Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Infinity Ward
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The Grade: A-
Modern Warfare Haiku Review
Captain Price returns
Two cool and new online modes
Stay frosty my friends
What is it? The latest entry in one of gaming’s longest running first-person shooter franchises. Developer Infinity Ward has gone back to the “Modern Warfare” setting that helped “Call of Duty” become a top-selling series. Familiar and new characters tell an intense single-player story while multiplayer, always a fan favorite, returns with classic modes and two new and distinct features.
The Good: Intense. That’s the best way to describe “Modern Warfare’s” single player campaign. Players are thrust into the fray immediately, with a gripping story enhanced by what is probably the most visually stunning “Call of Duty” title I’ve ever seen.
In the campaign, gamers travel the world, doing what they’ve come to expect from taking on the role of a Tier One operative - methodically taking down a threat to world peace. This time around a nefarious individual nicknamed The Wolf has stolen a significant amount of nerve gas and its your job to stop him. Players will interact with Captain Price (voiced this time around by Barry Sloane of “Revenge”), a fan favorite from previous“Modern Warfare” titles. However, the single player mode truly shines when the focus is on freedom fighting siblings, Farah (Claudia Doumit, “Timeless”) and Hadir (veteran VO actor Aidan Bristow). They’re fascinating characters.
The single player in “Modern Warfare” is its boldest yet. And while “Call of Duty’s” campaign is likely to be controversial (more on that later), it’s also a gritty and powerful experience.
Naturally most gamers will spend a majority of their time with “Modern Warfare” in the game’s multiplayer mode. Team Deathmatch remains fast paced fun, but I really enjoyed two new online options.
Ground War consists of 64-player battles featuring vehicles and huge maps. While I wish it had destructible buildings like its “Battlefield” counterpart, this mode is still great fun. Gunfight is an absolute blast. This 2vs2 mode is incredibly fast-paced and flat out addictive. It’s a great mode to play online or with or against a friend. With games that only last around 5-10 minutes, it’s also a solid option if you’re short on time.
The Bad: There are moments in “Modern Warfare’s” single-player campaign that will be hard to stomach. Infinity Ward is clearly set on showing the realistic brutality of war and when these scenes take place its jarring. Some will find these darker moments out of place in video game and there are events that take place that certainly aren’t for kids. Keep in mind, this game is rated M for a reason.
In theory, “Modern Warfare’s” co-op mode sounds great. A cooperative experience that lightly extends the single-player campaign and is playable with friends or others online is another opportunity to dive even deeper into the world of “Call of Duty.” Sadly, it just isn’t that enjoyable. This mode is tuned to the “masochist” setting at all times. Hopefully Infinity Ward makes some tweaks to make the experience more rewarding because right now its a missed opportunity.
The Grade: While it has a slightly odd name (Why not “COD: MW4" or “COD: Modern War4are?”), this new take on “Modern Warfare” is exactly what the “Call of Duty” franchise needed. A riveting single-player story and two fun and exciting online options combined with this series always reliable online suite make “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” a game you don’t want to miss.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.