Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Developer: Infinity Ward
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: Playstation 4
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 25/10/2019
Price: £59.99 (prices vary on Digital/Physical copy and Edition Purchased) – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Modern Warfare is back, with a bang!
Infinity Ward the producers behind the first Call of Duty, and possibly the most successful and critically acclaimed Modern Warfare games (Modern Warfare 1 & 2) are at the helm again taking us back to our favourite protagonists in the franchise.
Prepare to go dark
John Price makes his reappearance before Task Force 141 is created and before you ventured down the roads long ago in 2007. His charm and British tone reminds me of the calming nature of a Pilot flying a plane, but also not somebody you’d want to mess with in real life. His character is one of the most influential game characters in modern times, and his story has evolved over many MW campaigns.
A Brief History of Time
Before I go into the main game, I wanted to look back a bit at what started this run of “War” games.
In 1999 a game called Medal of Honor came out for the PlayStation, designed by Steven Spielberg (inspired by his recent filming of Saving Private Ryan) and composed by Michael Giacchino, who’s discography includes UP, Cloverfield, Spider-Man and more… these games were designed to be filmic!
It garnered critical acclaim. It spawned a series of games in the Medal of Honor franchise, one title in particular that gave birth to a new generation of gamers, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
Published in 2002 it was released on Windows and eventually MacOS X. It followed the same FPS style and was set in World War 2, heavily influenced by real events, most notably the Omaha Beach Landings. This game sold over 900,000 copies and earned $34.2million in 4 years, labelled the best single-player shooter since Half-Life.
Allied Assault is one of my favourite, if not my favourite game of all time. It paved my way into competitive online gaming. I rocked the Thompson submachine gun like it was a part of me.
Infinity Ward and Activision
Something then happened in the backrooms of the developer studios, because in late 2003 a new game appeared by some of the developers of Allied Assault under the Infinity Ward banner, this game was “Call of Duty”.
It was a real switch up on the singular storyline based games and introduced new AI-controlled allies who supported you during missions, it delivered a more squad-based experience, adding realism to the environment around you.
CoD 2 and 3 came out a little later and received mixed but generally positive reviews, but I think WW2 fatigue was setting in, so the development team had to change the setting.
In 2007, they did just that, Infinity Ward developed (Activision published) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Set in modern times, it pushed the boundaries of ultranationalism in a “Middle Eastern” country, where you jump between US Marines and SAS in various locations across the globe fighting the good fight. Now it wasn’t innovative by any means, it didn’t change the approach of different character/viewpoints from previous titles, but the storyline, graphics and acting were incredible. So most importantly, it captured peoples hearts.
Let’s Fast Forward
So here we are, after a brief history, Modern Warfare has been relaunched, eight years after Modern Warfare 3. Yes there are other CoD titles like Infinite Warfare and Advanced Warfare, but they don’t count, they were honestly not great titles.
Maybe this was something to do with the 46 Infinity Ward staff who up and left after MW2 and the huge dispute over royalties, who knows? But, it’s nice to know part of this team is back at the helm of this franchise.
The campaign of the game follows much like previous MW titles; you skip from CIA to SAS as you bounce around the globe. The main story arc exists in Urzikstan, a fictional country where Russians have invaded and are pretty much just straight-up murdering people. You join a band of rebels fighting to rid Urzikstan from this occupation and in some points move to their POV and complete missions as one of the Rebels.
However, as with all war games comes controversy. There’s been a lot of references made to the exploitation of historical events and the way Modern Warfare has depicted events in its storytelling. One of the most significant being in the mission the “Highway of Death”.
Back in 1991, just before the First Gulf War was about to end, thousands of Iraqi soldiers fled Kuwait along Highway 80. Western forces at the time, led by the US dropped bombs at either end of the convoy and then proceeded to level the road with more firepower, President George HW Bush declared this a victory! It was a bloodbath.
I’ll leave a link to the Wikipedia article here.
There’s no denying that this mission was lifted verbatim from that historical reference, but its change of narrative has riled up a lot of reviews and spawned numerous articles on it.
I’m not here to judge its historical accuracy; the original Omaha Landing mission caused a lot of negative commentary and games have even had the content removed due to real-life shootings and events. Another prime example is the uproar around the “No Russian” level, another Modern Warfare 2 gem!
What I will say is this game looks fantastic. It looks and feels like a film; there’s no doubt it’s the best looking game of the year. Voice acting is incredible as always, and it has a tremendous environmental soundtrack, that immerses you better than some Hollywood films.
I originally played the game on normal to get through the story but have since revisited it in “Realism” mode. This is by far the best way to play this game; there’s no HUD which means no ammo count, no grenade markers, nothing!
Playing one of the missions I thought I was in the film “Zero Dark Thirty” where they raid Bin Laden’s compound (swap compound for a house in London). My heart raced as I slowly made my way through the building clearing rooms and shouting “All Clear” as I navigated up another flight of stairs, nothing but my gun, night vision goggles and the laser pointing my way. I challenge you to play this game no other way.
Shooting with Friends
No Modern Warfare title would be complete without the multiplayer, a staple of the series that continues the games longevity well past its incredible but very very short storyline.
It’s easy to review a game based on its single-player, but experiencing the multiplayer has to be a part of any CoD series.
As I age and wither away, I find myself slower on reactions than ever before, this I can deal with, but a shotgun shooting from across the map with a sniper rifle scope, this I cannot accept. As always the balance between running around like a headless chicken or camping like you’re in the scouts is severely lacking. I often find myself getting scoped from up high on ground war or spawning directly in front of an enemy and instantly dying.
The game needs a balance of power brought to it, so many matches where we’ve dominated, and people have quit, for it to end in 10 v 4, or for people to leave as we are trashed by a huge score margin.
Ground War & Co-Op
Ground War is a new game-mode for Modern Warfare that pits 64 players against each other. The mode includes capture and hold objectives that push the teams further up the battlefield, spawning closer to the enemy HeadQuarters. Ground War also includes vehicles, so you can drive across the map on an ATV or fly high in a helicopter. It’s basically domination on a much grander scale, with more snipers perched atop the tallest buildings. You’d be forgiven mistaking it for a Battlefield mode.
Co-Op, on the other hand, is buggy and not fun at all. A team of 4 players attempt to complete a series of objectives based on a pre-determined mission statement. This mode drove me nuts. It’s an endless wave shooter where when you die, you have to wait 60 seconds before reviving. If you die, then forget using your “crates” to summon killstreak like perks, as this isnt functioning correctly. You also get swarmed by enemies and even more annoying Juggernauts who seem to spawn in groups of 3 and just mow your whole team down. I’ve managed to complete 1 full round of this in the entire time of having the game.
The real winner of this game, however, is its friends/party lobby, where a group of 8-10 of us have played local matches of pure carnage. Join voice chat, pick a map and let the hilarity ensue. No pressure, great friends and hours pass by as if by magic.
Modern Warfare 2019 is a return to form for the series. It brings a compelling and emotional (if not a little controversial) storyline to the fold. Whereas it tries to balance the black and white of the world, it sticks you solely in the grey, and this is what Modern Warfare is all about. Expect to make some “grey” decisions and if you’re a true fan of the original titles, look out for those references.
However, next time, I want a much longer, single-player campaign, please.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase any copy of Modern Warfare from the Call of Duty Website; https://www.callofduty.com/uk/en/modernwarfare/buy
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.