Today is the big day... My birthday! And I can’t think of a better present than the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. A lot can be said for a series that has been going on for nearly twenty years. Even though the Call of Duty franchise has maintained annual releases through most of that two decades, I’m still very excited about the latest addition and the return of Task Force 141. The original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 from 2009 is considered one of the best entries in the entire series. To go ahead and release a new title with the same name places a very high level of expectation on a game that already comes loaded down by the hopes and dreams of millions of fans. Did this new rendition manage to live up to its lofty name? Let’s start with the basics. Developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is a direct sequel to 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which was itself a reboot of this particular line of the franchise. Modern Warfare II takes place three years after the first title, with Task Force 141 sent to track down an Iranian terrorist who has managed to acquire American nuclear missiles.
Infinity Ward utilized a new version of the IW engine for this one, and it’s easy to tell how it’s improved the game’s production values. I played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on the PlayStation 4, and even on last-gen hardware, I was blown away (get it) from the moment I had to guide a remote-controlled missile through a desert corridor to kill an enemy target. The game is loaded full of these “DAMN! Look at that!” type of moments.
In addition to its amazing visuals, Modern Warfare II combines excellent level design with amazing sound engineering. Small details like shooting an enemy and hearing their buddies scurry around in the next room left me further engaged in gameplay.
Of course, the core of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is built on what fans of the series have come to expect. This is the usual fast-paced, action-packed thriller that games in this series usually deliver, but it also ups the ante with weapon customizations and upgradeables. You can even occasionally access a crafting system, allowing your character to create smoke bombs from materials you find around the levels. For a moment, I had to remember I was playing Call of Duty and not The Last of Us.
Although I spent most of my time on the main campaign, Modern Warfare II offers twelve modes spread across an initial fifteen maps. There’s nothing incredibly new about these game modes. You have your classics like Team Deathmatch, where your objective is to be the first team to reach thirty-five eliminations. Free-for-All has a similar win condition, except it’s every soldier for themselves. All the expected classics are here.
And then there’s Ground War. In this mode, thirty-two-player teams fight to capture objectives on a large map. And when I say a large map, I mean absolutely supersized in comparison to other Call of Duty multiplayer maps; I needed to hitch a ride on vehicles to trek across the terrain toward my goals. Prisoner Rescue is another mode that mixes things up, serving as a derivative of Capture the Flag where teams fight to defend or rescue civilians.
While Modern Warfare II clearly provides plenty of variety, there is one big mode missing from it. Zombies is my all-time favorite Call of Duty mode, and it was nowhere to be found in this entry. Sadly, Infinity Ward usually doesn’t include Zombies mode in the Call of Duty games it develops, so while it’s possible it could still be added in a future update, it’s not terribly likely.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II offers all of the high-tech goodies, guns, and bombs that fans have come to expect from this series. It pays homage to previous titles by revisiting maps and characters many (including myself) have come to love. The seventeen-mission campaign mode didn’t disappoint, and some sequences managed to blow my mind. There isn’t a lot on offer here that’s completely new, but perhaps that’s to be expected after nineteen games and nearly two decades. It still delivers a great experience that’s worthy of the Call of Duty name...even if it’s not quite as groundbreaking as the original Modern Warfare 2 was thirteen years ago.
SCORE: 4 STARS OUT OF 5
PLAY IF YOU LIKE:
• The Call of Duty series. If you’re a fan of Call of Duty, then you’ll likely be happy with this one. It’s got all the elements fan have come to expect and picks up directly after the 2019 reboot.
•First-person shooters. When you think of shooters that have defined the genre in modern times, Call of Duty should top the list. If you love shooters, you’ll want to check this game out to keep up with what’s hot in the genre.
💬 What’s your favorite first-person shooter? Let me know in the comment section, and we can continue the conversation.