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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (multiplayer) review for PC, PlayStation, Xbox


Platform: PC
Also On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

This review of the multiplayer will be provided from two perspectives. I, Austen, and Tyler have been playing a lot of the multiplayer for Modern Warfare II to get a good opinion and properly formulate our thoughts. Below, we’ll be segmented apart to share our views and how each of us have felt with our time spent online.

Austen


I’ve got 60 hours into this game since launch- I’ve played way too much. As someone who knows quite a lot about real firearms, one of the first things I always pay too much attention to in media I consume is just passively judging the way firearm realism is handled. I know this isn’t an opinion on the multiplayer exactly, but I love how much detail they put into the guns at basically every turn. Of particular note, I was amazed when I noticed that the revolver had a different animation for each number of rounds fired before reloading.

To get the biggest bit out of the way: the UI is really hard to use at the moment. It’s laid out in a very “mobile-friendly” sort of way and it’s generally unfriendly to controllers and a mouse alike. The community has been alight about this fact, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this change at some point. I don’t really want to dock too much, if anything, over the UI, but did want to make sure to note it nevertheless.

I find the new system of unlocking attachments super interesting, and do in a way appreciate that it gets me to try guns I’ve never interacted with before. This time around, attachments are not unlocked on a per-gun basis; opting now to instead unlock every attachment globally for compatible weapons. Every gun has its own level progression path with attachments to unlock that make sense for it in particular while allowing you to also give it a whirl on guns that are maybe less optimized for that particular piece. Anyway, on to the actual thoughts regarding multiplayer and the greater interaction with Modern Warfare II in general.

The gameplay feels super smooth this time around, with guns feeling much more realistic in handling and punishing you for doing the unrealistic things that many players are used to exploiting / taking advantage of in the past. I think many may find what I just said odd, “I like that it punishes you for trying to play the way you always have”, but I truly, honestly do. You can no longer reload cancel unless you swap back and forth between your guns before the magazine is actually removed. I’ve done this habitually many times, and it got me killed basically every time. I am a sucker for the realism though, so getting killed because I tried to exploit game logic is A-OK with me. Jumping around corners still kind of works for the players that do that, but they have lessened the effects of that as well.

Jumping makes ADS time take significantly (3 times) longer than usual, making it a useful way to get short range enemies by hip firing, but a very risky maneuver if you’re doing it everywhere. Sliding and Diving have both been reintroduced in Modern Warfare II, allowing for increased motion capabilities while still operating within the bounds of reality. Mounting is significantly enhanced this time around as well, allowing you to jump up, hang onto ledges and climb. All together, the movement comes with a plethora of options this time around.

All-in-all, I really like this entry into Call of Duty’s multiplayer, and am looking to play a lot more of it. Currently, there’s a broken meta of bolt action guns; Infinity Ward has announced balance changes coming when season 1 launches November 16th, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they get to feel less like the only thing worth using. All guns kill extremely quickly, so all guns are viable, but these definitely stand out. As it stands, I’m expecting to be sticking around for the upcoming seasons in Modern Warfare II’s two year running period, am having a great time, and am looking forward to what is to come.

Tyler


I won’t waste a lot of time re-treading the same ground that Austen covered, and will instead stick to my own personal thoughts and feelings on the multiplayer aspect of Modern Warfare II as a whole. This is the absolute best that Call of Duty has ever been, in my opinion. Sure, I can look back through rose colored glasses to my endless nights playing Call of Duty 4 with my friends in high school and staunchly proclaim that to be the “best”, but Modern Warfare II has managed something truly special this time around.

Combat is exactly what you expect from a Call of Duty title, but feels like the very best blend of every game that preceded this one. Movement is fast and fluid, but not absurd like some of the games have been (looking at you Advanced Warfare). Every single gun feels like a viable gameplay option this time around, with a pretty solid overall balance outside of the bolt action rifles which will most likely be fixed when Season 1 arrives.

Season 1 will also bring back fan favorite maps Shoot House and Shipment, along with the new Hardcore mode called “Tier 1”. It will also launch the brand new, reimagined battle pass that lets you choose what order you want to unlock the rewards in. As with all of the previous battle passes, you can unlock enough money by leveling it all the way up to purchase the following pass. Season 1 will also introduce the prestige system again, allowing players to progress past the maximum level available to the traditional ranks.

The combat loop remains the most enjoyable FPS loop out there. Running and gunning is the way to go, with the occasional opportunity to camp an objective. The maps all feel designed around player choice, but with a firm emphasis on moving and shooting to stay alive. To facilitate this, every gun has attachment opportunities that make them feel viable in a game that traditionally favored SMG’s in virtually every meta. Now, a well equipped AR or marksman rifle can compete with an MP5 and win, which is amazing. The flip side of that coin is that the SMG’s can be kitted out to be much more effective at range than they ever have been. If you have someone camping a far away window, you can still put them down surprisingly effectively with the right attachments.

Everything feels fresh, yet familiar. Streamlined to offer the maximum enjoyment to the largest portion of the playerbase, whereas previous titles often felt geared unfairly toward the most competitive, highest skilled players exploiting various in-game systems to get ahead. Modern Warfare II looks great and feels better, while offering an already robust multiplayer system before the drop of the first season. Some absolutely atrocious UI, connection problems, and various bugs all hinder the overall experience a bit, and the game isn’t perfect, but it is pretty darn close in my opinion.

Note: Activision provided us with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II PC codes for review purposes.
Ed’s Note: Read our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (campaign) review here.

Grade: A-

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II – PlayStation 5 (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Activision
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