I’ll make this clear from the very start of this review, I haven’t played a COD game since probably Ghosts. For me the franchise was starting to get worse around that time, but as soon as the team at Activision decided to throw into the mix stupid Exo suits and futuristic rubbish as well as running along vertical walls, I was done and happily moved over to their main competitor Battlefield which has always been a safe bet and doesn’t deviate from the idea of war be it in the past or recent.
So, with that being said, I was very dubious about Activision’s latest release from the Call of Duty title, not to mention the controversy over the loot boxes that have been implemented in previous titles; something I seriously do not agree with and would like to see banned entirely as these are what is bringing the AAA development down. Now, I do know there are die hard fans of the franchise out there and also those that like to try and give the game the benefit of the doubt every year. One of my friends in fact had this to say about his experiences.. ‘I always seem to give them the benefit of the doubt you know, just incase they do something groundbreaking with the game, yet every time it feels like I’m just about to have sex with the world’s sexiest woman and.. gone flacid with no viagra in sight to save the day’.
Weighing in at a nice size of 118 GB, I had plenty of time to sit and wonder if I had made the right decision when Activision kindly sent me a review code for the game and I had started to install it, after all, it took a while to download. Luckily it did download first attempt, but I have heard stories that there have been people who tried to download the game day 1 and struggled with it and having to start all over again.
Once it was installed I loaded up the game and immediately jumped on the multiplayer part of the game as this is always where the action takes place, plus at the time of night I did start it up, I didn’t want to sink my time into the campaign until the following morning. Well, it was nice to see that nothing had changed as far as the online went, instantly the lobby was full of screaming kids where Mommy and Daddy had bought them the game. This annoys me at the best of times when it comes to online games, but when the game is an 18 rating (for very good reason) and the voices that you hear are obviously from pre-pubescent spoilt brats then there is an issue somewhere. I will however get on to the multiplayer later.
The next morning I started on the campaign for the game and almost immediately I was glad I had given the game a chance.. it is simply fantastic!
Set during a chaotic few weeks at this time most will be reading this review (yes the game plays out as if it is happening right now in 2019), series regular, or at least was when I last played, Captain Price teams up with a load of noobs trying to track down the whereabouts of a stolen shipment of chemical weapons. You get the idea.. these weapons in the wrong hands are capable of causing major damage and as always the good old boys from the SAS are sent in to save the world. To be honest, with any FPS you aren’t going to find a storyline that differs very much, it’s all about how developers decide to execute.
To keep interest high in any game a great idea is to make the content edgy if not a little controversial and it seems that this game has certainly done that. They have also taken the game back to basics; no stupid exo suits, no wall running its just pure dirty war thank goodness! The downside with the new release is the backlash it has received in its portrayal of Russia. Now, I personally didn’t have any issues as such with the storyline or any of the content within the game. Yes, it is for mature gamers hence the 18 rating on the game as well as my moan about children being allowed to play the game, but it’s nothing too new to games over the years. Germans and Russians have always played the part of the enemy and no one has really had an issue with this. Perhaps it is because the game is set in modern day? I really don’t know, but I suspect that it is down to way too many snowflakes in the world. People really need to realise the difference between a story and reality and 10 times out of 10 when it comes to games, it is a story; made up, make believe, fictional. If you cant tell the difference then it is you that has an issue, not the developers of the game.
Anyway, Modern Warfare sees you primarily playing as CIA officer Alex and SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick accompanied by good old Captain Price who are working to recover stolen chemical gas that has been hijacked by a terrorist organization in Urzikstan. Please do take note that Urzikstan is a fictional country!
Alex is embedded in Urzikstan with local rebels fighting off the Russian forces who have occupied it, at the same time Garrick deals with the conflicts impact on London which of course is a terrorist attack before he moves further afield. Throughout the game there are nods to actual incidents that have happened over the years during war times, but if you dont really know your history then you wont notice them as such and I do want to really try and avoid any form of bashing this game for what it has done.
If you move past the idea of war, accept that this is just a game, not real and play it as such, what lies ahead of you is amazing. The graphics are unbelievably polished and possibly some of the best I have seen to date from a game. Now believe me when I say this, I never thought I would actually be able to praise a Call of Duty game as long as I wrote reviews, but I am glad to say that I was wrong when it came to this release. Even better that the die hard fans of the series as mentioned above hate it because it’s obviously not futuristic enough for their liking. For me that works, let those kids go back to Fortnite and let us adult gamers enjoy a great title.
If you can ignore the fact that the characters within the game have zero emotion to the things that are happening around them then all is good, but I remember the London bombings and even from a distance I was horrified. The London missions are amazing but the team you are commanding through the war torn streets don’t seem to care that their capital city is the target of terrorists and yes, they’re all English soldiers. Then you meet Farah Karim, a rebel leader in Urzikstan, her family killed when she was young by Russian forces and her homelands killed by bombing raids yet you can’t feel any empathy either from her or toward her, it’s just flat throughout. Even a simple line said with some passion along the lines of “I’m going to kill these bastards for what they have done” would have brought something to the team, but nope.
