Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Developer: Infinity Ward
Genre: FPS, Action
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Official Site: https://www.callofduty.com/
Release Date: October 25th, 2019
Version Tested: Xbox One S
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a soft-reboot of the Call of Duty franchise and a new take on the hit 2007 classic, Modern Warfare.
This is a game that has been under the microscope of many sites, YouTubers, and pretty much every FPS fan. Its campaign had been talked up as a dark and gritty take on warfare in today’s world. The multiplayer has been under immense scrutiny over the past few weeks due to the quality of maps, rumors of microtransactions, and the Spec Ops mode. So, how does Modern Warfare stack up to the best of the CoD titles?
Well, I would say that the 2019 iteration of Modern Warfare is a massive success for Infinity Ward and Activision, despite a few set-backs in each of its modes. Let’s start with the campaign.
Modern Warfare’s Campaign is a Deeply Engrossing Tale
First off, this game is flat-out irritating. And I mean that as a massive compliment. It wants to annoy and distract you. Modern Warfare’s story requires your full undivided attention and if you don’t commit to it, you’ll have a ton of game over screens ahead of you.
For an example of what I mean by “this game is flat-out irritating”, there’s one spectacular mission where you are tasked with clearing out a multi-floor building of hostiles in a quick and tactical manner. You are bombarded with distractions and rash decisions throughout. You’ll hear a nearby train on your headset as you head up the stairs, building the tension as you slowly ascend and enter unknown rooms.
Some of the people hide in closets and under beds, lying in wait for you to open the door. Some in the building even appear to be innocent until they attempt to kill you at the last second. You couple all of this with your character using night vision goggles to spot everything and you have a very combustible situation that can go wrong very fast.
That anxiety is something I haven’t experienced in a Call of Duty campaign in a long… long time. Maybe ever, now that I think about it. Is it perhaps too excessive at times? Probably. There’s one mission where you play as a kid who has to escape from her village and I probably could have done without that one. This particular mission’s goal seemed to be for the player to witness a character’s inhumane trauma, garnering more attachment to said character in the process and hatred of the game’s main antagonist. Instead, the mission felt like it just wanted to shock you at every turn, so the whole thing never really clicked with me.
The other problem with the campaign lies with its antagonists. Modern Warfare features some excellent main characters including Captain Price (who is essentially Jack Bauer from 24 in this game), Kyle Garrick, Alex, and Farah. They are all interesting characters that you are always invested in. I can’t say the same for the game’s antagonists, who are fairly forgettable.
All in all, the Modern Warfare story campaign is filled with epic moments and awesome main protagonists. Its harsher tone allows for you to get more engrossed into not just the story but your feelings on the characters in the world.
Narrative Director Taylor Kurosaki said that the game is about bonds between people. I didn’t see it that way, necessarily. To me, this story is more about one tough question. How far are these characters willing to go to do what’s right without becoming the same thing they are fighting against? That’s really fascinating.
Even with its boring antagonists and (maybe) one unnecessary mission, this is by far the most engaging campaign CoD has put together since Black Ops 1/Black Ops 2. It may even be the best narrative in CoD history when it is all said and done. It’s a must-play for anyone picking up a copy of the game, especially if you are a Modern Warfare fan (There’s a ton of cool easter eggs and teases for future installments littered throughout too!).
Multiplayer Feels Fresh and Not Just a New Coat of Paint
On to multiplayer, the mode that has made CoD famous for its frantic gameplay style. If you want an in-depth breakdown of my thoughts on the multiplayer, you can click here to see some impressions on the Modern Warfare beta that happened last month. Pretty much all my thoughts there can translate to the full game. For those who just want cliff notes on it, Modern Warfare’s multiplayer features some new and exciting changes to the tired old CoD formula.
Mounting your weapons on surfaces, the detailed gunsmith, and tactical sprint are just a few of these welcomed changes. The guns are all fun to use and the time-to-kill, much like the beta, was never a problem for me. It’s a slower-paced CoD as well, so don’t expect to run-and-gun your way throughout each map.
