Call of Duty Modern Warfare, like most Call of Duty games set out on a mission to be different from the series pass, or rather it wanted to be more of the same more of the good old days, that was the type of Call of Duty you were most familiar with.

The remodeling results in a triumphant success for the franchise that built on a classic experience and offers the best Call of Duty game in a long time, even if it does experience familiar stumbles as well.

For fans of the original series, it’s a great dive into a new take on the story they grew up playing and for newcomers, it’s a darker and edgier written story, but one that never dares to step near or ever cross any moral lines. With that said, it’s no doubt that 2019’s Modern Warfare is the most ambitious Call of Duty yet.

Single Player

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review

This year’s Call of Duty brings back the single play campaign that was missing with Black Ops 4. Like other campaigns before it, it’s fast-paced but surprisingly feels even faster-paced than usual.

Compared to the original appearances of the characters from over a decade ago seeing iconic people like Captain Price returning all their modern glory felt like seeing an old friend you hadn’t seen in years, like a movie where explosions and twists are essential to the story as the characters themselves, Modern Warfare’s campaign is an extremely entertaining one even if it is a bit shallow at times.

For fans of the original series, it’s a great dive into a new take on the story they grew up playing and for newcomers, it’s a darker and edgier written story, but one that never dares to step near or ever cross any moral lines. With that said, it’s no doubt that 2019’s Modern Warfare is the most ambitious Call of Duty yet.

Call of Duty campaigns has never been that long but Modern Warfare’s 5-hour adventure feels shorter than usual. Part of that I think is due to the pacing of each mission, always opening a variety of different gameplay structures. This means I never felt like I did the same thing for too long. More surprisingly were the moments that slowed down the traditional gunplay.


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While jarring at first in comparison to what I was used to, taking the time to slow down and even put the guns down, introduced some at times nerve wrenching scenes. Scripted moments like this that changed gameplay were refreshing and fun.

Other sections gave me a general sandbox with no linear structure, just an objective. This means I was open to approach it anyway I wanted, whether that was guns blazing or tactically taking out the lights and sneaking up on the enemy. The level of freedom and choice here was thrilling.

This reimagining brings back series favorite Captain Price while telling you the story through the eyes of different forces across the world. From the metropolitan police and a resistant force in a different fictional country. The different perspectives offer unique mission types and vignettes into the narrative. More often than not, this tackled dark and uncomfortable situations certainly made this reimagining feel like an edgy entry for the series.

However, just when I thought the moral line was about to be crossed or stepped on, the game would quickly backtrack on it. For a game that sets up the campaign trying to have you question who the bad guys and good guys are, the story quickly gives you its own choice on who is the real villain of the story. Sadly that villain wasn’t too memorable.

Multiplayer

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review

Moving on to multiplayer content, zombies mode has been replaced with special ops. They feature a variety of missions after that campaign meant to be tackled in any form or the shape you’d like. These missions heavy co-op based and are placed in large enough sandbox maps where you can plan out your way attack.

Different objectives mean different plans and load-outs for them, adding a sense of freshness to each mission. I just wish the difficulty of them was so attached to the number of enemies that spawn into them.

As for the traditional multiplayer, it’ll feel new yet familiar even for those that picked up the most recent Black Ops 4. Some quality of life changes has added new layers of strategy.

Aiming down sites lets you mount your weapon if you’re near a flat surface, helping you keep a steady aim during heavy firefights. Additionally, you can reload while aiming down sights though at the cost of being vulnerable for a short period.

One of my favorite new features is being able to crack open doors. In addition to peaking inside, it let me throw in a grenade without leaving myself completely vulnerable. Changes like this helped flesh out the metagame without completely breaking the foundation call of duty was built on.

At launch, there’s a total of 10 maps across a few new and familiar game modes with more free content promised for the future. All content is shared equally across every platform except for the survival mode that’s exclusive to PS4 for a year.

