package. Anyway, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is an excellent new installment in the franchise.