With another year comes another new Call of Duty title. This time, Modern Warfare II takes the stage as this years title, a direct followup to Modern Warfare 2019. When Infinity Ward and Activision revealed another Modern Warfare II, many wondered if Activision was capable of delivering a worthy sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare. In our Modern Warfare II review, we will dive into all aspects and modes of the game, including campaign, multiplayer, and co-op. Warzone 2.0 will get a separate review later this month.
Starting right off with the campaign, this was a fantastic ride. Each mission had lots of variety which allowed the story to really cinemtically build across different countries. The campaign takes players across Mexico, Amsterdam, Spain, and even offshore to a massive oil rig. Although Modern Warfare II did not take any path that was revolutionary for the series, it strung together fantastic elements from past campaigns into one theatrical experience. The campaign tasks players with tracking down a global terrorist harboring United States missles. This spirals into all sorts of directions but has a clear progression that I felt was handled extremely well.
I felt the campaign did a fantastic job with its characters. Each character had fantastic writing and voice acting. Throughout the story, the characterization of the main two characters, Ghost and Soap, grows and it is really enjoyable to watch that happen. As for the overall story, it kept me on the edge of my seat in some sections with stealth or tense moments. One of my favorite missions from the campaign is set on top of a hill overseeing a base. Price and Gaz are tasked with taking out enemies individually with a sniper. All of this is done while you are in a ghili suit that was used to pass multiple enemies at the start. With all of the campaign missions being unique, each mission lets the player go in blind as to what their objective is.
Overall, the campaign was a fantastic experience that felt like a movie at times. Infinity Ward clearly had a vision and they met it. Although it did not invent anything or do anything groundbreaking for the franchise, it took everything great about the Modern Warfare games and made something really fantastic.
Graphical fidelity took a massive step forwards with this title after a lackluster increase with 2021’s Vanguard. Modern Warfare II truly feels like an evolution of the graphics we have seen for the past 3 years of Call of Duty. Cutscenes for the campaign look incredibly realistic, with the models used having an incredible amount of detail. Lighting and shadows in-game are incredibly impressive and a huge step up for the franchise. There is a segment in the campaign that takes place in Amsterdam, and it can truly be mistaken for real life if not looked at closely. It is extremely impressive that the team was able to accomplish this level of fidelity. This is most noticable in the campaign with its dark corridors, but players can spot these improvements in multiplayer as well.
Multiplayer brings back the sharp and quick gameplay fans loved from Modern Warfare 2019. MWII requires much quicker thinking and action from its players than the previous 2 Call of Duty entries. This means tactical and quick decisions can be the difference between having a positive or negative KD. Gunplay in Modern Warfare II overall is tight and feels great, something that cannot be said about some CoD entries. While the time to kill might be a bit high in some instances, it is manageable. As for variety of modes offered, Modern Warfare II offers 9 standard multiplayer modes.
Modes offered include the following:
- Team Deathmatch
- Search And Destroy
- Kill Confirmed
- Prisoner Rescue
- Knock Out
These modes are all enjoyable and I have had a great time thus far. While these are a good time, I hope Activision considers bringing over more modes soon. One mode in particular I really would love is Gun Game. Gunfight from Modern Warfare 2019 would also be a fantastic addition to this title. I would expect at least one of these to be implmented in Season 2.
MWII does include Moshpit, however that mode is now played in 3rd person. This is a first for a franchise that has been strictly first person until now. This mode is fun but… weird to say the least. It feels very unnatural to be playing any form of Call of Duty in 3rd person after so long. While I do not spend much time in Moshpit, I still believe the mode is fun. It is just very different from anything we have seen before from Call of Duty.
The final category of multiplayer modes is co-op. There are three missions available currently, all of which offer players a unique experience. Low Profile offers an extreme stealth mission where players must infiltrate a town without being seen. Denied Area takes on radio towers with vehicle combat, while the last mission, Defender: Mt. Zaya, acts as a wave like mode. All three of these modes are all very fun and are fantastic to play with a friend. More are expected to be added in the future, including Raids, which will focus on attacking and securing an objective.
Onto the technical side of things, I experienced quite a few bugs while playing on PC via Steam. From the get go, on launch weekend I crashed a total of 16 times through the 15 hours I spent playing multiplayer. Obviously, that is not a good thing. While the crashes have gone down since the last update, they have not halted. There were also reports of PlayStation users constantly crashing after loading into matches. Bugs like these distracted from the overall experience so hopefully they are patched soon.
Another technical aspect I did not appreciate was the removal of the stats board. There is no way as of now to locate what your current Kill/Death ratio is. This also includes total wins, losses, matches played, kills, etc. There was no reason to remove this and is slightly offputting in a way. Infinity Ward will most likely bring this back in a future update, however it should have been here at launch. This feature has been in every Call of Duty thus far.
Some players have called out that prestiges are missing currently. This means the level cap as of now is only Level 55. Infinity Ward has addressed this and confirmed that prestiges will drop alongside Season 1.
The Roadmap Ahead
News of Modern Warfare II becoming the franchise’s biggest launch ever broke this week, with the game reportedly making over $800 million dollars already. Sony then broke the news that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has become the biggest game launch ever in the history of the PS Store. These are astounding numbers that only this franchise could pull after 19 years.
This was further backed up by just looking at the PC charts. With MWII marking the franchise’s long awaited return to Steam, it was met with 250,000 concurrent players on Steam alone launch weekend. This includes both all PCs and Steam Deck, Valve’s new portable handheld. Even though Steam Deck players might have to go through a hassle to play the title, it still easily runs the game.
Modern Warfare II is a first for Call of Duty considering this game will be the first to serve two years. For the past 19 years, Call of Duty has released a game annually. That changes next year as Activision focuses on improving the quality of Treyarch’s next title, now launching in 2024. Faced with a brand new slate not seen before, it will be incredibly interesting to see how content is released. The most likely form of content will fall under Seasons if Season 1 is anything to go by. Realistically, this is a healthy approach from the developers. It allows them to work on content for months prior to release, in addition to having a set date to release. Marketing for seasons is incredibly powerful, just take a look at Fortnite’s success.
With Warzone 2.0 and Season 1 set to begin in just under 2 weeks, Modern Warfare II almost has a second launch of sorts on the horizon. Warzone 2.0 boasts a brand new map, gulag, aquatic combat, vehicles, and so much more. This is what truly excites, as in addition to the already fantastic multiplayer offered currently, more is on the horizon. The game itself, while missing some key componenets, has been a blast to play and Season 1 looks to bring brand new content to keep players engaged.
Season 1 is also set to reintroduce a Hardcore Playlist, which is targeted towards experienced and competitive players. This playlist will give players less health while also removing HUD features. As aforementioned, Warzone 2.0 will also drop alongside Season 1. The second iteration of Warzone features a plethora of updates and new features that will give players all sorts of new strategies. On top of all this, Season 1 will also bring the brand new DMZ mode. Details are extremely slim on this mode but we should be getting more information in the coming week. Raids are also promised to release at some point during Season 1, just not at launch. Overall, if future seasons can keep up with content by adding new maps, modes, etc., MWII is in fantastic shape.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has brought me the most enjoyment out of a Call of Duty title in years. With an action packed campaign and a good selection of multiplayer options, MWII stands as a great title for players to enjoy out of the gate. Although some features and modes I would have liked to see are missing, we have two years of content ahead of us. Season 1 drops in just two weeks, acting as a second launch for the title bringing in Warzone 2.0 and multiple new maps for multiplayer. MWII is a title I can absolutely see myself playing for the years ahead.
Stay tuned for our second Modern Warfare II review, focused on Warzone 2.0!