The very name “Call of Duty” invokes a reaction in the American public these days, be it negative or positive. Older players who haven’t picked up a “Call of Duty” game recently might remember a grittier game, including 1v1s on the old map Rust and the infamous “No Russian” mission from “Modern Warfare 2,” which launched a decade ago. Newer “Call of Duty” fans might know the franchise for the fast-paced run-and-gun gameplay that Treyarch instilled in the franchise through its “Black Ops” games. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” as released in 2019 lends most of its appeal to older fans, although that is hardly a bad thing.
In mainstream gaming, and especially with companies that release on practically annual schedules, change can be hard to implement. Fans are usually more than happy to eat up the same product companies release the year earlier, with various touch ups to make it pass as a new game. That being said, “Modern Warfare” makes bold changes away from the tried and true formula that “Call of Duty” has emulated in the past several years.
For starters, “Modern Warfare” totally does away with the pick-ten loadout system that had been built up over the last several years. Instead, the loadout system is one of the best I’ve seen in any Call of Duty. Players are given the standard two weapons, three perks, and two grenade slots, but gun customization has never been more expansive. In leveling up each individual gun, a number of categories open up for weapon attachments to the point where it almost feels overwhelming. Each weapon can only have five attachments, but that seems like an understandable cap.
The other big changes are found in the maps and gameplay. Recent “Call of Duty” games, including the most recent “Black Ops 4,” had standard three-lane map patterns. This design was great for players getting into the game, as they could form a playstyle that suited every map. Not only are the maps bigger now, but the avenues of attack are plentiful. There’s a learning curve to it, but it’s really satisfying to truly understand any given map. It should also be noted that the gameplay in multiplayer has massively shifted as well. Footsteps are louder and the numerous vantage points have highlighted tactical gameplay as opposed to sprinting around the map. There are worries that the emphasis on camping might ruin the game, but I like to believe it’s because this is such a stark contrast from what newer “Call of Duty” fans know.
“Modern Warfare” has really carved out its own identity as a shooter game. It has game modes that range from 2v2 gunfights on tiny maps to large-scale 40-player modes as well as an even larger battle with vehicles. Its success stems to its campaign, which plays smoothly and looks gorgeous. The campaign features a multi-faction war and really feels like a story as opposed to a series of missions. Veteran players from the older “Modern Warfare” games will also recognize Captain John Price, who was truly an iconic character in the series. We have yet to see the announced battle pass system and all the pros and cons of that, but supposing all goes well I wouldn’t hate “Modern Warfare” being a more stable addition to the franchise, lasting multiple years.