Developed by:Infinity Ward Published by:Activision Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1-2 (2-20 Online) Release date:October 25, 2019 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

    For years, gamers had been clamoring for a solid cross-play experience on consoles. And even though it was possible to some degree, certain hurdles kept things separate – it was just last year that Sony finally came around, allowing Fortnite fans to play with friends on Xbox/Switch. So, you can image how people felt when Infinity Ward announced that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare would feature cross-play functionality.

    They were excited. And for good reason, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – a reimagining of IW’s classic shooter – is a complete package in terms of content. It even provides a campaign this time around. MW’s success typically depends on its online offerings though. Thankfully, the multiplayer modes mostly entertain; their highly detailed maps, modern weaponry and solid gunplay are all bolstered by new cross-play features.

    This translates to a modern, boots on the ground FPS experience where players on Xbox One, PS4, and PC can compete with one another. Matches ran smoothly regardless of who was in my party. And PC dominance, thanks to mice and keyboards, could be tailored with a few settings (like toggling controller-only lobbies). Basically, Infinity Ward did a great job of bringing everyone together.

    I couldn’t wait to log on and start bodying rivals with an expanded friend’s list. My anticipation was met with some exciting shootouts, fun late-night sessions, and a ton of frustrating moments. This was due to the rampant camping and lopsided spawns – making it easy to be spawn camped/pinned down by an opposing team – something that seems to be encouraged by the game’s map and sound design.

    Modern Warfare’s maps, though visually pleasing, feature large areas that are filled with open windows, breach-able doors and varying sight lines. It’s possible to be shot from numerous places at any given moment. Avoiding choke points is a must. Taking the scenic route can be just as dangerous though.

    Staying in the shadows and creeping up on enemies or sniping from afar aren’t necessarily safe tactics either. Up until just recently (thanks to a patch), the sound of a player’s boots was really loud. Even when sneaking, it was possible for someone to hear you through a door, resulting in you being shot before entering the room.

    The map designs and sound issues lead to people camping. I mean that in the extreme sense. Where matches take longer than usual because no one is actively fighting/going for objectives. For a match type like Domination, it makes sense to hold a position to better defend the key points on the map. It doesn’t make sense for a team to camp in Kill Confirmed, so much so, that they fail to collect dropped dog tags – the only means of scoring points.

    I’ve played a lot of FPS over the years. Having to deal with campers isn’t anything new, especially in Call of Duty. But I never played a game that felt this predicated on camping. Something that’s really rampant on maps with bad spawn locations. Take Euphrates for example. This map’s spawn points are split by a bridge that acts as a neutral point in game modes like Domination. The problem is that those spawning near “C” are at a tremendous disadvantage; its open location makes it easy pickings from players on the bridge.

    If the team that spawns on “A” is able to keep the spawns from flipping (by not invading “C”) while capturing “B”, locking down their side of the map is as easy as killing their newly spawned rivals. All they’d have to do is secure the bridge. And while it is possible to push past the snipers and such to retake the bridge, it can be daunting; the campers will eventually unlock their killstreaks, making it more difficult for the opposing team to fight back.

    Camping and past sound issues aside, I still mostly enjoyed my time playing MW. The best of which was spent playing Ground War, the new 32v32 Domination styled skirmish. It features huge maps, the ability to spawn on teammates, vehicles – it’s akin to what’s seen in Battlefield, but with a Call of Duty vibe. That’s both good and bad.

    The combat is different enough to be distinct/fun in its own right. This isn’t a Battlefield clone. That said, it’s missing certain elements seen in that other franchise. For one, there’s no way to tell your squad mates what you’re doing or to highlight a target. Go to “C”, not to “D” and all that. Communication is a major part of any objective-based mode. It’s even more important when trying to coordinate the efforts of these large teams.

    All and all, Modern Warfare’s main multiplayer components are pretty good. Infinity Ward has already started making tweaks in hopes of improving what’s there (like fixing bugs, adjusting the sound, and adding modes, to name a few). Beyond that is the campaign and Spec-Ops modes, both of which are worth experiencing.

    The campaign itself, delivers a compelling story. Fans can expect to wrestle with their morality as they hunt down a dangerous terrorist group. There will be times when we feel like heroes. When trying to stop a bombing or helping to liberate an area from Russian forces. There are also the darker moments. Where the ambiguity involved with taking a person’s life for the sake of our beliefs/perceived notion of freedom is highlighted; it does a good job of making player’s feel uncomfortable.

    Some of that will come from the now notorious “Highway of Death” mission. In it, the Russian antagonists is said to have bombed a major road, killing the escaping civilians during an invasion of Urizkstan (a fictious Middle Eastern country). This of course echoes the real Highway of Death – a US lead attack on Iraqi forces, which to some, was seen as a war crime.

    Infinity Ward’s claims of telling a fictional story is valid in that these things never happened. Blaming another country for something we did, fictional or not, is rather tasteless though. And while I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the campaign (I did), this mission’s inclusion tarnishes things a bit.

    Morally speaking, the Spec Ops mode fared better. It offers two cooperative options. One is mission based, taking place after the campaign. The other is a horde or survival mode that harks back to the Spec Ops mode introduced in Call of Duty: Ghosts. Both are fun, though I suspect that most players would have opted for Zombies instead. They aren’t as involved as I’d have liked (story-wise) and it doesn’t take long to grow tired of the survival mode. Still, they both offer something to do beyond the normal competitive trappings.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is solid. It has a decent amount of content/game modes worth jumping into. The best of which is the competitive multiplayer. Even with my frustrations online, I still can’t get enough of playing with old friends, who’ve “returned” after migrating to different platforms. With free maps and features coming via regular updates, I can see myself playing for the foreseeable future.



    Modern Warfare provides entertaining solo and multiplayer experiences. Bad map designs and controversial story elements may taint one’s enjoyment though.



    Things are great from a visual stand point. Some of the returning characters look incredible on current gen consoles – Captain John Price looks better than he did in MW Remastered.



    Take this scoring with a grain of salt. Though it reflects the current imbalances, IW is working to improve things (they’ve already fixed some issues).

    Replay Value:


    The solid gunplay and ability to play with friends across three major platforms will keep fans coming back for more.

    Final Score:


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