Modern Warfare increases empathy, but is very much bound by convention. A technical masterpiece, but not a revolutionary reinvention.
For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review, Maarten imagines himself in 2007. Is this “soft reboot” a nostalgic dream or a disappointing illusion?
Redo, continue or restart – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been described in several ways prior to release. The legacy of the game of the same name from 2007 is still alive today: a public cannon that redefined the shooter genre and inspired many successors. Sophisticated marketing therefore involves immense responsibility for developer Infinity Ward.
While Treyarch prioritized the Blackout mode of Battle Royale with Black Ops 4 last year, Infinity Ward once again emphasizes the importance of a carefully thought-out single player section with this modern warfare. This campaign is a succession of strongly orchestrated sets, in which the horrors of war are central. This already emerges from the prior notification, which warns against “graphic and intense action”. Anyone who remembers No Russian knows that Infinity Ward isn’t afraid of controversy – although the developer is delivering their more sophisticated post this time. War crimes and personal suffering propel this revenge thriller, which is manipulated by alluding to a geopolitical setting – with a few playful nods to the original.
Modern Warfare is keen to explicitly represent the victims. Mass graves with women and children get the facts straight, while nail biting breach sections are yours to mitigate further damage. Can all of this be reconciled with the distinctive spectacle of a Call of Duty? This is only partially, it turns out. While Rambo’s content has been reduced significantly, there’s still an occasional machismo in the dark – “splash, beautiful kill!” And gameplay conventions that undermine the message of the game. When you’re praised for simply blowing up bad Russians and their one-dimensional general, or for parading a rude Juggernaut like a real boss, it’s hard to take “too far.” and we get lost ”seriously. Modern warfare is not always as controversial and revolutionary as it would like it to be.
The countryside is at its best when it does not respect ancestral customs, but dares to experiment. Missions like Clean House and The Wolf’s Den are very memorable where you infiltrate a dark house – night vision goggles and a laser ready – in search of a target. Integrated, creepy, depicts chaos in a besieged embassy. When you are halfway through the story with a floating, helpless “shiv” in the dark, you rejoice in the more moderate situation with open arms. It’s these types of low-key sections – not the bombshells and chase scenes – that make an impact. At the end of the day, even some seemingly inevitable shot plates don’t hurt. Modern Warfare is a first person shooter game that scares you to pull the trigger.
Infinity Ward’s latest presentation is a refinement of the style break already initiated by Call of Duty: WWII. The Black Ops 4 superhero experience is over, as Modern Warfare focuses on a “boots on the pitch” experience in which environmental awareness is at least as important as skillful shooting reflexes. . The game retains its arcade-based heritage, but adds a heavy and authentic dimension. You can now mount weapons on almost any surface, while all bullets follow a ballistic pattern. The sound and animation has also received a long-awaited upgrade and is among the best in the genre – as is the graphics. In particular, the convincing lighting perfectly supports the gray atmosphere, which makes the realism mode with almost no HUD a must.
Like the campaign, Modern Warfare’s multiplayer section does not convince on all levels. For example, modes like Gunfight, Cyber Attack, and Search and Destroy are absolute toppers because they perfectly endorse the meticulous gaming philosophy of a slower, more thoughtful approach. However, Team Deathmatch and Domination quickly became a gathering place for campers. “Mount” is useless when enemies literally appear behind you, while an aggressive approach – to evade your opponents who appear on Picadilly Circus or Euphrates Bridge – is discouraged in several ways. Modern Warfare has a very short kill time. Add to that the clearly audible stages, the absence of Scorestreaks and cards with an immense amount of hiding places, and you will see why jars without clear lenses quickly get bogged down in hide and seek.
Ground War, billed as the ultimate in multiplayer mayhem, suffers from the same lack of focus. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Again, it’s all too easy to access eliminations with an APC, when the majority of players stay in a few buildings. You rarely feel like what you do is really making a difference. Where size and mobility freely converge in Battlefield, grandeur and the “more, better” approach seem somewhat inappropriate. Online battle in Modern Warfare is at its best when it drastically reduces the range and pace of combat.
Finally, Spec Ops, a supposed sequel to the story in the campaign, is by far the biggest disappointment. Those waiting for carefully curated missions will return from a naked journey. With four operations (the lack of a split screen is painful) and a Classic Spec Ops mission, the mode is nothing but glorified survival. The large maps filled with vehicles are particularly reminiscent of Battle Royale, while the endless spawning enemies and a stark lack of vocal work look a lot like co-op raids. Classic Spec Ops missions like in Modern Warfare 2, where you can earn up to three stars, won’t be available until later as part of the “live service” model, making the current offering rather disappointing. .
Modern Warfare mainly leaves an indecisive impression. The size game to serve as the genre’s flagship struggles with its own identity. On the one hand there’s the solid campaign and compelling gameplay which – in part due to the introduction of some thoughtful innovations or upgrades – takes empathy to new heights, on the other hand, Infinity Ward is just a little too attached to the predefined conventions. In particular, the multiplayer, which is intended to be both tactical and explosive, suffers with a greater number of players. The Sparse Spec Ops are still the biggest victim of this indecision. The gameplay and setting are solid, but serve to complement rather than replace what Call of Duty presents each year. Undeniably a technical masterpiece, but not the creative reinvention as promised.
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review was played on a PlayStation 4 Pro.