The Call Of Duty series holds lots of memories for me. I cast my mind back to when the Xbox 360 first launched to the world 13 years ago. Call Of Duty 2 was my first taste of the franchise and I remember the exhilarating experience of multiplayer shooters starting to become big. It wasn’t until the launch of Call Of Duty 4 when it really took off! I still have visions of myself with a full head of hair, no responsibilities and being able to sit in my pants and drink beer and energy drinks to get myself through 12-18 hour multiplayer sessions with my mates. Beyond Call Of Duty 4 we had successful titles in Call Of Duty: World at War, Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and then the Black Ops titles to continue on.
It was after this period of around five years when the series started to tire and really become repetitive and mundane. Infinity Ward and Treyarch decided to take turns each calendar year in attempting to succeed with its next title and then other studios started to join in with Sledgehammer Games taking on Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare. No matter what the community thought of these titles, they somehow continued to succeed. With short campaign modes and multiplayer experiences filled with jetpacks, wallrunning and futuristic abilities and elements Call Of Duty was literally begging for a hiatus. The last instalment in Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 was criticised for its lack of a campaign mode and the developers opted for a Battle Royale mode called Blackout which proved to be very successful with the hardcore multiplayer community. If it wasn’t for this mode the series would have fallen short and I was very reluctant to invest this year but I am glad I did so enough waffle about games of the past. Go put the kettle on as we have a lot to cover here.
Let me start with the campaign because that’s all some of the player base really care about. When the teaser trailer was pushed out for this it caused some controversy due to its violence and disturbing nature. But that’s what we want isn’t it? Infinity Ward have labelled this as a reboot of Call Of Duty 4 so I was intrigued to learn what to expect from a Modern Warfare campaign as its been a good 12 years since the original.
The campaign sets you off with two main characters, one of which is an SAS officer known as Kyle and the other chap being a CIA operative called Alex. You’re on course for one of the best campaigns you will play inside 2019, whilst parts of this will be dark and perhaps depressing it touches on the realism of the true world. I am going to get the important part of this review in right now and let you know it is a short but great campaign with an average five to eight hour playthrough which all depends on your playstyle and difficulty level.
Infinity Ward labelled this a reboot of the 2007 edition of Modern Warfare and the experience will feel very familiar to those who have played it. Captain Price does make his return but I won’t reveal in which essence this may be, however there is a variance of other characters joining you along the way. From the very beginning you will feel like you’re playing through a Hollywood movie as the graphics and cutscenes are sublime, and you sit back in your seat and think ‘wow, this is visually one of the best campaigns I have ever played’. Personally its been a long time since a Call Of Duty has had that impact especially with its story mode.
There is some uncomfortable scenarios you will find yourself sitting through, but they are well warranted in the game. You will see chemical weapon attacks on children and panic and alarm on the streets of London. Sat playing this, I was saying to myself this is nuts and its been captured so well. You’ll take the role of the good side as you fight against the Russians and Arabs who are your enemy. The missions are extremely satisfying to play through and challenging, even on the simplest difficulty setting. Achievement hunters will find this a real fight to ticket off the harder difficulty modes.
There are all the features you could imagine in a Call Of Duty mode right here. Sniping missions, raid type experiences where you storm a building and have to make a split second decision, using gunships and suchlike. It ticks off everything you would expect in an Infinity Ward campaign. Whilst it probably doesn’t eclipse Call Of Duty 4 for its epic campaign which was massive at the time it arrived. It is a memorable experience and one definitely worth playing through even if you’re only planning on hitting Call Of Duty Modern Warfare for the multiplayer.
Which brings me on nicely to the multiplayer aspect of Call Of Duty Modern Warfare, a place where I have already amassed over three hundred hours. If you’re still reading I’ll try not to be biased as obviously having spent this long in the competitive multiplayer world I clearly enjoy it. Now we are going to dismiss previous instalments because Infinity Ward have built the competitive modes from the ground up. You will be familiar of the feel of the mechanics but there are more changes here this time than you have ever seen in another Call Of Duty game.
