Ah, Call of Duty – one of my favorite signs of autumn. Just as mornings are punctuated by the sound of Canada Geese migrating to warmer climes, the tranquility of my living room is punctuated each fall by the incoming Call of Duty beta season. Modern Warfare II (no, the new one, you mean Modern Warfare 2) is the latest addition – the 19th game in the main series, if you’re keeping score – and brings with it a return to the modern setting after last year’s … return to WWII. Much like another fall favorite that returns every year, the pumpkin spice latte, Call of Duty is familiar, reliable, and has no real surprises in store. In other words, it’s nice to have it back, but aside from the obvious visual differences between the two eras, don’t expect anything much different than what you enjoyed last year.
If that sounds like I’m being negative, I’m not. There’s something to be said for familiarity, and despite its throwback to the current setting, Modern Warfare II is recognizable and comfortable from the first second you log into the first round of multiplayer beta. That being said, overall I think Modern Warfare II feels better than last year’s Vanguard – both during its open beta and after launch. The maps are great, I really like the operators and their available skins, and everything just feels a little faster and tighter.
I’m actually surprised how well everything is already working considering that Modern Warfare II doesn’t officially launch until October 28th. The only real issues I’ve run into are some connection issues, losing connection within two matches – but given the fact that I’ve played a lot more than just two matches now, it’s not even close to breaking up. It filled me with optimism for the launch, as last year’s initial beta for Vanguard didn’t hit me, as last year’s early beta lacked polish and felt… well, it felt more like an alpha test.
One of Vanguard’s more unpopular features, skill-based matchmaking, appears to have returned. I say “seems” because I don’t know for sure, but I have a really good hunch and earlier leaks seem to have hinted at his return. See, I’m not great with a controller as opposed to a mouse and keyboard, but after a few matches in the first PlayStation-exclusive beta weekend (perhaps the last of them if the Activision-Blizzard acquisition by Microsoft goes through), I found that it can rack up a decent number of kills per round . (There’s also the ability to play with a compatible mouse and keyboard, which is nice, but not something I’ve taken advantage of, largely due to the fact that my PS5 isn’t with my computer.)
Movement and shooting feel a bit more natural than in the past.
It’s highly unlikely that my controller-based game has improved that quickly, so for someone like me who just sucks CoD on PS5, I definitely appreciate the skill-based matchmaking, but I also understand why it’s so unpopular with dedicated players. It basically makes your average match less frustrating for dirty console casuals like me, but if you’re serious about CoD, skill-based matchmaking requires you to play at your highest possible level 100% of the time and it can end up with you downloading down. your overall stats.
That being said, I find it much easier to play with the controller than in years past, and I don’t know exactly what to attribute it to. It’s possible that I’ve gotten better over the course of a few days, but I think that’s more to do with how the weapons and movement feel. As usual, the aiming click is noticeable when playing with a controller, which is not present for more precise mouse aiming, but overall, moving around the maps and firing thousands of rounds at other players feels good. a little more natural than in the past.
All progression rewards in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Movement in Modern Warfare II is fast and you can double tap to sprint, but one thing that really stuck out to me about this year’s Call of Duty is how the maps force me to slow down at times. It’s not in your best interest to just run around like a maniac all the time. The sound design is really good this year and I could even hear enemies coming at me, even on my TV. In the past, I’ve had trouble identifying or even hearing footsteps without using headphones. Since the audio cues are so much better, I found myself sneaking around the inner parts of maps trying to jump on other players as opposed to running in Leeroy Jenkins style and giving myself away before I even opened door.
Another thing I like about the maps is that they encourage you to constantly move around and take advantage of the entire area, whereas with Vanguard I found myself mostly sticking to the perimeters, circling over and over throughout each match and shooting people in the middle like a fish in a barrel. Not only are the new maps difficult to circle, they’re laid out in such a way that you’ll almost never have a place to hide where you won’t become vulnerable to at least two advantages. Hopefully this will carry over to most if not all maps in the final game as I quite like it.
Maps encourage you to move more and use the entire area.
The Breenbergh Hotel has great, open spaces that take you into the building itself, where there is a strong mix of mid-range and close-range combat. Farm 18 is littered with buildings and maze-like training areas that bring you closer to your opponents, but even that has a few longer areas to get in a sniper shot or two. Finally, Mercado Las Almas also mixes things up, with plenty of buildings that can pass melee spamming attacks, while also having more than one place to peek out of windows and try to pick people off as they turn the corner. There’s also a great section in the middle of this map where several paths converge in the marketplace, with a small offset where you can sit and get a clear view of one side of the map… but not so great to hide from the enemies that surround you. you and attack from behind. I’m really enjoying them and now I’m having a hard time picking my favorites. If there are any negatives to the maps and how they require you to be constantly moving, it’s that scoring executions is a bit harder now that you’re less likely to sneak up on a caravan. That’s a small price to pay for better overall flow, of course – but who doesn’t love to give a campervan what it deserves?
