Call of Duty‘s return to a modern warfare setting is somewhat of a homecoming for a franchise which has found itself struggling with a bit of an identity crisis in recent years. While last year’s Black Ops 4 delivered a great multiplayer experience, focusing on twitch reactions and tons of content, Modern Warfare shifts the focus back to the series’ trademark features: strong maps, solid gunplay, and a focus on strategy, with less bells and whistles and more practical gameplay improvements that’ll please longtime fans the most.
From the outset, it’s hard not to acknowledge the game’s visual upgrade, even in the beta. The real-world setting allows the game to showcase the revamped weapon designs, character models, and relatable locations, with an extra sheen applied to the game’s action this time around. The tighter focus also applies to the ‘feel’ of the game, with a clear emphasis being placed on the weaponry and how it fires. Punchier shooting, more impactful bullet damage on character models, and great force-feedback makes shooting each weapon unique and satisfying – something that’s often overlooked in the online arena.
The beta features 3 maps, Azhir Cave, Hackney Yard, and Grazna Raid, which will all become favourites upon release. The tighter interior areas of Hackney Yard are well contrasted with Grazna Raid’s open areas, which will give gamers a lot of variety in their combat scenarios; and weapon loadout will really come into effect in this locales.
A fantastic touch is the ability to copy another player’s loadout when watching a Killcam. If you’ve seen the bad side of an enemy’s bullet, you have the ability to replicate their loadout (if the weapons are available to you), which is a great way to give players who want to try out different guns an easy way to do so.
The familiar modes of Team Deathmatch and Domination work as well as before, and a new mode, Cyber Attack, is a great addition. The mode sees two teams attempting to pick up and plant an EMP device in the opposing team’s data centre. The device can be defused, but if it goes off, the team that sets off their EMP device first wins. Players also only have one life per round but can be revived by a teammate after being knocked down to 0 health. Cyber Attack is a excellent twist on the rules in order to play a little more tactfully and emphasise teamwork in comparison to some of the other modes, and will likely be adored by the hardcore community.
Infinity Ward’s refined and refocused attempt to recreate the magic of the original Modern Warfare has worked, and in doing so, added a handful of subtle yet immensely welcome features to enhance the experience, while making it more accessible to newcomers. The beta has a few things to be ironed out, but the taste has left us wanting more.