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Letters from the Front

In 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare forever revolutionized the gaming landscape with its take on modern warfare, a campaign so strong that it remains as the best narrative in the series alongside a multiplayer that forever changed the landscape of online gaming. Infinity Ward crafted an iconic game that gave birth to a complete trilogy with their own greatness; Modern Warfare 2 forever changed the landscape with its expanded take on the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer formula and Modern Warfare 3 wrapped the iconic series in a bow. Now, in the present day, Infinity Ward went back to the drawing board and returned to the series that broke them out of iconic WW2 battles and weaponry and rebuilt the series from the ground up featuring a more realistic take on how warfare is changing in the 21st century.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare takes place in an entirely new world which is more grounded in the affairs of the present day, showing the hardships of conflict and how conflict is forever evolving as wars are no longer fought by ground troops and instead are fought in the shadows by Tier 1 operators conducting classified operations across the world. It is the return to the more gritty, grounded, realistic military shooters of the past after years of futuristic warfare and an entry that took us back to the shores of France. This is the return of a proper military shooter.

The campaign is exactly the kind of single-player revival I’ve been looking for. The plot of Modern Warfare’s rebooted storyline starts out blurring the lines between good and bad, but its ends up establishing that the good guys are still the good guys in a world that’s extremely dirty, while, the outside world is clean. Captain Price, alongside, Farah and her brother Karim lead the Coalition: a team comprised of CIA Agents, USMC Raiders, British SAS, and a band of rebels trying to free their country from the Russians. While the campaign is somewhat uncomfortable, it’s not as uncomfortable as Activision and Infinity Ward marketed it out to be, while it rides the morally grey line, it never crosses the line. That’s extremely disappointing- as I hoped it would be something along the lines of Spec Ops: The Line; showcasing a small but brutal look at the cost of warfare in the present day. While, it doesn’t have a lot of bite to its bark doesn’t mean that it’s good. It is single-handily the best campaign in the franchise since Black Ops II, it is a great action ride from start to finish that keeps you on your toes.

While the story isn’t as provocative as Activision and Infinity Ward marketed it out to be, it reestablishes a strong identity that the franchise had been missing ever since 2013. It is a return to what made Call of Duty so great in the early days.

Multiplayer

Giving this year’s Call of Duty the same name as the game that forever changed the landscape of multiplayer gaming in the 2000s is quite the bold move. With a name like that, it raises expectations to an extreme level that is quite hard to deliver and while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare looks great and has some improved features, the launch maps and the maps that released in the following seasons are atrocious with many of the good maps being remakes of classic maps that graced the older games. The disappointing selection of maps, alongside many of the maps that released throughout its life span, encourages terrible behavior and terrible game choices alongside its missing a few things that I would love to see in a present day Call of Duty title. The multiplayer for Modern Warfare leaves a lot to be desired and it doesn’t live up to the predecessors that the name is based on.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is heavily reliant on camping and sitting around. The 10 core maps that the game launched with in 2019 are paired with slower movement, fast TTK, the return of killstreaks, and tight corners alongside an abidance of hidey holes which makes it easy to sit and camp. The maps that launched in the following seasons are exactly the same with some of the maps being remakes of iconic maps like Crash, it’s quite an annoyance that the game was specifically built around this in mind.

While the multiplayer is still traditional Call of Duty, the multiplayer doesn’t live up to its predecessors and to some of the other games in the series. While mainstream multiplayer lacks that oomph, the rest of the multiplayer experience is quite solid alongside some brand new modes like Realism and Gunfight alongside Ground War got a nice revival. Cyber Attack is the least interesting mode as it is essentially Search and Destroy; except with revives. Gunfight is a 2v2 competitive mode rotating weapons and very short matches that last a minute to 45 seconds. It’s a nice mode that I hope returns in the sequel.

While, Ground War offers quite a fun time as opposed to what occurred at launch and Realism is a little bit more hardcore and presents a unique challenge. The rest of the multiplayer suite is quite solid from great additions like Gunfight to the return of Demolition and an in-depth weapon customization; in the end, the multiplayer is kind of “meh” but it does a lot of good that makes Modern Warfare’s multiplayer a classic return to the classic Call of Duty years.

Warzone

While the multiplayer lacks, Warzone is where it’s at for most of the time. Since its introduction this past April, Warzone has become the best part of Modern Warfare.

Warzone is teeming with new ideas that refreshes the Battle Royale genre, taking the default squad-based mechanic in a more casual direction than in Blackout. A large factor of that casualization is how easy it is to spawn back in, you can spawn in via a teammate buying you back and from there, you resume where you left off. The gulag is where you go the first time you die- not to the menu for a new match, but to a prison somewhere in the outer regions of Kastovia where you fight it out in a gladiator-esque scrap with another dead player for a shot to be brought back. It is by far the most iconic part of Warzone as it has been meme’d to death on Twitter and the most fun aspect of the mode. Death is an inconvenience.

Verdansk is a major city in the country of Kastovia, it serves as a major location in both the Special Operations mode and in Warzone, it was under Soviet occupation during the Cold War which then became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the Cold War, the West and the Russian Federation rebuilt Verdansk which is now under attack by Al-Qatala and Victor Zakhaev. Much like Blackout, Warzone mashes up some iconic Call of Duty locations from the franchises’ past, it is a massive map and for a space that accommodates 150 players, the performance on PC is great.

While, not much can be said about Warzone due to the game being mostly Battle Royale and its features outside of the Gulag and the buyback feature are typical of the Battle Royale genre, Warzone is a nice refresh of the genre and has made me a fan of the genre despite my opinions in the past. I can’t wait to see what happens next for the mode when Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War releases next month.

Final Verdict:

In 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare gave birth to a legendary sub-franchise that forever changed the gaming landscape with its iconic campaign and legendary multiplayer that changed Xbox Live forever. In 2019, Infinity Ward rebooted this iconic franchise in favor for a more updated game set in today’s realities. While, the campaign isn’t as hard-hitting and the multiplayer lacks that oomph that previous entries and especially the games that influenced this reboot had and a Battle Royale mode that is fun and engaging, Modern Warfare is the return of the classic Call of Duty experience and the return of the good old days. It is an excellent successor to that iconic trilogy of years ago, let’s hope the rebooted Modern Warfare 2 is just as iconic as the legendary game of 2009.

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