Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Developer: Infinity Ward
Genre(s): Shooter, First Person, Action
Platform: PlayStation 5 (Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 28/10/22
Price: Various (starting from £69.99)
A code was provided for review purposes
October is a funny time in the gaming calendar. It seems to be the annual time of year for sick days to increase, and everyone’s inner salty child comes out to play. What’s the cause to this phenomenon? That’s right…Call of Duty.
Aside from FIFA, Call of Duty is the only other annual release title that everyone goes mad for. The military shooter has been around for donkey’s years, yet for many it’s a game that’s often compared to a loved one, or even one’s children. Its player Vs. player scenarios are the cause to many broken controllers, shattered friendships, and destroyed relationships. It’s a game where grown-up players lock themselves away all in the pursuit of reaching that prestige level before their mates. It’s also a game that doesn’t really change, yet manages to be different upon each generation. So, a bit like Doctor Who!
But, what makes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer suite different than what’s come before? Come with me as I find out in this Rapid Review.
Before I dive into the gritty horrors of this review, I will point out that I’ll be reviewing the core multiplayer component only. For those looking to see how the campaign fares, you can check out that review over here.
With that said, let’s dive in!
Jumping straight into multiplayer and the first thing I often do is head over to the armoury. Much like other titles in the series, Modern Warfare 2 offers quite the variety of weapons for the arm chair soldier. The gunplay is arguably my favorite experience in any Call of Duty title. Considering the franchise has been a constant for years, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and all the sub developers, have had quite a few years to hone their craft. That being said, while each weapon has its own unique performance stats, they also feel unique down to their individual weight characteristics. It’s an interesting mechanic that’s been prevalent across the “modern” Call of Duty games – yet here it feels more refined and part of the gameplay structure.
1 Gun, 5 Attachements
In keeping with tradition the weapons of Modern Warfare 2 allow a customisation of up to five different attachments. These add-ons range from sights and barrels, to stocks, and even what bullets it fires. Each attachment comes with its own stats which then provides an overall tally to how the weapon performs. It’s ultimately down to each person’s individual playstyle as to how they’ll set up their weapon. And that’s what Modern Warfare 2 does so well – it allows an almost infinite way to customise a weapon to “your” needs.
The traditional way of how you unlock these attachments also carries over from past titles. As you spend time with a single weapon you’ll start to raise its level. In turn this will then unlock various attachments for that weapon. To mix things up you’ll also unlock other variations to that weapon, which will then come with its own attachments too. This then gives you more ways to customise the platform as each variation’s attachments can be freely switched. For example, level up the Lachmann-762 Battle Rifle, and you’ll acquire attachments that can be used on its SMG version the Lachmann Sub, and vice-versa.
Another returning feature is the specific challenges needed to unlock camo for your arsenal. Much like that seen in previous years, these task you with getting kills within a certain way to unlock an aesthetic for your gun. These can vary from simply getting X amount of kills, to destroying equipment and killstreak vehicles. While these do come naturally with simply playing the game, social media is flooded with various glitches that make this process faster.
With the weapon mechanics having quite the overhaul, you’d be mistaken if you thought Infinity Ward was finished. Every weapon in the game has its own characteristics that’s defined by various predetermined statistics linked to that weapon. These statistics can be manipulated via the set of attachments that you can equip to the base model. To expand this customisation, once you’ve fully levelled a specific weapon you’ll then be able to customise it further.
This so-called “fine-tuning” allows you to continue to tailor your weapon at the expense of another trait. For example, tuning your stock attachment to be heavier will give you better recoil control. However, in doing so it’ll slow down your aiming speed. With each attachment having this option, it’s yet more endless ways to really make the gun your own.
One thing that remains a constant within the Call of Duty franchise is its multiplayer game-modes. For the majority Modern Warfare 2 is no different, but it does feature a couple of surprising elements. Jumping straight in and you’ll be greeted with the old favorites such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Search & Destroy. These four have made up the staple Call of Duty experience for quite a few installments, so it’s a given that they would be featured.
New for this year – and taking a leaf out of the Rainbow 6 Siege playbook – is Prisoner Rescue. This mode sees two teams fight over a few hostages on the map. While one side has to extract the hostages (by carrying them on their shoulders), the other team have to stop them – even if it means shooting the hostages. It’s a pretty challenging game which does ask for a degree of teamwork – especially when you only have one life!
Ground War Invasion
For those who like to forego small squad battles and favour those large, extravagant big-team-battles, Modern Warfare 2 has this covered with Ground War and Invasion.
Much like Prisoner Rescue, Ground War takes inspiration from another Call of Duty rival. This time it’s Battlefield. Playing much like Battlefield’s Conquest mode, Ground War sees players battle it out over a large environment. With five capture points up for grabs, both teams have to utilise the terrain, and various vehicles to their advantage. While it doesn’t sound too different from Domination, Ground War then tasks you with keeping control of these capture points for a certain amount of time to ultimately claim victory.
