While I’ve never been a multiplayer fan (due in part to my general dislike of people), I have a fondness for Call of Duty’s multiplayer. Don’t confuse that for any skill in the game, no really, I’m bad at Call of Duty. That being said, it’s safe to say the series has dipped over the last few years. With a strong campaign this year, let’s see if they can complete the package.
Now of course, as this is a multiplayer review, there’s no story so let’s move onto, wait, what? Oh there is a story. Yes, the fan favourite Spec Ops mode continues the story after the campaign, make sure you finish the campaign before jumping into it. Spec Ops is very similar to Battlefield’s Operations. You are part of a team of four, dropped into a huge map with several objectives to tackle. You can do these in any order and even take a stealthy approach. There are a few steps to these Operations and they can get pretty tough if you aren’t prepared. Despite being quite light on content, it’s a brilliant mode that is there for those looking for a little more than run and gun. It’s important to note that the wave based Survival mode from Spec Ops is exclusive to PS4, for the time being.
Watch the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Special Ops trailer below:
Modes like Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Domination and more return but let’s take a quick look at each, for the newcomers.
Team Death-match is as simple as it sounds. Team vs Team, first to 100 kills, with infinite re-spawns. Cyber Attack is new to the series, it’s basically capture the flag but you are taking a bomb to the enemy base. If you are killed and not revived in time, you’re gone. In Domination, you hold 3 zones in a map for as long as possible. Search and Destroy is similar to Cyber Attack, except there are no revives. Headquarters is the same as Domination, the difference is that you have a single objective to defend/take. The defending team cannot revive. Free-For-All is just that, everyone kills everyone. New mode Gunfight is a 2vs2 match where you have to hold a point for 3 seconds. Hard-point and Kill Confirmed are slight variations on Domination and Team Deathmatch, respectively.
Quickly glancing through the modes brings up a simple fact, the modes are reskins of each other. The slight changes to the ruleset are certainly fun but casual players might be a little overwhelmed at what to play. Fortunately, the fantastic Quick Play drops you into a random game mode, so you can try everything. That isn’t the complete list either, there are several game modes coming post launch. Despite being overwhelming, it gives plenty of variation to the gameplay and that’s mostly a great thing. In true Call of Duty fashion, Core and Hardcore modes return. Core mode is what you expect it to be but Hardcore mode removes the mini map and enables friendly fire.
Watch the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Multiplayer reveal trailer below:
Ground War is a new mode that changes the Call of Duty multiplayer, bringing back large scale warfare. Battlefield fans won’t find it mind-blowing but Call of Duty fans will be impressed with these giant, multi-objective maps. This mode even brings back vehicles, while they were in last year’s Black Ops 4, vehicles feel more useful this time around. Having tanks back in Call of Duty is great. Personally, I think Battlefield is much better at this but it’s a wonderful mode for Call of Duty players.
All of these modes are great but how does it play? This is where players may get divided a little. Firstly, gun-play is different. It feels heavier, the floaty feeling you get when shooting has gone. It’s tough to get used to but a change for the better. Map design is the best its been in a long time. Previous titles had you simply run in circles and rack up kills. Maps in this iteration wind and are more vertical than usual. This is fantastic, the time to kill is tighter this time around so you have to check your corners and great map design helps massively. That doesn’t mean the maps are very memorable though, at least in visual design. They aren’t bad per se but they are certainly forgettable. As expected there is a wide variety of weapons and kill-streaks. Most are familiar and almost all are useful.
Watch the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Multiplayer premiere trailer below:
Visually, the game looks great and the map introductions are a highlight. Instead of standing and staring at a wall like in previous games, you arrive to the map by helicopter, tank, truck etc. It’s a small touch but is really immersive. Cross-play is the talking point this year and it works perfectly. Enable it and you can play with anyone, in the lobby it will tell you who is on what platform. Infinity Ward have planned this well as keyboard and mouse players cannot play with controller players. This evens up the playing field but doesn’t stop PC players being matched up against console players if they use the same input method.
It’s Call of Duty in a nutshell. Everything works pretty much perfectly. Sure, there are many players who have found the best loadout and are pretty much unbeatable but things feel a little more even. The reduced time to kill is great and makes engagements more intense, kind of like Battlefield. The huge list of game modes ensure that there’s plenty to do and the new iterations of Spec Ops and Ground War bring something special to the table. Activision and Infinity Ward have listened to fans and delivered a stellar game, for sure. It feels less cynical, less like it’s trying to take more money from you. There’s plenty of free content coming and while there are no micro-transactions, Battle Passes return for a fair compromise.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was reviewed using a retail copy purchased by the reviewer.
Publisher: Activision Developer: Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Beenox, High Moon Studios Release Date: 25th October 2019 Reviewed On: PC Also Available On: Xbox One, PS4