Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Review – It’s Call of Duty

    Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
    Developer: Infinity Ward
    Release Date: October 28, 2022
    Reviewed On: PS5
    Publisher: Activision
    Genre: FPS

Another year, another Call of Duty. Mountain Dew lovers around the world hype themselves up for a new entry in this series of FPS mayhem. Many will tell you that the series has grown stale over the years, but I feel like this stems from older fans who want exactly what they remember. I come from a place of neutrality with the series. As a longtime fan, I’m more of a competitive player turned casual over the years. The release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is both nostalgic and confusing. I’m not sold on the idea that this entry offers anything more than a serviceable bang for your buck, but you will get what you came for.

The campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is a slow grind to the top. If you ever felt like Call of Duty could be comparable to an on-rails-shooter, the opening missions of this game will make that accurate. You’re simply pushing forward, waiting for orders, and pushing forward again. Any move outside of what you’re supposed to do will swiftly end the mission. You’re constantly held back by slow conversations between the characters and waiting for the next path to open up. Luckily, the conclusion understands how to go out with a bang and succeeds in that regard.

The narrative plays out like an NBC prime-time drama. You’re expected to care about the characters, but I couldn’t be bothered. The nostalgic beats of previous COD campaigns appear, but what Modern Warfare II does right is level design. This isn’t true for every stage, as venturing off the beaten path will reveal some primitive set pieces, but if you stick to the script, you’ll see some excellent-level design. There are a few ways to approach mission objectives, but I felt there was a “right way” to complete a segment. If you’ve played previous Modern Warfare entries, you’ll notice a few returning characters, but nostalgia only goes so far.

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Multiplayer is likely where you’ll spend most of your time. The usual modes have returned, but a few new ones caught my attention. For example, invasion is pretty fun if you’re up for large-scale matches, and Knock Out, which has players fight to retain possession over a package. It’s surface-level, sure, but if you’re trying to kill an hour, the multiplayer options will gladly act as a time sink. There’s plenty to look forward to for competitive play in terms of upgrades and perks, but teamwork is almost non-existent, which has always been the case for this series. Even playing with a team, I felt like I was mostly playing by myself. I had my mic on, but no one else did.

Weapons customization is a huge selling point here, with Gunsmith offering plenty of ways to fine-tune your favorite weapons. These options are rewarded the more you play, which unlock at a steady rate across matches. I always felt like my time was rewarded with these upgrades, but it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t care about this feature. The significant difference in builds stems from the four perks players can equip. Aside from base perks, Ultimate and Bonus slots are available to complement your defensive or offensive playstyle.

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The maps available are fun, but nothing struck me as exciting. Infinity Ward knows how to make a good multiplayer map, and that’s seen here, but off the top of my head, I can’t even think of a favorite. Still, compared to the campaign-level design, I felt the multiplayer maps received most of the attention. They each seem to cater to a handful of playstyles to make gameplay unique each time you play.

Where Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II shines is found in its graphics. Sadly, as pretty as it is, there are tons of glitches even days after release. It’s upsetting that this is happening to such a high-budget title. Further, enemy AI is clumsy and makes some of the strangest choices regarding where to take cover, while civilian AI comes off as insanely robotic. Finally, in moments where freedom is supposed to take center stage in the outcome of missions, you’re constantly reminded that you’re still playing a game as you chees through sections.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is Call of Duty at its finest in terms of settings and overall gameplay. You won’t have an emotional attachment to the campaign, but you’ll find excitement in late-game missions. Multiplayer and coop missions are where the fun lies, but sadly, it all feels more of the same with prettier graphics and sound design. Nevertheless, it’s Call of Duty, and if that’s what you’re here for, then you have two great years ahead of you until the next release.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.