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April 2024

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox Studios
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2022

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PC Review - 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Nov. 8, 2022 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Task Force 141 makes its massive return with a global squad of iconic veterans, these Operators include Captain John Price, Simon “Ghost” Riley, John “Soap” MacTavish, Kyle 'Gaz' Garrick and introducing Mexican Special Forces Colonel Alejandro Vargas.

Buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

What has happened to Call of Duty?

I'll admit that I had some relatively elevated hopes when it came to the newest entry in the long-running series. Call of Duty games have followed a "tick tock" release schedule for a while now, and I've enjoyed the offerings developed by Infinity Ward more so than the rest. While it was not without its flaws, 2019's Modern Warfare was a high point in the modern entries of the series. If I had hopes that this year's release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II would have been a continuation of that form, they were dashed by a flawed release that has seen little in the way of post-launch support thus far.

While there are other components to the game, let's be realistic: Multiplayer is considered the main draw here, and to their credit, the developers have put more of a spin on it compared to the previous Modern Warfare offering. One new multiplayer mode is Hostage Rescue, in which respawning is disabled and one team must attempt to rescue a pair of hostages being held by the other team. The exact placement of the hostages is somewhat random, and it makes for a style of tense, methodical gameplay normally found in, well, games that aren't Call of Duty.

Another new mode is Invasion, which not only has two teams of 20 players facing off on a larger map, but there are also a variety of vehicles to take to the field. Additionally, there are 20 AI soldiers on each team that will push the front, and while it's almost always obvious which is which, it does make the overall battle feel large without the expense of an overly chaotic front line. Rounding out the new modes is Knock Out, which is another no respawn mode that pits the team against each other to see who can grab a bag of cash and hold onto it until either the round ends or the other team is wiped out.

A lot of old favorites have returned, such as Hardpoint, Domination, and ol' reliable Team Deathmatch. Kill Confirmed has also managed to see the light of another release, but the chaotic nature of its spawns and that tags show up on the minimap makes victory or defeat continue to feel random at best. Other modes, such as Headquarters and Search and Destroy, have made their way back into the rotation, but their gameplay is effectively no different from the previous release.

One thing is clear: The release of the game and the condition that the multiplayer is in tells me that the success of a Call of Duty game is taken for granted. It will so reliably sell millions of day-one copies that the developers no longer need to polish things before release or react with any urgency when new issues are discovered. A relatively easy invulnerability glitch that makes players unkillable — giving them easy access to game-ending nukes — has been in the wild for days. The multiplayer menu frame rate frequently drops to sub-single digits when the state of the lobby changes. I had to use a VPN of all things to breathe life back into my client's ability to connect to the game's network on nearly as many occasions as I have fingers.

It's inexplicably strange to have issues such as this in a title that is supposed to be a flagship, and that is ignoring the myriad other issues the game has, including frequent crashing and features such as the new "weapon tuning" being completely unusable for an entire week after release. Once you hit the level cap of 55, you lose entire bits of functionality, including seeing in the match summary how much experience you gain for a weapon or what unlocks you achieved. Even stranger yet is how little communication has come out of Infinity Ward on these issues, and other than backend updates that have no patch notes, there has not been a single patch for the game at the time of this review.

It's a shame because when the game works, it really hits its marks. Movement feels grounded and only slightly weighty, much as it did in the 2019 release. Goofy movement quirks such as slide canceling are nowhere to be seen (mixed opinions there), but I haven't missed it. Gunplay feels like it rewards skill with accurate fire, and while there is plenty of rage around the game's aim assist for controller users, it generally seems overblown. When everything lines up right, Modern Warfare II has some of the best multiplayer of any current first-person shooter. It's just a shame that literally every match at this point is hamstrung by at least one issue, if not a few.

The new gunsmith system is controversial, but I've enjoyed the changes. You no longer grind one gun to get all of its attachments, but instead, each gun belongs to a family of firearms. Unlocking an attachment from any firearm in that family not only unlocks it for the guns in the group but for others as well. This means that you may unlock the laser slot for a particular SMG, and then equip it with one that you'd previously unlocked with an assault rifle. Then, you realize that a different laser you want was unlocked by a particular shotgun's path, and suddenly, you're compelled to use a pump-action for a few games.

It's the same with camos; each gun unlocks four camouflages of their own and via specific challenges. Once unlocked, the camo can then be applied to any gun you have. Once all four of those camos are unlocked, you can pursue the gold camo challenge and start that grind for successively rarer levels of camos that are specific to just that gun. Some people aren't fans of the need to jump around to different guns to unlock different attachments and camos, but I found it a great reason to keep things fresh.

The game launched with three Special Ops co-op campaigns; two of them are a more mission-like affair, and the third is effectively horde mode, where you and your co-op partners defend three points against waves of enemies. The more mission-driven ones are a lot of fun, with one of them tasking you with traveling a few kilometers to blow up a few SAM sites along the way. The other has you parachute in Warzone-style to a military complex with three nuclear warheads that need to be found. The big issue with all of them is they don't have a massive amount of replayability. With only three campaigns available, the mode is more of a novelty right now than any sort of mainstay.

The campaign is mechanically well-done and tasks the crew of Price, Soap, Ghost, and the others with finding out why some high-end American missiles are in the hands of a terrorist organization. The plot has an unexpected twist leading into the back third or so, and while the plot is solid enough, it never achieves a level of urgency or makes the stakes feel that high. Even the payoff for resolving the plot twist never really comes, and it's likely being saved for future DLC content — if not a future game entirely.

It's a hell of a good time, though. The stakes may not feel large, but the game has no problem with letting the levels have a ton of creativity. Some missions are straightforward pew-pew affairs, and then you find yourself commandeering vehicles by leaping between them at highway speeds after dangling upside-down from a helicopter. You'll roll wounded into a ditch and spend an entire level crafting shivs and improvised traps from materials found in the environment, making the time you finally get hands on a firearm feel like an accomplishment and yet something you want to use sparingly. Then, you're watching and directing Ghost via CCTV cameras in a level like the one found in the 2019 release, except this time, instead of directing an unarmed person, you're commanding Ghost to skulk around and silently shoot foes before leaping off a rooftop and shanking another.

As was probably predicted, Modern Warfare II is a bit of a graphical powerhouse. On an RTX 3080 at 1440p, I was able to run the game north of 120 fps with DLSS set to "Balanced," and with all settings maxed, the game loves to look as visually interesting as possible. It's not just in the detail and believability of the characters and their animations; the environments are chock-full of little details. Clearly, people took a lot of time in crafting all of those touches, and every level feels like a showcase.

Still, it's hard to feel like the multiplayer wasn't just thrown into the wild for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. It's not unplayable, but there are so many flaws that consistently and almost constantly crop up. The lack of post-launch support makes it feel as though Call of Duty is a victim of its own success, and it really doesn't matter what state it's in or how quickly it gets fixed because millions of people have already purchased it, and it'll all be forgotten before the launch of the next one. My hope is that the players won't be simply taken for granted going forward, but in the meantime, Modern Warfare II certainly subscribes to the mentality of, "Screw it. People are going to buy it anyway."

Score: 7.6/10

Reviewed on: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 3080

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