As I’ve said before, the Call of Duty franchise as a whole just hasn’t grabbed my attention much in the past few years. Still, I couldn’t help but hear about this one for a myriad of reasons, whether it was due to all the controversy it seems to be dredging up over the topics presented in its campaign, the revival of the Modern Warfare brand, or the return of the iconic character Captain Price. I absolutely loved the original Modern Warfare, so clearly this was a ploy by Infinity Ward and Activision to appeal to players like me.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
In addition to their devious nostalgia plot, I learned that previous Infinity Ward defectors like Joel Emslie and others returned to the studio to work on this game. I loved their work on the Titanfall series, so believe it or not, hearing his involvement mattered to me.
I don’t know how I feel about the game as a whole, but thankfully there was an open beta session this weekend which I happily decided to take part in. So, how was it? Is this game enough to make me change my mind on the franchise?
The biggest compliment I can give this is that it felt like I was playing the classic Modern Warfare game from back in 2007. Gone are the robots, super abilities, exosuits, and futuristic elements. This is back to basics FPS combat as players remember from years ago. It’s clearly not attempting to be more than it is and that’s why it works.
The gunplay feels great, even though I’m not an elite player anymore. It feels crisp and the few levels I got to try out were well designed and fun. Featured a lot of verticality and buildings to move through. Better yet, the beta included new features that I never thought I’d see an Activision studio implement. The very user-friendly Cross-Play and Cross-Save.
So Cross-play allows players from any supported platforms to play together. On the PC version and your friend is playing on Xbox One?
Well, why didn’t you coordinate your purchases better? Well now it doesn’t matter because you can still play together. Not only that, the game lets players select the control scheme they want to use and it has been balanced for controller or mouse and keyboard players on any platform.
Cross-save came as a shock as it’s not something that has been officially announced. Basically, players can taker their unlocks, account level, and progression to any platform they want, as long as they own the game there first. Considering this was an open beta, I was able to test this theory and to my surprise, my multiplayer progress moved with me from console to PC and back. This is a first for the franchise and should make players very happy if it officially makes the cut on launch day.
One thing that surprised me however were the graphics. From everything I’ve seen and read, Infinity Ward has created a brand new engine to power Modern Warfare. Obviously, I can’t speak to the campaign at all, but I was surprised at how muddled and muted the graphics looked. There seemed to be a lack of sharpness to the picture, kind of like if you were watching a video under the HD quality of 1080 or 720p.
I mean, it didn’t stop me from having fun, but I was definitely surprised by it. I attempted to check the settings, figuring maybe it was something on my end, but there was nothing to adjust on the Xbox One side. I even jumped over to the PC to test, but my findings were inconclusive as my PC is a few years old and can’t run the game at max settings. Oh well.
Digging around online, I discovered that it wasn’t just me. Other PC and Xbox players were reporting the same blurred textures and lack of clarity while playing. Even though the PS4 no longer has timed exclusives, it seems like that console may have served as the lead development platform as some were saying it isn’t a problem there. I unfortunately did not have time to test this theory.
Regardless, I had fun with the multiplayer beta. Modern Warfare lends itself well to its namesake and feels old school in the best way possible. Honestly, it’s time like these where I wish Activision would just release a multiplayer version of the game as I’m still on the fence about it overall. I’d probably jump in if there was a multiplayer only version for a reduced price. I know it’ll never happen but we can dream, right?It’s a fun time so hopefully there’s at least one more open beta coming.
I could talk about the single player elements, how the season pass has been ditched in favor of free maps for all, or how a few fan favorite maps from past games are making a return but I’ll save that for another day. Frankly, I’m surprised at how player friendly the game has become, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping this trend continues.