Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – (Re)Fresher

Call of Duty: Modern WarfareWith the official word that we’re going to get an updated, remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I thought I’d talk a little about the game for people who either didn’t ever play the original, or haven’t in a while. The franchise has evolved a lot since the original launch, so players who have come into the franchise since then might be a little surprised when they load up the classic. I’m looking mainly at the multiplayer side of things, specifically the weapons today. I’ll look at the maps tomorrow, since we’re getting the ten original maps in the remake.

The big thing that could really throw people for a loop is probably with the Create a CLass system from the original Multiplayer system. Now, we don’t know for sure if that’s what we’re getting, but it’s a safe bet that we’re getting the original multiplayer across the board. We’ve been spoiled over the last handful of games with the pick-ten system, but that’s not how it worked in the good old days. We had a primary, a secondary, tactical and grenade, and three perks – that’s it. A lot of what we’re used to in terms of flexibility wasn’t there. When you combine that with the smaller number of weapons, I can see how newer fans might go into the remake with some negative opinions. What I think actually ends up happening is that a lot more power is put into the players’ thumbs. Yes, there were a couple weapons that were a little stronger than the rest – M16, M4, MP5, M40A3 – but pretty much every weapon was competitive. It’s a lot easier to put in the time to become familiar with the weapons, since there aren’t as many to work on. The drive for camo completions also isn’t quite there, because Gold camo only existed for one gun per class. That’s one of those things that I could see changing for the Remaster, the challenges in general were pretty threadbare compared with the later games.

COD 4 Create a Class

The weapons themselves I don’t think will be a huge hurdle for newer players to get over. There isn’t a huge difference between the weapons within a class like now – between burst-fire SMGs, autobursts, semi-auto, burst fire snipers, it can be hard to really get good with a gun. The old set though really only had a couple things to deal with – two semi-auto assault rifles, one burst fire one, and that’s about it. You’ve got the typical mix of bolt-action and semi-auto snipers, and different fire-rates for the SMGs mainly to worry about. The weapon classes all feel pretty good – or at least did back then – they fit their roles to a tee. There aren’t as many attachments to really worry about either, so the barrier for entry for higher level play isn’t as high as it might be now. What becomes more important as you continue playing is map knowledge and game flow awareness.

A couple last quick points that new players might need to get used to with the remake. First is the pace of the game. Pretty much every Call of Duty since Black Ops has been focused a lot around fast infantry combat. Even Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III with the boost jumping and wall running is still infantry and plays super fast. Modern Warfare not so much – it’s a much slower pace than what we’ve been playing for the last handful of years. You might need to take a few games to get used to the slower pace and more emphasis on cover useage. Second is the killstreaks present. We’ve had a plethora to use ever since Modern Warfare 2. The original only had three though – UAV at 3 kills, Air Strike at 5 kills and a Helicopter at 7 kills. They don’t stack like they do now, you have to use them in order and they can be overwritten if you die and go on a second streak. Again, that’s a system that I could maybe see them retool, but if it doesn’t change, you’ll probably have to get used to calling those streaks in more frequently.

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – It’s Real!

Infinite Warfare CoverAfter all the leaks and speculation at the end of last week, Activision and Infinity Ward put all that to rest with the official announcement of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. They also gave fans exactly what we’ve been asking for for a few years now in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Let’s talk a little about what we learned today from the trailer, Activision blog and livestream.

Bottom line is really that we didn’t learn a whole hell of a lot – just the base level stuff to get the early hype rolling into E3. That said, we know the setting of the new game, we know that Infinity Ward is doing Zombies for the first time, and Raven is working on the MW Remaster. Anything that goes super in-depth about weapons, equipment, perks, and that kind of stuff will wait until E3. That’s usually how Activision goes about their CoD reveals – initial trailer, then a bigger reveal of the multiplayer as a whole event.

With the new campaign, Infinity Ward is bring Call of Duty where it hasn’t ever been before – the far future. We’ve seen elements of true Sci-Fi creep into the franchise in the last 6 years, really dating back to Black Ops II, but this is the first full game that is truly embracing the idea of Sci-Fi. Opening up the entire solar system gives the team options that to go to places never seen in the series before. That of course scares a lot of fans though – I saw tons of posts this year hoping for a return to true boots-on-the-ground combat in the next game. They addressed that a little with the Twitch stream, saying that while yes, there are some sections where you’ll be out flying a spaceship, they really want to ground the combat in realism. That means boots-on-the-ground, small unit infantry combat – it’s always been what Call of Duty does well. The story itself seems to borrow from pretty standard Sci-Fi kind of stories – the colonists that venture out off of Earth eventually have some form of tension with Earth, and that sparks into conflict. In this game it’s going to be built around resources that are mined off-planet, and the fascist organization that rises up in space with their own ambitions. After a surprise attack catches Earth off guard, the game’s setting is complete.

One thing that caught my eye on Activision’s blog was a line talking about progression in the story. We know that we assume command of a ship, and that we launch the missions from the spaceship. But they also point out that we will able to launch raids on enemy ships. That sounds something like a meta-game within the campaign. To me, it sounds like Infinity Ward might be rolling their Safeguard mode – which has been in their previous two games – right into the campaign setting. I think it makes sense especially when you remember that they’re going to actually do a Zombies mode too now.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Of course, the big excitement has been around the official word about Modern Warfare Remastered. There’s a reason that the first Modern Warfare is talked about with such reverence from both fans and critics. It literally changed the FPS world – especially on consoles – telling an incredible story that was grounded in gritty realism, punctuated with meaningful setpieces and then complimented it with a deep multiplayer. So as a fan, seeing a couple glimpses of Crew Expendable, and little details from maps brought forward to a new graphic engine is super exciting. There are still a couple things I’m curious about that they really haven’t been clear on – mainly if the multiplayer is going to use the same mechanics as the original or not – but I am definitely excited to play that campaign again. And come on, playing Crash again? Yes please.

One last thing that I want to talk about that I saw all over social media today. I saw tons of posts already claiming that Infinite Warfare is destined to be a flop, being buoyed by the MW:R. Literally hours after it was officially announced the salt started pouring out. This isn’t unique to Call of Duty – I see it more and more frequently with any major announcement. Nintendo delays the NX to next year? Must mean that their dead in the water. Microsoft is making an updated Xbox One? They’re taking away resources from the next true console and making Xbox Live better. Any game ever announces any kind of change? It’s the end of the world. I love games and the world of gaming. It lets us explore worlds and universes in ways that no other form of entertainment can. But it’s really getting tiresome to see the negativity and pessimism that’s all over social media and the web in general. Not every decision is the right one – I think some of what Massive has been doing with The Division hasn’t been in the right directions – but these developers deserve at least a little benefit of the doubt. Take a step back, maybe actually play the games then post – don’t contribute to the echo chamber of negativity.