Modern Warfare Multiplayer Review & In-Depth Impressions – MP1st Staff Offers Their Brutal Feedback

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While we already ran our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review, the actual multiplayer is, as most gamers know, the meat & potatoes of the game. While that review covers the overall game we decided to focus solely on the multiplayer for this one, as that is our focus here at MP1st, and is another take on how the multiplayer component might fare for other people. We here at MP1st pride ourselves in being honest, and actually, y’know, being knowledgeable about multiplayer stuff.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to do a Modern Warfare multiplayer review that’s focused on just that — the multiplayer and it alone. This is where Alex Co, and James Lara talk about the experience, and what we make of it so far. Note that the version we’re basing our Modern Warfare multiplayer review is after the 1.07 patch has dropped, — and on PS4 — which is the first big title update the game has gotten that  touches on game balance, community-requested tweaks and more. We’ve been waiting for this before dropping this piece since that means a clear meta has surfaced.

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Jimmy Lara on Modern Warfare multiplayer:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer is finally out, giving players a fresh new look at the series as it attempts to recapture the classic boots on the ground experience. And while the gameplay feels great, along with several other changes, the result certainly isn’t what we had hoped for.

I’m torn on Modern Warfare because I really love the slower pace gunplay it has to offer. I’ve never been much of a fan of the floaty arcade-like physics that past Call of Duty games have opted for, which is probably the reason why I’ve always preferred Battlefield gunplay. For me, the slower pace adds a more significant impact on the actions I take. It teaches me to be more precise with my shots, and to be more careful out on the field. It dials down the twitch shooter element in favor of a more tactical playstyle, although in the case of Modern Warfare, it takes things a bit to far. I’m talking about the abundance of camping.

Now, being a slower paced shooter, that doesn’t necessarily mean that camping is going to accompany it, despite what many believe. I’ve played many slow (compared to Call of Duty) shooters, and while camping will always be a thing, I’ve never really had much of an issue with it in other games as I do with Modern Warfare. The game does its job to cater to that specific playstyle, regardless of the developers stating otherwise. Maps are cramped together, filled with dark corridors and other poorly lit locations that make it a campers haven.

modern warfare

The general map designs just don’t work as many of them have their share of untouched locations. Many high vantage points offer unbalanced positions of power over others that discourages alternative playstyles. One could say that the game is far more rewarding to those the take the sit and wait approach versus the run and gun. Not to say that you can’t rush in the game, as it is still my preferred method of play, it just means that you have a greater risk of dying before you see anyone.

And speaking of dying before you see them, there’s actually some explanation behind that. I’m sure many of you have been victims of killcams showcasing you in clear line of fire, despite never seeing the shooter. This is all because of how the camera is placed on the character model and how perspective works with corners. I don’t want to get to deep in explaining this, but there is this video made by Counterstrike Player TheWarOwl that you can watch below. Obviously different games, but the logic can be applied to Modern Warfare.

And this issue has always existed in past Call of Duty games, the big reason why you never really noticed is because of the difference in gameplay. In past CODs it was easy to hop around a corner at Mach speed, whereas now they account for ADS time that it would take to pull up your weapon if you are running or jumping. Players are now taking their time, instead of rushing. I do prefer the overall gameplay still and have come to accept the issue at hand, though perhaps Infinity Ward can come up with a clever solution.

The sound design, while is great in places like the gun sounds, also favors those who prefer the camping playstyle. Footsteps are loud, the kind of loud that people make when they aren’t picking up their feet when they walk. It’s crazy how well you can hear them in Modern Warfare, despite there being thick concrete walls in some places. It doesn’t help that enemies can hear your teammate’s character call outs, resulting in your position being given away. At least I have a bit of control over the footsteps sound, but automotive responses to certain actions? Well, I might as well just hand my gun over at that point.

I should point out that Infinity Ward has said that sound among other issues will be adjusted in the future, so fingers crossed they’re the adjustments the game drastically needs. 

And the typical argument I’ll see is that the game is meant to be played as such, more “tactical” and “realistic,” yet this can’t be any further from the truth. If being realistic is the argument people want to use, then by default every mode should be one life only mode, but we know that wouldn’t sit well with many. If the game is meant to be played in this kind of style, then why is that nearly over half the matches we play end with the countdown expiring? We all understand that these matches were designed to be completed in a set time frame, with the timer acting as a safeguard against dragged out matches, right?

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The timer isn’t meant to be there to try and survive the match for the duration, it’s there so they don’t go on forever. Yet the preferred playstyle easily turns every objective base mode into a game of team deathmatch, as players farm for killstreaks. It’s not a problem in TDM games as that is the core objective, but in modes like Domination, Search and Destroy, and the rest Scorestreaks would make more sense as they promote and reward players for playing the objectives. I know the game has scorestreaks as an option by using a perk, but how many people are actually using that method compared to the masses? Not many I’d wager.

Not everything about the multiplayer is bad though, as I’m fond of the whole Gunsmith system that they have incorporated, allowing players to customize weapons as they see fit. This opens the door to a whole lot of possibilities, but also to some questionable balancing. Although honestly, what game doesn’t have a balancing issue when it comes to weapons? At this point, for me, it’s such a hard thing to complain about as games will always have a set meta for what’s strong and what’s weak. I’m not denying that there isn’t any unbalancing among weapons, I’m just acknowledging that there will always be an issue with it unless they make every gun the same. I will acknowledge that this isn’t the most balanced Call of Duty game we have had, but what Call of Duty game didn’t struggle from balancing at the start? None.