My first concerns for the game was what will the weapons feel like and will the gunplay echo the original Modern Warfare titles. After all this can make or break a game for some. If the weapons are off and not weighty enough and the recoil doesn’t match how the weapon would perform in the real world this could be a real turn off to hardcore first person shooter fans. Three hundred hours on I have to say Infinity Ward has nailed everything about the weapons and gunplay. Every gun appears to do what it should and the sound effects seem to be much improved than previous titles and on par with the effects you would hear in one of the Battlefield games. After a few overpowered weapons were patched in the first few weeks everything seems really well balanced and now there doesn’t seem to be a particular weapon that is over the top or dominates. That doesn’t mean to say they are easy to pick up and use as some will require patience to overcome their recoil and mechanics.
Gunsmith is another new addition here to Call Of Duty Modern Warfare. In previous games you would unlock various attachments, scopes, magazines and so on to upgrade your weapon to your preference and satisfaction. Gunsmith takes it to a whole new dynamic allowing you to have five attachments to your weapon at any one time. You can alter muzzles, barrels, scopes, magazines, underbarrels, grips and more. There are nine categories usually with less for other weapons and the quantity of different elements of each category is massive. Some weapons will have twenty different variants of scope with the ability to change your crosshair. Unlocking all of this takes time as you open up all of these by gaining experience as you play with the weapon.
Prestige is no longer present in this edition of Call Of Duty as Infinity Ward have now opted for operator rank. This requires you to level up to the usual cap of fifty five and then you unlock another one hundred levels to progress through at your own pace. Now I hear you asking what special things can we get when we unlock this mode Jordan. Well let me tell you its not a great deal at the moment. Each time you level up you will unlock a specific challenge that can be completed such as “Win 5 matches on Search and Destroy”. Upon hitting these tasks you will get an experience reward and a ribbon. Earn ten ribbons and unlock a limited time emblem. There isn’t time to loiter over unlocking these ribbons however as they are season specific. Meaning there is a timer ticking down to the end of Season One at the time of writing and once the season ends the rank and ribbons you gain will still be visible but you can no longer progress. The mind baffles why they have taken this approach as before the current season started the max rank of 155 was within my reach and then I was felt feeling deflated as I dropped back to fifty five. I can’t help but think why would you try fixing what isn’t broken but why criticise Infinity Ward for attempting a new approach when the world has complained at its tired mechanics.
As you progress through the season there is a sector of the multiplayer menus that will allow you to partake in single player trials to accrue bonus experience. These trials consist of a variance of different modes with a timeframe to blast through them at. For example one mode sends you around an assault course as you shoot pop up wooden enemies whilst trying to avoid innocent civilians. The next could have you aiming down a shooting range ploughing through waves of moving or static targets in the fastest time possible. Whilst these are great fun and it makes me want to continue playing them they could do with more of them. A trial can only be entered with tickets gained from consistent multiplayer participation so make sure you use them wisely!
Before I move onto the overall gameplay and balance of the multiplayer its important that I cover off the cosmetics in the multiplayer. Call Of Duty is renowned for its progression system and the unlocks you can gain through hours of constant playtime. It is still early days for Call Of Duty Modern Warfare but there are masses of cosmetics to unlock such as camos for weapons, emblems, calling cards, uniforms for different characters, quips of speech your character can say and even stickers and charms you can have decorating your AK-47. If you get off on grinding to unlock all these kinds of items then you will adore this natural progression system.
There is one question you may ask though if you haven’t already purchased the game and you are just a wary bystander. What is the deal with downloadable content and are there loot boxes in the game? We all know that gaming is a business and some developers have killed their game by just spewing out of their mouth what they are going to throw into a title at a later date. You’ll be happy to hear that Infinity Ward have scrapped the season pass and have adopted a “all DLC is free” approach, within reason. This means that the player base will not become fragmented and with the option of crossplay between Xbox, PlayStation 4 and PC (Sorry Nintendo fans) there will always be a user base for many years to come. That said Infinity Ward have at the time of writing released a battle pass which works out at around £8.39 in UK currency. You have to cut them some slack here, I did say gaming is a business and everyone else is doing it right? Love or loathe a battle pass system it is a consumer choice and this season will allow you to unlock cosmetics, blueprints for weapons, charms, emblems, double XP timed rewards and operator skins. If you want more bang for your buck it really is worth the plunge and drives the game with more incentive to keep going.
