Launched in 2007, Modern Warfare had a ragtag group of protagonists fight off a separatist group in the Middle East, as well as a Russian ultranationalist group. They survived nuclear attacks, learnt the art of war and saved the world from Imran Zakhaev – the main antagonist of the game. Now, twelve years later, you’ll kind of do the same thing over again with different good and bad guys (with some returning characters), and that’s not a bad thing, because Modern Warfare is just as gripping and tense as its predecessor.
Introducing a new and volatile world – riddled with corruption, Modern Warfare throws you into a Spec-Ops team that stumbles upon a large terrorist plan involving stolen Russian chemical gas. Gameplay in Modern Warfare’s campaign is mainly split between two pivotal characters – a CIA operative by the name of Alex and Kyle Garrick, an SAS operative. The campaign constantly oscillates between both characters offering their perspective on the conflict at hand. Alex’s missions play like your typical large scale Call of Duty missions, but the game really shines with Garrick’s close quarter, claustrophobic missions. I especially enjoyed the night vision gameplay of the London townhouse you and your team clear out, with quick movement and swift kills being key when taking on terrorists with hostages, mothers with babies crying into the night, and killing what looks like an innocent woman… reaching for a detonator.
Everything about Modern Warfare’s gunplay is heavenly. I’ve played a ton of Rainbow Six Siege and put countless hours in other shooters, but nothing seems to stand close to the smoothness and satisfaction of this game. The way your weapons sway when you turn, recoil as you fire, or even animate as the shell casing exit just feels right. While gunplay – and gameplay in general was very smooth during the campaign, nearly every cut-scene was plagued with stutters and audio/video sync issues.
Multiplayer is where you’ll really spend a lot of time in Modern Warfare, and Infinity Ward does not disappoint this year. Keep in mind though; this year’s Modern Warfare is more methodical in nature, sacrificing manic run-and-gun style gameplay for more intense, but slow paced encounters. Besides returning modes like Team Deathmatch, Domination, Headquarters, and Search and Destroy, Modern Warfare introduces two new modes – an intense 2V2 mode called Gunfight and a Battlefield-esque large scale battle called Ground War. Ground War involves tanks and choppers and pits 64 players against each others in huge maps, where each team must control all objectives on the map – while the opposition strives to do the same. This mode has its moments, but ends up getting frustrating due to the large amount of campers who have a thousand camping spots to choose from.
Hardcore players will even be able to choose Realism – hardcore severs if you will where all HUD elements are disabled and you take a lot more damage than normal. Progressing through the ranks in multiplayer will unlock different weapons for you to try out – and based on your playstyle, you’ll have ample to choose from be it assault rifles, SMGs, LMGs or sniper rifles. Each weapon can also be customized to your heart’s content, and you’ll be able to swap out parts like scopes, barrels, stocks and more. This allows players to really fine tune each weapon to their liking, and off course playstyle.
As with every Call of Duty game, Killstreaks also make a return with a few new ones thrown in that bridge the gap between tactical ones like UAVs and counter UAVs to more aggressive ones like helicopter gunners and precision air strikes. Besides multiplayer, a cooperative mode called Spec-Ops is also available for four players, but to be honest, this mode doesn’t feel as good as either the campaign on multiplayer. The missions are way too long, too tough and should your team get wiped out during any of the objectives, you’ll have to start from the beginning all over again. And if you haven’t been following the news, Modern Warfare now supports Cross Play which means players across PC, Xbox and PS can play against one another – and it’s been handled really well.
As much as I loved the campaign, I personally thought some of the voice acting was a bit stiff, and it definitely seems a bit too pro-America at times – like previous iterations. Multiplayer is a blast – and if only Ground War didn’t spend so much time trying to ape Battlefield, I would have really enjoyed it. That being said, after years of run of the mill Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare definitely feels fresh, and provides a highly polished package that’ll keep you entertained for hours on end.