Keeping in tone of the original 'Modern Warfare' trilogy, 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' lives up to its legacy – but never surpasses it.
Returning to the franchise is the inclusion of a single-player campaign - which might not seem a bit odd for a video game, but seeing as how the last 'Call of Duty' game - 'Black Ops 4' - left one out, it's worth mentioning. As an entry into the entire franchise, the new single-player campaign is strong, and one of the best in years. Although, as a microcosm of the 'Modern Warfare' series, it is the weakest narratively.
With massive boots to fill, there aren’t really any stand-out missions that are as memorable as the likes of 'All Ghillied Up', 'No Russian', or 'Cliffhanger'. While the story tries to be as poignant as others at showing the harsh realities of war, it never parallels the shock and awe of other entries to the series. In particular, there is a moment where you are asked explicitly whether you would like to go all-in and take the gloves off or skip a short segment of the game. In true 'Call of Duty' fashion, you’d expect a hugely controversial moment, but instead you get a very diluted version of what you were waiting for.
In terms of gameplay, the new Modern Warfare is whole-heartedly enjoyable. Characters and weapons have a tangible weight to them, which adds to the realistic experience. Weapons seem more powerful, achieved through the incredible sound design of gunfire. Dynamic changes in pitch help the player to indicate where enemies are firing from, and it creates a soundscape that fully realises what one would assume a real-life scenario would sound like. The graphics are incredible in 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare',with some cutscenes nearing photo-realism.
Of course, the most notable aspect of any 'Call of Duty' is its online multiplayer, which is just as good as ever here, but lacks the innovation that the original trilogy brought to the table. The only notable addition is Groundwar. The new 100 v 100 mode with vehicles is essentially a cross between a large-scale Domination game and Battlefield and while it's enjoyable, this mode doesn’t really equal the sum of its two parts. In contrast, the 2v2 mode Gunfight is a bit like a private match in 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' with your friends for quick scopes and other miscellaneous games. While that all sounds incredible, there’s something lacklustre about a 40 second per round game mode with 4 people where you’re given random loadouts.
Across the board, players will find familiar game modes from previous iterations, level building, and prestige progressions. The beginning of a match offers a much more palatable wait time, with the inclusion of mini-cutscenes showing your journey to the map via a multitude of vehicular animations; masking the traditional countdown timer. There’s a great mix of maps to play on, all offering opportunities to play short-range or long-range depending on your preferred play style. However, there doesn’t seem to be a map voting feature, which limits your ability to play on your favourite map more frequently.
Going back to controversies and 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare', the most notable one takes place around the inclusion of the Spec Ops Survival Mode remaining exclusive to Playstation 4 until October 1st 2020 - a full year’s wait for players on other platforms to play a feature of the game. That being said, the Classic Spec-Ops experience of earning up to three stars depending on your performance isn’t yet available on any platform, and therefore can’t be reviewed at this point in time. Stay tuned, as when they’re released we’ll have a review ready to go.
All in all, while 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' might be as enjoyable as ever, it never truly becomes anything greater than what it once was. Let’s not lose hope for the inevitable sequel.