What I really like here with the multiplayer is the gargantuan amount of modes and a healthy deliverance of maps to start off with. You do have your conventional famous six versus six encounters. But there is also the edition of ten versus ten and even twenty versus twenty and if you fancy pretending its Battlefield then there is the all new Ground War mode. Ground War is essentially a mirror of conquest on Battlefield where thirty two players battle against another thirty two to capture flags to exhaust tickets. Before you ask yes there are tanks, choppers and quad bikes at your disposal should you wish to try your hand at these. Sadly I found the Ground War experience short lived as it can seem a tad clunky and the mode doesn’t appear to flow as smoothly as the smaller battles. But you can’t fault the developers for trying to please the crowd here.
Classic maps such as Crash, Shipment and Vacant have been added along with a variance of rotational weekly modes such as Infected, Gun Game, Grind, Drop Zone some modes which I have never even played before let along heard of. Infinity Ward are keeping this as fresh as when I put my moisturiser on in the morning, only because I got some for Christmas but I admire them incredibly for their efforts to keep players coming back for more.
Shortly after launch we did have reports of a few overpowered weapons, bugs, glitches and some unbalanced spawns which appear to be continually eradicated as time passes us by. I have to say I was better at first person shooters a decade ago but its clear for me to see that if you are looking to compare the multiplayer to another title it is like going back in time and playing Call Of Duty 4 for the first time. The multiplayer is smooth, the frame rate is as consistent as Manchester United’s poor form and I just can’t get enough.
Which leads me on to the final portion of the game I want to mention which is for the co-op fans out there. Co-op experiences where it is literally just you and your mate are real hard to come by these days for some reason. Which is hard to believe as there is a huge market for co-op gamers there. Special Ops is a co-op experience where yourself and up to three other players can take on various missions against AI opponents. Now there is a little hate here as PlayStation 4 has timed exclusive rights to the “Survival” element of special ops which may leave Xbox and PC players somewhat disgruntled. The special ops missions and operations expand on the games single player story. These missions and operations could be a case of finding intel, infiltrating bases and fighting hordes of enemies on the frontline. Again if you’re a whore for cosmetics then there are some exclusive ones within this mode and I found some of the missions to be a real challenge which could be pleasing to most but infuriating to some. It really all depends on your style of play. I won’t delve too deep into Spec Ops as revealing all the features may destroy the overall enjoyment of the game as I have always found it particularly pleasing with Call Of Duty games discovering everything for the first time. I will just say though that there could be a lot of improvements to be made with Spec Ops and I am sure as more maps and modes are rolled out it will be grower for me. But zombies is a much better and exciting spectacle than Spec Ops.
So if you’re still reading I admire your patience and I commend you. This is a first AAA game review for myself and I know its hard to read reviews without catching spoilers so I did attempt to dismiss engaging into story narrative and portions where I liked things to be discovered for myself. Whether I come across this way I really do hope so. The big question though, would I recommend Call Of Duty Modern Warfare to you? Personally its the first game in the series I have adored since Call Of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. If you buzzed off those games in your heyday then absolutely club some cash together and buy this. It is a masterpiece and Infinity Ward have truly redeemed themselves. If you are looking at this and saying hey you didn’t delve into the Campaign as much as I had hoped. There is a reason for that, its incredibly short but something that should be definitely played if you love campaigns and I don’t want to ruin your short time with this pleasing triumph. It really is one of the most visually delightful insight you will have into this generation. I’ll sign off by expressing the fact that this is a must have in your collection!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare will either take you back twelve years to that first wow factor you endured with Call Of Duty 4 or for first time players will reel you in to a never ending cascase of fresh exciting gameplay. A must have in your collection
Exceptional gunplay and sound
Fresh rotating forgiving multiplayer experience
Wonderful successor to Modern Warfare
Campaign is terrifying and has you on edge
Ground War isn’t for everyone
Spec Ops could do with some work
People sensitive to terror may find the campaign hard to endure