Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brings back joy and nostalgia of original (review)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is here. Another year, another Call of Duty. However, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a bit different. Many will argue that the last great Call of Duty was 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The franchise after that took a downturn with quick scoping, terrible spawn points, terrible hit detection, ridiculous amounts of killstreaks at once, and the list goes on.

This would explain why Activision took the time to remaster this classic. Fast forward to October 2019 and the publisher releases Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. With Infinity Ward behind this new game, does it live up to its predecessor? Or does it fall short?


The story runs on 3 different story/timelines, much like the movie Dunkirk. Kyle, Farah, and Alex are all playable characters with their own part of the story. Kyle’s story starts with a covert mission to stop an impending terrorist attack in Piccadilly. When things turn south, he receives backup from none other than Captain Price himself. It is after this that Captain Price sees Kyle’s passion and skill and invites him to join him when the time is right.

Alex’s story starts with a recon mission to find any trace of a special explosive. As per the usual, the mission turns upside down when an unknown enemy arrives and takes the chemicals. Colonel Norris was leading these Marines, including Alex, until Kate Laswell enters and takes over the operation. Kate is a CIA agent who now has her “fingerprints” all over this mess up. This is what General Lyons tells Kate, right before she tells her to get a better weapon. Queue Captain Price.

After getting information from Captain Price about where to begin, Kate sends Alex to meet Farah, per Price’s recommendation. Farah is the leader of the Urzikstan Liberation Force, and she wants to remove the Russians that are occupying her country. She also doesn’t see how Al-Qatala (a terrorist group) is any different from the Russians, as they are both terrorists in her eyes. It is not in her interest to prevent these chemicals from being used in other countries, but she agrees to help in order to rid her country of the Russians and Al-Qatala.

There are several times which the player will need to make a moral decision. No, not the decision to press F to pay respects, but more meaningful ones. Some of these were hard to decide on what to do. Previous Call of Duty games attempted to do this, but the execution of these moral decisions in this new Modern Warfare does it masterfully. The overall campaign will take about 5-6 hours if playing through it as fast as possible.

Hats Off

The place in which Infinity Ward knocked it out of the park is the history and storytelling. It is easy to become attached to a character, because of the backstory and how they told it. Farah, for example, has an intense backstory. There are some levels in which you play a young Farah. This gives the player a true understanding of who Farah is and why she acts out against terrorism.

After listening to all the in-game dialog, it’s safe to say that Infinity Ward cut off a lot of fat. Are there cheesy moments and remarks? Absolutely, but they are minimal. It can be frustrating when dialog pulls you out of the game, but Modern Warfare did not have this. The game ends in the perfect way for fans of the series. If you know much about Modern Warfare, it will definitely leave a grin on your face.



This is what the majority of people have bought the game to do. Multiplayer is the most defining part of any Call of Duty game. Game modes like Headquarters, Team Deathmatch, Domination, and all the favorites are here. There are some new modes as well.

Cyber Attack plays like Counter-Strike with two teams and a bomb that spawns in between them. The objective is to plant the bomb and protect it. No respawns, but there are revives. It’s definitely one of the best additions. There is another mode called Gunfight, and this isn’t Gun Game, however. It is a 2v2 match with a random loadout that everyone shares. It’s a completely level playing field.

Ground War is the largest addition to game modes. It is basically Domination that takes place in a larger map with a 32v32 match up. There was a rumor that they will release a 50v50 map, but that is not confirmed yet. When playing this mode, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between Modern Warfare and Battlefield. It’s not a bad thing, just not a fresh idea.

Attachments for the Win

Multiplayer weapons are plentiful. Each with their own unique features and options. Some more powerful than others, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Up to 5 attachments can be equipped per weapon at any given time. Getting kills and assists with the gun will level the gun to unlock more attachments.

Charms and other design options are unlockable through completing challenges and daily missions. Only one challenge can be selected at a time, but each has several steps, and completing each will unlock rewards.

Gun camos can be unlocked by completing the challenge listed on the locked camo. Challenges include getting kills while crouching, with no attachments, while mounted, etc. All of these are unlockable through playtime and NOT currency. No loot boxes have been seen yet, and it’s very rewarding and satisfying.

Feels So Good

Infinity Ward improved so many elements of their multiplayer to make it feel smooth and well-paced. However, the most impressive improvement is the hit detection. For years, Call of Duty had a major issue with this. Time and time again, players were being killed by bullets that were a good 1-2 feet away from the body. That is no longer an issue with this new Modern Warfare.

The reason this improvement has such an impact on the game is due to the lack of precision or skill it took to play Modern Warfare previously. This adjustment has removed the unfair advantage and required the player to get better at the game. In an effort to try to appeal to more demographics previously, they alienated their hardcore fanbase.

