Firstly! My time with the BETA was played on a PlayStation 4 Pro, and I experienced little to no connection or performance issues during play.
A disclaimer right out of the gate. I’m not a ‘Call of Duty guy’, so if you’re looking for in-depth stuff, this ain’t it friend. Apologies. These are the opinion of a lapsed CoD player, but big-time gamer who’s hoping this entry pulls them back.
The Last Call of Duty game I played was, coincidentally, Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Not this Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which is supposed to bring back the critical acclaim and love from long lost fans, but THE Modern Warfare, that DID get all of that critical acclaim and love from said fans when it released back in 2007. Admittedly this was in the shape of the re-master that was released a couple of years back, but it hopefully puts my experience of the franchise in recent years into context.
If it all seems slightly confusing, it’s only because I’m doing my best to capture the confusion here. The cavalcade of CoD games that we’ve seen over the last decade has been pretty overwhelming varying in critical acclaim even while sales remained sky-high. Having said that my first impression of Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2019) is that it’s done a great job of feeling like a slick, smooth and impactful FPS ripe for the gaming climate in 2019 while retaining so much of the feel, look and rhythm I remember from when I picked up the first iteration of this game way back in my high school days.
It’s going to be interesting watching this title unfold as we get closer to launch. Its namesake could be and really should be considered one of the forerunners in online First Person Shooters alongside the likes of Quake and Halo. It was a genuine phenomenon and the catalyst to an annualised release schedule for the Call of Duty franchise which has changed so dramatically in the hands of different teams and studios that many have struggled to keep up so seeing original studio Infinity Ward return to recreate the title for a whole new era is great opportunity to freshen everything up while capturing some of that old magic.
Much like I remember the kill, get killed, respawn and repeat rhythm that made Modern Warfare so great to play online way back when is there, but a lot of the noise and chaos that has become so standardised for CoD online play is comfortingly absent. The maps all feel oddly familiar, though I don’t remember playing any during my time with the BETA that were direct lifts from the original. Inevitably some classic maps will eventually make their way I’m sure, but at the moment everything feels fresh and familiar.
Killstreaks are still an exciting way to keep up that feeling of momentum as you play and the modes I experienced seemed to be relatively straight forward versions of Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and similar modes that involved capturing certain areas of the map and holding them over an extended period to generate points. These all felt substantially more controlled and better paced than CoD has felt to me in years.
This is the big story here for me. The chaos, wall jumping, spaceships and Connor McGreggor laser fights that have turned me off so quickly over the last several years with the Call of Duty series appears absent. My time in the BETA was swift and smooth but also very strong an deliberate. That goes for the weapons and motion as much as anything else which when paired with some great map designs and well-balanced game modes have me thinking I might pick up a Call of Duty game this year.
The guns feel great and play well, and the level designs make the play feel varied and built some significant conflicts without dragging any of the frustrating and sometimes unplayable twitch type altercations that I struggle within so many first-person shooters.
I still think because there is still the big question mark is around the single-player campaign which was so great in the original Modern Warfare the first time around and again so many years later in the remastered version. It pushed the boundaries of storytelling and character work at the time, and all suggestions say we could be getting that again.
The BETA showed off some great gameplay and a welcome aesthetic, design and style that I enjoyed so that campaign mode if done right, could make Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) a real winner. Let’s not forget that this is a franchise that scrapped Single Player stories altogether not too long ago so if they can get this right it will be both a great effort and achievement as well as the nail in my wallets coffin. So…many…games…