The day has come. After what has seemed like an eternity with a hefty promotional lead-up, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is now out in the wild.
Players can finally jump in and sample the murderous hyper-realistic delights of Infinity Ward and Activision’s latest effort. Sadly, Russian PlayStation 4 players won’t be able to join the fun after Sony decided to axe sales of the digital edition in the country.
The reviews are coming in thick and fast. They are generally positive and signal a return to form for the franchise. They do come with a notable caveat, though. Activision took the somewhat unorthodox approach of not sending out review copies to the gaming press.
Instead, the publisher held a two-day Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ‘review event’ where the press was able to sample the game in a controlled environment. Activision opted for this route seemingly spurred on by a desire to avoid gameplay leaks. Or, possibly, copies getting into the wrong hands ahead of release.
Respected independent reviewer Karak from YouTube channel ACG points out that the review process didn’t sit well with all outlets. Big-name publications like IGN refused to attend the event. Eurogamer also looks to have opted for a more traditional review too and waited for full access to the game.
Game Informer had the following to say, assigning a 8.8/10 rating;
All told, Modern Warfare should have received a new Call of Duty subhead given just how different its avenues of play are. Not every one of Infinity Ward’s ideas works, but a few are successful enough that I could see them as series staples. Modern Warfare’s accomplishments may not be as pronounced as Black Ops 4’s (Blackout being one of them), but it still delivers a hell of a multiplayer experience. Gunfight alone is worth the price of admission.
Just when it could really make a point about any other aspect of modern war, it pulls back. Modern Warfare makes old observations and presents them with new flourishes. Those new flourishes do make for a good campaign and solid multiplayer. But it’s when Modern Warfare asks you to think harder that it falls short.
It’s less Shock and Awe, and more contemplative overall; more precise and more consistent in its creative vision, direction, and execution than its spiritual predecessor. Modern Warfare doesn’t feel like a collection of missions stitched together, but a desperate race against time.
When it works to emphasise some perceived darker reflection of the world, it comes across as callous and a little cynical. That isn’t enough to detract from what this Modern Warfare revival is ultimately able to achieve, but there’s still work for Infinity Ward to do as it works to re-establish this series for a new generation.
Modern Warfare is an evolution for the series, and it’s exciting. Unfortunately, this evolution is only half-realized in multiplayer. Here, the relics of 2007 clash with fresh ideas. Modern Warfare aspires to be grounded and tactical while giving you the power to pilot your own heavy gunship. For as far as Modern Warfare moves the needle, it still spends so much energy checking the same old boxes.
The outlet also had this to say about the review event;
The version I played at the review event was in rough shape. Enemies constantly spawned behind us in areas we’d already cleared, we never had enough ammo, and the balance felt totally off. Almost no groups could finish a single mission (mine included). We didn’t have much fun, but it’s easy to see where it can be improved.
If Black Ops 4’s lack of single-player sidelined you last year then Modern Warfare’s superfluous modes do little to tarnish one of the best campaigns in the history of the series. And while not every mode works (yet), multiplayer offers the same addictive class progression and laser-precise gunplay for which CoD is known, this time with a more measured pace that rewards patience and tactical nous over twitch gunskill.
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