Infinity Ward have done a fantastic job all round here and believe me, a week ago that really would have pained me to say. I’ve always been one for the details in a game, no matter how small and they are here in spades. Reload a half empty clip in the campaign and you hold onto that unspent magazine loading it into your gun later and it showing a lack of bullets in your clip. The fine details in the guns with full moving parts down to the smallest parts. The recoil in weapons differ in every gun and pack a punch. Smoke coming from the gun barrels if you have overheated them from continuous fire. You can tell a lot of work has gone into the audio of the game, the guns are loud as they should be, high pitched sounds of bullets narrowly missing your head and then pinging off a wall.
The game is controversial but at the end of the day, all war is but at the end of the day it is clear the MW is a lot more relatable than a lot of the previous releases. Playing through what I thought was a rather short campaign (6 hours or so) does help to unlock operators that you can use within multiplayer, which leads me nicely into that..
I have a few issues with it at the moment, and not just what I listed above with the annoying kids still playing the game. Maps are a plenty however, the maps don’t span over numerous gameplay modes. I started off by sticking to 20 man Team Death Match and 20 man Domination and was treated to a grand total of 3 maps and soon becomes very repetitive. Select other gameplay modes (and there are a few) and there are different maps for those. Whatever happened to all the maps being available for all gameplay modes?
OK, the game is a campers paradise as usual, you just have to accept that now with these types of games and everyone does moan about it saying that these people shouldn’t be allowed to play online. Well, I tell you what, I’ll pass on your advice to our various nations forces that their snipers shouldn’t hide away and kill from a distance, they should in fact just run about like idiots ‘running and gunning’!
Each gun has a wealth of attachments that you can unlock for it as you level up the weapon, not your own online level but you are limited to only 5 attachments on your weapon at any one point and considering there are 9 different sets of them finding a setup that works for you is fun. Obviously, the more you level up your own online rating, the more weapons you will unlock.
MW have boasted this year that the all new Ground War is their personal Battlefield killer. Sorry, but it really isn’t. It’s a 64 player game set over larger maps where you fight to control 5 points and adds vehicles into the game, but it just doesn’t work anywhere near as good as Battlefield games. COD game style has always suited smaller maps with less players. The 20 man games work well over small scale maps. You spend ages trying to get to a point on the map to help out your team only to make very little difference and get picked off by an annoying sniper camping out on a highrise rooftop somewhere on the map that you have no way of spotting. On the smaller maps, the little glints of light from their scopes give away their positions easily enough, but they’re pretty impossible to spot on the large scale maps.
The online is also incomplete at the time of writing. We were promised night modes where you will have to use night vision goggles and it does state on certain weapon scopes that you cant use that scope with the goggles. These games are not available at the moment and not entirely sure when they will be, but considering Activision made a big thing before the release about those missions it’s a bit of a let down.
[EDIT] Literally half an hour after publishing the review an update came out for the game and added the night mode games. I have played a few games on this mode and it works extremely well. There is an amazing feeling of claustrophobia in the dark and stealth tactics work pretty well. It all adds to the great job the night missions in the campaign did especially in tight situations within buildings. My score will now be changed for the game raising the rating due to this great addition.
So it seems as if I’m coming down hard on the online part of the game, but I’m not, I’m just pointing out the issues that need to be fixed where they can. One thing that does work really well is crossplay. Yep, it’s in there! I teamed up with one of our writing team who was playing on PC, his son also playing PC and his friend playing on Xbox One, me on my trusty PS4 and worked unbelievably smoothly. No frame rate drops, no server losses for any of us, I was impressed. You can see in the matchmaking menu who is playing on what console and easily add friends to your ranks no matter what platform they’re playing on.
Throw into the mix some rather difficult co-op missions where you can team up with online players rather than trying to blow their heads off against hordes of enemies which include heavily armoured minigunners which are a pain in the ass to kill and MW is covering all the bases as far as what people are hopefully looking for in a shooter.
Annoyingly I did encounter more than one Xbox player doing the stereotypical ‘Yo momma’ comments which I kinda expected to happen at some point but with a quick press of the R3 trigger in matchmaking you can mute everyone in one go.. THANK YOU!
My final verdict? I wanted to hate the game but I couldn’t no matter how many faults I tried to find. I am still addicted to it after completing the campaign. Also for the trophy hunters out there, all the trophies are based on the campaign except a few (in a separate list) for co-op missions. Those few won’t stop you getting the platinum from just the campaign. There are issues with the game as no game is ever perfect, but for me COD: Modern Warfare deserves an 9/10. Now I just hope that future releases in the franchise take note from this game and stop with the stupid futuristic crap!
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game from Activision, this has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**