There’s a lot going on with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. A lot that’s good, a lot that’s bad and plenty in between. Overall, the developers at Infinity Ward have done a fine job reestablishing the once titanic Modern Warfare sub-brand with this “soft reboot”. But, at launch, this is a game of potential. It is not the finished article.
Let’s start with the good. Modern Warfare feels fantastic in your hands. Guns pack a real punch, their recoil meaningful and realistic. They’re loud – as they should be – and distinctive. The audio work here is impressive – hats off to the sound designers at Infinity Ward. Modern Warfare is one of the best-sounding first-person shooters I’ve ever played.
The reload animations are superb. I love the way you save a clip you haven’t run dry for later with the same hand you replace it with. I love the way gun barrels smoke after extended fire. I love the way scopes actually magnify what you’re looking at. The M4A1 assault rifle, an early favourite for multiplayer, is the most sickly sweet Call of Duty gun I’ve fired in years. Aim down sights and squeeze that right trigger, snappy, fluid and satisfying. Call of Duty has always been a wonderful game in which to fire a virtual gun, and Modern Warfare may be the best in the series for it. But something weird happens when you take your firecrackers out into the field – and I’m not sure it’s a good weird.