Speaking of maps, oh boy. Yeah… Modern Warfare has some memorable locations for sure. To put it in the simplest way imaginable, these maps are terrible. There are too many locations to be shot from at any time and too many places for people to hide. To clarify, I don’t mind if someone is holding an area/chokepoint and picking people off that way. It’s a smart move by them. However, it is frustrating to be killed by people who just hide out in a corner of a room all game. It also doesn’t help that the spawn system still isn’t up to par yet. Hopefully, Infinity Ward can put out some quality maps in the future as part of their free DLC to players.
Luckily for the multiplayer, the variety in game modes and the gunsmith more than makes up for the lackluster maps. As mentioned above, the gunsmith has so much going for it with the level of detail and customization you can add to any weapon. As for the game modes, there’s something for everyone here. Big team battles, small scale Search and Destroy, objective-based modes, and the high-octane Ground War mode that is just as insane as it was in the beta.
Call of Duty has been prone to technical problems for years now. I’m not excusing it but I figured there would be some technical problems at the game’s launch. However, I did not expect the servers to be so inconsistent and crashing issues to be so prevalent in my playthroughs. About once every hour or so online, if I didn’t lose connection to “online services”, I would encounter console crashes. Yeah, this game has literally crashed my Xbox One S multiple times. I’m not sure if this will be fixed by the time this review goes up but I figured it was worth noting.
Modern Warfare’s multiplayer isn’t perfect, but it is different and there’s a lot to build on here. The only things holding the multiplayer back from being great are the technical problems, a horrible selection of maps, and a flaky spawn system.
Spec-Ops (Full Mode Available for PS4 Owners Only)
The campaign of Modern Warfare is gritty, unapologetic, engaging, and most importantly, it’s immersive. Despite some flaws, the multiplayer is immensely entertaining and has the potential to become something truly awesome down the road with consistent updates. The Spec-Ops mode, however, is none of those things. Although Spec-Ops continues the story of Modern Warfare, it doesn’t possess that same gripping narrative like the campaign and it isn’t nearly as fun as anything in the multiplayer. So, what do you get with Spec-Ops?
With this game mode, you get 4 missions that continue the story of Modern Warfare. Most of the time, you are tasked with the usual go here, pick up something here, hold position here, etc. missions. There’s nothing new or innovative.
Spec-Ops does have a few things going for it though. The role system where you essentially select a special ability is a nice idea, providing the player with a little more choice in how they help out the team. It should also be noted that these Spec-Ops missions are difficult, even with a full squad. It’s that difficulty that makes the game somewhat fun at times. You’ll be scavenging for any armor/killstreak cases lying around while trying to stave off a relentless horde of enemies. But, these moments aren’t enough to make Spec-Ops worth playing. Maybe, in the future, Infinity Ward can add in some worthwhile missions or something else. But, as of right now, I don’t see any reason why I would ever jump back into this mode.
Verdict: Modern Warfare is an exceptional game bogged down with some technical issues and a below-average Spec-Ops mode. It features the best campaign in years and it may actually be the best narrative CoD has ever had, even if it did run a little short on time. The multiplayer has promise. New additions like weapon mounting and the gunsmith bring a much-needed facelift to the CoD franchise. The maps leave a lot to be desired but I’m confident that Infinity Ward will turn it around with its updates over the coming months. If you are a CoD fan, FPS fan, or even just someone who enjoys games that provide a thrill, Modern Warfare is definitely a game worth checking out.
- An amazing story campaign with cool characters, shocking moments, and Michael Bay-esque action set-pieces
- The multiplayer is really fun with the potential to be even better with future updates
- Customization and additions to the multiplayer
- Visuals, especially in the campaign
- There is some fun to be had in the spec-ops...
- ... But the spec-ops mode is largely forgettable
- Technical issues like inconsistent servers and console crashing
- The maps in multiplayer are horrible