For many years, Call of Duty was stuck in a strange limbo of days of future-past warfighting between World War II and future sci-fi that I personally found to be somewhat of a slump. The 2019 Modern Warfare reboot was a solid return to form for the Call of Duty franchise that brought the series back to some form of contemporary reality. Modern Warfare 2 is the worthy continuation of that reboot, as well as a new chapter for the Warzone Battle Royale mode.
Modern Call of Duty is a difficult game to objectively review, because it’s really 3 entirely different games altogether. You have the single player campaign, the standard (classic) multiplayer modes, and then the new(ish) Battle Royale game mode of Warzone.
The single player game this time around is intriguing, and as always you can expect outstanding production value. The story drags a little bit, but I think the callbacks to real life events (such as the assassination of Iranian General Soleimani) make it interesting enough.
Probably my favorite part of the single player campaign is near the beginning, when you have to engage with terrorists in an American suburban town along the Mexican border. The game plays out in a traditional Call of Duty fashion (which I find to be give or take), with first-person cinematic action set-pieces unfolding all around you while you engage in what always boils down to a shooting gallery section.
Where I spent the bulk of my time with this game was in multiplayer, and specifically the “traditional” multiplayer modes. There’s something about some classic Call of Duty Team Deathmatch that really scratches that itch. The twitch-gunplay handles as well as it ever has, and remains as addictive as it was when the original Modern Warfare II came out in 2009.
The game offers an unprecedented amount of customization for your weapons and your builds. Each weapon delivers attachment slots for nearly every piece, allowing you to change out the barrel, buttstock, sights, and even the pistol grip (and much more).
To be frank, I’m not a huge fan of Battle Royale games in general, but I do find Warzone 2.0 to be a fun time if you’re in the right mood for it. Battle Royale modes have a tendency to be tense, sweaty-palmed exercises in survival, and Warzone 2.0 is no different. I think Warzone occupies a needed place in the sea of the battle Royale genre as essentially the only contemporary military game. If you played Warzone before, there’s not much here that is different (other than upgraded graphics, map, etc). A key addition to Warzone that makes it interesting is the Gulag, where you go when you die, and where you can win your freedom back. The Gulag gives Warzone more incentive to play, as you feel like you at least have a chance at getting back into the match.
The whole package of Modern Warfare 2 delivers exactly what you probably expected, nothing more and nothing less. In this sense, it’s a pretty solid game all-around. If there’s anything about it to nitpick about, it’s the typical annoying Call of Duty-isms that have permeated the series over the last 10 years, like Battlepass micro transactions, spammy menus, sweaty chromed out prestige players wearing bright “fuck you” colors in multiplayer, etc.
But, such is gaming in 2023.