Written by: Nick Farinola // Published by: Joe Ahart

Dozens of hours and 26-levels later, the official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare open, cross-play BETA has ended. Damn, this will be quite a year for Call of Duty. As an avid fan of the series, I generally buy – okay, I buy – every entry each year. It wouldn’t be a new Call of Duty without the same b.s. YouTube comments about how the new game looks identical to the previous. It appears that nowadays, it’s cool to ride along on the Call of Duty hate train. Well, toot-toot away, haters. Modern Warfare feels like the perfect balance of nostalgia and innovation that the series needed…and it releases this Friday, October 25th!

Before delving into my impressions, it’s important to note that I played the BETA on a base Playstation 4 with minimal to nonexistent server problems or hiccups. I am aware that some people across all three platforms experienced heavy server crashes and other technical issues, but my experience couldn’t have been any smoother. To kick off my impressions, Modern Warfare is whole-heartedly a Call of Duty game. Each year, a new game might release with a fancy coat of paint and a spin-off title or sequel, but you can’t argue that it always feels like Call of Duty. This is by no means a critical opinion towards the series. Call of Duty is probably the most refined and finely-tuned, fluid first-person shooter on the market. The point I’m going towards is that no matter if your character is named Price or Mason, or has a jet pack or exo-suit, Call of Duty is, well, Call of Duty

Credit: [Infinity Ward/Activision]

Modern Warfare’s BETA gave us quite a bit of content. Within this last open BETA weekend, we got a taste of the night-vision mode (all the maps are at night, forcing the player to use night vision goggles), classic COD game modes such as team deathmatch and domination, some new modes such as the massive Ground War (reminiscent of Electronic Art’s Battlefield), and refined game modes such as Cyber Attack, which is essentially Search and Destroy that grants the ability to revive fallen teammates. The BETA also offered the special award of a silenced, sawed-off shotgun for use when the game drops on October 25th for players who reach a level 10 or higher before the end. This leads me to one of my only concerns for the main game that I want to dish out first. A huge factor in the longevity of a multiplayer game is this sense of constant progression. Players want to work towards achieving something or else, what’s the point? In the BETA, the player has 30 levels to gain and several guns from multiple weapon types and unique killstreaks to unlock, but towards the end, I felt in need of more to work towards. I’m not sure about how the main game will handle this, but players were unable to unlock and sort of camos for their weapons. I am completely aware that Modern Warfare is going for a more grounded, mature and realistic approach to the series, but I’m talking red tiger and other classics to unlock, not the ridiculous plethora of camos Black Ops IV has to offer. Aside from this, my only other real gripe were some of the map layouts. I thought the look and feel of the several offered to us were great, but some felt too similar. Also, some of the maps heavily encourage camping, and it definitely brought out the 13-year-old rage in me that I remember from the original Modern Warfare back in 2007. Other than those minor concerns, Modern Warfare is stacking up to be my favorite the series has offered in years.

My personal weapon of choice. Here’s a look at the Gunsmith. Credit: [Infinity Ward/Activison]
Black Ops IV wasn’t my cup of tea. The specializations, health bars and fancy camos just never clicked with me, but I commend Treyarch for changing up the formula with their exclusion of a typical campaign and the inclusion of the excellent Battle Royale mode Blackout. I for one used to buy these games solely for their over-the-top, Michael Bay-esque campaigns, so that exclusion left a sour taste in my mouth. My reason for bringing up Black Ops IV is to compare it to Modern Warfare. Played side-by-side, these are two very different Call of Duty games. Modern Warfare, for me, is the perfect blend of Modern Warfare (2007), Modern Warfare 2 and Ghosts. Based off of player feedback and by listening in to conversations online, I am certain that Modern Warfare will not only bring in a huge new community of players, but returning veterans itching for the good ‘ole days of infinity Ward. I can not explain the amount of times I heard this conversation between people: 

Gamer 1 – “Dude, this is actually really fun.”  Gamer 2 – “Yeah, it feels like Modern Warfare 2.” and who could forget Gamer 3, who added nothing to the conversation – “Yeah.”   

Riveting conversations online, folks. 

 

Cyber Attack, Modern Warfare’s spin on Search and Destroy. Credit: [infinity Ward/Activision]
What struck me the most in the best way possible was the sheer umph of the weapons. Shooting everything in this game feels weighty and great. The sounds of the bullets punching through your enemy are both rewarding and cringe-inducing, especially when the final kill cam is a perfectly placed headshot. The sound design is on point here. One of the new notable gameplay additions include sprinting faster by double tapping on the sprint button, causing your character to run with his or her gun facing upwards. It doesn’t seem that groundbreaking (mostly because it isn’t), but I found myself using it a lot more than I anticipated. It spared my life in most instances by just making it behind cover in enough time to escape my enemy’s fatal final bullet. The player is also now able to mount their weapons to peak from behind cover, similar to, but not as intuitive as Ubisoft’s popular competitive shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Again, didn’t think twice about it when starting the BETA, and then wound up utilizing it more than I thought that I would. Aside from the obvious new weapons, killstreaks, modes and tactical equipment, everything seems so refined…so finely-tuned. It’s tough to describe, but it all just feels so right and not half-assed. The new killstreaks are fun and satisfying, doing away with those ridiculous scorestreaks that have plagued the series for too long. Cyber Attack, Modern Warfare’s new spin on Search and Destroy, is incredibly competitive, tense and engaging. The addition of reviving fallen teammates and three-second defuse times also add an entire new layer of strategy.  

 

The highest pre-order edition offered: The Dark Edition. Credit: [Infinity Ward/Activision]
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took hold of me and never let go. I want the full game now, and that’s a feeling I haven’t had in recent memory for COD games. The new gameplay and design additions are more than worthy, and after the recent story trailer that dropped, we are all in store for a mature, gritty campaign narrative. Did you guys get a chance to try out the BETA? What are your thoughts? Drop a comment!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases on Friday, October 25, 2019 for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC

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