Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Impressions: A strong start

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has sparked both anticipation and controversy since its reveal earlier this year. With multiplayer gameplay revealed for the first time last month, gamers are still left with one question; how does it feel in the hands? While the official release is still a while away, the beta has answered many of my questions, and while I have a few more, one thing is clear; Call of Duty is back.

Modern Warfare has since been a long-time favourite for many Call of Duty fans, with most of us aching for a return to form. The Black Ops series has thrived and paved new ground for the franchise in general, but stripping back the experience and steering it in a tactical direction is key, as Modern Warfare proves you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. While the beta offered only a few multiplayer modes in the form of the usual team death match, headquarters and domination, (with both modes featuring a 20 player mode in addition to the traditional 6v6 modes), I found the newest and most interesting addition came in the form of cyber attack, a mode in which players must retrieve an EMP device and plant it near an enemy’s data centre. With a realistic approach comes a ‘realistic’ mode, where players are stripped of all their HUD information, which for fans of the series, is basically a revamp of the hardcore mode. Ground war also presents players with large scale warfare, akin to Battlefield’s Conflict modes, where players can spawn on multiple captured points to push the enemy back. I chose to cover all these modes off the bat as their differences set the apart nicely. But as you can imagine, one thing bonds them together with brute force; and that’s the gameplay.

Modern Warfare is pretty much what you would expect from a realistic Call of Duty game. Let’s not forget, this title is based on the series that launched it’s gunplay into the modern era. This time around, weight plays a huge part. Your charter feels ground and attached to the environment, all with added choice and tact. Players can now choose to sprint with their weapon in both hands, or double-click the spring button to power out of a sticky situation. However, players must do so by shutting their weapon to one hand, making your reaction time slower in the process.

Choice is the name of the game, and with that comes a new and updated cover system. Let’s be honest, while we may have used it, Call of Duty never really had one. But Modern Warfare bucks the trend, allowing players to mount points of cover. How you take cover is dependant on the cover itself, approaching the corner of a wall allows you to peek around, while approving a low wall or fence allows players to peak over by clicking the right stick. Once the right stick is clicked, players then stick to the point in cover and can choose to lean out depending on how far over or around they wish to look. With this comes the rib of being spotted while stuck to cover, but I must also add that it’s not as bad as it sounds, and must really be felt own the hands in order to get a true understanding. Clicking the stick to drop in and out of cover felt strange at first, but I soon adapted with extreme confidences and found myself using it more than I thought I would.

While I could name each map by name, you would be forgiven for mistaking one for another, as they all resemble war-torn Middle Eastern towns and streets. While majority of them were fine, I felt as though I could have used an increased sense of verticality. Even though the days of wall-running and double jumping are over, I wouldn’t mind the higher ground to get the drop on unsuspecting enemies. This however, is obviously something that may change my mind upon release. Weapons are varied, and the customisation feels and looks better than ever, but with greater choice comes greater expectations. While the weapon models turn and rotate to show you additions and modifications, they all translate to the gameplay in ways I’ve seen before. Cross-play was also featured through the second weekend of the beta, but I don’t really have much to say. Icons near player names indicate which platform they are playing on, which seemed to be an even spread of PC and console players. I didn’t really encounter any connection issues, but I didn’t really expect to either.

Overall, Modern Warfare’s beta was a great first impression, and I expect great things from an already great franchise. Gunplay was grounded and tactical, but fast and responsive, and I wouldn’t have it any other way at this point in time. While new modes and maps will most definitely round out the experience, I must also understand that my greediness may have impacted my opinion, but at the end of the day, all I want is more Modern Warfare, so it must have done something right. See you all on 25 of October, 2019 when Modern Warfare hits shelves.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches October 25, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.