After last week’s warm-up, the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Open Beta was released over the weekend, allowing us to familiarize ourselves with all of the new mechanics and systems in the follow-up to the 2019 Infinity Ward reboot (and not to be confused with 2009’s Modern Warfare 2, of course) year). Things were also intimate when it comes to game modes, with an emphasis on 6v6 stalwarts – as well as an episode from a recurring third-person playlist – which helped highlight how
Martin: So let’s get down to it first – I’m dirty when it comes to CoD. I pick up each game at startup, smash through the campaign (or as it has been in recent years, get bored of it after an hour or two and never pick it up again), then spend tens of hours in multiplayer, dipping in and out all year round . So I’m not exactly the one to delve into the details. I’ll say this though – after I froze the series since Infinity Ward’s genius reboot in 2019, it actually got me hooked and was shocked at how different it was to the first Modern Warfare. Or the second – the one that was released in 2019. Anyway, it’s amazing
Wes: It’s definitely slower and I think it’s an Infinity Ward project. Everything from the slip canceling nerf to the incredibly fast kill time forces you to be more careful. The minimap is not helpful at all and having to wait four or eight minutes for a match to unlock certain perks that make you quieter adds a tactical element to what has traditionally been fast, run and shoot 6v6 Multiplayer Call of Duty. The footsteps are so loud!
Do I like it? I’m not sure if I feel MW2 multiplayer right now, but I suspect that I will get used to it over time and it will start to work faster as players develop the correct counters and map insights. Speaking of maps, the ones I played in the beta are good. Modern Warfare 2019 took off with some disastrously bad multiplayer maps (I still have PTSD from Piccadilly). At least these new maps flow much better.
Martin: You definitely play a lot more Call of Duty than I do in a year, so it’s interesting to hear how you do it. For an outsider like me, this slower, more tactical gameplay feels quite drastic – more like a Rainbow Six: Siege score game because you have to be so careful and precise (the gadget at your disposal seems to reward a more tactical game). Conversely, playing objective-based modes like Prison Rescue and Search and Destroy feels like playing R6: Siege with your butt on fire. It also highlights how
Wes: Infinity Ward is a shooter champion in video games. The gun really explodes and the sound is fantastic. Some of the new animations are great too. Have you seen the switch to the gun animation? I love the way you draw weapons while still having your main screen. There are also new, tasty executions.
Martin: The animations are fantastic – I spent about an hour with a returning third-person playlist last night where you can see them in all their glory. I think what impressed me this weekend were the overall technical elements of Infinity Ward (and dozens of support studies to help bring Call of Duty to life). When it comes to attention to detail or a simple triple-A show, I think they’re out there with Naughty Dog now. It really feels like a huge budget hit, and after a fairly quiet year on this front, it was nice to spend time with a game that provides a spectacle on this scale.
Wes: I really liked the third person playlist! Although it does have some frustrating problems. When you target the third person viewfinder you switch to the first person which can be harrowing. It’s as if the Infinity Totem pulled back the camera, but didn’t do anything else. It could be great!
One of the interesting debates I have seen on the internet around MW2 has to do with its graphics and whether they are even as good as MW1. One of the interesting things about MW2 is how people compare it to MW1 and not to the Call of Duty games that have been sandwiched in between. MW1, despite all its shortcomings, was a significant step forward for Call of Duty. It really took the series forward, not only from a technical point of view, but from an impression point of view. It was an amazing spectacle – one of the best looking games ever, I believe.
The problem with MW2 is that the Infinity Totem made that leap three years ago, and MW2 is not that leap forward again. Despite all the changes in feel, MW2 will struggle to delight fans as MW1 did. MW1 was such a catalyst for change (and spawned Warzone). I wonder if there were any changes because Infinity Ward felt he had to do something to keep the conversation going, as opposed to the best ideas change.
Maybe I’m too strict! I’m sure I’ll be playing MW2 for hundreds of hours …
Martin: I mean, after Black Ops and Vanguard, it feels like a big step forward – but only really where the series returned in 2019 with the first Modern Warfare reboot. It was always a bit weird how it was sticking out, and then the series went backwards again, though of course it has a lot to do with internal politics and the weird way Call of Duty works with rotating teams.
Rather, it’s an effort to put Call of Duty on a solid foundation for the future as it’s going to reboot it like Infinity Ward did in 2019, and on that front it’s hard to say how successful it is until we play Warzone 2.0 for us. However, for someone with a sidelight, there’s enough out there for me to point out, while the last few Call of Duty games felt like they weren’t events.
Wes: This is certainly true. The noise on MW2 has made its way through the roof, and we’re effectively getting two new Call of Duty games within a month of each other, with Warzone 2.0 coming out in November.
I have one last question for you: where are you standing at the Last Stand?
Martin: [Quickly goes to Google to find out what you’re talking about]. Oh that! As someone who rains more than not, I find it fun, though I really enjoy the Call of Duty slapstick and that’s something that this Modern Warfare 2 open beta delivered to the point. Throw in on the second weekend – can’t wait.