When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was announced earlier this year, I have to say…I was extremely excited. Surely, you were too, which is why we’re giving away a few copies of the game, so keep scrolling to find out how to enter. The Modern Warfare series was a favorite of mine many years ago, and to see it brought back in its former glory made me super excited. Through many hours of gameplay over the past few weeks, I’ve dove deep into the campaign and online game modes. In our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review that you’ll find below, there are some huge wins in my book, but also…a few ways that Activision and Infinity Ward need to improve if they want to see the player base for this game continue to grow instead of shrink.
This review is a long one, folks, so we’ve made a handy outline below for you to quickly jump to a specific section.
- Game Overview
- Online Multiplayer
- Wrapping up
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review – Game Overview
The new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare isn’t just a refreshing of what we once had; that’s already been done. No, Infinity Ward went from the ground up with this game, using a new development engine and everything. This enabled the game studio to incorporate graphics that we were never before seen in the Call of Duty community, and let me say…they’re stunning.
Graphics are king in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Most of my gameplay came from the Xbox One X, though there was quite a bit of PlayStation 4 Pro sprinkled in for good measure. If you want the ultimate experience in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, then a high-end gaming PC is the way to go. However, the Xbox One X provides an excellent experience at a fraction of the cost that a custom gaming PC would run you, especially with Black Friday just around the corner.
Throughout the game, you’ll be stunned multiple times with just how great the graphics are if you have a One X/PC and a TV with 4K HDR capabilities (HDR10 only, no Dolby Vision sadly). PS4 Pro is a fantastic contender, but in side-by-side testing, it just can’t hold a candle to the One X’s graphics prowess.
Gameplay makes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare shine like never before
If you’ve ever played a Call of Duty game, then you know the usual way of life. Maps are relatively simple, offering three lanes of traffic for you to traverse. The campaign is fairly similar, just with a story to back it up. That’s not the case in the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, as Infinity Ward went out of their way to shake things up a bit. You’ll find enemies in vertical situations like never before here, scaling buildings, rockets coming from all over, and even bullet drop and the wind affecting where your shot lands in some areas of the campaign which take place over long distances. It is a great feeling, and Infinity Ward did a fantastic job of making you feel like you’re a part of the action.
Night vision mode is also quite amazing. I’ve shown screenshots from my One X to many friends, family, and other professionals in the field and blew them away when I told them that was an in-game screenshot of the console, not a real image or part of a cutscene. You’ll find that you can only use rifles and the like when tilted to the side, and an IR laser is used, which helps the immersion and realism. Bright areas will wash out your NVGs, meaning that you have to play it smart when entering a well-lit area (and consequentially, when leaving a well-lit area.) Though NVG mode isn’t my absolute favorite, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the gameplay in it.
The gun usage in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is bar none. The way the guns react, the way your character reacts to the guns, and the way the ammo reacts to being shot is all fantastic and something that reminds me of how things act in real life. You’ll see little details like magazines showing the actual amount of ammo in them when you go to reload, or smoke coming off the barrel after a long firing session, showing just how in-depth Infinity Ward went on this game.
There’s no need to worry if your friend will get a map update and not you, furthering the spread between “premium” players and base game owners. There is no season pass here. Instead, Infinity Ward opted for more of a battle pass-style add-on. You’ll find that every console and every gamer gets the same map and content updates at the same time, which is something that has been long wished for by Call of Duty gamers.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review – Online multiplayer
Of course, with every Call of Duty, people focus heavily on the online multiplayer. It has become a staple of the series, where the targeted was previously on campaigns. Infinity Ward has pushed several patches since the launch of Modern Warfare nearly a month ago, fixing bugs, typos, and gun balancing issues.
Return of a classic
The gameplay behind Modern Warfare’s online multiplayer reminds me so much of the old Call of Duties in many ways. The maps are fresh and new, but, somehow, the gameplay itself feels like it used to. There are no more specialists, perks, or other “futuristic enhancements” like we’ve become accustomed to in Call of Duty, bringing things back to just a typical fighting experience, and that’s just what the franchise needed.
Create a class like never before
Create a class also got a complete overhaul and is more in-depth than ever before. Modern Warfare is based on a pick five system, meaning your weapons can have up to five attachments at a time. Want more? Swap things out. The attachments go deeper than ever before, however, as there are far more options to choose from in this game. You’ll find attachments for the barrel, silencer (or compensator, muzzle break, etc.), under-barrel, rear grip, scope, perks, and even stock. One of my favorite setups is with the MP7 and includes removing the stock, adding grip tape, an under-barrel attachment for better aiming, a laser, and making the barrel shorter for better maneuvering. The aim down sight speed is wicked fast, and the gun handles fantastically with almost no recoil at all.
Another huge update to create a class is that it now works in-game. How many times have you been in a game lobby, working on a class, and the game started before you finished. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, that’s not an issue as creating a class is available, in its entirety, in-game. The only thing you miss out on in the in-game’s version of create a class is being able to change your cam, but really, that’s not an issue at all. You can change all attachments and perks of your weapon while playing, including equipping newly unlocked perks or attachments without having to leave and go to the lobby.
