Back in 2007, Call of Duty Modern Warfare amazed absolutely everyone. Great story, great graphics, the war story that was relevant for that period, realistic weapons, country and conflicts based on real events. Everything was spot on and for many years it was the best FPS game based on the current situation in the world.
After that, we got two more sequels in this sub-COD franchise, but each one was somehow worse. Expectations were becoming higher than ever and the development team couldn’t fulfill the wishes of eager fans. The Modern Warfare sub-franchise ended with the third installment, which most of the fans played just so that they could end the story and because of all ”Hollywood-like” things that happened in it. However, with the exception of the first installment in the sub-franchise, the others didn’t leave such a deep mark on the gaming industry.
When the Modern Warfare reboot was announced, I wasn’t so surprised why Activision decided to reboot this title at this moment. Perhaps the best COD gets a second chance, mostly because Activision has lost its direction when it comes to COD, and it no longer knew where it was heading with Call of Duty titles. For the past couple of years, every game in the franchise has lacked one big component, whether it was something about the gameplay or in the content. Activision tasked Infinity Ward, the devs who worked on the first Modern Warfare title, with making a reboot of the sub-franchise.
After over sixty hours of playing, a lot of shootouts with enemies in multiplayer, and switching to Realistic difficulty level, I'd like to share with you my impressions of this, at first glance totally unnecessary, but one of the best reboots in the gaming industry so far. Before the game was launched, I wondered why we needed a reboot of a game that was released about ten years ago, a title that had a good story, a lot of action, a good multiplayer mode and everything else. It wasn't until I started playing the game, and got myself involved in the content, that I realized this is, in fact, the new beginning of the complete Call of Duty franchise, opening a new era when it comes to absolutely everything that matters: the story, atmosphere, gameplay mechanics, and most importantly, the graphics engine.
Modern Warfare returns to the blockbuster story, which is just a little more meaningful and somehow better shaped than it was in the 2007 COD: Modern Warfare release. The game doesn’t have one protagonist, but several, and depending on the events of a particular mission, you take on the role of one of them. It doesn't matter if it is in the fictional country of Urzikistan, which is a mix of Afghanistan and Iraq, or in London, England, or some other country.
In the beginning, the story develops a little bit too fast because the first few missions are quite short, even at the highest difficulty level. I believe that the presentation of mechanics in Call of Duty was never so important, so I thought the game would start a bit more explosive, but already on the second mission, Piccadilly Circus, chaos ensued, at least for a minute.
At that moment, you can see the perfection of the graphics engine and how a raw, horrible and brutal war that can hit any country in the world at any moment looks like. Everything is very realistic - you see fictional Al-Quatal terrorists brutally killing people on the streets of London, and all the violence. The game scenario has incredible gravity, sadness, and strength in itself, and it will make you wonder about a lot of things while completing this mission alone. Pacing is not very good and in the third mission the game slows down drastically again.
This kind of pace, unfortunately, lasts until the end of the campaign, going up and down without some straight path and a great culmination at the end, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. The blockbuster scenes the COD fans are familiar with can be found mostly in the middle of the game and in some missions that mimic the invasion of Normandy or similar actions.
Interestingly, every Call Of Duty game so far has some kind of "invasion of something" where enemies shoot at you constantly as you try to accomplish the goal. As much as this is a kind of COD pattern, it still has weight and a great effect on both the player and the story. Exactly because that constant blockbuster feeling is lacking here, the game offers something different, more mature and serious than any other title.
Everyone fights for freedom, whether they are in the developed countries or the Middle East, every fight has the same meaning, which is to escape the chains of slavery or oppression. The game has that dark, brutal, ruthless tone to it that fits it perfectly. The missions are arranged in the way to describe as faithfully as possible the "covert ops" of the world's special forces in search of terrorists and the “door-to-door” semi-guerrilla war on the streets of subjugated cities on the Middle East.
The only objection to the whole story is the total recasting of events in the Middle East and the shift of blame to only one world country. It should be noted that the story of the game goes like this: there is one side which is really bad and has been doing really bad things in the Middle East for 50 years, while the other side is the "union of resistance forces" which is working on freeing the countries that fell under the tyranny of their enemies. Everything could’ve been dealt with more delicately, but, for some reason, it didn’t.
Now, what amazed me the most is the graphics engine that was specifically made for this game. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is one of the most impressive games of today when it comes to graphics in absolutely every segment. Up until now, COD titles had that not so realistic look and feel when you take on the role of a soldier; you just didn't feel the weight of the character you were guiding, it didn’t feel like that soldier is a human being, but you felt like you were just a killing machine. Physics, the interaction between characters and objects, lighting, effects - everything looks amazing and very precise in the Modern Warfare titles. Some missions literally look like you're in a movie, it just looks incredibly real, and that transfers to its gameplay mechanics too.
One hit kill applies to all enemies if you aim at the head, no matter at what level of difficulty. Then, animations look so faithful and real, that in some moments you simply find it uncomfortable to watch an enemy soldier being hit by a bullet and dying in front of you. From stumbling when running to a simple fall after a deadly shot - everything looks so amazing, weird and sickly satisfying but, on the other hand, unpleasant because the game comes close to that harsh reality that is present in the world, unfortunately.
Moreover, animation, when you shoot from the first person, has been changed. As I said, your character has weight and they have to obey the laws of physics, and now the same goes for the rifle you carry. It doesn’t seem like it’s made out of cardboard anymore. As you turn your character around, there will be a delay in moving the rifle from side to side due to its weight. You will have that planned lag between where you look and the positioning of the rifle in your hands. The same is true of the moments when you shoulder aim. It will take a little longer, but this is made up for with realistic animation.
In addition to all the novelties, the gunplay mechanics have somehow remained almost unchanged, which is absolutely praiseworthy. Infinity Ward, together with a few other studios, has managed to keep that COD trademark. They made the game from scratch using a new graphics engine, but they've managed to keep its characteristic gameplay. Shooting, health regeneration, rifle customization - everything is so familiar to the point that when you start playing the game you will feel like you have already played it, even though something completely new and different is in front of you. That's the goal that Infinity Ward has achieved with this title. It was a challenge to make the game from scratch using the new graphics engine, and everyone feared that the distinct COD feel would be lost, but that didn’t happen.
Finally, the sound effects are improved so much that they are worthy of a Triple-A title. The sounds are so realistic that they are simply creepy in some moments, whether you hear the bullets flying near your head or you hear someone’s skull cracking next to you. The most disturbing sounds are the air support sounds, so much so that I got chills when I heard them for the first time. In addition, the deep-rooted flaw of the past engine has finally been fixed, or rather, improved, and that is the positioning of sound in the game that now functions flawlessly.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can be considered one of the best reboots this generation has got. With its graphics engine, it can only help us imagine what's next with Next-Gen consoles. It also has the perfect mechanics that stayed true to the COD feel. The combination of great blockbuster moments, impressive characters, good story development, and incredible action, puts Call of Duty: Modern Warfare into must-play games for all fans of the shooter genre. I give it 8.5/10.