Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 officially launched at the end of last week. Whilst we already took a look at the game’s campaign, this review will focus on the multiplayer component of the blockbuster shooter. After spending an entire weekend checking out the multiple modes included in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, I now feel adequately qualified to discuss the quality of the game at launch.
The thing which is immediately striking about the multiplayer in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, is just how similar it is to the multiplayer in past COD titles. In any other year, this wouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. However, given that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 boasts a brand new game engine, there were some who expected a little more from this franchise entry.
The usual modes which you would expect to be included are all present and accounted for. Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, Free-for-All Headquarters and Control all play exactly as you would expect them to, based on experience of prior Call of Duty titles.
The playable maps in these modes all make for decent locations for a skirmish. With that said though, the environments are pretty middling. They all seem balanced, whilst also feeling pretty unremarkable.
None of them really stand out as being particularly memorable, nor do any of them cause frustration from environmental limitations. Other than spawn-killing that is; which is an issue that has plagued COD multiplayer for years. That frustrating, cheap tactic is unfortunately still prevalent here due to the map layouts.
There are a few larger scale modes also available to play. Invasion is the mode which I have spent the most amount of time in since the game’s launch. It is a lot of fun and it is essentially a scaled up version of Team Deathmatch. 20 online players take base at either side of a larger map along with 12 AI players in each team. This 32-vs-32 dynamic leads to some glorious carnage unfolding.
In the same way that Invasion is a scaled up version of Team Deathmatch, Ground War is pretty much a larger scale version of Domination. Holding five points on a larger map when there are trucks and tanks involved can lead to some intense battles.
There are ‘new’ modes in the game and whilst Knock Out feels like a fairly fresh idea, Prisoner Rescue is essentially just Capture the Flag. The only difference is that instead of carrying an inanimate object back to base, the player must now transport a cumbersome human being. That being said, the mode is a lot of fun and is definitely worth checking out.
The final new thing which the multiplayer component of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has to offer is a mode called Third-Person Moshpit. The title of this mode is fairly self-explanatory and it provides a fun alternative to COD’s usual FPS perspective. Playing the game in third person makes for a fun novelty, however I don’t see it as being something that I continually go back to over time.
Although there is a lot of content included in the multiplayer component of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, there is some additional content being held back. The primary thing missing, – which was expected to be included at launch, – is the Hardcore playlist. It has been confirmed that a Hardcore playlist will drop when Warzone launches on November 16th and will now be renamed as; “Tier One.”
Another odd exclusion from the game’s launch content is the Valderas Museum map. The main reason that this exclusion is strange is owed to the fact that the map was playable in the online beta prior to the game’s launch. However, for some inexplicable reason, it is not currently available in the game. There is a chance that the map could be resurrected when ‘Season One,’ launches on November 16th, although that has not been confirmed.
The final piece of content missing is a game mode called Kill Confirmed. In this mode, players have to collect the dog-tags of their fallen enemies in order to rack up points. Again, there is a chance that this mode could be included in the update on the 16th, although that has not been confirmed at the time of writing.
The multiplayer in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has launched with a decent arsenal of usable weapons. Each weapon manages to feel unique. Even amongst a plethora of different assault rifles, the M4 feels like how you would expect an M4 to feel. With the increased time-to-kill in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, weapons which would normally feel extremely underpowered now feel like a viable tool to help achieve victory.
Another gun-related change which has been welcomed by fans is the overhauled upgrade system. The same attachment-based upgrade method seen in previous iterations is included here, however the five attachments can now be upgraded independently of the weapon they are attached to.
This means that if you use the M4 for a few hours of play utilising the a certain barrel which you are particularly fond of and then decide that you want to swap to an M16, that barrel which you have been using on your level 15 M4 can be used on your level 1 M16 in order to give the weapon a head-start. This allows low-level weapons to still feel competitive in matches.
An element of fine tuning has also been added to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer weapons. This slider-based system allows for players to tune their weapons to suit their specific play-style. If you are a player who favours long range combat, then your assault rifle can be tuned to suit long range play. Ditto for whatever particular combat approach you prefer.
Unfortunately, Activision have removed this feature at the time of writing due to it causing in-game technical issues. Hopefully it will return to the game soon. Whilst on the subject of technical issues, I experienced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer via PS5 and have not yet noticed any major technical glitches. With that said, PC players are apparently experiencing a multitude of both graphical and gameplay based issues.
The main issues which I experienced on PS5 were all UI based. The main menu in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 isn’t the nicest to look at, but at least it is straightforward enough to navigate. Inviting players to a party in the ‘social,’ tab is needlessly complex and I also experienced multiple disconnections whilst trying to accept party invites from friends.
This is frustrating when all you are looking to do is sit down at the end of a long day and unwind with some COD with your mates, only to be hit with headache-inducing menus and annoying connection issues. Switching between the game’s campaign missions and an online lobby is something else which doesn’t flow smoothly and involves multiple needlessly time consuming pop-up windows.
Overall, the online component of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has potential to be great. The amount of content included is significant and the promise of more weapons and maps in the future is enticing. With that said, the convoluted UI is hugely off-putting and the egregious performance on PC are unacceptable for a game of this scale.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was reviewed on PS5 with a code provided by HK Strategies.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our reviews for Warzone and the Spec-Ops missions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 coming soon!