Call Of Duty Modern Warfare II
At the time of this writing, Call of Duty Modern Warfare II would see the franchise's biggest launch in history. Eight hundred million dollars in revenue is nothing to scoff at and it's an impressive number for the long-running FPS franchise. Before I talk about the game itself I'd want to talk about the glaring issue Modern Warfare II has --- A convoluted installation process. Of the consoles available, Sony players will get the short end of the stick here as owning a PS4 copy is more trouble than it's worth.
In most games that feature a PS4 and a PS5 version, the PS4 version includes a free upgrade to the PS5. Sometimes it's discounted (thanks Gran Turismo 7) but the majority of the time all that's required is the PS4 disc and a PS5 with a disc drive. It's a rather ingenious way of mimicking the Smart Delivery proprietary system that Microsoft has for Xbox. When it's used for the greater good at least. However, when used for greed, it can get a bit wonky.
With the exception of the PS5, both the Xbox and the PS4 versions are labeled "Cross Gen Editions," which is more fluff than anything. Rather than offering a free upgrade through the PS5, the PS4 version includes a one-time use voucher that players can redeem to access the PS5 version. The downloaded PS5 version then acts the same as any other upgrade, requiring the PS4 disc to be inserted. Why did Activision choose to go with a one-time redemption than having the upgrade kit built in like most games?
Probably because as the years go by, the value of a Call of Duty game goes down when a new one comes out. Considering how much of a bust Vanguard was, released exactly a year ago, this can be a valid excuse. The Xbox version doesn't have this issue because of its Smart Delivery system. This means you can use the same disc for your Xbox One and your Series X, for two different versions. No voucher codes are needed.
If that's not enough, the Xbox version isn't safe because it only installs Warzone 2 by default. To get the campaign, multiplayer, and co-op you have to select it when you're installing the game. This bumps the game from 40 to a whopping 90 GB. With six content packs installed and an hour later, I was finally able to experience Modern Warfare II.
It's been a very long time since I've played the original Modern Warfare 2 but the plot for the reboot lines up with the original's plot. Government conspiracies, the threat of nuclear war, and enough wisecracking dialogue to throw a 90s movie at. The cutscenes that weren't able to be conveyed in the original titles are well done in the next-gen. I mentioned how Vanguard felt like a movie in the past, but MWII takes the "war movie" and amplifies it. There are more environments to traverse than the occasional "desert, jungle, and middle-of-nowhere."
There are urban environments that require a more covert profile as opposed to the "weapon's hot" approach. The first mission, Kill or Capture, is a raid that consists of army-style combat, sniper executions, and close-quarter combat in a warehouse as the finale. A few missions later, The following missions involve the cast in Amsterdam, introducing stealth and water mechanics while another mission is in broad daylight. Both require players not to cause a scene to dispatch their enemies.
While the graphics for the story and the voice acting is well done, the multiplayer is as mixed of a bag as any Call Of Duty multiplayer experience. I wanted to show off the multiplayer as it's the "meat" of the dish, but of all the maps to be paired with I was sent to the Mexico-America border expressway. Before I had a chance to play the map, I already knew how infamous this map quickly became in the MWII community as shown here.
The reality is while exploding cars is a major deal, the map itself is one of those "corridor" maps. There's only one way to go through traffic and that's via the expressway or the side exits. There aren't any ways to flank enemies like the more "circular" maps, but it plays out so that everyone will have to go through various chokepoints eventually.
You could be the best player but if you're in an enemy's line of sight who camps, it means nothing. Unfortunately, I've always been more of a mobile player but as all CoD players know, you can't customize your loadout until you get to a certain level. It has been almost two decades and they still decide this is the best way to begin a multiplayer career. Also, I didn't do too well but I got the game-winning kill so who cares right?
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II is an example of playing it safe, appealing to long-term players, and making easy money from a formula set in stone. The reception from Vanguard to Modern Warfare II shows that reviving good games means you'll be good with your core audience. Unfortunately, you can give a classic the "greatest hits" treatment so many times that it becomes a worn-out record. Let's see how long the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality can hold off for Activision.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II is available on Microsoft Windows, Sony PlayStation 4, Sony PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S.