The 2019 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was very well-received upon release. Critics and ordinary players alike praised its distinctive gameplay, elaborate campaign, and upgraded graphics. Some even said that the shooter breathed new life into the venerable CoD franchise. A few years have passed, and the series has moved on to newer titles. However, Modern Warfare still retains a major following that is not deterred by the end of substantial updates. By examining its main strengths and weaknesses, this article should help explain the title’s continued popularity and help you decide whether it is worth your time and money.
The gameplay in Modern Warfare stands out among later titles in the series. It has a complex and realistic style that Black Ops Cold War in particular has not replicated. Perhaps most importantly, a short time-to-kill means combat is truly dangerous. This design decision encourages a cautious and deliberate approach, which is supported by an expanded array of options compared to other CoD games. Characters have many ways in which to move, such as sliding or sprinting. They can interact with the environment: for instance, closing doors or mounting weapons in certain positions.
Guns warrant a special mention in a shooter. Modern Warfare boasts a rich and varied selection of guns in different categories. The gunsmith screen allows players to customize those weapons extensively with attachments, increasing the weapon diversity further. Compared to later releases, those weapons are fairly well-balanced, resulting in unpredictable matches with no overwhelming advantages granted by equipment alone. That means clever tactics must come to the fore. Many fans also praise the impactful and immersive feel of the weapons.
Modern Warfare’s single player campaign was a major source of praise for the title, and it continues to be one of its main selling points. The story has many twists and turns. It maintains a consistent gritty and morally ambiguous tone throughout. There is a great diversity of environments and objectives in the story missions, some of which are superbly tense. Compared to Cold War, the campaign is more traditional and less experimental, but also more solid in execution. Meanwhile, Vanguard’s campaign is decidedly less deep, leaving Modern Warfare unchallenged in this department among newer-generation CoD games for now.
Co-operative play is sadly one of Modern Warfare’s weaknesses when compared to newer titles. Instead of the traditional Zombies mode, it features co-op Spec Ops set in different parts of Verdansk. By widespread player consensus, they are a rather forgettable part of the game. One of the main complaints is an unreasonable level of difficulty that can be very discouraging. Another is that the mission tasks seem uninspired and repetitive. Still, players who are prepared for the challenge and do not expect the Spec Ops experience of earlier titles can still enjoy this mode with friends.
The multiplayer scene is still very much alive, helped both by a robust community and well-implemented crossplay between different platforms and generations. There is no difficulty in finding players for a match. Maps are both numerous and varied. The large amount of small maps meant for frantic action in tight quarters is balanced by larger-scale settings allowing plenty of maneuvering. Modes are similarly diverse and can feature anything between four and sixty four combatants. The distinctive gameplay truly shows itself in multiplayer, challenging players to outwit and outmaneuver each other.
Too little time has passed for Modern Warfare’s graphics to be considerd obsolete. On the contrary, its brand-new engine has pushed its graphics beyond those of Cold War in many regards, despite the latter being a later release. Vanguard uses the same engine, but can be rather less polished. Textures, weapon models, and varied and elaborate animations are all major strengths. The 2019 title also has a distinctive and story-appropriate weather-worn look, in contrast to its more vivid and colorful successors. Whether that is a selling point or the opposite is a matter of subjective preference.
Developer support has got to be the shooter’s greatest current weakness. Development has effectively ceased. No new content has been released since 2021, and with a sequel on the way that is unlikely to change. On the other hand, Modern Warfare is already very rich in terms of content and does not really need more. One might argue that introducing new guns, for example, would just throw off the balance and make fights less interesting. The main problem is that newer technical updates have a tendency to make the game unplayable. However, developers still try to fix those problems, ensuring that the shooter is stable most of the time.
Modern Warfare has a distinctive and consistent character. In contrast to later releases that have a more simplistic and colorful feel, it goes all in on realism and detail. The graphics and the campaign both reinforce this design decision. Obviously, it is not for everyone. Many players find the less realistic set-up easier to enjoy, as well as less burdened by realistic yet vexing tactics like camping. Then again, many others prefer shooters that are closer to real life and that demand more planning and thought. If you find yourself in the latter category, the 2019 shooter is a unique fit.
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