Stay Frosty, Soldier – Call of Duty Modern Warfare Review
Platforms: PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: August 23, 2019
Developer: Infinity Ward
I will be completely honest. I am not the biggest fan of First Person Shooters, especially ones with a heavy focus on online multiplayer. The FPS games I enjoy usually have a large focus on story and have faster and more arcade-style gameplay. Games like Halo, Gears of War, Doom, Bulletstorm, Wolfenstein, etc. This attitude of mine began during the oversaturation of the brown/grey military shooter that came about during the seventh console generation that began with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. While I did enjoy that game and its sequel, the glut of games that popped up to try and parrot its success was overwhelming and soured almost an entire genre for me. So it is surprising, to say the least, that the game that has made me excited about the genre yet again 13 years later is Call of Duty Modern Warfare. After Call of Duty 4 was such a huge success, many tried to emulate its formula with most failing to understand what made that entry the critical and commercial juggernaut it was. That being an incredible, pull no punches Story Mode, a robust suite of online features, and plenty of post-game content. Even Call of Duty itself fell victim to its own success, with yearly iterations that overtime lost sight of its own strengths while bouncing back and forth between the past and far-flung future trying to find its footing again. But Modern Warfare manages to bring all the strengths of Call of Duty to the forefront without feeling like a rehash or a cheap nostalgia grab.This game does not follow the timeline or story of the original Modern Warfare games, so while you will see many familiar names and faces, this is for all intents and purposes a fresh new story. The game drops the player in the middle of an armed conflict in the Middle East, no surprise there, but where the story manages to go is both action-packed and emotionally resonating. There are sections in the story that I won’t spoil here but do not hold back, showcasing the darkness and horrors of war. One level in particular rivals the infamous “No Russian” mission in Call of Duty 4 that puts players in an uncomfortable position by walking in the shoes of a less than likely protagonist. The campaign is full of these moments, and even manages to develop relationships between some of the characters that made me actively concerned for their safety during cutscenes, a feat that an FPS, especially Call of Duty, hasn’t been able to manage in years. The story mode, while a bit shorter than I would have preferred and a bit easy to get through, especially in the latter half, was breathtaking and reminiscent of some of the best War films like Saving Private Ryan, 1917, and the like.
But, let’s be real here, the thing most players come to Call of Duty for is the online. While I am FAR from the most skilled (seriously, I play shooters like a particularly slow, small child) the online modes are a blast to play at any skill level, bolstered by tons of content to unlock and modes to play with friends. The netcode is spectacular and makes finding a match, and maintaining a stable connection, a breeze. Although the only downside I can see is that it is very easy for less skilled players to hit a pretty steep plateau, and unless you really keep at it and keep playing, it can be very hard to get over. But with the wealth of content available out of the box, and with even more coming via DLC throughout the year, if you are looking for one FPS title to stick with that you can really get your money’s worth out of, then Modern Warfare is definitely it.
With a fantastic story mode, amazing online, stunning visuals, and plenty of content to last for hours on end, Modern Warfare is a welcome return to the series that brought the FPS genre to the forefront of the gaming industry. Whether you have played every yearly edition of the franchise, or if you’re like me and haven’t looked down an iron sight for quite some time, Modern Warfare is undeniably the one shooter to get your hands on at this point in the eighth console generation. Hopefully, Infinity Ward can take this momentum forward into the next generation and keep the franchise going strong into 2020 and beyond.
This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.