Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II CAMPAIGN REVIEW (PS5)
''ITS A CALLING''
Developed: Infinity Ward
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: Oct 28th,2022
Platforms: PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox Family
*Review copy provided to me by ACTIVISION*
*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is a sequel to the highly regarded reboot, Modern Warfare. Back and proclaimed better than ever, Activision and Infinity Ward aim to keep the streak of successful entries into the series alive. But do they succeed in their endeavor or did it fall into the Call Of Duty comfort zone and become complacent? Only one way to find out, so lets do this.
Following three years after the events of 2019's rebooted Modern Warfare, with Captain Price's iconic Task Force 141 now fully formed and operating around the world, a new threat emerges in a man named Hassan. With thoughts of terrorism on his mind and the world at the brink of another war, It is up to 141 to silence this threat for the sake of the world once more.
Modern Warfare 2 is a very weird title to me. At its core, its got everything you know and love from the Call Of Duty franchise with snappy gun play, tight controls, engaging combat and it just feels really good to play shooting wise. But.. on that same note, it also seems to fall into a lot of the bad habits this franchise has been known to do and thing's that have made it a butt of peoples jokes in the past, including myself. Yes I know ,I've ragged on Call Of Duty pretty hard in several of my reviews, but to my credit, I do tend to leave my bias aside, pro or con and I am always fair to whatever game I am reviewing. That was true when I gave last years entry, Call Of Duty Vanguard, an overall glowing review for its take on history, its great cast of characters and for taking a route that I felt was a breath of fresh air for this long running franchise. Modern Warfare 1 was also a delight to me, with Task Force 141 showing us why we hold them in such as high praise after all these years. But sadly though, while Modern Warfare 2 does improve on the strengths of its past, it ultimately fumbles on them too. But hey, I got to show off once again how bad of a driver I am in these games and fail for 30 minutes straight on one mission, so I guess that's pretty hilarious right?.
The game opens up with Ghost and the rest of the crew taking down a Russian target that is deemed this weeks threat and it's pretty standard stuff, that is until they decide to go total overkill on them and fire a gigantic rocket to the area where the enemy is stationed. That in itself doesn't sound very cool, huh?, well to me, this becomes one of the highlights of the game right off the bat because you get to control the dang thing, its awesome. It super reminds me of the recent movie, Top Gun Maverick, when they were flying low and high speeds through mountain side canyons, that's literally what it felt like, velocity and all. Now THAT's how you start a game. But sadly, other than a few bright spots here and there, that's about as excited as I ever got during my playthrough of this campaign. I was basically like Falco the entire time from Star Fox and being the jerk of the party the entire time, with at any point during missions, where I'd be saved by my teammates, id either throw around rhetoric of ''Gee, I've been saved by Soap, HOW SWELL'' or even ''HMPH, I guess I should be thankful'.
