Updated: Mar 30
I'm pretty sure most of you were like me when you heard about the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Excited as hell. A sort of re-imagining/reboot of the groundbreaking series from back in the day that spawned, arguably, the best CoD title to date: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Anyway, I digress a bit. This is a quick review of the campaign only as I haven't played the multiplayer yet and like the campaign, this review will be short. I would like to go ahead and get this out of the way though: There will be a spoiler in this review because I feel like it actually needs to be told in order for the whole damn campaign to even make sense or to have had a reason to exist in the first place. Okay, so here goes the review!
Graphics and Audio
Okay, so this is a very clean looking game for the most part. Explosions are beautiful, the environment is top notch, the weapons look amazing so this CoD title lives up to the expectations you have of a CoD game. I had some issues though with stuttering and frame rate drops. Not even during action packed scenes/encounters either. The game would just stutter randomly. Some of the faces on the characters appear to be plastic and kind of lifeless. But again, all in all, this iteration of CoD:MW lives up to the graphical expectation we've all come to expect. The audio is also pretty top notch. Guns sound realistic the explosions are crisp. Fires burning sound like fires burning. The voice acting is decent enough for a CoD game. Again, pretty par-for-the-course experience with CoD. Nothing really to complain about. Pretty pleasing to the eyes and ears overall.
So, here is kind of where I have my biggest hangup with the game. Not because the game play is completely broken, it's just not that great either. When you have an objective the game fails to clearly point it out to you, forcing you to have to hit a button to bring up your "directional HUD" for the marker to even pop up so you know where to go. The characters will tell you "go to the armory!" and you're just kinda standing there like "Okay, where the hell is the armory?" without any prior knowledge at all of where anything is located. This is also an issue when you have characters telling you "To the east!" or any other direction as there's no compass for you to quick reference. I know it should be easy to remember which direction is which, but if you don't even know if your North or South facing East and West change from left or right. The AI for your companions is also horrible. Some of the worst I've seen, or can remember, in a CoD game. They may as well not even be there most of the time as the enemy AI basically ignores them entirely and makes a straight line for you. So, all 20 enemies on the screen will be gunning at you while ignoring your friendlies and since your friendly AI is terrible, most of the time it's up to you to clear an area of hostiles. Regardless of what enemy type is in there. Very rarely do your friendly AI companions kill anything, or at least that was my experience. So expect to die a few times simply by getting swarmed by enemies from all sides. Because your AI companions will let you get flanked from all sides while shooting at a wall off in the distance. There is also an "issue" with not really knowing who the enemy is in a few of the missions(which is intentional I'm sure). More than a couple of times it took me a death or two to realise where the gunfire was coming from and who was actually shooting. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or not but this has been an issue in a lot of FPS games I've played lately. Most enemies seem to blend into the environment for whatever reason, especially if they're like mid distance or beyond. I don't know if it's because we've reached some weird graphical apex to where my eyes just can't really process the info correctly, or if it really is my eyesight going downhill fast. Also, expect to "go dark" a hell of a lot in this campaign. Seems like an overused mechanic but in a fun way. There's also a co-op mode as well. I honestly didn't check it out to see if it's actual campaign co-op or if it was just different modes you can play co-op with buddies. But, regardless, it's there. Something that I think is awesome if you want to play with friends but not the online multiplayer.
This is where the spoiler is going to be everyone, just a fair warning. It is all the way at the bottom though.
The story is definitely the weakest part of this game. No contest. Hands down. You can complete this story in 4-5hrs of play. When you start out you get to see our beloved Captain Price again, only this time he's younger. You also run into a few more familiar faces from the original Modern Warfare game throughout the campaign, only they're younger too. Which doesn't really throw off any warning signs as this is, after all, a reboot of the Modern Warfare series. You follow Price through a fairly routine story line: Terrorists are doing things that could lead to world war. Russians are involved as is the Middle East. You side with a rebel group in the Middle East. Some plot twist involving deception and betrayal. Self sacrifice and a kind of satisfying ending for Farah. A few of the more interesting missions in the campaign deal directly with Farah and her backstory, from her as a little girl all the way up to escaping from Barkov's prison. The vanilla ending ties things up nicely for her. However, you'll want to keep the game rolling afterwards because the ending/post credit scenes are what I think makes the campaign relevant and even worth them having a campaign mode in the game.
After playing the campaign I still don't see where IGN and other gaming outlets were so outraged. The campaign literally takes you through what combat soldiers do on a daily basis. I actually applaud Infinity Ward for going through with these mission types and giving us civilians a little taste of what these guys have to go through in some of their missions(From the safety of our living rooms). You will do a few things that make you go "well...it was either me or them." and you will feel a little bad about it. But guess what? That's war everyone and war is a terrifying thing that brings out the best and worst in all of us. Once you start dulling the edge of something as serious as war, it starts to become a joke. War does not need to become a joke.
**Spoilers ahead** Now for me to elaborate on what I said about the end scene and post credits scenes. Once everything is all said and done, you get to see a cut scene with Captain Price talking with Lawell(? God I can't remember her name and I can't find it on Google either, sorry everyone.) about a new threat out of Russia. She shows Price some picture that will look all too familiar to us veteran MW players. Price then asks for special permission to create his own task force to deal with this new threat....and this is when 1-4-1 is actually created. He asks for Soap and a couple other members of the original MW task force well grew to know and love. That's when I had my eureka moment. I knew they couldn't have a MW game without Soap being in there at the very least! This Modern Warfare game is basically a prequel. That's all it is. It's giving us more backstory to Captain Price and how/why 1-4-1 was formed. After that is made clear to you in these cut scenes, the entire campaign kind of falls into place. That there's more. A lot more to come that us veteran MW players will appreciate while hopefully giving newer players to the MW franchise as memorable of an experience as it gave us.