Invasion on the other hand is essentially a big-team-battle version of the classic Team Deathmatch. What we have here is two twenty player teams battling it out across a few large scale maps. The twist here is that you have the added density of AI teammates and enemies.
For anyone who’s played Titanfall 2’s Attrition, Invasion plays out the same way. Each AI kill awards you with a single point, whilst other players are worth 5. It’s certainly an acquired taste, and isn’t necessarily a game mode that most players will gravitate towards. If anything it serves as a casual way for teams to warm-up before heading into Warzone 2.0, or the more hardcore multiplayer modes.
Much like its vast arsenal of weapons, Call of Duty is also famed for its memorable selection of maps – and thankfully Modern Warfare 2 is no different. As of Season 1, the game features fifteen maps set across various locales, with a degree of different themes. I’m fairly pleased with the included maps so far. While I have my clear favourites such as Embassy, Farm 18, and Shoot House, even when the other less desirable maps crop-up I don’t feel disheartened.
Regardless of playstyle each map is well balanced. There’s plenty of long sight lines and CQB areas which allow for plenty of run-and-gun battles, or long distance snipe-fests. The only real issue I had with each map is spawn locations. On a few times I’d respawn right in the sights of an enemy sniper, or under the tracker of a VTOL. While this is a common problem with plenty of first-person-shooters, the frantic nature to some of Call of Duty‘s modes makes it more prevalent.
For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the hardcore multiplayer experience came along with Season 1. Coming under the moniker of Tier 1, this mode offers all those hardcore variations that some of us love – limited health, zero HUD and friendly fire. While you don’t have to be a sweaty player to enjoy the Tier 1 playlist, it definitely helps 😉
Co-operative also makes its return with three specially tailored missions for teams of friends or randoms. Taking place across three very different scenarios, you’ll be performing operations in the dead of night, to destroying SAM sites, to then defending against enemy waves. Each scenario does offer some of that classic Call of Duty gameplay, albeit with the added craziness of playing with friends. For those looking for these “water cooler moments”, Denied Area seems to be the go to. It’s random enough to play out in the same vein as Warzone 2.0, but still offers a few ridiculous surprises.
While Spec-Ops is fun to play, they’re not necessarily modes that you’ll return to. Aside from unlocking three stars, or acquiring a multiplayer operative, there’s really nothing else to do here. Yet, with the experience being tied into the new three-player Raid, I’m hoping we get some variation in the coming seasons.
And speaking of which…
Debuting as part of the ‘Modern Warfare Season 1 Reloaded’ content drop, the raid dubbed ‘Atomgrad’ is now playable. While this is free content, access to the mission isn’t particularly easy. For those looking to jump in you have to earn an raid access key first. This is rewarded by finishing in the top 20 of Warzone, completing multiplayer challenges, or exfiltrating from the DMZ with a set amount of cash. After this you’ll then have to find two other friends to jump in with you. While there isn’t a time limit to how long it takes – you only get access for one week before progress resets.
Taking place after the main campaign, Atomgrad sees Price, Gaz, and Farah infiltrate an underground bunker in search of missing operative – Alex. Atomgrad puts your skills to the ultimate test as your team of three is up against some tough enemies. Taking inspiration from the likes of Destiny 2, Atomgrad will have you completing puzzles and various boss fights as you progress all in the name of justice.
Naturally, this special mission comes with its own rewards. First time completion will see you rewarded with the Gaz Convoy Operator skin, whilst subsequent completions will reward you with weapon blueprints, and loading screens. With a new episode set to premiere along with each season, I fully expect these raids to not only get tougher – but add some tasty loot to proceedings too.
Skill-Based Match Making
Before I end this review, it’s worth noting that Modern Warfare 2 features skill-based match making when it comes to multiplayer. For the uninitiated what this means is that every match you play will be against those of a similar skill. Basically you’ll never get a pasting from the other team, and likewise you’ll never be doing the pasting either.
While this doesn’t personally bother me, there’s no clarification as to what effects this matchmaking. Aside from my overall rank (and prestige level) there’s literally no way of knowing if you’re in the higher tiers, or the lower tier, or even how many levels does the matchmaking system go to.
And as Jason Hudson once said “The numbers! Mason. What do they mean?!”. But unlike Mason, I guess we’ll never know.
Overall, as someone who’s not played a Call of Duty since Cold War, Modern Warfare 2 leaves me fairly satisfied. The folks over at Infinity Ward have taken what was already a solid multiplayer experience and refined it even more. With the renewed emphasis on “boots on the ground” Modern Warfare 2 is a good old fashioned multiplayer experience without the gimmicks of previous Call of Duty titles. With plenty of game modes and maps already in the core experience, and with Season 1 adding in Warzone 2.0 and DMZ, there’s literally a game mode to suit anyone’s tastes.
Now excuse me while I go unlock some more camo!
Rapid Reviews Rating
5 out of 5
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now and can be purchased via the PlayStation store by clicking here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.