Published on November 10th, 2022 | by Daniel
Call of Duty: MWII 2022 PS5 Review
Summary: Another reboot, possibly the last yearly CoD instalment. Will it keep us entertained for longer than a year? We hope so!
“What kind of name is Soap, eh? How’d a muppet like you pass selection?” If these words are familiar to you, then you might start feeling quite old. Modern Warfare is back with it’s second iteration, a reboot or retelling of the original franchise with upgraded features made possible by a more advanced engine.
With the rise of remasters and remakes gracing or infesting game store shelves (depending on what your opinion on the subject), has seen many a game return in one form or another. Activision is well known for reusing assets from old games, so it’s a no brainer they’d remake their most popular series right? Well you would be dead right, after the successful remake of the original Modern Warfare, comes the follow up remake of MWII. The story itself is quite different to the original but familiar characters return to to the series. How does it stack up to the original? Keep reading to find out!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II features returning characters from the overarching franchise; Soap, Price, Ghost, Gaz, Nikolai and Shephard. As well as returning cast from the first reboot of the franchise, Laswell and Farah.
Modern Warfare II starts out with you taking command of the man himself, Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish in a mission to apprehend a certain terrorist cell leader. Standard Call of Duty affair. Infiltrate, investigate and apprehend the target. Only, like every mission in CoD. Everything goes badly and gunfights ensue and at the end of it all, you don’t even find your guy! Instead you find out that the target is in possession of an American made ballistic missile.
From there it takes several missions, but you eventually apprehend the man you were sent to find. Only to have too little evidence to arrest him proper. What a bummer right? But we bugged his phone of course, so we get vital intel out of him either way. Now we’re off to a fishing hatchery! But this one is run by the Cartel, so there’s gotta be something that links them to the missiles right? Ding ding ding! Tell ’em what they won Johnny! Congratulations, the intel you found is very valuable, but at the cost of your handler, who’s now been captured by the terrorist cell! Oh no! Better go get her back then right? With Laswell (your handler) rescued it’s time to go and find out who El Sin Nombre (literally, the nameless) really is and get some real dirt on where they’re shipping the missiles to.
After capturing El Sin Nombre, the team use her intel to storm an inoperative oil rig run by the cartel as part of their smuggling ring. As one of the missiles may be there, together with Phillip Graves, his PMC group Shadow Company; Soap, Ghost and fellow Mexican special forces Alejandro Vargas thwart the launch and scuttle the missile. Despite their success, in true Call of Duty and Modern Warfare II fashion, Commander Shephard betrays us once again. Using Graves to imprison the Mexican Special Forces and over take their base of operations, arresting Vargas on the spot. Soap and Ghost manage to escape, Soap is injured and forced to scavenge materials to make tools and weapons to sneak through the town to rejoin Ghost. Together with the rest of the gang, you travel to a prison to rescue Varga and the rest of the Mexican Special Forces.
With the gang truly back together, they all launch an operation to retake the base and kill Graves in the process. Learning from Valeria (El Sin Nombre) that the last missile is in New York and its intended target is Washington D.C. But of course, Task Force 141 and its allies breach the building, stop the launch and finally kill Hassan. You mean that high value target they were sent to capture a few missions back and had to let him go? Bingo! The very same.
In the epilogue, it is reveal that our good buddy Vladimir Makarov (The big bad from the original 3 game series from the late 2000s to mid 2010s) was the real mastermind once again! The words, “no Russian” make a return, referencing the second game where you played as an undercover CIA agent.
Modern Warfare II is a cinematic nerd gasm
Modern Warfare’s campaign is standard call of duty affair, cheesy, unlike the first reboot, there’s less of a focus on morality choices. Instead Activision opted to simply improve on the foundations that were already present. Some of the changes fange from advanced AI in campaign and co-op modes, water physics and the ability to swim underwater. The latter alone makes a big difference in multiplayer, offering not only a place to hide and attack from, but new pathways between certain points of the map. Allowing for a lot more fluidity and freedom of movement into what can feel like a claustrophobic game at times.
