Get ready to play in a variety of settings from a small bustling marketplace to a modern museum nestled in the foothills of the mountains. Modern Warfare II will hit the ground running on day one, ready to welcome newcomers and fierce competitors alike.
The game takes place in a realistic and modern setting. The campaign follows a CIA officer and British SAS forces as they team up with rebels from the fictional Republic of Urzikstan, combating together against Russian Armed Forces who have invaded the country and the Urzik terrorist group Al-Qatala, while searching for a stolen shipment of chlorine gas. The game's Special Ops mode features cooperative play missions that follow on from the campaign. The multiplayer mode supports cross-platform multiplayer and cross-platform progression for the first time in the series. It has been reworked for gameplay to be more tactical and introduces new features, such as a Realism mode that removes the HUD as well as a form of the Ground War mode that now supports 64 players. A post-launch update introduces a free-to-play battle royale mode, Warzone, which was also marketed as a standalone title. Multiplayer also supports shared screen multiplayer. This mode includes bots, custom maps, custom game-modes and other creative game-interfering actions.
Infinity Ward began working on the game soon after the release of their 2016 title Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. They introduced an entirely new engine for the game, which allows for new performance enhancements such as more detailed environments and ray-tracing capabilities. For the campaign, they took influence from real-life conflicts, such as the Syrian Civil War and terrorist incidents that have occurred in London. For the multiplayer, they scrapped the franchise's traditional season pass and removed loot boxes, enabling them to distribute free post-launch content to the playerbase in the form of "Seasons".
Modern Warfare received praise for its gameplay, campaign, multiplayer, and graphics. Criticism focused on the handling of the campaign's subject matter, including the depiction of the Russian military, as well as balancing issues in the multiplayer. A sequel, titled Modern Warfare II, was released in 2022.
Modern Warfare's multiplayer has been revised from its predecessors to allow for a more tactical gameplay style, including a focus on map exploration, door breaching, and a Hardcore "Realism" mode that removes the HUD. The mini-map was originally removed in favor of a compass-style marker, with visual cues to detect friendlies and opponents. Following feedback from the multiplayer beta test, Infinity Ward re-implemented the mini-map but removed the appearance of red dots representing enemy players (except for when the UAV killstreak is used). Multiplayer also features the return of Killstreaks (rewards based on kills), with more recent Call of Duty titles having used Scorestreaks (rewards based on score) instead. Killstreaks can, however, be converted into Scorestreaks with the use of an in-game perk called "Pointman". The online modes allow for a larger range of players within a map than previous installments, with a new mode called "Ground War" featuring over 100 players, while conversely another new mode, "Gunfight", tasks two teams of two players against each other in small matches lasting forty seconds per round. The game includes an extensive weapons customization system, presenting most guns with a range of up to 60 attachments to choose from (five of which can be equipped at any one time). The introduction at the start of multiplayer matches has also been revamped; while in previous titles players would remain motionless on the map as a timer would countdown to zero, players will instead be transported into the battle zone as part of various animations.
Modern Warfare is the first game in the series since 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts not to feature a Zombies mode, instead featuring the cooperative "Special Ops" mode previously present in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Spec Ops shares its narrative with both the campaign and multiplayer. It includes a "Survival" mode, which was a timed exclusive to the PlayStation 4 release until October 2020. At launch, Special Ops features four Operations, which are multi-objective missions that take place in a large open map requiring mandatory 4-player cooperation; and Classic Special Ops, which features smaller scale missions, similar to the original Spec Ops mode.
