UFG Goes Hands on With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Beta

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the game fans have been asking for. Gone are the jetpacks, robots and whimsical nonsense that seemed to anchor the series in recent years. In their place is another boots-on-the-ground, gritty, modern experience – basically, a new Modern Warfare.

Of course, that’s not to say that every past CoD title has been bad. We rather enjoyed a lot of them, Black Ops 4 and WWII especially. But none of them seemed like a proper follow up to the critically acclaimed MW series. That’s not the case with this reimagining. At least, that’s the way it seemed when playing the recent beta.

Look, I’m not even going to hold you. I was really impressed by the Beta. With only a few maps to choose from, some assorted weapons, and the level 10 player cap (that was later raised), there wasn’t a ton content to try out. Still, what was available proved to be entertaining.

At this point, most of us are familiar with majority of CoD’s mechanics and game modes; Domination is still about capturing points on a map, for example. What stands out are the blended elements from previous games and modes. Bullets can pierce through cover. It’s possible to open, close, and breach doors. Rival players take less shots to kill. Headshots mean everything, regardless of weapon. That said, the damage output changes based on how far away the target is.

All of these things have been featured in a previous game. The difference here is that they aren’t tied to a particular game or mode. Breaching was held for a given campaign. The shooting is slightly more realistic, which was usually the case when playing Hardcore modes, not casual. Being able to shoot through walls and such was typically tied to a perk. Now, it depends on what gun you’re using and the type of material/object being shot.

Running and gunning is still a viable option. That said, the map design helped in pushing players into different roles. They weren’t huge but offered multiple routes to objectives, buildings to run in/out of, and verticality thanks climbable ledges and vehicles. And while fully automatic weapons ruled most of the time, proper sniper cover of a given alley ended up swaying matches.

There were other blended aspects. Like the absent mini-map. Originally, when attacked. players only had red flashes indicating the direction of gunfire – again, something that was held for the more Hardcore trappings. The only time the mini-map showed up was when someone activated a UAV killstreak. That changed when players started mentioning how much they missed the feature.

Infinity Ward quickly reacted to fan feedback. Even for things that didn’t need to be changed; I for one, preferred the way earlier matches were conducted. It was good to see them patch in wanted elements though. That made the beta feel like an actual beta and not a glorified demo for people who pre-ordered.

One of the newest aspects of CoD were the night variants of maps. Unlike past night-based maps, these locations required the use of thermal vision googles when outside to find enemies. This is where I really began to shine. As someone who is always the close-quarter combat person in our squad, having a variant that allows me the advantage of being sneaky. Creeping around, using heat producing tools/environmental items to distract rivals, getting the drop on someone exiting a building – it all provided a new sense of excitement, separate of what the normal maps offered.

Having to rely on body heat and sound while in the dark can be tough. For this reason, picking the right perks is super important. We didn’t get to see most of them given the beta’s limited content. There were classic ones like Scavenger, which lets you pick up ammo from the deceased around the map. And new ones as well. From what we saw, they all feel more impactful this time around (regardless of map type).

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta was a breath of fresh air. Having realistic control of weapons again, no physical enhancements (used for things like wall running), and mechanics that were usually held for the campaign makes MW stand out. And this is just the beginning; the next Beta weekend will offer cross-play, a first for the series.

Being able to play with friends across several platforms is a major step in the right direction. I can’t wait to see how this feature is implemented; as of right now, we know that you’ll be able to party with friends based on platform and control type. Hopefully, Infinity Ward has worked out most if not all of the bugs. Regardless, I’m going to be spending this weekend playing Modern Warfare!

The second Beta’s Early Access period started today at 1pm Eastern on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The full game releases on October 25th.

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