The open beta got people excited for what they now are anticipating to be the best Call of Duty game to date. Does Modern Warfare live up to the hype or will critics have Modern Warfare banned? Find out in our Call of Duty review.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is an upcoming first-person shooter video game that is being developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision. It will serve as the sixteenth overall instalment in the Call of Duty series as well as a “soft reboot” of the Modern Warfare sub-series.

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Aside from the multiplayer mode — which has already proven itself to be amazing — one of the aspects I’m most interested in with the new Call of Duty modes is the oh-so controversial campaign. According to some, Modern Warfare’s “heavy on troubling, realistic emotional moments”, being compared to the thematic elements of the controversial “No Russian” mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The plot will feature a unified narrative across the campaign, co-op, and multiplayer modes. So, without further ado, here’s our Call of Duty review.

Modern Warfare Ground War mode has MAG vibes
Call of Duty review // Modern Warfare review

This review is based on the PlayStation 4 retail copy purchased from EB Games. Their retail price is pretty steep, AUD$99.99, but I managed to get them to price match JB HiFi’s Day One price which is AUD$69.00.

The physical copy has an install size of 34.015GB which takes about 20 minutes to install on a classic PS4. Once you’ve installed the game you will need to download patch v1.03 which will unlock the game for you. The update is a whopping 56.814GB; that’s almost twice the size of the disc install. Something makes me believe that game itself is not actually on the disc. Nonetheless, this patch is essential if you want to play the Modern Warfare campaign.

It’s safe to say that if you really wanna jump in zero-hour the best option is digital download and pre-loading. Unfortunately that is the more expensive option in Australia, also you can’t exactly trade in digital codes. Physical is best, will always be best. At this point I really miss when consoles were consoles and all you had to do was insert a disc to play. I feel sorry for anyone that does not have fibre-optic internet. This download could take a whole day to complete.

Modern Warfare Banned?
Call of Duty review // Will Modern Warfare be banned?

Before I start I feel that it’s important to discuss the game’s controversies. To me, personally, I feel this game shouldn’t be considered controversial. Yes, there is graphic content here. Yes, it will shock you. But, for the first time, at least within the Call of Duty franchise, the game hits hard with its morals. Modern Warfare lets you know that you aren’t just shooting bad guys; these are people with different ideologies who all believe they are doing the right thing. When you kill someone, you are killing someone’s husband, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, or even someone’s mother. This isn’t war games any more, this is warfare. But I am certain that when it comes to the mainstream media context won’t matter and there will be a hard push for censorship… or even flat out banning.

Now, with that being said, I am going to tell you right now that this, for me, is the single greatest first-person shooter game ever made. The original Modern Warfare had the honour of holding that spot, but it was righteously dethroned by its true successor. Modern Warfare is everything you’d expect from a game baring that name. Curse on MW2, and MW3, there are only two great Modern Warfare games, and this is one of them… the one.

Moving onto the soundscapes, effects, ambience and score. I’ve always thought that the Battlefield games took the crown for sound design, but this year’s Call of Duty has raised the bar. In a sense it is like you are in a movie; sure, the realism is there but there is this extra layer of effects and orchestral undertones that makes it feel like you are actually at the cinemas. One thing that really kind of, literally, shook me was the effects on explosions. Light travels faster than sound, and it does in this game too. When you see an explosion and don’t hear it, you know it’s about to hit hard. Marvellous. A decent set of headphones is a must to really get immersed, the sound design is on point. This isn’t just a game, this is a cinematic experience.

Graphic content. Modern Warfare banned in Australia?

My first 15 minutes of the game were intense. I got pulled in and I became addicted. But before getting into the nitty-gritty details let’s acknowledge the most obvious change; the updated graphics–the game looks amazing from beginning to end. Lighting, textures, facial animation, you name it. It’s as close to perfect as you can get today. Let me remind you, that I played this on the classic PlayStation 4, not the Pro, and I was still blown away.

Now, to the nitty-gritty. The first level is called the Fog of War. Explosions almost immediately, you call in an airstrike on a Russian base. We were off to a great start. Then I travelled to London, Piccadilly Street. This particular scene hit home for me. In the wake of recent terrorist activities that took place in London, I had friend who suffered, so when things started to transpire at this very place, I needed to take a break. This hit me hard. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t offended, I was just a little shocked. I can see maybe why certain people might find this scene a bit too much, but it serves its purpose.

Infinity Ward did a great job of mixing things up gameplay-wise. This game feels so much more than just a shooter. The gun-play is still awesome and it is really showcased in the Proxy War level; nice open maps with plenty of space to move around and search for cover, and even though you are moving towards a linear marker the map is so well made that it makes it feel like a small open-world. You craft your own path of destruction trough this map.

Mission: Clean House is where the controversy first started. Killing female civilians, in self defence I might add. It’s harsh but it is done tastefully. This also when you first release that these “terrorists” that you are fighting are humans who have lives and families. It’s gut wrenching to see the son of the woman you just shot run up to her lifeless corpse and ball his eyes out. It makes it real, though. War isn’t fun. But back to gameplay, this mission is very tactical and it gave me Rainbow Six: Vegas vibes. A nice change of pace to the mission before it. Game just keeps getting better.

Multplayer screenshots
Modern Warfare banned? Buy it before it is!

Although the story is nothing new or exciting, it is well written, well told, and well acted. And what helps it along is checkpoint placement. You trigger a checkpoint after nearly every important move you make which means that even if you die you don’t have to redo the entire level. This means you won’t have to get tired of hearing the same old lines and seeing the same old scenes. I was playing on Hardened mode, and I still felt that checkpoints were really generous.

Another thing I quickly want to point out, and I’m not sure if this is just a Hardened thing or if it is like this for all other game modes, but the HUD is, by default, off. If you want to check your objectives or look at your compass you need to press the touch-pad. This will bring up your HUD for a few seconds. I actually really like this because it keeps your immersed.

There’s a moment in Modern Warfare where you have to help an employee out of an embassy that has been raided by rebels. You do this by checking CCTV footage and telling her where to take cover. One thing that really caught me by surprise was if you took her down a path that she either saw her dead or wounded friends she would interact with them which could spell trouble. It’s a stealth mission with an interesting twist.

There’s a mission that serves as a sort of origin story for two of game’s main protagonists. Farah and Hadir Karim; siblings whose lives were ruined by war at childhood. It is one of the most disturbing missions I’ve ever played in a videogame. I’m a little worried at what the “mainstream” media is going to say. There might be a lot of protest. I don’t really want to discuss the part at great length, because I don’t want to ruin the experience, it is something you just need to play. It will tear at your heart, and it will leave you very uncomfortable. But, in my books, that’s not a bad thing.

Call of Duty new game is great
Call of Duty review // Modern Warfare banned

The worst part of the game is probably, and this could just be my crappy skills, one of the last missions called Going Dark. It is a bit infuriating. I think I spent an hour alone on that mission. Good stealth mission but shooting lights out can get a bit tedious. After maybe the 30th time of res-pawning I almost gave up for the day, but, nah, I soldiered through.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is definitely the greatest Call of Duty game to date, and possibly the greatest first-person shooter game currently available. It currently is the best game released so far this year which makes it a strong contender for Game of The Year. I’m so happy to say that Infinity Ward are back in full swing. Their game is nothing short of a masterpiece; such a well realised concept executed with such great vision.

Let’s hope that the media don’t lose their shit over this game and it won’t get watered down or have Modern Warfare banned. But hey, that’s even more of a reason to go pick up a copy right this very second. You will not be disappointed. Thanks for reading our Call of Duty review.