Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review- War Gets Intense and Diverse

Posted October 31, 2019 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Infinity Ward

Publisher: Activision

Release date: October 25, 2019

Available on: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One

In 2007, the Call of Duty series brought warfare out of the second World War and into the modern age. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare highlighted the conflicts in the Middle East and dealt with terrorism, and launched one of the franchise’s better trilogies with memorable missions like “All Ghillied Up”. Now developer Infinity Ward is updating that series within the franchise with a reboot that’s equally intense and is the most diverse in terms of playable characters of the first person shooter juggernaut to date.

In the 2019 version, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare once again updates the nature of war in a world torn by terrorism from groups like Isis and the fractured former Soviet Union. The campaign is delineated by black and white, merely separated by shades of grey against factions borne of superpowers’ foreign policies. It brings back the familiar character of Captain Price, and while it recons the previous narrative in the series it also has plenty of nods to the 2007 game.

As always, you’ll rotate through three playable characters throughout the 14 mission, 5 or so hour campaign: a CIA officer named Alex, a Metropolitan Police Officer, Sergeant Kyle Garrick, and a leader of an insurgent group, Farah Karim. While there are your standard moments (a sniping mission, providing aerial support) there are some different and more diverse missions. One has you following Farah through the streets, trying to blend in while avoiding enemy soldiers on your way to a sabotage target. Another has you moving through an embassy in a way that’s reminiscent of the film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. There you’ll not only shoot your way out, but also aid a diplomat in escaping with the use of the security video cameras, guiding her past terrorists where one false move is certain death. The diverse missions add an intensity to the campaign that it’s been lacking for a bit, and feels far more grounded.

It’s a shame that the campaign is so short, but at least there isn’t really a poor mission in the bunch. That’s not to say there isn’t some trial and error involved in a couple of missions, but nothing that ever wholly detracts from the game. The story gets continued in the Spec-Ops mode under the Co-op menu, with four missions that follow up to the campaign’s ending. These missions can be intense affairs, and are no real cakewalk as the enemy AI will swarm your position. Playing with strangers works, but playing with friends and keeping in communication is the best way to go.

The Co-op modes replace the Zombies that has been a franchise staple since Call of Duty: World at War. The modes for the for Spec-Ops missions can only be played online, but the Classic Spec-Ops mode (which has only one mission, disappointingly, at launch) and the PS4 timed exclusive Survival (think Horde) Mode can be played locally as well. The Survival Mode is decent, though it can have big difficulty spikes along the way. It’s easy to run out of ammo, however, unless you quickly grab a fallen enemy’s weapon, and in between waves you only have a short time to find on of the supply caches and restock or purchase better weapons. Yeah, they need to be purchased with the money you earn during each wave- $10 for each successful hit, $100 for a kill, and so on. That can make things a little frustrating, especially if your teammates beat you to the kill constantly. The monetary system in this way is a little ill-advised, as instead of encouraging teamwork, it causes some to play more of a lone wolf, run and gun style. As always, playing with friends can alleviate this.

Which brings us to the bread-and-butter of the Call of Duty franchise- the multiplayer. This is where a lot of players will spend their time. The game has a total of 21 maps at launch (with a few being variants of the same map, with one being a daytime map and one at night) and a mix of old and new modes for players to jump into. As with most of the games, the competitive modes like the Team Deathmatch and Free For All will favor veterans of the series, while the more objective based modes like Domination, Headquarters, or Ground War can be more forgiving to newer and more casual players. The maps are varied, but some do encourage camping, which in some modes spells doom for the less skilled team. In the Piccadilly map in Team Deathmatch, for example, my team was caught in the alley where we spawned, while the other team sat just outside the spawn point and picked us off as we entered the game. Needless to say, that does not make for a fun time.

Fortunately, this is not the rule for all maps, though I hit camping as well in the Ground War mode, where snipers could pick their spots and even tanks could park on a hilltop and blast you from a distance away. But plenty of spawn points in Ground War, both in held positions and on squadmates that aren’t in combat, helps alleviate this. Plus being able to jump into vehicles adds a bit of fun, whether it is driving the aforementioned tank or lifting off in a helicopter. Calling in drone strikes can also be fun, but be advised that the matches in Ground War can last a while, so if time’s a factor you may want to choose another mode to jump into.

Quick play offers up a group of rotating modes (Team Deathmatch, the new Cyber Attack, Domination, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, TDM 20 player, and DOM 20 player) which can be filtered so you only get put into your preferred matches. There is no voting on maps, sadly, meaning you may see the same map often instead of the variety. Making your own custom match, on or offline, can help here. Private matches can have you set difficulty levels, game modes, map sizes, and bots, and makes a for a nice alternative way for all players to experience these game modes. Progression is fairly quick, and you get EXP from the co-op modes as well as those in the multiplayer.

There’s a nice amount of loadout customization, with you being able to choose weapons and their skins, your operator, perks, and call sign, among others. As of launch all content is mainly unlocked in game, with only an Endowment pack in the game’s store for purchase with real money that has some perks. Whether more items will be added to the store remains to be seen, or if all post launch content will be free, as has been reported. Killstreaks are back, and can be set in your customization menu. The also a Barracks tab that can let you choose which daily multiplayer missions you want to follow as well as customize your identity and check on your stats. It offers plenty to do and set your character to fit your own play style.

With the game modes in multiplayer, there is a fair amount to choose from, and players of all skill levels can find something to their liking here, especially if you play with friends as opposed to strangers. You can mute other players, meaning you don’t have to listen to any nonsense you don’t wish to hear. The new mode, Gunfight, is especially nice to jump into- a 2v2 match in short rounds on a small map, with the winning team being the first to get win 6 rounds. It’s a nice palette cleanser, and can be a nice change of pace from the larger modes. Teams can still be wildly unbalanced, and a system really needs to be implemented for better matchmaking, to place players with those of similar level and ability. You can use the argument that playing with more skilled players can make you up your game, and that can be true. It can also lead to plenty of frustration if a lower level player is constantly slaughtered and used as gun fodder for a higher level player. Better matchmaking can only help and keep the game fun for all.

That said, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is another fine entry to the long running franchise, and works well to reboot the Modern Warfare series of games within the franchise. The campaign is intense and diverse, and the co-op modes do a decent job at both continuing the story line and offering an alternative to the multiplayer. Speaking of the multiplayer, it has a nice amount of modes for both competitive players and those who like more objective based gameplay, though some may wish for more map variety. Matchmaking and camping issues remain, however, though playing with friends can alleviate these problems a bit. It’s another solid title from the Call of Duty franchise, and ensures that this first person shooter juggernaut still has some life in it yet.

8.5/10 stars

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus