Review: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (119 GB)
Release Date: October 25, 2019
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), £59.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I’ll start off with the good news. No season pass or loot boxes; instead there will be free map updates so the community won’t get fragmented. Now the bad, for those of you who watch the news, you probably know of a particular war crime that has been credited to the wrong military power in the game. All I will say on the matter is that all governments have done horrific and disgusting things over the years, I’m not here to review them, I’m here to review a game.

The last game I played extensively in this series was Call of Duty: WWII, I didn’t bother with Black Ops 4 as I wasn’t a fan of the Specialists. There wasn’t a single-player campaign either, which upset some fans.

Gameplay:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is split into three distinct sections, Campaign, Multiplayer, and Co-op. The latter has replaced the Zombies mode, which I feel is a fitting and refreshing change. I always felt like the Zombies mode was a bit intimidating for new players.

Killstreaks are back, much to the annoyance of my wife who favored the easier to attain Scorestreak. From Sentry Guns to the fearsome Juggernaut, there is plenty for everyone’s style of play. Although, with the latter, I noticed it isn’t an instant upgrade to my armor, as I have to wait for it to be dropped by a passing helicopter, which means anyone could potentially grab it. Then, there is the fact that upon death, the minigun is left behind for anyone else to grab.

The Campaign feels more gritty and close to home, especially with some of it set in London. Gone are the massive blowing-up-the-moon storylines or whatever silly narratives they eventually reached in the earlier games. Now, it feels like I’m kicking down my neighbor’s door and facing off against people, not cookie-cutter drones. These people hide under beds and plead for their lives, only to pull a weapon and see if my emotions had interfered with my reactions.

The story is still a linear narrative through checkpointed set pieces. It just feels more realistic than earlier games. Don’t get me wrong, there is still an abundance of the enemy to kill and plenty of explosions. It just feels like Infinity Ward took their inspiration from the Sicario films rather than the early Bond movies.

Newcomers to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will not need to have played any of the sixteen or so games before it, although they will miss a couple of little nods to the earlier games and characters. Plus the five difficulty levels means almost anyone could happily get through the Campaign.

The story itself puts the player in some very uncomfortable situations and even allows some decisions to be made. I didn’t bother playing it again to see how different the outcome to these would be, but I’m not expecting a major difference. There was one moment in the Campaign that I didn’t enjoy playing until the protagonists were able to exact their revenge.

As the story neared its conclusion, I began to see the old hallmarks of the series creep back in, like a bad taste in my mouth. Luckily, it didn’t get too over-the-top and just managed to be enjoyable till the end. I’m even looking forward to where the story is heading.

Visuals:
Without a doubt the best graphics in a Call of Duty game and in some instances, the best graphics this generation. Infinity Ward had their sights set on realism and they nailed it. I almost checked to see if my aging TV had a HDR upgrade as the lighting in this game is magnificent. There is even a night time only mode which can be fun, although I wouldn’t suggest turning off the goggles in a cave or building like I stupidly did.

Smoke and particle effects look great too. Even in multiplayer, the subtle effects add to the beautiful world and make it come alive. Some tarpaulin blowing in the breeze, shooting the tires out of a police car, and the subway train rattling by just outside of the map. It all looks so good that I even loaded up a local game without any other players just to appreciate it fully.

Instead of being locked in position as the timer ticks down at the start of a multiplayer match, I am now treated to being flown or driven into the map. I did notice a few glitches when in the back of a van but that could have been the level loading slowly, as it didn’t happen all of the time.

There is no doubt in my mind that this game is only suited to mature minds, as the violence and theme are presented in an eerily realistic way. The people act more life-like than ever before and in some instances die in horrific ways.

Dismemberment & Gore Effects can be disabled in the Options menu, but I still advise parents to take note of the age guidelines, as they aren’t holding back this time. In fact, every time the Campaign is started there is a Mature Content Notice.

I am delighted to see several options for color-blind players along with the choice of having motion-blur with regard to the world and the weapon. The Profanity Filter for text chat is a nice addition but I didn’t bother with it.

Audio:
The sound design is excellent and best experienced through headphones. Again, I am reminded of the ominous tones of Sicario, which isn’t a bad thing. This game is loud; I had to lower the sliders, as it startled my family several times when booting up the game, much to my amusement.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare features some excellent voice acting, and their performances help to immerse the player deeper into the action. The contextual voices in Hardcore Multiplayer have saved a few of my teammates from some accidental friendly-fire as their character alerts me of their presence when close.

Online/Multiplayer:
Now for the most important mode for the majority of players, the wife and I included. The Multiplayer feels fresh, fast, and just as fun as I remember. It still isn’t perfect and I’ve occasionally died for silly or strange reasons. None of those oddities have managed to sour my enjoyment, It really feels like they took everything that I liked from the old games and mashed them together, strained it through a lovely new engine, leaving a lovely smooth and delightful blend of my everything that makes Call of Duty great.

Doors. Yes, this mode features this groundbreaking technology too. Joking aside, I am surprised at what the doors do to a multiplayer match. Hearing someone barge through one or closing it for the element of surprise and breaking the line of sight can make a big difference in a Search & Destroy match.

For the first time on the series, this installment features cross-platform multiplayer. There is an option to opt-out if you wish and to select if you don’t mind playing with keyboard and mouse configurations, which is also possible on the PS4, although I didn’t get a chance to test it out.

The wife and I have played many multiplayer matches in split-screen and the graphics quality and frame-rate is still high. It does make the game more difficult, as it can be hard to spot the enemy but that’s the price we pay.

The Co-Op, to my initial surprise, isn’t playable in split-screen. After playing in one of the four Public Matches, I can see why. The map is huge and there is plenty going on. One of our team went off on their own across the other side of a town and got into some trouble. My Team Heal ability hadn’t kicked in so I jumped on a quad bike and went to their rescue. After being healed they took my ride, but I managed to jump on board.

It felt very similar to their Battle Royale mode, just without all of the players peppered across the map. I had fun in these missions, which loosely continue on from the Campaign but the teams I joined never quite made it to the end. I might jump back in once my loadouts are better equipped.

The other two modes in Co-Op are Survival and Classic Special Ops. the latter is a horde mode that always turns into mayhem after a few waves. The former is another wave-based game where kills earn cash. It is set in a larger area with the option to buy weapons and ammo before each wave.

Conclusion:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is not without its controversies and a few multiplayer bugs, I’m sure most of which will be squashed. If you put aside the illegal killstreak and rewriting of historical events, which I won’t go into detail about here, then what is left is an outstanding game.

The Campaign works well and definitely feels more grounded and real. The ending intrigued me but I wasn’t left wanting more. Is that a bad thing? I’ll let you decide. The graphics and level design is expertly crafted, especially in the close-quarters sections. I really felt like part of a Breach and Clear team.

The Multiplayer is back on form and everything a classic player would enjoy. It isn’t perfect and I look forward to the free updates expanding the maps and modes. The weaving routes and verticality in the maps give plenty of variety to a plan of attack. I’ve even found that I can traverse some barbed wire to reach a sneaky vantage point in Search & Destroy.

The Co-Op mode is nice, although I don’t think I’ll bother with it for the time being as I’m having too much fun in Multiplayer. Ground War is Activision’s answer to Battlefield and it can be fun, but when I’m playing with people who still run-and-gun it gets frustrating.

I could go on, as there is so much I still could mention, but for the sake of our editor and your patience, I will finish by saying that the Campaign and Multiplayer are excellent and well worth it, especially if you like the classic games, as this has gone back to its roots.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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