Entertainment Editor Andrew Burke gives his thoughts on the latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise.
Ever since the release of Ghosts, the Call of Duty franchise has been on a steady decline. With the latest games featuring jet packs, laser weapons and robots, 2019’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare (yes, it’s a reboot) tries to bring the franchise back to where it all began.
What’s different with COD this year is the brand new game engine, something fans have been screaming for since Black Ops 2. This game looks absolutely stunning, especially the campaign cutscenes. To go with the looks, the sound design is possibly the best I have ever heard in a video game. Guns sound realistic and audio can completely change based on your environment. And the guns themselves feel extremely powerful with a realistic kick to them when firing. Shooting has never felt so satisfactory in this franchise – I sometimes forgot I was even playing a Call of Duty game! Infinity Ward have truly outdone themselves with the engine and I cannot wait to see it used in future games.
The campaign, the main reason this game is a ‘soft reboot,’ features superb acting, shown off by fan-favourite characters like Captain Price, in newer, realer, much darker scenarios. The story is based on current events, with an emphasis on the use and disastrous effects of chemical weapons. The point of the campaign is for us to ask ourselves where the line is in war and when do we cross it. This is most prevalent during a mission where you undergo a house raid in London – you cut off the power, go floor to floor with night vision goggles, open every room and take out the enemies inside. What makes this truly harrowing is that you don’t know who the enemies actually are. You could take out a man holding a woman hostage, only for her to reach down, grab a gun and try to kill you.
But, as a warning, this campaign is not for the faint of heart. A particular mission, where you play as the character Farah when she was a child, depicts the devastating effect of the Russian army attacking her village. I won’t spoil it, but it makes the Modern Warfare 2 mission ‘No Russian’ look like a children’s game. I genuinely had to take a break from playing after finishing it. It is a short, fiveish hour campaign, but it is the most memorable one I have played in a long time.
The multiplayer is why the majority of people buy these games year after year, and honestly, it is a mixed bag. It truly excels when it tries something ‘new.’ The smaller 2V2 mode Gunfight is the perfect showcase of the new engine and combat and has provided me with some of the most intense moments I have ever experienced when gaming. If you want to play in a competitive environment, similar to Rainbow Six Siege, with zero bells and whistles, this is the perfect mode for you. The game also features a fantastically revamped Ground War with a 32V32 mode, vehicles and gigantic, almost Battlefield-sized maps. The game borrows from the best modern shooters out there, and adds the COD formula to it. Where the game fails dramatically, however, is the standard multiplayer. The 6V6 and 10V10 modes have been almost unplayable for me. This is due to poorly designed maps, overpowered claymores, and footstep audio being too loud. Seriously, you cannot play this game without headphones or else you will always die. The standard multiplayer has become a camper’s paradise and this arcade shooter no longer feels like an arcade shooter.
In conclusion, Modern Warfare is the full package that has something that will satisfy everyone, except for the loyal fanbase who have stuck with this franchise. For them, this game is an insult. Infinity Ward have sent Call of Duty to new astonishing heights, but it seems to have forgotten where it came from. Hopefully with a rumoured upcoming overhaul update, things will improve. Worst case, there is always next year’s COD.