Progress Bar: First Impressions of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”

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Note that this review is being typed as of Oct. 31, so by the time it is published there may have been patches or hot-fixes that have rectified some issues I have with the game’s multiplayer component. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” feels like an earnest attempt at change to the “Call of Duty” we’ve come to expect to release every year.

I want to stress that the operative word here is “attempt.” Also, this review was conducted with a standard PS4, which will be important when I review how the game runs. Without further ado, let’s go dark and see what this new installment has to offer. 

First, there’s the campaign. Rest assured, there will be no spoilers in this article. Much of the story itself relies on first impressions to make its impact, so spoilers only serve to degrade your first experience. I can tell you the game developers gone with a more grounded approach to this campaign.

You won’t find the whole world in jeopardy from nukes or a chemical/technical McGuffin, there’s no big set pieces that you blow up, and while the antagonists are pretty cut and dry, the “good guys” aren’t portrayed as spotless action heroes. The story focuses more on presentation to get its point across rather than dialogue, but compared to some of its predecessors and by its own merits, it is far from bad.  The story tells a much different narrative than previous installments, choosing to hyperfocus on the moral ambiguity and the atrocities war births, particularly in the modern age. 

Mechanically, I think this installment proves that future campaigns have so much more potential with the new engine and all that entails. Graphically, the game is absolutely stunning, even on a standard PS4. I have heard that the cut scenes before missions had stuttering issues, but I am unsure if that was because of random chance or if it was because players were playing with maxed out settings, as I encountered none of these issues. 

This allows for greater immersion, especially if you play on Realism Mode where the user interface is disabled. This campaign still has very standard “Call of Duty” missions, but there are a few that focus on stealth or aren’t very fast paced. 

This game did an excellent job in one mission of having you experience firsthand how tier 1 operators clear a house, floor by floor, not knowing what’s behind the next door. These new types of missions were the strongest in the entire campaign and could have made for an overall better campaign if the game makers had stuck to more of these kinds of missions. 

The biggest flaw with the  was the run time. If you play on a harder difficulty and die a lot, the campaign will only take about 6 hours, which is criminally short seeing how this is the first campaign in a “Call of Duty” game I’ve really liked since “Black Ops 2.”

The multiplayer option is definitely something. The new engine, visuals, inclusion of door mechanics, huge range of gun customization, making the game less focused on watching the mini-map and a preference towards maps that aren’t just three lanes all holds huge potential for this game. 

It’s quickly countered by two major flaws, however: spawning and audio. Spawning is just a mess as of the time of this review and even if the game makers manage to fix it later, they don’t get a free pass for releasing it the way that it is. Spawn camping is a constant sight as spawns don’t flip when they should, leading to you sometimes getting killed in your spawn three or four times before the game decides it’s cool to flip the spawns, though by then you might as well put the controller down because the time you’ve spent trapped has likely lost you the match.

Next is the audio which is unrelenting. Overly frequent call outs, overly loud footsteps and next to no moments of quiet lead to an unproductive chaos.

For now, I’d recommend you hold off on buying Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, do your research and see how these glaring issues get handled.

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