I know this review has started off on a negative, but Its not all bad, I swear. I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky, I'll be fair Ghost. All 4 One reference aside, there are several instances during my time with this game in my 6 hour playthrough of this title that were pretty good. Like as I blasted my way through members of the U.R.A, watched the cartel jump the American and Mexico boarder wall and wonder to myself, ''hey guys, I know Taco Bell advertised the slogan of just head for the boarder, but it wasn't mean to be taken seriously' ya big sillies, they must really like Taco Bell, but they won't appreciate the fiery booties afterwards. that's for sure. Venturing to places like Spain or the beautiful capital of Amsterdam, in both night time and day time, where both hilarity ensues and a showcase of this titles graphical powers. For example, during my stealth mission at night as I swam through the docks, picking off enemy soldiers with my throwing knives, I managed to hit a guy and kill him in one hit, only for him to comedically ragdoll and slowly slide off into the dark depths of the water, as I watched him slowly fade away from sight. No! come back!. I promised I'd never let go!. Oh well, he's dead, moving on, who cares. The highlight however outside my random hijinks was the games graphical engine, and nothing showed this off more than your stealth mission in Amsterdam in the day time. This looked absolutely surreal, its the first time this generation where I had the thought in my head that ''wow, this looks as close to real life as you can get''. It made me, at that time, wish that it was an open world area so I can explore it, do to the amount of detail that the team put into it. Its quite astonishing
As you jump back into the story with Ghost, Soap and Price and the rest of the crew having to rescue your fellow soldiers from a downed aircraft, walk through run down houses at night and get the Blair Witch vibes like when Heather and Mike were running down stairs looking for Josh, learn that Hassan has three missiles that he plans to set off at unknown locations and ultimately find out Hassan has been working with the Mexican cartel this entire time, thus changing everything we have known so far, scare the living daylights out of the civilians of a Mexico trailer park and discover that everything is... HAUNTED, oh my. Well no its not haunted, but even after everyone in the house is dead from a firefight skirmish during your search for Hassan, the channel is still surfing by itself, that's pretty weird... but, there's a program called Princess Starfish 2 coming on, I actually want to see this one, not gonna lie, so were going to have to take a break from this review so I can binge. Ok guys, Thanks for reading!. Ok I'm joking... kind of. My point being in these little story beats is that there are lot of good things in this game, it's not all bad - the interactions between Alejandro, Ghost, Soap, Gaz all seem genuine and natural as you progress through the main game, the on your edge seat moments when your friend Rodolfo gets attacked by Hassan and left for dead in a burning building, only to be saved at the last minute by his friends, otherwise he would've been... FIRED, ha ha, sorry I had to sneak that one in there. But we've heard about great story beats, we get it, we get it, story is decent enough, but I haven't talked about full fledged gameplay have I? nope I haven't and that's because, well... it's the normal Call Of Duty stuff, so it's hard for me to explain it really without being a broking record, but I'll do my best for you.
As per usual you have your R2 for shooting, L2 aiming down sights, circle for duck walking and going prone, L1 for secondary grenades like smoke bombs and flash bangs, R1 for frags and molotov's.. again it's very standard stuff here. But it's how you utilize them that is the key here. For instance in missions later in the game after one of your Commanders named Graves turns on you, you lose all your weapons and gear, and you now have to improvise. How do you do this? with crafting of course. This is when, for small sections of the game, Modern Warfare 2 offers you chances to put together materials like pieces of metal, duct tape, household chemicals and other items in order to create booby traps like gas bombs to choke and blind your enemies, land mines to blow up your foes, throw glass bottles to cause a distraction for a quick get away, stealth kill or a way to annoy Mr. Lahey. It's really fun and makes the atmosphere way more intense. Sadly though, this idea is only used one other time throughout the game, which is a bummer because it offered so many different opportunities for us as a player to make the gameplay style more of our own. Another mission that switches it up from the typical cookie cutter Call Of Duty style is a mission that takes place after your buddy Alejandro gets captured by Graves men. In a Five Nights at Freddy's style mission, you must hack and take watch through multiple surveillance cameras and guide Ghost through a maze of enemies. You give him orders on when its ok to move to next area, when he should stealth kill with a knife, when he shoot with his silencer ,etc. On its surface its not super amazing, but I found it to be a great pace breaker and it turned the title into a bit of a strategy game, which I loved. You know what I didn't love though? The time during a raid on a warehouse where I am told I have to breach the warehouse door by blowing it up, and I thought ''Yeah ok, hell yeah, sweet!, its time to bust out the C4, yo!'' So excitedly I go to blow up the warehouse door and.. nothing happens with the explosion. Wait what? but then I literally turn around and look roughly 3 feet away and the door to get inside the warehouse? is already wide open. Big embarrassing oof.