The airspace is less crowded as well. Most of the air killstreaks require more kills and most of the devastating ones cannot be equipped at the same time. This means less “spawn, die, spawn, die” situations that plagued other Call of Duty games. While the level design is controversial, there is a good amount of close-quarters and open space on each level.

Feels So Bad

There are 3 things that particularly cause issues with the multiplayer. Let’s begin with the biggest issue, shotguns. Even after the recent update with nerfs applied to the 725 shotgun, shotguns are still too powerful. Sniping with a shotgun is not out of the question. The range on these is ridiculous. Getting kills from 30-40 yards off are still a 1 hit kill.

Spawn points seem to still be an issue. Getting killed by an enemy that conveniently spawned right behind you happens often, even in Domination matches. There were several times an enemy spawned in a captured zone, even though they had their own captured areas where they should have spawned. It seems like Call of Duty is the only game that suffers from this, so it may be intentional. Let’s hope not.

Seeing as this is one of the first big titles to launch with cross-play, it’s sad that the voice chat is very terrible. The games audio is absolutely incredible but makes it difficult to communicate with others when it sounds like you’re chatting through a tin can. An easy fix is to start up a party chat or use Discord, but then you cannot chat with others on your team, especially if they are on other consoles or PC.

More to Fix

Luckily, most of these issues can be fixed with an update. It just depends on whether Infinity Ward thinks it is necessary. Taking so many steps in the right direction, let’s hope they do. However, there is a bigger issue they need to fix first. Spec Ops was anticipated by many people. There was lots of controversy over the 1-year exclusive of Survival, leading many people to grab pitchforks and boycott Modern Warfare.

Now that the game is out and players are grabbing their friends to play some co-op missions, realization sets in. Spec Ops is definitely an afterthought. To those angry about survival being exclusive, be grateful. There are several issues with all of Spec Ops.


Survival is essentially a zombies mode. Wave after wave of enemies, each more severe than the last. Killing enemies will provide money, which is used to purchase weapons, equipment, and killstreaks. Each of the purchasing locations is spread across the map. Only 30 seconds are provided between waves to purchase. Once the round starts, no more purchases can be made.

At times the round would “end” when enemies are still alive. Including one time with 2 on foot and 3 helicopters. There’s no rest for the weary apparently. Enemies will also spawn and camp off the map, and those can prove challenging to kill at times.

There is no easy way to take down a Juggernaut. Especially when he pulls up with his two brothers and shoot everything in sight. The challenge is thrilling, going round after round, hoping to clear them all and starting over after getting close to finishing. Yet, it still feels unfair with these random glitches and bugs.

Spec Ops

After completing the campaign, there is a cut scene that leads directly into Spec Ops. It says you will continue the story in Spec Ops. With excitement heightened and interest piqued, starting the first mission will deflate that magic. There is no real story for these missions that tie it back to the campaign.

When you beat the missions, there is NOTHING as a reward. These missions get so incredibly difficult, the game becomes extremely demotivating when the mission is completed and nothing is received. Are they challenging to play with friends? Absolutely. But what is the point? In addition to this, bugs are a huge problem.

Munitions will no longer work if you die and respawn. Even if new munitions are obtained, access to them will not work. Enemies will spawn within 5 feet of the player at times. Killed enemies won’t drop ammunition or equipment at times too, and running out of ammo is common.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Audio and Visuals

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the most ambitious project Infinity Ward has made so far. It’s visually stunning, and the HDR settings create the best experience for each individual display. Some scenes showcase HDR better than others, but the developers should really be proud of themselves for this. The visuals have a great effect on drawing the player’s attention and focus in the game.

Infinity Ward didn’t just stop at incredible visuals; it brought in the best audio of any Call of Duty game. Every grain of sand thrown by a grenade and every boot pressed on a tile, dirt, or metal has a clear and distinctly realist audio. Spatial audio helps with hearing exactly which direction enemies are approaching. (This will require a slightly better headset than the one that came with a cell phone.)

The combination of seeing all of the particle effects along with hyper-realistic audio of a grenade or thermite pulls the player deep into the environment. It’s likely another reason why the campaign was so enjoyable.

Final Reaction

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is likely one of the more confusing names Activision and Infinity Ward could have chosen for this game, but it fits perfectly. The studio brought back the joy and nostalgia of the original with updated graphics, audio, and gameplay. Rating the campaign alone, this game is a 5/5. It’s an Award-worthy campaign, and it absolutely lives up to its predecessor.

The multiplayer and spec ops are challenging, but they have their bugs, and some are worse than others. Multiplayer is definitely a more polished product, and there are tons of game modes. Overall, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare feels refreshing for the series and has many, many hours of content. This review is not accounting for the bugs that will likely be fixed in the coming weeks and months. Well done, Infinity Ward, but the job isn’t finished yet.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

A copy was provided by Activision for review purposes.

Facebook Comments