Chasing prestige ranks, tactical nukes, and camo skins have made up some of the funniest weekends I have ever had in gaming. From Call of Duty 4 through to Black Ops 2, I was furiously addicted to the multiplayer of any Call of Duty I could get my hands on, but over the years that followed, I seemed to come and go more casually. With 2022’s ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,’ the gameplay has been reworked, the progression system revamped, and excitement is at an all-time high.
The bread and butter of Call of Duty has always been the gunplay and movement, and the new system is the most grounded and realistic version to date, but it may be a little divisive to some as we have become accustomed to the cracked and busted movement of Goku with ultra-instincts. In the grand scheme of things though, the reduced movement speed hasn’t affected the player’s ability to rush into any given situation with tactical sprint, and the more experienced players will figure out a workaround in good time. The return of the dolphin dive is a welcome addition though that adds an extra layer of decision-making when getting into position, and the slide mechanism is more in-line with setting up or escaping rather than being used as an assault option.
The gunplay improvements give new weight and impact to each individual weapon across multiple archetypes. The Gunsmith has returned with a brand new and unique method of weapon progression that gives a decent reason to cycle through the variety of weapons. In previous games, if you wanted all scopes for every assault rifle, you would have to the uphill battle on every single assault rifle, one at a time. In this game, once you unlock an attachment it can be equipped on a weapon of the same game type, but the path to unlocking these attachments isn’t as straightforward.
The weapon progression lets you level up weapons with exp earned by playing with them, which then unlocks an alternate path of weapons to use to continue the progression path. This method speeds up the process of experimenting with weapons that usually come after getting bored with one weapon. It can be a little overwhelming, but once you understand the system, it broadens your arsenal and the hunt for camos on each weapon can be chased at the same time. The fine-tuning feature added a pros and cons feature to tweak attachments to favour recoil control over range, and you can jump into a firing range to practice until your heart’s content.
To cap off the custom loadouts with your new weapons, there are preset perk packs you can equip that have a synergy already set, or you can customise your own individually. The standard 1-55 level system awards new perks as you go, so using the preset ones may give you access to stuff that is not unlocked yet. The entire system combined allows for greater mastery over your weapons or loadout, and an RPG-style level of investment that makes the unlock progress feel earned.
There are 15 total maps spread out across a collection of 6 player modes and some larger game types that include AI bots as well as an increased player base. Crown Raceway is currently my favourite of the bunch, but it does stray from the favourited three-lane way approach that some of the most beloved maps favour. Embassy and Fam 18 are two other stand-out maps with chokw points that can funnel the action into localised areas. Some levels have an increased verticality while others, such as Taraq, are filled with larger open planes that lead to tight quarters with no real higher vantage point save a few easy-to-grenade spots. I can’t say any map currently will be the one that people will hail an instant classic, like Nuketown, Rust, or Crash, but outside of one, there isn’t a bad outing across the bunch.
To address the elephant in the room, the Border Crossing map is arguably the most polarising map of all time with a huge collection of cars that can make sight lines nonexistent and you can become victim to random grenades exploding cars in the centre laneway. It can be fun in its own right, but with no veto option or vote system between rounds, players will have to endure the storm until a new wave of maps comes to push out the older ones from rotation.
The base modes cover Team and Free For All Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Domination, which primarily focuses on fragging out with the latter two, offering more of an objective-based addition to killing. The Search and Destroy, Knock Out, and the new Prisoner Rescue mode gives a more hardcore experience, offering no respawns for a more demanding teamwork-oriented mindset. There was also a 3rd person mode that has made its long-awaited return that was available for the 6v6 modes. This was exceptionally well-tuned, and having the option to change if the camera zooms in or switch to first-person views when you aim down sights was an improvement from the Beta.
The larger game modes, Ground War and Invasion, are primarily for weapon exp farming in my experience with them, but they offer a promising idea. The Ground war is a 32v32 game mode that has a giant map that houses a bunch of the smaller maps available in the 6v6 game modes. There are 5 capture points, and you can utilise helicopters, armoured vehicles, and kill streaks to create ultimate carnage. The Invasion mode is similar but adds in a mix of AI bots and players in a straight kill farm-fest, great for weapon exp farming and a better opportunity for newer players to feel out of the game.
The final mode that feels like it was given the least love was the Cooperative mode which currently has three mission-style levels that can be played with a two-person team, either through matchmaking or premade teams. These missions are Player vs Bot and do have a kit-based system that you can level up, that being the Assault, Medic, and Recon kits.
By playing the objective-based modes that either have you collect data from several points to then evac or straight up defend a point for a bunch of waves, you can earn stars based on time and efficiency that can unlock emblems, calling cards, or weapon charms. It feels like a lacklustre addition compared to the stellar Spec Ops mode from the original Modern Warfare 2 back in 2009, but it may change as a raid-style mission will be added soon that uses these kits and offers extra perks such starting with a free self-revive on the Medic, so it may be leading somewhere.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer packs a hell of a punch and tightens the performance of the already successful formula. The wide variety of game types to appease all styles of gameplay, and a weapon progression system that sees you experiment early on, often kept the game fresh for my first week with the game. With 51 weapons to chase a gold camo set on, I will be able to work my way through the list in preparation for the launch of Season 1 and the new Warzone 2 update.
- Player movement has been fine tuned for a more balanced experience
- Gunplay is as satisfying as ever
- Weapon progression system is a good shake up from previous versions
- Majority of maps are fun to play on
- No instant classic maps
- Cooperative mode is lack lustre
- Groundwar and Invasion mode are serviceable but no wow factor