Hardpoint. It’s the closing moments of the match and my team is seconds away from putting this one in the win column. All entrance points are covered and clocks running down. Suddenly a flash-bang flies threw a window. Everyone on coms screaming get down and open fire, doors swing open and bullets are flying in all directions.
The team is completely blind, and the only recognizable icon appearing on screen are the skulls of my fallen teammates. Time is up and the screen fades…VICTORY! For me and the millions of others who migrate to the yearly COD release these are the heart-pounding adrenaline-filled moments we crave and only a COD title can deliver. So, without further ado, it’s time to dolphin dive into this review.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II (MW2) campaign is roughly a 6–7-hour affair. This is typically the norm for COD campaigns with the exception of COD: Black Ops Cold War which had multiple endings, therefore, requiring players to replay particular missions and make different decisions to obtain alternate endings. MW2 campaign is a linear story that follows Price, Ghost, Soap, and the rest of the elite task force 141 to hunt down terrorists and cartel warlords around the globe.
The high points for COD campaigns have always been the presentation. Each location has a unique feel, from the café filled streets of Amsterdam to the back mountains of Mexico. Each location also includes at least one new gameplay tweak. For example, there is a mission in which you will use a variety of new gadgets never seen in a COD title, one was a heart monitor device that can be used on buildings to detect how many people (if any) are inside. In another mission, you will have to “persuade a would-be attacker to lay down their weapon, think Battlefield Hardline. The over-the-top cinematics remains present along with some frantic gunplay scenarios.
My only complaint with the MW2 campaign is that almost every mission felt like missions played in previous COD titles. MW 2019’s most memorable mission is named Clean House which has your team sneaking around a house engaging in close-quarters combat. Well, WM2 revisits this gameplay experience multiple times throughout the campaign.
There is also a mission in which you need to lay prone while an enemy scout team is walking inches from you. We experience this gameplay in multiple COD titles and if you’re a long-time COD player then you will definitely experience Deja Vu with various titles in the franchise due to the amount of familiarity with the mission structure.
I also felt the mission pacing was a bit off. I get doing the slow build with a stealth approach to guns blazing. However, in many instances, it felt like a short burst between the two and at times I just got frustrated and went LEEROY JENKINS! Overall, the campaign was fun and the map design is top notch with realistic environment lighting and stunning character models.
Yet it felt like a collection of popular COD missions with a few tweaks implemented. I really hoped that after COD: Black Ops Cold War that the new dialogue mission structure was going to be implemented across all future campaigns but this is not the case. I would also like the return of campaign co-op which we haven’t seen since COD: Black Ops 3.
There is no denying it, the heart of any COD title is in fact the multiplayer. There is a morbidly satisfying euphoric feeling when launching into any MP mode. I think it absolutely has to do with the controls which are the gold standard for any shooter. Once the countdown starts and my teammates begin to spawn around me, I feel ready, confident, and like the ultimate G.I. Joe about to unleash a hail storm of precise shots from my modified M4.
Now don’t get me wrong, my K/D is nothing to brag about and I tend to trail toward the lower end of the scale win or lose but it’s not about that. For me and so many others, it’s about the wave of adrenaline-inducing action that takes place. MW2 is packed with 12 multiplayer modes that range from traditional team deathmatch, and kill confirmed to the new team objective mode prisoner rescue and large team battles such as ground wars and my new favorite mode Invasion.
This is a 20 v 20 ground war-style mode with the goal to reach 1000 points before the other team. Points can be earned by performing various tasks on the battlefield. A cool addition to this mode is the inclusion of AI enemies, similar to Star Wars Battlefront 2 MP. From my interactions, they move like human players meaning they will take cover from fire, and peak over objects and corners to take shots. You will also obtain XP for killing AI enemies. Below is a quick overview of how the point differs from eliminating operators to AI enemies.
1 Point: Eliminating a Combatant
2 Points: Shooting down an enemy UAV or Counter-UAV
3 Points: Shooting down a VTOL Jet, Support Helo, or Chopper Gunner
5 Points: Eliminating an Operator, shooting down an enemy Gunship, or destroying an Operator-owned or occupied vehicle.
Another new addition to the MP is one that I personally feel is a game-changer for the franchise and will become a mainstay across all COD titles going forward. This would be the new third-person moshpit. This here is a brand-new built from the ground up third-person experience that feels smooth as butter. It’s a beautiful sight (literally) to see your operator in full running around and taking cover behind objects or performing quick dolphin dives. Holding the Left trigger will pull the camera in closer to an over-the-shoulder view similar to Tom Clancy’s the Division.
The argument some within the COD community have with the third-person view is that it doesn’t produce a “truly immersive experience”. The truth is both gameplay styles have a give and take. First-person provides a better FOV, especially for enemies at long distances, however, your peripheral is limited. Third-person provides great peripherals with a limited-depth view. Regardless, I had just as much fun playing in 3rd person if not more since it very much still felt like I was playing Call of Duty but from a whole new perspective. It’s worth mentioning that 3rd person mode will also be included in Warzone 2 and I’m sure this will draw the interest of Fortnite players.
There was once an Ad for a previous COD release that showed people from all walks of life racing home to play Call of Duty. That was very much a true depiction of this ever-growing community.
MW2 is packed with fun-filled match types and game modes to entice any gamer looking for a military shooter with a solid campaign, and a feature-rich multiplayer mode that includes a multitude of weapon types, attachments, and perks along with challenge-filled seasons to keep you motivated to obtain new goodies. So, whether you want to jump into a massive war or just do some Co-op missions with a friend, MW2 has you covered and won’t disappoint
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II for the Xbox Series X provided by Activision.