The maps in this year’s call of duty didn’t grab my attention. They’re pretty but rarely did I ever feel excitement for any of them outside of Azhir Cave that I got used to because of the early beta play.


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The rest of the maps feature layouts that more often than not cater to the camping play the style though luckily anti-camping equipment is there to save the day. Outside of traditional multiplayer game modes are two updates with Gun Fight and Ground War.

Gun Fight offers a thrilling 2v2 mode that either has you picking up weapons across the small map or upgrading your weapon with every kill you get. The layout for matches made each one feel swift but exciting. Groundwar, on the other hand, has gotten some major map improvements along with 64 player support.

While gameplay feels familiar as previous entries, the new maps here feel much better suited for the gameplay along with the new player count. What I enjoyed most with this year’s entry is the progression system for guns.

As I used a weapon more times, I’d slowly unlock new attachments for them that only helped diversify my set up for the various objective game modes. Trying out new attachments and experimenting with my favorite guns was easily some of my favorite parts of the multiplayer.

Lootboxes for progression or unlockables is gone with this entry of COD, but cosmetic microtransactions will still be available.

Visuals

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review

Call of Duty this year didn’t drop the ball on the visuals. I usually tend to prefer the Battlefield look over Call of Duty but the table as turned this year. Modern Warfare has gotten a massive visual overhaul and its most apparent in its lighting design. The sights here are jaw-dropping.

The way light blooms through the curtains in a room or the way the sun shines as the light hits the side of a building. Character models are some of the most realistic I’ve seen in a modern action game like this. Captain Price’s new character model looks fantastic.

The sense of realism is masterfully captured here with subtle details that go a long way to make the visuals so immersive. Taking out an enemy doesn’t have someone rag doll but fall naturally to the ground with a realistic thump on the ground.

As for performance, Modern Warfare runs at 900p dynamic resolution on Xbox One, 1080p dynamic resolution on base PS4 and a dynamic 4k resolution on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Frame rates target 60 fps but rarely ever hit it with the base consoles.

PS4 and Xbox One can hit as low as 30 fps at times while Xbox One X drops to 50-60 fps. PS4 pro seems like the odd one out where frame rate seemed more consistent at 55-60 fps but without any screen tearing.

Modern warfare is easily the best looking game in the series. Pairing those visuals with the hurdles realistic mode, truly shows how much of an upgrade this is for the series and hopefully shows what we can expect from now on.

Audio Design

Part of the realism in presentation comes from the incredible audio design. Call of Duty has always done a magnificent job of capturing the audio for the variety of guns they feature. Guns sound impactful, tough and thunderous.

The thrash of a shotgun blasting out a shell as the enemy body slumps to the ground in sync with the bullet casing. Voice acting is well done too with immaculate work done by the cast. Barry Sloane as Captain Price is different from the original Bill Murray work of course, but it remains phenomenal.

Conclusion

Call of Duty Modern Warfare is by far the most ambitious and formidable entry for the series this generation. Its presentation raises the bar for the series with an extraordinary new lighting system and audio design that gave me goosebumps with every close encounter.

Its campaign isn’t the emotional and moral line dancing campaign I was hoping it would be, but it’s a solid campaign nonetheless. Just don’t expect spec ops the line quality here.

Multiplayer continues to evolve elevating what was already established, with a good progression system and fun new modes, I just wished I loved the new maps too. Overall, Modern Warfare lays a strong foundation for this reimagining of Cod’s classic series. There’s room for improvement here, but as a starting point, this is a great sign for the future.

It’s easy to pick apart these components when isolated but where does modern warfare stand among other Call of Duty games as a whole.

It’s certainly the best Call of Duty games we’ve received in years, but exactly where it falls will depend on how favorable you view the older games? and how influenced you are by nostalgia? One thing is clear though, Modern Warfare definitely has the potential to be people’s favorite call of duty game, but the games as a service model will mean it’s up to infinity war and Activision to make sure that potential is realized in the coming months.

We give modern warfare 4 out of 5 stars.