Game review: Call of Duty – Modern Warfare II

Call of Duty had gotten into a bit of a rut some might say with a series that has struggled to escape the jet pack future warfare era. How can this be resolved? By playing on nostalgia of arguably the most popular game the studio ever made, 2008’s Modern Warfare 2.

In 2019 they launched Modern Warfare, a call back to the hit game of the same name launched in 2007. It was an instant hit, powered by the untimely arrival of the pandemic it made it a must play for a whole host of new players stuck inside. Since then we have had two games, Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard. Neither of which has stimulated the player base and both have seen a decline in players since the 2020 peak of Modern Warfare.

MWII (Roman numerals now to stop any confusion from the 2008 game) carry’s on the franchise left from MW. Similar characters return (Ghost, Captain Price and Farah to name a few) all of which are playable in the games newly updated multiplayer. Call of Duty is now split in two with the main game being a £70 purchase for the cross-gen bundle…. and the free to play Warzone.

The multiplayer has seen numerous tweaks to give it a refresh that it sorely needed. The gameplay is ultra slick and gunplay is very smooth. You can run around at high speed with the flexibility to duck and slide or even dolphin dive into cover. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the addition of weapon platforms, no longer do you have to unlock all the attachments for one gun, now you can unlock attachments on one gun and find it available on others. In practice this has me split, I like the idea of finding that you can use certain attachments on a new gun however, it is frustrating that fully maxing out a gun still leaves you with missing options.

Warzone, was the biggest thing to happen to the franchise in many years, it stimulated a huge amount of interest and popularity soared. It took the familiar battle royale formula from the likes of Fortnite and PUB G and made it more down to earth and realistic. It was an instant hit with the first map ‘Verdansk’ playing host to many great memories of mine throughout lockdown playing with my friends. The following updated map ‘Caldera’ failed to garner the same reputation. At this stage the game was getting very bloated and buggy. With the launch of the new MWII we have got Warzone 2.0. A fresh take on the game, set in the stunning landscape of Al Mazrah.

 

It has players jumping into a new updated gameplay experience. The basics are still there but now we have updated mechanics on looting and backpacks for storing items. These little tweaks have made it more realistic, albeit fiddlier. One of my favourite features added to the game is proximity chat. When in Warzone and you get to within a few meters of enemies you can hear their voice chat. This has led to some hilarious interactions, most notable is people playing the Jaws theme as they approach unsuspecting players. It is something they did not need to add and could have been mistreated but I am glad they included it.

A couple of tweaks I would want changing is the ping mechanic, it has become much less visible and you really can’t coordinate with your teammates. Secondly, ‘The Gulag’ (a second chance location when you die) is now two player, sometimes with ‘enemies’ this I thought didn’t need to change and is distracting.

This game in both Warzone and multiplayer is stunning to behold, something I have always found with the modern warfare series. They are just more realistic than say the Black Ops or Vanguard games. Especially Al Mazrah, the map is beautiful, lighting and details really make it pop I have died many times just looking at the vistas rather than the oncoming gunfire! Every player accessible area is rendered perfectly and makes you want to keep exploring. We get a coastline, desserts and metropolitan areas all linked with roads and rivers. This brings me onto another major change and that is with the vehicles in the game. Previously you could drive around endlessly in a buggy, truck or helicopter running away from enemies. However, now every vehicle has a fuel gauge, which depletes over time meaning either you have to bail or refuel at various refuel stations dotted around the map.

 

On a whole this game is an expensive reskin of the 2019 game, however, the changes with Warzone and multiplayer have left it still feeling fresh. It is also a first in that this game is going to be out for two years before we get a refresh, breaking the traditional yearly cycle. As for the future of the franchise it remains to be seen as it is going to be soon officially under the stewardship of Microsoft. I am currently throughly enjoying it and look forward to the nostalgia to return when we get updates of the MW2 maps that will inevitably appear! I would recommend picking up MWII if you haven’t played for a couple of games, but perhaps wait until, the price drops.

 

 

 

 

Author: Tom, Bath Store

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