Another year, another Call of Duty. With Modern Warfare 2019 Activision have tried to rekindle the white-hot flame that made the CoD series a global success. They have gone back to the “Modern Warfare well” to soak up some of its magic juices.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, is not to be confused with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Labelled by Activision as, the “Re-imagining” of the Modern Warfare CoD universe. Front and centre in this re-imagining is the beloved Cpt Price. The impressive mustache sporting, SAS badass, all CoD gamers know and love.
The Modern Warfare Roster
But that’s where the re-imagining splits away from its source material, as this is a completely new title. With totally new locations, stories and characters. With no Soap, Gaz or Ghost present, a new cast of war fighters are lined up for the journey. I would argue that they are the first cast of meaningfully portrayed characters encountered in a Call of Duty game. They actually stayed with me after rolling credits. Honestly, something I did not expect. Although there are theories in the wild on who will turn up next.
This may also be down to the story and the level of tension this campaign boasts. I won’t go into major details or spoil anything specifically. Essentially the days of 000-raa, Team America are here to save the day are gone.
The brutality of war on all sides of a conflict are exposed, and no one comes out smelling of roses. To quote Cpt Price, “We get dirty, and the world stays clean. That’s the mission.” This personifies the new direction of this CoD Campaign, and it was both confronting and refreshing.
I remember fighting off a terrorist attack in bustling central London, where my stray rounds could kill civilians, it was just as tense as it sounds. Then silently entering a London terraced townhouse to take out a terrorist cell, who also had mothers and children in their midst. It was one of the best shooter levels I have ever played in not only a CoD game, but in any first person shooter.
That said, this new Modern Warfare still had some ‘tick the box’ CoD type missions. Fly the drone, operate the gunship, snipe the bad guys, type thing. But these thankfully were in the minority. On the whole the Campaign was varied, thrilling and better than I ever expected it to be. My only complaint was the tension is essentially turned up to eleven from the opening and stayed there the whole time. Reducing the impact of what’s going on, as I was placed on the edge of my seat to start and left there for the whole game.
I can’t understate how impressive this game also looks, particularly the lighting and how it effects the actual gameplay. Darkness and light becomes a massive part of evaluating some levels and how best to attack a mission. In the first level, I had to clear a warehouse by torch light and the tension was something more akin to a Resident Evil game, than a blimmin Call of Duty mission.
How about the online game?
The Multiplayer is obviously a huge part of a CoD title and its a strong showing. In essence many changes have taken the mode away from the bad days of the recent Sci-Fi CoDs. Thankfully realism, pacing and strategy have returned. That said, a very specific meta has already surfaced and the hard-core MP base are already screaming for balancing, patches and fixes.
My positive feelings on the MP have not really changed since I shared my initial thoughts on the pre-release MP Beta. So if you want to know more specifically on the MP and its modes, take a read HERE. The big seller in the MP package though is the 2v2 Gunfight mode. It’s fast, fair and addictive as hell. Missing from the Beta was the co-op focused ‘Spec-Ops’ mode, a Playstation only option. Currently exclusive mode for the first twelve months. It pits a team of up to four players against waves of AI enemies. I have played a bit of it and it seems fun. I have not struck any issues with my limited time with the mode. Feedback around the web suggests the mode is riddled with bugs and player sync issues.
Mission debrief, Captain
Call of Duty in recent years had become the franchise core gamers loved to rail against, but then it still sold in the millions. Well this year, the brand of Call of Duty has had a brave change of direction. I for one can confirm its become one of the cool kids again.
The Campaign is brief, but tense and thrilling. The Multi-player is grounded and brutal with a fast TTK (time to kill). As a package, 2019s Modern Warfare is a great return to form for a franchise which had lost some of its mana with the core gaming community.