Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Xbox One X Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is simply another Call of Duty game with small changes to the established formula.

By Grayshadow, Posted 28 Oct 2019

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboots the legendary series that set the standard for multiplayer progression. The campaign touches on sensitive issues on the reality of modern warfare within a stale generic narrative. The multiplayer is the same experience with slight changes to the established Call of Duty system. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is more of the same and won't change the minds of those who've never liked the series or have moved on to other games.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's campaign has you in control of various characters as you attempt to stop World War 3 from happening. A biochemical gas has been stolen by the terrorist group Al-Qatala and it's your job to get it back. What follows is you jumping from various locations within the middle east and Europe and helping a resistance group unofficially against Russian forces while locating the gas. Those who've played other Call of Duty will find the story predictable. Trending similar ground from other military shooters before it.

The campaign is 5 hours of you taking on a series of missions ranging from large firefights to subtle infiltration missions. The firefights are more in line with more recent Call of Duty games, with the player killing dozens of soldiers with lots of explosions and bullets flying everywhere. The infiltration missions take a more special ops approach as you slowly infiltrate a closed area and take out enemies tactically. There's 1 semi-open mission where you travel through multiple objectives but overall Modern Warfare has a decent variety of missions that highlight the game's technical achievements.

From a technical perspective, Modern Warfare is extraordinary. Each character model has been created with high-quality details, especially during the cutscenes. The characters look life-like, I was able to see each individual hair in Captain Price's beard. The lightening is also exceptional, making the missions where light plays a major role that more profound. Making the use of the character's night-vision goggles vital as bright rooms can render you blind. It's a shame that the narrative doesn't share the same high-quality.

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The actual story follows the same generic formula military shooter fans will predict from start to finish. A deadly weapon has been stolen, you have to fight hundreds of similar-looking enemies to get it back, and there's an evil military person you have to stop. Understandably, the writers did try to create a story grounded in reality and using sci-fi military equipment found in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare or the Black Ops series would've broken the game's style. It's serviceable but nothing fans of this series haven't experienced. The characters in this story are also forgettable. With the exception of Captain Price who reminds the central character in this story, making the tough but necessary choices.

Where Modern Warfare does try to mix things up is its atmosphere. There are very dark situations where questionably moral things happen. Infinity Ward went as far to warn the player each time you select the campaign. The Call of Duty franchise has done controversial things in the past such as the airport scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and seeing child soldiers in Call of Duty: Ghosts but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare takes it to a whole new level. I can't talk about it without going into spoilers but 1 late level has you controlling a specific character in one of the most unsettling levels in the entire franchise. These moments were the high points of the entire game. With chilling circumstances where the protagonists took extreme and often immoral measures for the sake of the mission. And sometimes just for survival.

Infinity Ward has done an exceptional job depicting the reality of war. Terrorists using human shields and innocent people dying is expected in warfare. The developers did not shy away from these truths and instead highlighted these situations to amplify the circumstances you'll later play out. The writers did try to make consequences choice making a part of the game but these are merely cosmetic. Unlike Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's choice-based dialogue all of these choices either end in a game over screen or different spoken dialogue.

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The controls are precise and function well. But with this series releasing yearly this should be expected. The FPS combat is as strong as ever. The only thing that will take some time to get used to is the sliding system. In this year's Call of Duty the slide has more weight to it and doesn't go quite as far. It takes some getting used to, especially if you are accustomed to Black Ops 4's movement system.

After completing the single-player campaign the story continues with cooperative play. Here up to 4 players take on 4 missions with a custom loadout based on your multiplayer selection. You complete objectives to move on to the next objective until the mission is finished. The challenge is high but this is mostly due to the high number of enemies you'll encounter and the large wide-open spaces.

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The multiplayer is your standard Call of Duty. Thankfully, some of the mistakes from Black Ops 4 haven't been repeated here. Submachine guns no longer provide a god-like advantage like when Black Ops 4 launched and assault rifles have been balanced for mid-range combat. Matchmaking still very lopsided, be prepared for a lot of games that mostly go one way due to heavy differences in level and skill.

The progression system allows you and your weapons to gain levels. The player's overall level is linked to perks, weapon unlocks, equipment, and killstreaks. Weapon upgrades are linked to how much you use the gun and provide unlockable accessories for that gun. Players can link up to 5 accessories to their weapon but some have lower than 5 slots to equip an accessory. It's the same system we've seen from past Call of Duty titles and it works. Players who dedicate themselves to a specific weapon will earn unique cosmetics for that weapon. There are plenty of weapons to choose from with 6 types and over 20 different guns.

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The perk system also returns. You can choose from 3 sets of perks, 1 from each list, and customize your own soldier after reaching level 5. There's plenty of options to choose from ranging from reduced flash and stun effects, carrying 2 primary weapons, and much more. Strangely, players can alter their Gunsmith attachments in-match. You won't have access to the changes until you respawn but having this option removes the gamble having choice 1 part over another. Instead of sticking to your choice now you can just change it mid-match if you want.

The gameplay itself is the same standard Call of Duty. You choose from 8 modes and earn experience by competing in matches, completing objectives, and killing enemies. Earn enough experience to get new rewards and repeat the process. There are 21 maps, with some being night variants of certain maps. I did feel like the maps were way too big. Unlike Black Ops 4 which had more condense fast pace maps the distance between players is very large in comparison to past Call of Duty games. Even in 20 player ground wars you can find places to camp and remain isolated from the rest of the players.

The spawn system faces the same issues as Black Ops 4. Already coordinated players have figured out how to lock players into a specific area. Leading to frustrating matches where a team camps specific locations and keeps the other team in their spawn trap. I was hoping that this installment of Call of Duty would finally take more care into placing the spawns but clearly I was wrong.

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Infinity Ward has returned to the killstreak concept but there's a perk that allows the player to shift back to scorestreak. I did notice more players camping more aggressively with this system's return than in Black Ops 4 but the killstreaks all have their strengths and weaknesses. With the highest tier granting access to deadly options such as Juggernaut armor and advanced UAV.

Challenges are still here and grant additional experience when completed but have changed for the worst. Instead of a long list of awesome challenges that the player has full access to you're given 3 daily challenges. Instead, Missions are extensive objectives but for some reason, you can only select 1 at a time. Those familiar with the original Modern Warfare will recognize how limiting this new challenge system is. Another strange implementation is how experience boosters work. When triggered, the experience you gain extra experience for a set amount of time but the timer keeps running even when you're in a lobby. It shouldn't run while in the lobby and should be an in-game timer only.

There are plenty of cosmetics here. The biggest being operators. Unlike Black Ops 3 and 4's class system, these are cosmetic avatars from various groups. Each organization has 3 people players can unlock and choose from. It does add some flare, giving players the chance to mix up their look.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is another installment in the acclaimed Call of Duty series. It doesn't take the series to new heights and slightly alters the same formula that has been implemented for years. The single-player has some impactful moments during the more violent sections of the game but the narrative is the same "stop a global war" story we've heard dozens of times. The multiplayer is more of the same we've come to expect from this franchise but with similar preventable issues. With poor matchmaking and easier ways for players to spawn trap expect a lot of vexing matches unless you dedicate time to construct a perfectly coordinated team. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is simply another Call of Duty game with small changes to the established formula.

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Activision
Developer(s): Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Beenox, High Moon Studios
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Military, Modern Warfare
Release Date: 2019-10-25

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