Game play isn't the only department that tries to change things up either. Even with the story beats I mentioned, you still have really cool moments like during your trek through a mountain village and having to go full Harrison Ford Fugitive and do a dive off it, which I may or may not have proclaimed ''I DIDNT KILL MY WIFE'', you'll never know I guess. After your friend Laswell is kidnapped and you have to save her in the worst mission of the game by far, which we'll get into in my dislikes section, you offer up intel to a local Cartel boss, which she is actually pretty cool, minus the mass murdering and drug smuggling that is, and during your OWN interrogation and walk of their underground base, you notice something, a man named Diego.. hold up, Diego!? after all these years this is where you went? you've become the right hand man of the Cartel? Dora would be disappointed in you immensely, not even Swiper would stoop that low. Immediately after failing my interrogation multiple times and getting blasted in the face, learning that she, Valeria, is the TRUE leader in all of this, making her tell us where the missiles and Hassan are, finding two of them and re-directing them to blow up an abandoned oil rig in a scene that can only be described as Michael Bay's wet dream, infiltrate Grave's military base and getting my Metal Gear Solid on by using C4 on a tank to blow it smithereens, the same amount of pieces as Krillin got blown into in Dragon Ball Z, I believe, save Chicago by having Michael Jordan make the game winning basket at the buzzer to save the Toon Squad from being slaves at the Monster theme park.. wait I mean, save Chicago from the very last missile that Hassan sets off in a climatic finish that is worthy of the Call Of Duty name. But that's just the problem here. Its just WORTHY of the Call Of Duty name just alone and not moving that same Call Of Duty name FORWARD to new heights. It plays it safe.. and with some set backs.
Oh no. This section might be pretty bad. I have quite a few issues with this game that either ticked me off or slightly annoyed me. Some pertaining to the missions and some of their lack of variety, AI getting in your way, etc. lets just talk about it so I don't go into circles with this topic. One of my first gripes here is your friendly AI teammates, should you be in cover and they want that spot, they will push you out into enemy line of fire and it sometimes get you killed and this is incredibly frustrating during large skirmishes where cover is key. My second and third gripe go hand in hand with each other and it has to do with the character jumping and the missions its most used on. For one thing, the jumping feels really wonky and not as responsive as it was in previous games, with running and jumping not giving you enough distance to make your jump and lack of auto grabbing ledges to help that lack of jumping momentum, actually hurts and annoys you severely in missions like when you're off to save Lasswell from Hassan's men and you have to jump from your car to an APC truck. You have to drive fast, hop out of your car to your roof and then jump to the APC, but with the cars momentum, plus the games awkward and janky jumping, it makes it one of the most frustrating things in the entire game.
Finally my main gripe of the evening comes down to the missions and overall pacing of the game itself compared to previous Call Of Duty games. While not every mission is bad, they all do share a common theme of just retreading the line that previous entries already did, dozens and dozens of times, so much in fact that a lot of the stuff you see in this title aren't new or even original and feel like just a repeat offense, complete with the explosive set pieces and falling and getting helped up stereotypes that people make fun of Call Of Duty for. Its unimaginative and way too safe, especially compared to the lengths Vanguard went to raise the bar quite a bit.
At the end of the day Call Of Duty Modern Warfare II does end up being an enjoyable experience, even with all my negatives and gripes stating otherwise. But the type of enjoyable experience it ends up being is one of mediocrity and a case of ''two steps forward, one step back''. Even though its leaps and bounds better graphically than all other Call Of Duty games, has awesome feeling shooting, fun use of crafting in later levels, really cool strategy aspects like the surveillance levels, it still falls short with wonky jumping, bad AI placement behind cover, safe and tame level variety that don't feel any different than each other, and missions that are borderline tedious. Its a shame to say that after I've actually enjoyed the last two entries, but hopefully we don't end up like the old lady in Titanic and toss this game into the sea, while we wait 84 years for the next big game to wow us. Obviously that's not the case, the next one could be the great one we need, but for now, this one just comes up short. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear. GameNChick says WAIT, for that $30-$40 price tag if single player is something you are mostly interested in.