Modern Warfare has great potential to be the best Call of Duty game to date. It’s definitely the shakeup that the series needed, but a lot of the positives get overlooked by some of the poor designs that have a big impact. I’m in the camp that prefers the slower pace gameplay, I find it fun and satisfying and have no issue with it whatsoever. Even the mini map’s original removal I preferred because it eliminated the bad habit of red dot chasing. I’m not sure how the developers over at Infinity Ward plan on addressing a lot of the community issues (some outlined above), but whatever they do we hope it’s not a drastic change to the core gunplay.

SCORE: 7/10

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Alex Co on Modern Warfare multiplayer:

If you read Jimmy’s take on the multiplayer, we’re pretty much on the same boat in terms of criticisms, though mine might be more severe given how much I like Call of Duty’s run ‘n’ gun playstyle.

There’s no denying it: I’m the target demographic for Call of Duty, which makes what I’m going to say hurt more. Modern Warfare doesn’t feel like a Call of Duty game at all. It feels like a mish mash of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Rainbow Six Siege, which produced a Frankenstein-like baby.

Don’t get me wrong, Modern Warfare has a few things going for ii such as the gunplay (which, one could argue is the most important thing in a shotoer). Infinity Ward nailed the gunplay, and time to kill (TTK) in Modern Warafre and it feels really, really good. The Gunsmith gun customization feature is also another welcome addition (though it can use some tweaks), since it gives an unprecedented level of weapon customization, and should be in every Call of Duty mode moving forward.

modern warfare update 1.07

Even in game modes, Infinity Ward naied a new one too. Gunfigbht, the game’s 2v2 mode, is superb, and is good for tournaments, and is something I can see taking off and being part of future Call of Duty games.

However, for all the good things Modern Warfare brings to the table, there’s a LOT of other stuff that it messes up. Possibly the two biggest offenders are the maps and spawns.  Regarding the maps, gone are the three-lane conventional design popularized by Treyarch. Now, we have maps that offer verticality, a  more varied approach to each “lane,” and more. Unfortunately, Infinity Ward has put in a ton of windows, perches, and other “power positions” that make it very, very hard if you somehow end up on the “wrong” team. An example of this wrong team is spawning in the A flag area in Piccadilly. Simply put, it’s almost an automatic win unless you’re playing with bots if you spawn near the A flag. The opposing team is significantly nearer to the “power position” of the map which is the sneaker shop in front of the fountain. Getting there first, putting in your claymores (more on this later) is an almost guaranteed win. While Piccadilly might be the most annoying map in the list (or in Call of Duty history), the rest aren’t that great, either.

Aniyah Palace, which is available in the 10v10 mode, is too damn big, and whomever reaches the middle palace almost always wins. It’s the same with the other maps (Arklov Peak, etc.), as it offers power positions that once a team gets it, it’s game over. Usually, a map’s “good” spots are easier to reach to by one team, which translates to blowout games.

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Compounding these maps are the spawns. In Modern Warfare, spawns DO NOT FLIP correctly. Stuck in Piccadilly’s A flag and getting spawn trapped? Nope, the game won’t spawn you near B or the opposite side, but in the same damn spot over and over. It’s gotten so bad that enemies can literally camp where you spawn and just pick each one off, with the losing team having no chance to escape.

These two (spawns and maps) issues are excacerbated by how much camping there is in the game! While there are always campers in every online multiplayer shooter (and yes, it is a valid tactic/strategy regardless if you like it or not), it’s taken to a whole new level in Modern Warfare. For some reason, Infinity Ward promotes camping in Modern Warfare. Like, almost everything in the game will help campers gain an edge, while those who prefer to run ‘n’ gun (which is what Call of Duty is known for), are heavily penalized. Sure, we already know this was made by design, but the question here is: why?? Running in Modern Warfare will get you killed since the footsteps in this game are super loud. You can be heard running a mile away, and I’m not kidding. Good luck trying to sneak up on someone since they will almost always be aware of where you are. Thankfully, this will supposedly be changed very soon.

Add in super powerful claymores, how the 725 shotgun is still overpowered to the mix, and yeah, most people will camp to net their kilstreaks. This, too, contributes to camping. Why run and cap a flag when you can get killed and not earn a killstreak reward? Everything in the game encourages camping, sadly. Footsteps, TTK, map design, and even gun attachments all give an ADS or movement penalty, which means you’ll be playing as slowly as possible.

For the first time ever, most TDM matches end on time limit and not by the score. Sadder still? I’ve been in matches where the final score was 55-59, meaning a team was almost 20 kills away from a match ending. Again, this is unheared of in COD, and sad to say, is the norm in Modern Warfare.

If there’s one thing old school Call of Duty fans can be thankful for, it’s the fact that these issues are things Infinity Ward can (relatively) easily patch out. We’re seeing it happen gradually, and I hope they do it fast before players move on to another game.

Score: 6/10

Do you agree with Alex and Jimmy’s multiplayer assessments? What do think of it so far, and what score would you put to the multiplayer alone?