Some further additions include mantling onto vehicle roofs, hijacking and leaning out of vehicles. The vehicle mantle option is an interesting one, I haven’t used it enough times for it to be a good inclusion. But I’m also happy that it’s there, I know the one time I’ll need it, I’ll forget about it and wish I remembered it.
The gunsmith got a pretty big overhaul. I’m not sure of how the weapon unlock system was at the time back then. But in the new Modern Warfare II reboot, *some* guns are until the conventional away meanwhile others and also some equipment and attachments are earned through leveling up a specific weapon or by completing certain challenges. It’s a nice idea in theory, but with most gun “frames” having only marginal differences between them means that a lot of the best weapons are pretty early on. However there’s a few examples of this system that kinda bothers me, for some specific weapons, the renamed MP5 smg for example is a chassis on another frame, thus it can only be unlocked by leveling the base frame to the required level.
One thing I will say that I absolutely thing is the best thing since sliced bread? Weapon tuning, get a weapon to maximum weapon level and you unlock weapon tuning. This feature allows you to tweak aspects of certain attachments (only for the gun chosen and only at max rank). Say for example you had a fore grip, this particular one has a slider that at either end grants maximum bonus to a listed stat on the pros and cons list. Let’s say on one end is aim to sight speed, affecting how fast you can go from hip fire, to aiming down the sights. On the other is aim walking speed; the speed at which you can walk while aiming down sights. If you tweak it to either end, you’re essentially boosting that one stat by the maximum, other side, the oppose stat, in the middle (default) a good balance of both. This feature is not available on all attachments, but it can go a long way into tweaking the weapon exactly however you like it.
There’s a few interesting modes in Modern Warfare II that I’m not sure if they were in the previous game: Prisoner Rescue, which is basically just CS:GO’s Hostage Rescue, eliminate the opposing team or get the prisoners to safety, no respawns. Literally just hostage rescue, only with CoD maps and graphics. And Knockout, where you hold the package as long as possible, or wipe out the enemy team, also with no respawns: Both of these modes allow teammates to revive each other however, so that’s handy. Apart from that, your regular stuff is still around; Domination, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Kill Confirmed etc. Ground War and Invasion are around too, as well as some co-operative missions that I believe are cycle on a regular basis.
It the first Call of Duty game in a while to achieve the fastest in the franchise to generating US $1Billion in revenue. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the campaign, thoroughly enjoying almost all the missions the game has to offer. Even the co-op missions are fun to play with a friend and the gameplay is pretty smooth. Though I haven’t yet figured out how dive, or slide, I always find myself diving when I wanted to slide and vice versa. Though I’m sure I missed a tutorial somewhere, but who reads those anymore right? Multiplayer is for the most part the same cut and dry Call of Duty that’s been around since the original Modern Warfare. One of those, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kinda situations, at best the game has received minor tweaks, most of which I didn’t really notice. Though my last Call of Duty game was Advanced Warfare. I’m glad to see a variety of gun categories thought, the introduction of battle rifles, the bridging gap between full auto assault rifles and marksman rifles. Marksman rifles themselves being a bridge to full blown sniper rifles.
If I have anything I could critique, it would be the driving mission and the mission where Soap is injured. Both of these can take too long for first time players and drag on a little bit. After getting the hand of where things are, it gets significantly easier and faster but the first couple times were a bit of a drag. Very minor grievances though.
Graphics, woo boy, where do I start? The original reboot of Modern Warfare made a massive jump in terms of graphical quality and even after a couple years, stands up incredibly well. So how did they do in comparison? Better, simply better in pretty much every way. Except maybe for gun nerds like myself who can spot some subtle differences between weapons in game and the life sized ones they’re based on. Not all of them line up and match the way they should. However judging by the naming conventions of these weapons, I’m confident that the names and designs were changed to avoid licensing issues with the real thing. But apart from that, the game is crisp and clean when it needs to be, gritty and dirty when it should be.
