Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2019


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Sept. 16, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare engulfs fans in an incredibly raw, gritty, provocative narrative that brings unrivaled intensity and shines a light on the changing nature of modern war.

Pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

In the age of Fortnite, Call of Duty may no longer be the biggest shooter on the planet, but that doesn't stop it from being a juggernaut of a series. It can be tough to keep a long-running series feeling fresh. Call of Duty has gone all over the place, from World Wars to outer space, and everything from single-shot rifles to literal robots. The latest title in the series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (not to be confused with the 2007 original) is aiming for something different: realism.

Gone are the mech suits and psuedo-magic powers and a lot of the gameplay-before-plausibility mechanics. Instead, the idea is supposed to be a genuine boots-on-the-ground experience. There are a lot of little touches designed to make the environment feel more realistic instead of like a video game level. Doors and windows play a more significant role, and you can interact with them to brace yourself against them. At its core, the game is still Call of Duty, but it's going as far from the space battles and deadly robots as it can. Of course, you still have fun things like killstreaks, so it isn't completely realistic.

The attempted realism of Modern Warfare is probably going to be its make-or-break point. The game cuts out a lot of features that were in previous games in pursuit of feeling more realistic. While it certainly makes the game feel less like a futuristic arcade game, there are features that are missed. One of the most controversial is the lack of a dedicated minimap, which adds a realistic fog of war but makes it far more difficult to coordinate with allies. That is already being adjusted at the time of this writing, but it's probably the biggest example of realism potentially getting in the way of fun.

Other features are going to be more about preferences. Modern Warfare is extremely lethal even by Call of Duty standards. Death comes insanely quickly, and this means smart positioning and learning how to flank your enemies is more important than ever. Oddly enough, this also contributes to the game feeling more arcadelike, as mobility is so important that "realistic" tactics felt less viable because staying still makes you an easy target, even if it grants you extra accuracy. This makes the gameplay very engaging, but it feels odd compared to the goals of true realism.

With that said, the lethality and the lack of a minimap significantly change how the game plays. That old standby of "camping" is extremely viable and a better idea than running around aimlessly. This does make it feel more realistic, and it can be a lot of fun to find a good position and mow down enemies. On the other hand, it can also slow down the pace of the game quite a bit, despite the arcade feel. In the beta, it seemed like one of the best tactics was to grab a shield, grab a corner, and take on what comes to you.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a ton of potential. When the gameplay is working together, it's really smooth and fun in the way that only a good Call of Duty can be. There's still polish that needs to be added to make sure everything's working well together, but Infinity Ward has already shown that it's willing to make changes based on the beta's feedback, and that's a good sign. Most of the issues are tweaks, not massive design changes, and there's plenty of time for that polish to hit before the Oct. 25 release date.

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