Not too long ago, I did a blog on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s 2v2 gunfight alpha, and while I enjoyed it quite a bit, I found it hard to talk about because of how little was there. Recently, the beta for the game opened, offering a much larger picture as to what the multiplayer offerings are for the game. So, here are my thoughts on the beta.
Over the past couple of years, Call of Duty has been trying to implement more radical changes to its multiplayer. Call of Duty WW2 brought operations and a hub world, and Black Ops 4 has a battle royale mode. The beta only represents a portion of what the game has to offer, but this game also has some modes that are more different compared to the basic offerings.
Just like every other Call of Duty, this beta offered the classic modes. There is a tab known as ‘quick play’ that offered team deathmatch, domination, headquarters, and a twenty-player variant for domination and headquarters. Outside of quick play, though, are much more interesting modes. Cyber attack is similar to search and destroy, but both teams are attacking/defending at the same time and players can be revived. NVG is team deathmatch, but with night vision goggles. Realism is also team deathmatch, but with no UI. Gunfight is back, and there was even a variant where guns were picked up off the ground. Finally, ground war is Modern Warfare’s take on Battlefield.
Before I get into the modes, one annoyance I did have with them was the fact that the new modes were on a rotation. Other than ground war, the modes were changing each day and sometimes even multiple times per day, making it harder to try out some of these modes. Also, as a result of this, there may be a game mode or two I missed.
Overall, I would say I am positive on the new modes, though I think some of them need more work. Cyber attack is a unique spin on search and destroy, though it feels like a mode that will die out a week after launch. Realism shows just how weird having zero UI is, as for the game doesn’t even offer hit markers or a confirmation of a kill. Gunfight is the same as before, but with more weapons. NVG is one the coolest modes in my opinion because night vision looks great, and all of the weapons are altered to aim diagonally and include a laser sight. Seeing a bunch of laser sights show in night vision is actually a lot cooler than I thought. All of these modes are good new editions to Call of Duty, but they are either small modes or variants to normal Call of Duty modes. Ground war is something different.
Ground war is Battlefield. I don’t mean they are similar, I mean they are almost exact. Ground war is a 32v32 mode that involves capturing and holding five flags on the map. The one map available was considerably larger than normal Call of Duty maps, each team is split up into squads of four that you can respawn on, and there are vehicles to use. The biggest difference between the two that I can think of are non-destructible environments. I always find myself coming back to Call of Duty for its RPG mechanics, so throwing that into a Battlefield-sized mode is really exciting. This excitement was cut down by the glaring issues I had with the mode, though, as for I constantly had network connectivity issues and the spawns felt poor. Still, if these issues are fixed, then I think this mode will be a hit.
I talked earlier about the (not so) secret ingredient of Call of Duty: RPG mechanics. As the games have gone on, they have dived deeper into both character and weapon leveling. This is also the reason why I find myself with a copy of Call of Duty every year (I love those progression bars). This year, the developers said they will go all-out on weapon customization. When I played the beta, I didn’t see any differences compared to previous games at first, but the more I played with weapons, the more I realized just how big the customization aspect is. In the beta, the weapons can go to level 30, but I know they will go higher. Each weapon can have up to five attachments, affecting up to nine parts of the weapon. Also, each attachment has pros and cons tied to specific attributes (like aiming speed, hip-fire accuracy, etc.). The icing on top of the cake for all of this is the loadouts aren’t constricted to the pick-ten system like before, which means I can have a fully-customized weapon while still carrying perks and consumables. One more thing to add even more icing to this cake is the ability to edit loadouts mid-match, which means putting on attachments you just unlocked. There is said to be even more around gunsmith when the game comes out, but what is there is some of the best weapon progression I have seen in Call of Duty.
Around the edges, there are many things to appreciate about this year’s entry. I really like the various animations around running and shooting, as for they feel more realistic compared to the movie action feel of previous entries. Weapons have weight to them and feel meaty, I now really like leaning and the options to engage and disengage that surround this mechanic (something I didn’t like originally in the alpha), maps feel more realistic and in my opinion hide the three lanes better than previous games, there are map callouts at the top of the screen, doors changes things up a bit, field upgrades are a nice little ultimate ability that doesn’t feel over-powered, and much more. There are lot of small things to appreciate with this year’s Call of Duty that adds onto all of the other major things they are doing in terms of weapons and modes that makes me all the more excited.
In conclusion, Modern Warfare’s beta is a good look into what I think will be a very popular and memorable title in the series. I think this will be a title that will live on for more than a year, and it will be a Call of Duty people will look back on fondly. I think it is doing a good job at finding a balance between appealing to nostalgia while advancing the series with new modes. I am excited to see the full potential of gunsmith and play a (hopefully) cleaned up ground war with friends. Call of Duty can sometimes throw their potential out the door, but if this year’s game can keep track, I don’t see any reason for this game to score poorly.