Review: Modern Warfare sticks to the past

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By Colton Carrier, reporter.


The Call of Duty franchise has a bit of a shaky history with trying new things. While 2017’s “Call of Duty: WWII” breathed fresh air into a stagnant franchise, last year’s “Black Ops 4” felt like a panic button for developer Treyarch, in all the worst ways. With the series coming up on its 16th entry, returning developers Infinity Ward turned to the past to inspire the future, or in other words did a reboot. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” (not to be confused with the original “Call of Duty 4”) brings a lot of what was loved from the original sub-series, and attempts to rehash it for a modern audience.

That’s not to say the game is “bad.” Far from it: like most entries before it, “Modern Warfare” shines from a gameplay perspective, keeping up the same multiplayer focus that the series took on over the years. After all, for most players, the multiplayer will be why you’re here. The big changes come from small tweaks and fixes to known issues. As far as innovation goes, “Modern Warfare” doesn’t do much to shake up things. With a paltry six-to-eight hour campaign, there’s little here for you unless you dive into multiplayer mode.

The spectacle on screen is something to be applauded, with Infinity Ward pushing current-gen systems to their breaking points. But no amount of flash and flair will fix the story and execution of the game’s single player content, which leaves much to be desired. It’s not as if you can’t make a compelling single player experience in a first-person shooter; one of the best recent examples is “Titanfall 2,” which delivered a short, sweet and polished campaign. There’s no excuse to waste players’ time with a pointless story mode, especially when that time in development could have went toward fixing some of “Modern Warfare’s” problematic elements.

Speaking of, the most glaring issue in the game is its co-op mode, which, as of this writing, is a mess. Originally, this mode was billed as a take on the Spec Ops mode from “Modern Warfare 2” back in 2009. The entire mode is riddled with bugs top to bottom, with players commonly falling through maps, level objectives simply not activating and enemies not loading into the levels. Enemies magically appear from all sides, surrounding you in open, thoughtless maps, so you’re constantly under fire in ways that seem more phony than fun. In my four hours playing, there was one game where players sat through an entire mission. No one wanted this, and no one is sticking around for it.

Some things never change. “Modern Warfare” is, like always, a great multiplayer game with a forgettable story mode, hampered by strange design choices. Everything here is worth looking at, with the exception of the dead-on-arrival Spec Ops mode. “Call of Duty” is a powerhouse franchise for a reason; the gameplay, as always, is amazing, beating out most competitors. Just don’t expect anything new from this entry.

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