Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out recently, and the Nov. 16 release of the deeply connected Warzone 2.0 has brought more content and new players to the game. The game is performing extremely well sales-wise, even for Call of Duty, seeing $800 million dollars in sales just 3 days after its full launch on Oct. 28. So what can you expect if you decide to play the game for yourself?
Modern Warfare 2 is the sequel to the 2019 reboot of the Modern Warfare sub-series, and players of the 2009 Modern Warfare 2 will notice a few homages here and there, as well as a similar campaign.
The campaign follows the multiverse strategy for rebooted media, following the same or similar characters from the original with different story beats and details. I found the campaign to be enjoyable, though veterans of the franchise will be able to predict many of the plot points.
Many of the missions in the campaign required stealth, allowing you to try and complete the mission undetected. Others required an open assault on enemy positions, and still others were more cinematic with creative gameplay decisions.
The mission “Violence and Timing” is an excellent example of adjusting the Call of Duty mission formula. In it, you fly over an enemy convoy in a helicopter, eventually falling and hijacking enemy vehicles. Despite being a dreaded vehicle level, the action movie pacing made it far from the chore it could’ve been.
The multiplayer is arguably the most important part of any new Call of Duty release. The campaign is fun and extraneous modes like zombies and extinction have their fans, but the bread and butter of the game is its multiplayer.
Modern Warfare 2 features a variety of gamemodes, new and old. It also features a third-person mode, also found in Warzone. I personally preferred the first-person viewpoint, but some of the people I played with found the over-the-shoulder shot to be easier to handle. There are 11 maps in the multiplayer, most of which follow the standard 3-lane design, a center path with a right and left flank.
Some of these maps and indeed additions to multiplayer benefit a particularly controversial playstyle. A variety of hiding spots and the addition of weapon mounting seems to favor those who prefer to find a spot on the map and stay there, shooting from behind cover or concealment, and moving as little as possible. Colloquially referred to as campers, the fact that Infinity Ward, the game’s developer, seems to be taking steps to encourage this playstyle is a bold move indeed.
Infinity Ward’s tacit attempts to move towards a more realistic, tactical experience more similar to Rainbow Six: Siege than Call of Duty can be felt in the sequel to their wildly popular Battle Royale game, Warzone. Warzone 2.0 is a separate experience, with a new map and progression, though much of the gameplay remains the same.
Infinity Ward made some good choices with the original warzone, invigorating the stale Battle Royale genre with innovative additions like the Gulag and buy stations. Warzone 2.0 has remade the Gulag system into a 2v2 arena, with a jailer that the two teams could theoretically work together to take down, resulting in everyone getting a second chance at the fight. They’ve also added an interrogation system, allowing you to finagle the locations of downed opponents’ teammates.
Warzone 2’s looting system is a little more confusing and slow. Taking time to sort through a convoluted menu is rarely a good option when under fire, and certain issues make it impossible to pick up certain items off the ground without specific camera angles. It’s easier to pick up items with the contextual tap setting enabled, but issues with inventory management still remain.
Speaking of inventory management, Warzone DMZ is Infinity Ward’s attempt at an Escape from Tarkov-styled Call of Duty experience. I was apprehensive about this initially, but eventually found the gamemode to be a lot fun. It sticks a lot closer to the Call of Duty arcade-style formula than I expected, being essentially a more mission focused offshoot of Warzone with AI combatants and the Battle Royale element refused. So far I’ve found the inventory loss mechanic fairly forgiving, as you’re afforded insured slots of any weapon you like and most weapons are fairly easy to replace.
The game has its issues, but most of them are interesting relegated to the UI and Menus. For example, an ongoing bug makes it impossible to access the game’s social menu and invite friends, though this has a workaround by inviting them to a custom channel instead. Seeing as how Infinity Ward seems to be planning for a long life cycle, I’m optimistic that bugs like this will see hotfixes soon.
Overall, while Infinity Ward has tried to accommodate slower and more tactical gameplay, the game retains its arcade, run-and-gun feel. It’s still Call of Duty, Warzone 2.0 is still mostly Warzone and the game is a lot of fun. Despite bugs and the often antagonistic community, I have had a lot of fun with the game and I think fans of the franchise will do the same; especially, if Infinity Ward responds quickly to current complaints from the community.