Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brings me back to the good old days, just modernized, with new ideas being implemented such as laser pinging enemies, taking the gun out of your hands and having to guide civilians via security cameras to safety and having serious “fun” with explosive drones. FPS (First Person Shooter) has always been my niche and this was one hell of a ride. No pun intended. Politics are heavily brought into the game story and to no surprise America makes Russia look like the bad guys, but in all honesty we *cough* know who are the real *cough* terrorists are here… *cough* 9/11 *cough*.
Apart from that there is a disagreement between the US & UK Military regarding how to deal with this matter and even leads you to disobey orders & break rules as well as sacrifice some lives to get the job done for the “greater good”.
I instantly fell in love with all the Gadgets and Gizmos that you get to “toy” around with in the Campaign section of the game, some of which, do pull through to the Multiplayer section (the core of this new Modern Warfare rendition). As mentioned before there are Explosive Drones, which you take control of and can use to blow up Enemies, Helicopters and even blast through Bunkers, which was my absolute favorite experience of them all.
Quite Possibly As Real As It Gets
Night Vision isn’t something that we are new to, but it is always “hella fun” and in Modern Warfare, we are given the feeling of legitimately being “Behind the Mask” having to navigate the dark while dealing with impaired vision. It does affect your gameplay a smidge, due to most of the game being in the open clear air and fully lit environments, so wearing the Night Vision Goggles does force you to focus more on your immediate surroundings, as it is impossible to see everything clearly and you can very easily miss enemies hiding in the Dark Blind Spots, such as under Beds or Crouching in a Corner. Also when running and transitioning from darkness to light, trust em, you know it, as you get blinded while your eyesight adjusts, hence why you’re given orders to take out Lamps or any other Light Sources and Cut the Power before entering any Buildings. They definitely went all out to make sure that this game is as realistic as possible.
At some stage, you are forced into a fun yet stressful mission, where you need to run around with a “Laser-Pointer” to Ping (Mark) enemies, calling down a Missile Strike on their location. What makes it so particularly stressful is the fact that you can’t use any of your own weapons (like your Rifles, Pistols or Knife) to defend yourself. You have to stick to the laser and point out enemies whilst being shot at and maneuvering your way through waves of enemies to your designated Marker or Checkpoint.
Knowing there times that you are required to employ the use of Stealth rather than taking a “Guns Blazing” approach, the game often has you scavenge through old Trucks, Cars and Bikes to use their Oil Filter as your Silencer in this scenario, as the player isn’t always prepared or equipped with a Silencer. Pure genius! I was very relieved to see that when using the Sniper Rifle, the realism still followed through, because just like with most other sniper specific titles or games where you use a sniper rifle, you need to consider your “Bullet Drop” based on the distance of your target, but here you also had to take into consideration the environmental effect the wind would have on your bullet, so not only were you aiming above your target if they were really far away, but if the wind was blowing from left to right, I would really need to focus on aiming toward the left of my target too. Both exhilarating, and terrifying at the same time!
Not only does the player jump from Scene to Scene, where some missions take place in already existing Countries and some Fictional Countries (like Urzikstan), the player also jumps from Character to Character. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has you starting off with Sgt. Kyle, Alex, as well as Farah in her youth jumping through the timelines usually set between 10 and 20 years apart.
May Be Fictional, But Still Tugs Heartstrings
I found the Dialogue Options to be truly fascinating! During dialogue points, you will get the opportunity to choose your response leaving you to believe that it will influence the outcome of certain things depending on the choices that you have made, but ultimately, it all turns out the same way after trying different responses.
Let’s just say, that I really tried to avoid a scenario that I believed the first time made things hard for myself with one of the responses leading to a torture method that is only used on Military to motivate them to “Break”. Trust me when I say that having a rag placed over your face and then having water poured over it while trying to breathe, literally feels like drowning. Dead serious (do not ask me how and why I know this – Ask no questions, tell no lies). Alas, this happened no matter what I chose.
The Campaign Visual & Audio quality definitely does not disappoint! The visuals in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are not only phenomenal but blend fluidly with the Cinematics. You can see the Moisture in people’s Eyes, the Detail on everyone’s Skin, down to the tiny Facial Hairs of the Characters when the light hits them at just the right angle.
Speaking about the Lighting, I cannot carry on without pointing out how captivating the Moonlight creating beams when peering through the trees is, or the flames left in the wake from explosives and even the lit sparks from a fuse, shucks, basically just everything is so fantastic and witnessing how the particle effects light up surroundings, blows me away (haha get it? No? Okay…) with how amazingly realistic game graphics are becoming. That being said, let’s not forget, that graphics aren’t everything and cannot be used as a crutch for a poor story (which Call of Duty: Modern Warfare does not have, just saying), but I still love my old 8-bit games.
With regards to the Audio, one of the main things that caught me by surprise was the sound of Shell Casings dropping to the Floor. People generally forget about these little details or don’t even pay attention to this, and by the mere “subliminality” (word now trademarked to myself) of that sound being there, you are immersed into the game even deeper, subconsciously making you realize that every shot and every last bit of ammunition counts.