One of the things I noticed and appreciate is the franchise’ improvements made to night vision over the years. Gone are the days of staring at a painful green screen and in with the new, designed to replicate real world night vision as closely as possible. I also like the touch of reloading whilst holding the gun in a position to retain aim doesn’t sight view. Really gives the feel your character is an elite soldier, I can only assume it’s designed to nullify the the visibility of laser attachments being visible when not aiming down sights.
Now’s the part where I gush about character design, the first MW reboot nailed the new look of the characters and the current release simply improved them in every way. It really did become like watching a movie, the cutscenes were surreal with their quality. It makes me feel very old to remember back to my childhood and compare the graphics of eld with today’s level of insanity. It’s getting to a point where eventually gameplay graphics and cinematics will no longer look any different and it’ll be nigh impossible to compare the two.
I’ve never really been a mega fan of the score for Call of Duty and in Modern Warfare II, it’s really not any different. It’s just doesn’t really do a whole lot for me to enhance the mood of a particular set piece or in game moment. There’s no drama, no satisfying build up or climactic final battle music, the music falls a bit flat for me. Although they did do a heck of a job creating tension and atmosphere with the slower paced, sneak and craft sections in the late half of the game. The quiet, eerie ambience really did set the tone and mood for those two segments alone. There’s just something about being a lone operative, unarmed, surrounded, outmanned and outgunned. Forced to scavenge materials and sneak about to get to safety in the first example and to quietly thin out the herd until it’s just you and Hassan in the final mission. That moment where the tension comes to a head, you take out the last guard and Hassan surprises you, was a good example of how to use suspense almost perfectly. I definitely want to see more moments like these.
As far as everything else? In a way it’s all unremarkable, but I believe it’s that way because of how good Activision has become at sound effects. Perhaps it’s now at such a level where I’m impossible to impress, any less than the level it has been lately and it’s not good enough. Each gun, as always has their own unique sound bot suppressed and loud, I also think that depending on what time of muzzle, silencer or barrel you’re using, that can also change the sound of the weapon.
I love the distinguished sounds from a regular kill compared to a headshot, it’s almost like you can feel the impact of the bullet impacting the skull. Sound paired with the force feedback controls give weapons a nice, real weight to it all. One thing I want to test out when I’m a little more into the weapon pool in multiplayer is determining if attachments change sounds and the strength of the force feedback.
A double edge sword I found is in multiplayer. When in close proximity to a teammate, both characters will announce to one another if an enemy comes up in either of their field of views. This can be handy in some regards because it alerts you to an enemy nearby, but this can also distract you to a point where you begin to look for this person. I can’t count the number of times I died because I turned around to start looking for where ever the direction of the opposing player might be. I know it’s probably a setting I can turn off, but it does indeed come in handy sometimes.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II 2022 is a fan’s nerdgasm, all your favourites with a couple of new talented cast members duking it out against the titular villains of the original franchise trio once again. The game delivers where it counts and I can only find minimal things to fault it on. One additional gripe I had was with the force feedback itself, I’ll have to look into if the sensitivity for it can be toggled or customised, because often it felt too strong. Like it required more of a pull of the trigger than it felt would be necessary, that might be trying to simulate the real thing but at times it felt imbalanced. Another minor gripe to be sure.
Would I pay full price for a game like this? That’s a tough one, it’s rare I find a game really worth the exorbitant prices they charge, especially when you see games like this bringing in over $1billion of revenue. I also haven’t paid full price for a game in several years. Is it worth buying? Absolutely, at full price? Perhaps not quite, but it’s the closest I’ve been to considering a full priced game for some time.
It’s the first Call of Duty I think I can say that I’ve enjoyed playing since Advanced Warfare (since I never really bought the campaign of the original reboot). I’m interested to see where they’ll take it from here since Modern Warfare is planned to be Activision’s first two year content life-cycle, opting to release the next installment in 2024. I’ll wait with baited breath in the hopes that it’ll build on this game.
Game Genre – First Person, Third Person, Shooter
Developers – Infinity Ward
Publisher – Activision
Rating – MA15+
Year of Release – 2022
Platforms – PS4, PS5, PC, XB1, XB Series X
Mode(s) of Play – Single, Co-Op, Multiplayer
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