It’s been a long time since I have been remotely excited to play any Call of Duty game. As soon as the double jumping, wall running craziness started, I was out, and I have tried a few of them with no success. This year’s entry is a reboot of the classic Modern Warfare titles that essentially made CoD into the biggest game on the planet for a long time. The single player campaign was a big part of the original MW games, and this new iteration is no different.
First, I have to mention the graphics. This is the most realistic looking game I have ever played. It competes with even the Sony first party games and sets the bar for Death Stranding and The Last of Us Part 2 to beat over the next year. The characters are all stunningly detailed and their facial animations are impeccable. This is the closest we have ever come to real people being rendered in game and it really does help sell the immersion.
This year it seems the story writers were given licence to make whatever they want and told to try and be controversial. They succeed at times, and at others it feels like they’re trying to be a bit too edgy. For the majority of the story, I was invested in the characters and the events and CoD legend Captain Price coming back with his unbelievable moustache got me to buy in even more. As the story continues, it’s a pretty standard CoD affair, there are twists and turns but nothing you won’t see coming story-wise. The story is there to give you reasons behind each mission, and those missions are where Modern Warfare steps out from the crowded FPS genre.
During the very first mission, I knew this was a bit different. Your character feels slower, each step feels more deliberate than the sprinting and diving for cover CoD is known for. As you work your way through the mission, you take out the guards as you get used to the shooting and how good it feels to be back playing CoD, or at least that’s how I felt being a lapsed CoD player. At one point in the mission, you enter a warehouse, and the lights are cut out. Its pitch black except for the light radiating from the torch you have that only illuminates a circle in front of you. All the sudden, I didn’t feel like an invincible soldier. The footsteps I could hear in my headphones were unnerving, I knew there was enemies. The tension in these moments is something no FPS has given me in years, if ever. As soon as I saw movement, I aimed at it, sometimes I nailed an enemy, other times I aimed at nothing.
Those moments are scattered throughout the campaign, and the tension is created in different ways. One of the most talked about missions is “Clean House” which is an incredible, slow paced mission that has you doing exactly what the mission name suggests, cleaning out a house. Not a house in the middle east that has been blown apart by a war. Oh no this is just a regular Town house in North London which is full of men, women, children. Some of them are armed. Some of them are terrified. Some of them are terrified, and then they grab an AK-47 and you must take them out.
The shock value feels earned in missions like “Clean House”. As the end of the campaign approaches it starts to wear out, and it’s a little too much. Eventually you’re a little desensitised to the situation of “person looks like they’re surrendering and then they grab a gun”. There are other missions that have their moments, Piccadilly Circus is a stunning recreation and the events happening there are frightening for someone who has walked around the area countless times, and the Embassy mission is the longest one in the game and changes up the gameplay multiple times to give things a slight twist and keep you on your toes.
I honestly did not expect much from this new Modern Warfare’s campaign. I was excited to see Price and the shooting mechanics of MW have never been beat. It turns out that I really enjoyed playing through this campaign, and at the end I was sitting in my chair squealing with delight about the name drops and references. I did not expect CoD to get that kind of a reaction from me. Modern Warfare has brought me back to the series, and even if it takes a couple years between this and the sequel, I am very excited to see what comes next in the rebooted story.
I have jumped in and played a big chunk of multiplayer, and I will talk about that more later in the week. The fact I have played a lot should tell you something though, as I have already sunk more hours into this multiplayer than the last few CoDs combined. The campaign is a reason to play Modern Warfare, and the Multiplayer may just be the reason I stick around.
Good: Incredible Graphics, Stunning set pieces, and some brilliant missions that change up the CoD formula.
Bad: The story will never be that great in CoD games, but it doesn’t really need to be. Some scenes that are shocking for shock’s sake that don’t add to the narrative at all.
8/10 – Modern Warfare is back and I am very happy about it.