The Campaign Story unraveling regarding Farah, tugged at my heartstrings, although I know this is a Fictional Country that stuff is happening in and also that realistically speaking, this is “All Just a Game” (what an oxymoron), I know that Chemical Weapons are a very real threat used in real foreign countries, killing off innocent people. At one point I wanted to stop playing the game because it was so heartbreaking seeing how innocent Mothers, Children and Animals were dying from the Chemical Gas, or being Shot at Point Blank Range due to War Criminals, but I had to distance myself, “unplug” and remind myself, this is just a video game, although, again, in the back of my mind, I know that all of what I am witnessing, is truly happening, right this very moment.
The scenes can be brutally horrific and while playing as Farah in her youth, you come to see why she despises the chemical weapons and how she became a strong leader.
I do wish I could have played as her a bit more because I myself strive to be a strong, independent and protective leader like her. Who knows *cough*, maybe in the future, Call of Duty will release a title where Woman are either on or in the Front Line showing that we too can be Bad Ass Janes. Just imagine!
As heavily controversial as the Campaign is, the Online Multiplayer Mode does not stray far from that either with a completely overhauled set of competitive modes awaiting you. Sometimes nostalgia peeps through, but the experience is nothing like we have seen or played in the modern scope of multiplayer offerings. Call of Duty fans will all agree that their multiplayer experience depends on the realism, and how the in-game weapons compare to the real thing.
We need to “Feel” the Weight of the Weapons. We need to “Suffer” the Punishment of Recoil. We need to “Hear” the difference in the Bullet Rounds being used. These desires have been met with the introduction of Gunsmith, expanding on the previous Call of Duty abilities where we could do Basic Weapon Modification. On any Weapon, you can have up to Five Attachments, ranging from the Muzzle to the Rear Grip and even a specific Weapon Perk. Weapon perks have Nine Categories in total, depending on the weapon, as an example, when Customizing your M4A1 ASR (Assault Rifle), you can choose from 20 different Optics or 13 Underbarrel Attachments, so now you can really put that grind to use and have a Loadout that is exclusively yours.
Gunsmith is for the really Hardcore and super “Salty or Sweaty” Players, as this mode has no HUD elements except for indicators above your teammates’ heads, but again, adds to the realism. Turbo Sprinting has been added, making you believe that close-quarter rushing is a possibility, but nothing beats a really fine tuned weapon, and I quickly learnt the true meaning behind, “Do not bring a knife to a gunfight”.
While discussing running, it is important to point out that the sound of your Footsteps are a dead giveaway. “Dead Silence” is back as a Field Upgrade, but only lasts for 15 to 20 seconds. This should already expose a fundamental flaw in strategy, because competitive players with really good quality surround sound headphones, will dominate the playing field against people using speakers, as positional footsteps will give away your location, but I guess that balances out the lack of a Radar Map.
The map designs are very frustrating at the moment, with my top two most annoying being Piccadilly and Azhir Cave. I must admit that Piccadilly looks verbatim like a carbon copy of the true location in Central London, and the Cave is stunning, but the amount of glare or environmental lighting you have to consider or deal with, really put my patience through it’s paces. Like in the Campaign, transitioning from dark to light or vice versa, does require a few moments to allow your eyes to adjust. Other modes available in Gunsmith are the old faithful 6 vs 6 Domination and reworked 32 vs 32 Ground War. Ground War now has Flying and Ground Vehicles and allows you to Spawn on your Teammates, much like a very familiar opposition title does. You can also dive into “Shoot House 24/7”, Hardpoint, Free-For-All, Trials and set up Private Matches.
Lastly, I would like to focus on Gunfight, which is very aptly named, because it is an exceptionally fast paced 2 vs 2 mode set on really small maps (termed as “Cage Match”) where you spawn with the exact same loadout as your enemies, that changes every two rounds, with the main point being on winning six rounds before the other team does.
It goes without saying that this is when you do not want to play with randoms, but rather play with your regular “shoot ’em up” friends, as communication is crucial, and when I played, I had no friends to play with and kept getting wrecked due to having some really “headstrong” randoms matched up with me. I did admittedly spend most of my time playing the new Cyber Attack Mode, which is basically “Search and Destroy”, but with two teams fighting over one bomb in the middle of the map and if you die, your teammates have two minutes to revive you. The familiarity, but simple twist on a mode we all have played before in Call of Duty and other titles, really makes for well spent hours of fun.
The Co-Op Mode is a whole different section of the game, segmenting this title into three independent offerings. Co-Op can be played with three other squad members, whose slots can either be filled through match making or by having your friends join in on your party to take on missions that are completely different to those from the Campaign, giving you yet another chance to experience something unique. With it being Online Co-Op, you rank up, just like in the Multiplayer Mode, so the more you play, obviously the more bragging rights you will have at the end of each season.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) was released globally on 25 October 2019. Developed by Infinity Ward and Produced by Activision, it is available for Microsoft Windows PC Systems, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Consoles. At the time of this review, you can Digitally Purchase the Standard Edition for PC from the Blizzard Shop for R975.00 or go grab a Physical Copy from BT Games for PlayStation 4 at R999.00.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is by no means dated like a few other titles that have also recently launched, but keeps pushing the envelope and experimenting. Thankfully a lot of what the community asked for has been taken into consideration, and the complete rework on the Multiplayer Section of the game really makes this title worth ever cent invested, not to mention the hours of gameplay, excluding the Campaign. Let’s be honest, Call of Duty retains it’s market share and reputation mainly because of it’s Core focus being on multiplayer, and the only thing missing is a better variety of maps in each mode instead of restricting them to certain playlists. I hope that future DLC packs will roll out a larger map pool, which will then certainly cement the longevity of this release.