While Call of Duty Modern Warfare could cause a few issues around the Christmas tree later this year — we’ll imagine parents may be confused with it and 2007’s original — that most certainly won’t stop it from being one of the biggest titles in 2019. Infinity Ward is calling this one a soft reboot and in doing so will be trying to hit a high benchmark left by the original. Earlier this week in Los Angeles, Stevivor had the chance to check out a few of the multiplayer modes which this new title will have to offer. Although it seems Infinity Ward is definitely hiding a few surprises up its sleeve, it is looking like a lot of fun with plenty of content to appease different styles of play from what we’ve seen so far.
First of all, this years Call of Duty will be running on a new engine. It will provide some of the latest innovations in graphics technology like Raytracing on the PC as supported by Nvidia’s GeForce 20 series graphics cards as well as a sound engine upgrade and an array of other advancements that give the developers a lot more power to work with. Modern Warfare’s graphical improvements do stand out with its shiny new coat of paint. Although it looks a lot more impressive than last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, you’re still going to be able to get that fast-paced gameplay with high framerates across PC and consoles.
Even though it’s on a new engine, it still feels like the Call of Duty. As someone who sunk a lot of time into Team Deathmatch and Blackout in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Modern Warfare still handles like the way you think it should.
As with past titles there are a variety of different game modes that you can jump into and play. Gunfight is a close quarters 2v2 round-based deathmatch match. Each round, weapons are selected automatically for all the players and you’ll have around 40 seconds to eliminate your opponent. If the time ticks down, a flag will spawn on the map and both teams can also try and capture it to secure the win.
Traditional core game modes return with favourites like Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Headquarters. Here you’ll be able to rack up kills to try and earn killstreak rewards as Modern Warfare has ditched the scorestreak system that has been used for about the last 6 years. Some of the killstreak rewards that we’ve seen so far include classics like the UAV to reveal enemy positions, a support helicopter that will patrol the map reigning down bullets from its twin turrets, or there is even an infantry tank that you can drive around – which requires 2 people to fully operate.
Cyber Attack is a team based objective mode that is reminiscent of Demolition. In each round one team must plant an EMP device in the enemies data center, while the other team has to defend. Cyber Attack is very tactical and allows players the opportunity to revive teammates that have been downed during the battle. It also takes advantage of the new breaching system in Modern Warfare that allows you to approach door entry from multiple ways.
Doors can be quickly sprinted through like normal, however for a slower tactical approach you are now able to slightly open a door to peak in, and use throwables like flash grenades to help clear out a room before running in. Alternatively, you could just plant C4 on the door and blow the thing off its hinges if you want to just go in real loud.
Another mechanic Infinity Ward has added which also gives some extra tactical abilities is a mount for your weapons. It’s similar to the peaking system in Battlefield that, when initiated, will snap you to the corner of a wall or even hard cover in-front of you. You can use that to engage an enemy while still not fully exposing your body. It can also give the added bonus of lowering your recoil by stabilising your weapon. You’ll have to think about what you’re using as cover though, as bullet penetration is an important aspect to consider with this updated system being simulated based on the type of calibre of the weapon, as well as its bullet velocity.
In relation to gameplay, Infinity Ward noted that the weapon system had been stripped down and rebuilt from scratch. For the studio it was about trying to find out what worked well, what didn’t, and what else new they could add. In particular one change that’s been added is that you can now reload while continuing to Aim Down Sights (ADS). This will allow you to keep your crosshair trained on your target without having to put your weapon down to reload, and then bring it back up into your sightline. This is just one of the ways in which Infinity Ward is trying to bring even more realism into this series which they are continually striving for.
The Gunsmith is where you’ll be able to customise your loadout. Here you can select your weapons, perks, field upgrades, killstreaks, and more. Most of the weapons are having between 30 to 60 attachments and you can go quite deep into selecting exactly how you want that weapon to behave depending on your style of play.
I quite enjoyed most of the maps that we had the opportunity to play. There is definitely a lot more vertically to them and Infinity Ward is hoping this incentivises players to explore a lot more, because some of the areas that you can reach aren’t exactly straight forward unless you do some searching. One of the maps that we had the chance to check out was playable at night-time. You can equip night vision goggles to help you see better in the areas with lights turned off, but also you can use this tactically by blowing out someone’s vision by blinding them with interactive light switches. Aside from that it also just looks really slick with the way the lighting system works in the darker lit areas as your weapons create light from the gunfire and that light bounces off the walls.
The very last mode that we had the chance to play was a large scale battlezone map called Aniyah Palace. This was a Domination round featuring 20 vs 20 players in a bigger map with 5 control points that needed to be captured. Unlike its counterpart mode seen Battlefield, you’re not able to select your spawn location, and you just seem to be placed randomly in a location. This doesn’t really give you the opportunity to specifically try and work towards taking over a point on the map, or even defending one. Instead you get dumped in and just try to do whatever objective is closest to where you are. Hopefully this is something Infinity Ward can consider, to try and make those larger scale maps a bit more team focused.
Last years Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was a surprise hit for me. It ended up being in my top 5 games of the year list, and ultimately ended up rejuvenating my excitement for a series which I completely fell away from. With that in mind, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare doesn’t seem to be afraid of trying to do some new things. They have delivered that outstanding gunplay that the series is renowned for on a brand new engine that looks fantastic, and added in some fresh and interesting gameplay changes that sets it apart from last years title. There’s a lot here already on offer with plenty of modes to suit different play styles depending on what type of game you want to dive into. Now I just have to sit back and hope that one of the surprises that they have in store for us is a battle royale mode. Until then I’ll be waiting here patiently with my fingers crossed.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 25 October.
Luke Lawrie traveled to Los Angeles, U.S.A. to preview Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as a guest of Activision. Travel and accommodation were supplied by the publisher.