Infinity Ward has released new footage for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, slated to hit stores on Oct. 25, which hints at the most mature and sophisticated CoD entry to date.
The raw footage follows on from last week’s tedious reveal stream featuring a handful of YouTubers navigating the 2v2 Gunfight mode with infantile squealing and asinine comments to match.
After a backlash from uninspired fans who demanded a stripped back, less saccharine-dipped sneak peek at the game, the latest batch of gameplay is a wholly different affair. Uncut and free of commentary, it offers a look at what the game will feel like from the player’s end.
Much of Call of Duty’s fast-paced movement and traversal remain but with an added veneer of urgency that lends itself well to the close-quarters maps on display, named Pine, King, and Stack. Rather than an overly complex system of specialists and player-selected load-outs, Gunfight offers a stripped-down mode where meaningful engagement with the enemy is propped up as the primary focus.
Players dart from cover to cover and expose themselves to scout out enemies, occasionally using CoD’s now-signature sliding mechanic. The controls are responsive but have a more pronounced tactical feel – a grounded weight that previous iterations of Activision’s flagship FPS franchise are missing.
Tactical is a keyword here. Modern Warfare has borrowed a page from Rainbow Six: Siege’s book, sidelining the all-guns-blazing approach, for a more measured, and dare we say, cerebral experience.
Weapons have a weightier feel thanks to polished animations and excellent sound effects that give a sense of impact. Every shot counts, and sustaining damage is far less forgiving – partly encouraged by the absence of a health regeneration mechanic.
It seems the classic trope of pelting enemies with a full magazine to down them has been replaced with a far more realistic depiction of gunfights. A handful of deftly aimed shots at the opportune moment can have devastating consequences for the opposing team.
The attention to detail is unmissable. Small features such as guns smoking after use or the ability to rest a weapon on a surface or ledge to increase accuracy lend to the hyper-realism that we heard about at E3.
A closed-door session showcasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s campaign at E3 produced mixed reactions and caused quite the controversy for Activision. Terms such as disturbing and uncomfortable were bandied about with an emphasis on the gritty side of warfare full of tension, harrowing scenes, and realism.
Detractors were quick to point the finger at Activision for allegedly nudging developer Infinity Ward to seek out controversy. More reasoned reactions pointed out that the darker-themes on show harked back to the origins of the franchise, albeit maximized for shock value.
While perennial competitor Battlefield has taken on the task of portraying a slightly skewed take on parsed events from World War 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare firmly sets its sights on the here and now. Terrorists, rebel-led insurgencies, civilians caught up in the horrors of conflict, senseless casualties, political themes, and the psychological weight of combat all take center stage.
This change of focus from the rehashed, arcade-like, multiplayer-focused experience of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may be precisely what the series needs to redeem itself. And possibly even make a statement by depicting war, guts and all, in a way few games have done before.
Regardless of whether this is a calculated attempt at creating a polemic or not, more power to Activision and Infinity Ward for attempting something different and novel in the face of criticism.