New game mode selection
Whereas before, you would pick a game mode, stay in that lobby, and continually play just that mode (unless you selected a moshpit mode), Modern Warfare changed that, too. Now, you have a “Quick Play” playlist selection, allowing you to choose your favorite game modes and will enable the system to shuffle between them during play. This means that you’ll likely never be stuck in the same lobby twice, which is fantastic if you get pitted against some tremendous players when you first start out.
Ground War and Realism modes make their debut
Ground War is an all-new game mode to Call of Duty and brings about a huge map playstyle that many gamers loved about Battlefield. Of course, in Call of Duty fashion, you won’t be able to do quite as much destruction to your environment as you can in Battlefield, but the gameplay is quite similar. I’m not a huge fan of Ground War personally as the games take far longer than your average Domination, though it’s the same style on a larger map.
Realism mode is a great option for those who want a less distracting screen while playing. It removes your entire HUD, leaving you with just your weapon. Think of it as hardcore without the lowered health, and honestly, it’s a great way for people to get into hardcore before jumping into the terrifyingly hard playlists.
While you used to be locked to just a single platform when playing with friends, gone are those days. I can easily jump into a party with friends on PS4 and PC from my Xbox and enjoy hours of fun, while we all enjoy our respective consoles. This also makes matchmaking that much simpler, as there will always be a huge pool of players to choose from. Now, if that doesn’t sound too fun for you, then it’s an option that can be easily disabled, but I’d recommend leaving it turned on.
Another huge bonus is that your progress syncs across multiple platforms. Any classes I make or edit on PlayStation 4 will cross over to my Xbox One, and vice versa. This means if you go visit a friend who doesn’t have the same console as you and log into your account, all of your progress will follow you, which is a huge benefit, in my opinion.
So, as with all games, there has to be a few cons…right? Well, our Modern Warfare review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning just a few; however, keep in mind the pros and fun far outweigh them. You’ll find a new SBMM (skill-based matchmaking) tactic used by Infinity Ward here, and it comes with a mixed bag of feelings. They say it puts you in a match purely based on skill, and not levels or anything else, but the community disagrees. In my experience, I generally am put in a lobby with a good mixture of those who are both higher and lower-skilled than me, and it usually works out. Some maps I run the show, coming in first by a large margin, and others…well, I come in dead last (pun intended), with no hopes of getting lots fo XP that round. Your games will vary just like mine if the community is to believe, and in chatting with a few other reviewers and gamers, that’s about what it looks to be shaping up to be.
The only other drawback that I’ve seen is weapon balancing. The 725, to be exact. Part of the reason this review was delayed a bit was because we were waiting on Infinity Ward to patch something they tried to repair several times, the 725 shotgun. This past week, however, seems to have finally been taken care of. The shotgun was one for the record books, folks, and acted like a sniper rifle if you put the right attachments on it. You could be hit from clear across the map if your opponent was aiming down their sights. And you could be taken out in one shot from hip fire, even if the other player was quite a few yards away. Now, the 725 has been “nerfed” in a way where the game is actually playable again, making it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review – Campaign
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brought with it a huge perk that last year’s Black Ops 4 just didn’t have: a campaign mode. Last year we didn’t really have any form of campaign, though Zombies did have its own spin of one. This year, however, Infinity Ward brought back the campaign in all its former glory and then some. I’ve never finished a campaign in a Call of Duty before, though I always loved starting them. This one, however, just begged me to keep playing. The graphics and storyline were extremely well-done, offering fantastic cinematic and cutscenes that looked like a movie in some instances, even though it was really in-game footage.
Be ready for some extreme language, gore, and scenes that are absolutely not for children to be watching. There’s a reason this game is rated M, after all. Each time you enter into the campaign, the game will warn you that there is intense footage and gameplay ahead and make you verify that you want to continue. Take that warning to heart, folks, and don’t say “I’m in” when you’re asked if you aren’t ready to make a big decision.
The only downside to the campaign is how short it is, though I expect there to be some expansions put into the game through Special Operations. There are about 3-4 hours of gameplay is you go straight through for the campaign, so just keep that in mind.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review – Wrapping Up
In our review, we found Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to be a fantastic entry into the series. I’ve loved just about every second of gameplay, and can’t wait to fire it up after I finish. It’s a joy playing with friends on all platforms, and the graphics surely are stunning. As far as Call of Duty launches go, this is by far my favorite. I enjoyed Black Ops 4 last year, but due to the add-ons, futuristic gameplay, and the like, quickly fell away from playing it frequently. Here we are, nearly a month in, and I’m enjoying Modern Warfare more now than I did when I first started. I’ve nearly got gold on my favorite weapon, the MP7, and can’t wait to continue progressing in other weapons as time goes on.
FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links
Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!