From a game original made to rival Medal Of Honour to the most popular gaming franchise in the world, Call of Duty has seen a total of 15 games in the main series over 16 years. So here we are with the 16th instalment of COD and the ball is back in original creator Infinity Wards corner.
After the rocky release of their last instalment Infinite Warfare and the divided criticism that followed, the studio has thoroughly taken a step back, knuckled down and created a game that has truly brought a new breath of life into a series that was falling stagnant. What I mean by that you may ask?
Call of duty over the recent years started to see a diminish in players turning down the latest titles. This was over many things. For example, players were getting tired over the futuristic elements and wall running. Or rehashing old existing gameplay. So when Infinite Warfare came out some players found the leap into space a step too far for Call of Duty.
I on the other hand enjoyed that game. I thought the story was compelling and interesting. I loved the idea of mars and earth at war with each other. Very reminiscent to the TV series and Book ‘The Expanse’.
What came next the following year was exactly what players asked for. Boots on the ground. Yet with Sledgehammers game ‘Call of duty WWII’ we were taken back to a World War 2 setting that felt all too familiar. Don’t get me wrong the story was brilliant. Sledgehammer went for a band of brothers style story and delivered exactly what they promised which again I enjoyed. Yet again though, nothing new that the series hadn’t given before.
I can’t say much for Black ops 4 as I never played it. I thought that the lack of a campaign was a step back, but I’m not one to judge until I try the game for myself.
So here we are now with Modern warfare. No not the original to be confused with. This time Infinite Ward has taken the series back to its roots with a reboot of what made Call Of Duty the titanic franchise it is today.
So first, let’s look at the campaign.
The campaign plays out more like a Hollywood film than ever before. We open on a truly harrowing cinematic of a terrorist group about to set off a bomb in Piccadilly square London. Yet before we see this play out we are shown the events leading up to this 24 hours earlier. You play as CIA SAC officer Alex as you infiltrate a facility in Verdansk to acquire chemical gas. Things quickly turn south as your group is attacked by an unknown hostiles killing all the marines accompanying you and stealing the chemical gas leaving you the sole survivor. Shortly after Alex’s handler enlists the expertise of SAS Captain John Price in recovering the chemical weapons and de-escalating the situation.
Next, you play as SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick (also known as Gaz). This then takes you back to the opening of the game. A terrorist organisation known as Al-Qatala lets off an explosive vest and opens fire on civilians and police in Piccadilly. You then meet up with Captain Price as you save a group of hostages from an explosive demise.
Back again to Alex where you meet up with Farah, the leader of rebel freedom fighters who agrees to join you in exchange for overthrowing invading Russian forces led by General Roman Barkov.
What comes next is the first in some truly jaw-dropping set pieces that this game has to offer. The mission ‘Clean house’ sees the SAS clearing out a townhouse to acquire intel leading to the location of Al-Qatala leader ‘The Wolf’. What truly struck me in this mission was the extreme attention to detail of making the entire setting, gameplay and actions believable. I showed a friend of mine at work some gameplay that I captured of this mission and he actually thought it was real footage from real life. The graphics, the sound, the motion capture. Everything about this level screams realism. When I found out that Infinity Ward actually brought ex-marines in to help with the movement and scenarios I could tell it paid off. I’ve played this mission many times. Not because I’m trying to play it to 100%, but because I am astounded at the level of detail the developers have put into this game. Another friend of mine said that ‘Clean House’ is like playing a horror game. In a way it is. There is no music. There is no light. You rely on night vision and sound to get the advantage. Hearing hostiles move into position floors above you.
The second set-piece is truly phenomenal and a homage to the film and real events of ’13 hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.
You have captured ‘The Wolf’ and have taken him to the US Embassy in Urzikstan. However ‘The Butcher’ first in command to the wolf has amassed an army and storms the embassy. You play as Gaz this mission as you and Captain price regroup with Alex and Farah. However, a new element of gameplay comes into fruition here as you have to navigate the ambassador’s secretary to the safe room via security cameras. It was a change of pace as you were taken away from the firefights and into pure stealth movement. A nice addition to the game.
After you escape the embassy you flee through the streets heading to a safe compound. And it’s here where the game pays full homage to the film ‘13 hours’. You have to defend the compound from hostiles coming at you through a field at night on the roofs of the compound’s buildings. When the motors strike, you go full-on firefight. This entire mission had me on the edge of my seat. It was very long and very intense. It made me rewatch the film again to see how close they paid homage (very close).
In all, Modern warfare’s campaign is something special. Innovate gameplay that doesn’t glorify war, but instead shows the true horrors it creates. It has to be one of the best-written Call of Duty stories since the likes of the original Modern Warfare and the first Black Ops game. This also is the most realistic Call of Duty game you’ll ever play. Using a completely brand new engine, infinite ward have produced the visually best looking call of duty ever. Using advanced motion capture and animations to make movement even more realistic.
Multiplayer has also received a complete overhaul. Gone are the DLC pay walls stopping you from playing maps that you do not own. The most profound addition to the game though is the cross-play system, allowing players on PC, PS4 and Xbox one to play together online for the first time. This is a gamechanger.
Several maps feature an alternate night mode forcing players to utilize realistic night vision goggles. Maps also return to being like sandboxes offering more variety to gameplay instead of the 3 lane paths of previous titles.
New to Modern Warfare is the addition of ground war mode. Which promises to deliver large epic scale battles with up to 64 players, with the potential to raise the bar to 100 players in the future. You can use vehicles too like tanks in this game mode. Very similar to the large scale battles of Call of Duty United Offensive. This game mode is good, however very similar to that of conquest mode from the Battlefield franchise. It works in Battlefield as its more slow-paced. You can tactically use the maps to your advantage. However Call of Duty is known for being face-paced, so large scale maps with 64 players don’t work as well as Battlefield. To put it bluntly, it’s carnage. Killstreaks being used left and right. It’s mayhem. Yet it’s different and a nice addition to multiplayer. Like the 2v2 mode gunfight for example, which automatically selects specific weapons for each player and forces them into a no respawn scenario. The round is won when 2 players from either team are eliminated. The team with the remaining players wins.
One of my favourite multiplayer modes though is Special Ops, which acts as a continuation to the modern warfare story. Here the game mode borrows from games like Player Unknowns Battlegrounds. Though instead of 100 players against each other you have a team of 4 against waves of A.I’s as you fight to complete objectives. This game mode is intensely fun and challenging. Giving you that fight to the death feel that you may have gained from playing the ‘Embassy’ Mission.
In all Modern Warfare is a return to form for Call of Duty, a series that was becoming very repetitive and with little innovation. The addition of realism has brought this game leaps and bounds ahead of any first-person shooter on the market today. Crossplay being included in the multiplayer will be a gamechanger for games moving forward, allowing players to play online with their friends no matter what platform they’re playing on. The only issue I really had with the game was the ground war mode being too hectic and trying to much to be a clone of Battlefield. However it is a new addition so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. So in conclusion I’m happy to give Call of duty: Modern warfare a solid 10/10. I thoroughly had a blast playing this game and let’s hope it’s an example for the series moving forward!
A massive thanks to Nvidia for a copy of the game, this copy was NOT provided by Activision.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One
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