Modern Warfare takes place in modern time, with the campaign occurring over the course of several days in late 2019, and the Special Ops and multiplayer modes continuing the story into 2020. The campaign story centers around a rising conflict between Russia and the fictional Republic of Urzikstan, also involving Western military forces. Players assume the roles of three protagonists: British SAS Sergeant Kyle "Gaz" Garrick (Elliot Knight), former Delta Force operator turned CIA SAC/SOG officer "Alex" (Chad Michael Collins), and Urzik rebel leader Farah Karim (Claudia Doumit). The three protagonists work together, alongside SAS Captain John Price (Barry Sloane) and CIA Station Chief Kate Laswell (Rya Kihlstedt). Other allies include U.S. Marine Corps General Lyons (Debra Wilson), Colonel Norris (Nick Boraine), and Demon Dogs leader Sergeant Marcus Griggs (LaMonica Garrett, later replaced by Demetrius Grosse);[b] Farah's elder brother Hadir Karim (Aidan Bristow); "Nikolai" (Stefan Kapičić), head of a Russian PMC acquainted with Price; and Yegor Novak (Alex Feldman), a Ukrainian fixer working for Nikolai. The allied forces are opposed by the Al-Qatala, an Urzik terrorist organization based in Urzikstan led by Omar "The Wolf" Sulaman (Joel Swetow) and his right-hand man Jamal "The Butcher" Rahar (Nick E. Tarabay), as well as General Roman Barkov (Konstantin Lavysh), commander of a rogue Russian faction who treats Farah's rebel forces and the Al-Qatala equally as criminals.
The game's multiplayer beta in September 2019 was withdrawn for unknown reasons from the PlayStation Store in Russia. A prominent theory posits that this is because the Russian media had been critical of the game's campaign's reportedly favorable portrayal of the White Helmets, a volunteer organisation that operates in parts of opposition-controlled and Turkish-occupied Syria. In October 2019, Sony announced that Modern Warfare would not be sold on the PlayStation Store in Russia.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare received "generally favorable reviews" on all platforms according to review aggregator site Metacritic. The game was praised for its gameplay, campaign (being considered by critics as one of the best in the franchise), multiplayer, graphics, and overall improvements to the Call of Duty formula. However, the campaign received some criticism for aspects in the handling of its subject matter, as well as minor balancing issues with some of the online modes.
Modern Warfare has been criticized for its inclusion of white phosphorus strikes as a killstreak in the multiplayer. Use of white phosphorus as an incendiary agent is regulated by international law: the provisions of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, specifically the Protocol on Incendiary Weapons, prohibit the use of incendiary weapons against or near civilian areas.
In a statement to IGN, former U.S. Marine John Phipps criticized the game for failing to realistically portray the effects of the substance, saying "I find Modern Warfare's use as a killstreak reward a nearsighted glorification of what myself and others consider to be a violation of the laws of armed conflict. Contrary to their overall goals towards realism in its campaign, the multiplayer mode in CoD doesn't depict the effect White Phosphorus (WP) has on the human body in any kind of realistic way. I don't object to things like WP being examined in games, so long as we depict them as they truly are". In her review of the game, Kallie Plagge of GameSpot made note of the inclusion of white phosphorus as a killstreak reward in multiplayer and included it in her list of the game's negative aspects, adding that it "goes against everything the campaign stands for".
Infinity Ward's rebooted Modern Warfare 2 brings back a more classic Call of Duty multiplayer experience than we've seen in recent years, with maps better tailored to traditional 6v6 play and dialed-back movement mechanics. Modern Warfare 2's gameplay really feels like a refreshing return to old times again for Call of Duty, but unfortunately, the package as a whole feels lacking and gun customization is overly complex.
Editor's note: Given the staggered release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2's campaign and multiplayer, as well as Warzone 2.0, GameSpot will be publishing three separate reviews to ensure our verdicts can be delivered in a timely manner, while also giving each of these experiences the focus they need. You can read our Modern Warfare 2 campaign review here.
Infinity Ward also revealed Sunday the date for the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer beta. PS4 and PS5 owners will have their first crack at the beta, with those who preordered Modern Warfare 2 getting early access starting Friday, Sept. 16, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. All other PlayStation gamers can jump in the beta starting on Sunday, Sept. 18, and the test will last until Tuesday, Sept. 20. A PS Plus subscription isn't required to be part of the beta.
Upon returning to the Modern Warfare series, Infinity Ward set out to create a game ripped straight from the real world terrorism that exists in modern-day 2019. A week before the game's reveal, studio narrative director Taylor Kurosaki and single-player director Jacob Minkoff explained to journalists this new game as a more mature, authentic and relevant Call of Duty game that's not a superhero caricature, but instead, a down-to-earth representation of the realities of being a soldier. "It's taking scenarios that are "ripped from the headlines." Among the stated goals for the game's campaign: "Create an emotional connection through the realities of war," and "Push the boundaries of the medium." 2b1af7f3a8