Call of Duty Modern Warfare Beta Impressions – Good old Call of Duty is Back!

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FPS games have been around for quite some time (more precisely since DOOM started the franchise). A few franchises stood out longer than others and survived for quite some time. Two of such franchises include Call of Duty and Battlefield. Since its inception, Call of Duty has been a franchise which keeps people attracted to it. It has spanned quite a few games since its origin, creating a memorable experience for the fans. Perhaps one of the games whose story has had the most impact on fans was Modern Warfare – which officially led to its remaster.

Modern Warfare’s public beta launched started on September 21st and ended on September 23rd. The beta took place on Battle.net, which was slightly annoying (especially because download speeds on Battle.net are lower than that on Steam. The beta of the game only offered a glimpse into the multiplayer, which was overhauled to make it more inviting for newcomers and veterans alike. The singleplayer was what people were excited about and wanted to experience, but it seems that the changes made to multiplayer did improve the game’s replayability a lot. This is saying something, especially when the average shelf life of a Call of Duty game is only a year or so. 

The multiplayer had five game modes for playing. Team Deathmatch, the fan favourite mode returns with even more action than before. Two teams face off, trying to kill one another till one team reaches the point threshold required to win the game. Cyber Attack is a new game mode based on the traditional Search and Destroy mode with certain new features. In this mode, one team attempts to plant an EMP device at the other team’s base, while the other team has to defuse the bomb once planted or prevent the bomb from being planted by killing all enemies. Headquarters has two teams fighting for a critical piece of territory (which is the ‘headquarter’). Domination pits two teams against each other over control of a number of checkpoints on the map. Each team has a certain number of points, which starts to reduce when the opponent holds more checkpoints – once the counter for one team hits zero, they lose. The best addition possibly is the Ground War – which features two teams of 32 teams fighting each other for control of multiple checkpoints of the map. Ground War basically is Domination but on a much larger scale. 

Classic modes have kept players thrilled for Call of Duty games for centuries. Team Deathmatch and Domination are two modes which have stayed on as game modes for quite some time, and never manage to be boring. The fundamental changes in the multiplayer formula for Modern Warfare mean that it is slightly different from the Black Ops games (and the other ones which had little to no impact on people like Advanced Warfare and Infinite Warfare). The gameplay is much slower, making it a better fit for a larger audience. After a while of playing, I quickly understood why people like the game over the more fast-paced Black Ops titles. Call of Duty rewards reflexes and aim, with the former being the more predominant factor needed for winning games. A good while of research online has already told me that the reason people abandon competitive games after a while is because of declining reflexes and the need for instant gratification. Appealing to the main player base (which mostly consist of a greater proportion of adults) was important – which also justifies the remaster (in a way). Despite Ground War being the new attraction of the block, TDM and Domination got the love they deserved.

 

Cyber Attack was one of the least played modes, perhaps because of the fact that it doesn’t align with the quintessential Call of Duty experience. The mode rewards patience, careful corner checking and close gunfights over fast-paced gameplay – making it feel like the odd one out. This was surprising since Cyber Attack allowed all players killed by an opponent to be revived by their teammates. This is more often a hindrance than a blessing, partly due to the open map design and due to the players themselves. The maps are small and too open – meaning that reviving a knocked out person is often difficult because his movements are being watched from an angle by the enemy. Try to revive him, and your position is revealed – not to mention that you are totally exposed to fire while you are reviving. Nevertheless, Cyber Attack is still a valiant attempt at reviving a supposedly ‘dead’ mode – providing the break people need when they’re tired of TDM or Domination (or even Ground War, for that sake).

 

Ground War is perhaps the best mode in the entire game. The addition seems to have been an attempt to replicate the massive battles of Battlefield, which has been a point from critics for quite some time. Ground War delivers exactly as Activision envisioned it to – provide a gigantic playground for two teams of up to 32 players each. If that itself wasn’t enough, you have helicopters, tanks, APCs and quadbikes to augment the experience in addition to the plethora of killstreaks and perks that can be called by players. Once the game starts, after a few minutes, it’ll be chaos all over, with both teams attempting to secure those points. Even with mics, don’t expect help from your teammates as you push alone to clear out enemies and take a site for the team (until you get knifed by a lone enemy hiding in a corner and punch through your monitor). Unlike Battlefield, maps are much less cluttered, so it is easy to spot enemies at a distance or in foliage or shadows. Ground War was easily the most played mode during the beta and is likely to be blessed with lower queue times and highly populated servers quite a few months after release.

 

Fundamental gameplay mechanics seem unchanged, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One interesting thing worth noticing is that the guns seem to have quite some recoil now, which makes distant engagements slightly more difficult than before (but nevertheless quite easy for people who main games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rainbow Six Siege). Recoil varies from gun to gun, being almost absent for snipers and the greatest for assault rifles. This seems okay since snipers require greater skill to wield than assault rifles. What’s not cool is the gun balance, which seems slightly off. When you’re starting out, you’re going to get hammered and caught off guard when in open ground by people who have higher levels (and evidently better guns). Only when you have crossed a level threshold of 5 – after which you unlock custom loadouts – will you unlock the ability to play with better guns. Killstreaks offer little variation to the somewhat monotonous but nevertheless enjoyable gameplay. 

Modern Warfare resurrects the fun of Call of Duty while bringing it back to its roots. It offers a fairly balanced gameplay experience for anyone who wishes to play it. This is definitely a buy on day one, especially if you are excited for the single-player too. 

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