Every IGN Call of Duty Review
One of my biggest complaints about Vanguard was how often I’d run into an enemy and not know if he was on my team or not, and we’d dance around for a while until one of us realized, “Hey, wait, those guys from the other team!” and opened fire. This year I’m happy to say I haven’t had this problem once. The two alphabet soup warring organizations, SPECGRU and KORTAC, both look mostly like generic spec-ops operators, so the potential for confusion is high .However, when someone on your team is nearby, they say something like “I’ve got your six” and the blue dot above their heads that identifies them as a teammate is much easier to spot, even when you’re crouched down.
Again though, I have to say that while I’m having a lot of fun with this year’s Call of Duty beta so far, it’s exactly what I expected to happen and there really isn’t much that’s new or different even after 80 years. to the future. Sure, the operators look awesome and there are a few familiar faces (would it really be a Modern Warfare game if it didn’t feature Soap MacTavish?) and it’s nice to have actual modern weapons instead of WWII weapons. feel like modern weapons, but the multiplayer loop is exactly the same so far. Level up your profile to unlock new weapons, skins, operators and more, then level up your weapons and unlock accessories to customize your outfit. It’s exactly the same as last year… and the year before that… and the year – well, you get the idea. This is the 19th mainline CoD, mind you.
Also, the game modes are exactly what you expect. Team Deathmatch and Domination are coming back and even though all the rules are pretty much the same, I really like how the Domination games play now compared to last year. Again, I have to attribute this to the maps; every damn dominance match I played last year came down to whichever team Bravo dominated won, but I haven’t played a single match this year that way. Instead of centering the action around one point, the matches I played over the weekend saw ownership of Alf, Bravo and Charlie all swing back and forth in a way that was really fun and exciting.
Despite jumping 80 years into the future, not much is new.
Knockout mode requires your team to secure a bag of cash and keep it for a full minute; whichever player is holding the bag is visible to everyone on the map, giving survival an extra layer of difficulty, and there are no respawns (you can revive teammates, though), so killing the other team is also a valid path to victory. It’s fun, but not my favorite mode. I prefer modes with respawns so I can jump back into the action rather than waiting for a respawn from a teammate that never comes.
Prisoner Rescue puts you in the role of either a kidnapper or a hostage rescuer. The kidnapping team must guard two handcuffed and blindfolded prisoners while the rescue team works to free them. It’s basically capture the flag, but with NPC prisoners playing the role of the lootable item. Like Knockout, there are no respawns, but revivals are possible. I enjoyed it, but less than the tried and true classics, again mainly because I just don’t enjoy non-spawned game modes that much.
Finally, there’s the “3rd Person Moshpit”, the first time a third-person mode has appeared in CoD multiplayer since 2011’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (not to be confused with Modern Warfare III, which we’ll probably see in 2029 or something ). ). I dig this mod a lot, though I can’t figure out why. Functionally it’s just Team Deathmatch, but you see your operator running around the map. Aiming down is exactly the same as in first person, unsurprisingly, but there’s just something extra that keeps it appealing. I will say though that I encountered my first set of cheats in third person mode so I was a little disappointed. That’s not Moshpit’s fault though, so I’m willing to give it another clean this coming weekend.
So far, I’m having more fun than the finished version of Vanguard.
All in all, while I’m having more fun than I did with the finished version of Vanguard (which I still enjoyed!), I’m excited to see what, if any, meaningful new additions could make their way into Modern Warfare II. for final release. My favorite new mode from Vanguard was Champion Hill, and while I don’t expect to see a return this year, something along those lines would really excite me on these extremely high quality maps. The same goes for Patrol, another favorite from Vanguard.
Despite Modern Warfare II feeling almost overwhelmingly familiar, I’m having a good time playing it and crossing my fingers that we’ll see some meaty and meaningful additions to mix it up a bit. I have a (completely unconfirmed) feeling that Activision might have some surprises in store for the next round of betas, which hopefully might actually get me excited instead of just pleasantly pleased to be back in my groove. I’ll be back after the beta this coming weekend (all platforms involved this time) to let you know how it goes.