Sunday, October 27, 2019

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" Review

A grandiose, full-featured return to form, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" works as a reboot not only to the storied for the subclassification of the franchise, but for "Call of Duty" as a whole.

Following last year's all-multiplayer experiment in the form of "Black Ops 4," developer Infinity Ward resurrects the highly-missed campaign mode. Fortified with a crackling story, spellbinding animation and adrenaline-pumping set pieces, the story is one of the strongest in years for "Call of Duty."

The saga takes you through a complicated, nuanced tale of divided loyalties and questionable policies of global military interference. Bold, tough questions come to light, including the motivations of insurgents, the collateral damage of geopolitical colonialism and the ethics of following orders versus doing what's morally right.

In addition to all the emotion and politics, the story is also a stunning and invigoratingly varied tale worthy of a summer action flick screenplay.

Multiplayer doesn't miss a step. In addition to the e-sports friendly classic multiplayer modes, elite operations allow you to forge ahead with teammates in cooperative raids.

Even more welcome, in a way, is what isn't there. The lack of a zombies mode is glaring, but not necessarily in a bad way. If it's tangles with the undead you're after, you can scoop up "Black Ops 4" for a few bucks in the used game rack for an excellent rendition of the stalwart mode. It was wise of Infinity Ward to focus its efforts on campaign and standard multiplayer modes rather than check perfunctory boxes. The narrower focus pays off masterfully.

Looming large behind the crafting of multiplayer is viability in the streaming and e-sports worlds, and the result -- rather than a stale effort that strives for balance above all else -- is a welcome return to fundamentals.

The grounded experience recalls the thrills that first made "Call of Duty" a household multiplayer name. Rather than try to blow off the roof with fever-pitched pyrotechnics, bizarre perks and outrageous weapons, most of the features you encounter feel feasible and sensible.

Taken as a whole, "Modern Warfare" is a towering achievement that feels at its core more like an indie passion project than a corporate-mandated annual release by one of gamedom's biggest publishers. Bulging with ample reasons to play obsessively into the night, then come back again for weeks and months to come, "Modern Warfare" proves that -- even in this world of splintered attention -- the blockbuster game event isn't going anywhere. Infinity Ward deserves a salute.

 Publisher provided review code.

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