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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

Ever since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was announced officially in February of 2022, I was excited to see the return of my favorite iteration of the franchise. From long-time Call of Duty fans to new ones, people of all ages are hyped to try the next Modern Warfare due to its previous success. Making $800 Million in its opening weekend seems to show the series is going strong financially, but with the recent failure of Call of Duty: Vanguard, the question that most people had was, ‘Can Modern Warfare II steer the franchise in the right direction?’

Does CoD MW2 meet the standard of the previous games? Should this game be considered the best shooter of 2022? In my review, I give the good, the bad, the ugly and answer these questions in my final verdict.

The Good

Gameplay

One of the best parts of the game has to be the gameplay of Modern Warfare II. I think Infantry Ward has found the secret sauce when it comes to in-game mechanics for this title.

I know this may sound bold, but this Call of Duty game has the best general gameplay we have seen in a decade of the franchise. It matches the level of fun of Modern Warfare 3 which was released back in 2011. Drifting closer to realism when I feel Call of Duty games are at their best. I was happy to see that some of the issues seen in the beta were fixed which only heightens the experience. Activision did the right thing here by copying the movements from the previous Modern Warfare. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Amount of Content

With the age of modern gaming where most live service games seem to be left unfinished, Call of Duty MWII seems to have broken the barrier of at-launch content and included a good amount right from the start.

Overall, this game has 51 guns, 12 maps and many modes to play in your first taste of the game. Compared to other live service games this seems utterly limitless. I have always been a fan of Call of Duty’s ability to feel like there is always something to try or grind for. Not only does MWII reintroduce old content from previous titles but they do a great job of including new modes and concepts to keep things fresh. To this day, Prisoner Rescue is still my favorite mode to play.

Overall Look and Atmosphere of the Game

This game really does push the limit on what the old consoles can handle because it is easily the best-looking Call of Duty game in the series. In both the campaign and multiplayer, Infantry Ward has really stepped up the details on the overall fidelity and look of the game. The combat looks as good as possible and the cutscenes really make you feel the intensity of the situations throughout the story. The level design also looked very detailed, and the different locations were all diverse which gives the game character.

The Bad

Campaign Seems Soft

One of the issues I have with the campaign of MWII is the over-the-top softness of the story. Over the years, Call of Duty games has had some badass adventures that really convey themes of war. Whether it shows off the brutal nature of combat, the massive loss of life, or just the cool nature of some of the characters we have come to know. It seems that Call of Duty MWII drifts away from its predecessors and concludes that, no one dies in war.

Throughout the story, there is not a single instance of the good guys really losing anything. The villains in the story seem to be either too incompetent or there is a protective barrier over characters like Soap, Price or Ghost. It seems that due to the monetization of operators that most of these characters will be protected from death or dismemberment.

I mean, I’m not asking for an absolute blood bath but for God’s sake, there was never once in my playthrough of the story that I felt one of my favorite characters might be taken out. This does not give off the vibes of an actual conflict. CoD stories, for the most part, have always been solid, it seems like this campaign has some good moments but in my opinion, they miss the mark.

Maps are Basic

In my first experience with the CoD MWII beta, I had generally a positive experience with the maps overall. However, as I continued to play through them I started to feel disdain for the map design due to the condensed nature of most of them. Out of the 12 maps overall, I pretty much dislike all but two. I feel like these maps have some really great potential in the overall look and atmosphere but they fail on the layout, making them feel limited. I was constantly spawning into gunfire because of how small they are. Future maps need to be adjusted especially for the quick death times this game has.

Weapon Balancing

The gunplay of this game gives me mixed feelings. In some cases, guns like the Ak-47 or the TAQ-V are really great weapons that can clean opponents with both their powerful shots and great recoil control. Then we can get guns that are branded as utterly useless like the M16 which feels like I am drunk when firing the weapon. In my review of the CoD MWII Beta I discussed the horrible balance there was between these weapons and it seems they did not heed my advice. They really need to fix the inconsistency of weapons in this game because the absolute frustration that comes with using guns like the M16 just makes the experience feel less fun than it should be.

The Ugly

Progression System

One of the worst aspects of this game so far is the lack of a real progression system. So far Call of Duty Modern Warfare II has a major problem, they are forcing its player base to use a weapon-unlocking system that drains the fun out of the entire experience.

For generations Call of Duty games, as a whole, have used the same system to unlock guns, using your rank to unlock weapons as you progress through the game. Then as you use those weapons you gain the ability to unlock new attachments on your weapons to use in matchmaking. Infantry Ward seems to want to “change things up” because they overhauled the entire concept for a progression system that is based on using guns of a similar tree, and by that method, you eventually unlock new guns by leveling up.

This system is completely idiotic on the basis that now you are forcing players to use guns they never want to, solely to unlock the best and their favorite guns in the game. Whats worse is that even if you max out a weapon you can not actually unlock all the attachments for that gun unless you do the same for all the guns in that family tree. Its sort of confusing why Infantry Ward would drastically change a system that had worked well for so long in favor of a progression system that truly annoys me entirely.

The UI and Playing with Friends

Lastly, the UI and attempting to play with friends is the most frustrating aspect of this game. When looking at the UI, I physically can not comprehend how an interface can be this awful. The basic function of a UI is to help the User navigate the menu in an effective way with little to no difficulty. Activision seems to want to test the patience of the entire fanbase with the inefficiency of this system.

I have never been so confused or angry navigating a menu before. Infantry Ward has followed the trend that recent games and streaming services have done and have used horizontal boxes or organized their content. To be honest, this format is not only unappealing but the amount of steps they have you complete in order to invite a friend to play is over the top and unenjoyable.

The UI itself has problems but the servers are an entirely different issue. I had mentioned in my review of the Modern Warfare II beta, that Infantry Ward should be concerned with the stability of their servers. I do not believe these servers are to the level of Battlefield 2042, but it is a pretty bad sign that almost in every playthrough I have had in this game there was an instance of my game crashing, servers getting disconnecting, or my screen staying frozen for several minutes. This is not the best look for a company that was developed by nearly a thousand people. These issues should not only be addressed soon, but they should have never been issues in the first place.

Final Verdict

Overall, Call of Duty Modern Warfare II has positives and negatives. The overall gameplay of the title feels fluid and is the best aspect of the game. Even though it is a live service game, Infantry Ward has put a lot of work into adding a good amount of content to this title at launch. It’s a good sign that this did not need to be added in. There seems like there is much to do and that’s always a positive for me.

The atmosphere and look of both the Campaign and multiplayer are possibly the best of the entire series. However, with that being said the story seems to be soft and never actually feels like a conflict that is worth fighting for. The weapon balance and map design are just bad since they seem they still can’t get it right. The UI and Progression system nearly ruin the experience for the multiplayer if it weren’t for the fun gameplay.

Rating

Overall, I’m giving this game a 7.3 out of 10. This year’s Call of Duty easily beats Vanguard in overall success and user experience. Within Modern Warfare II there is a really fun game that has great mechanics that remind me of the classic CoD experience. Even with the negatives, I can say this is roughly in the top 3 of best Call of Duty games in the past decade. It’s tough to call whether CoD MWII will be considered the best shooter of the year but the only hope is that Infantry Ward can continue tweaking the game and in time we can confidently say that this title is a gem in the shooter genre.

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