Another year passes and just like the new moon a new Call of Duty game appears. This time however with the rather confusing title of Modern Warfare II, no not a remake of Modern Warfare 2 from 2009, but a direct sequel to the Modern Warfare reboot of 2019.
With a brand new engine from Infinity Ward powering the game there was lots to look forward to, once I had downloaded the required 31.5GB, surprising small for a Call of Duty game! Is this a change that will stay for good or when multiplayer and Warzone 2.0 come along will this file size grow to over 100GB? Who knows! Lets hope not!
Anyway enough about file sizes, in this review I will covering just the Campaign element of the game. That is because the lucky souls (that’s me!) who pre-ordered/got a review key were able to access this a week prior to the official launch!
Let’s Fight Fire with Fire
As a direct sequel, Modern Warfare II sees Task Force 141 gang reassembled and all the usual suspects; Gaz, Ghost, Soap et al, are all there teaming up as ever with an endless list of allies from the VIA, Special Forces and US Army, to but name a few.
Without giving the story away, you are once again tasked with hunting down the terrorists and preventing the start of the next war, with a few plot twists along the way.
This sees you travel around the world tracking them down. From real places such as downtown Amsterdam and Chicago to the totally fictitious capital of United Republic of Adal, Al Mazrah.
Variety is the name of the game!
Having played ALOT of multiplayer and Warzone, the change of pace offered by the campaign in Modern Warfare II was a breath of fresh air! It isn’t all just gun and run.
Some missions have you sneaking around back streets, crafting items including Smoke Bombs, traps and pry tools, very Escape from Tarkov. Others have you racing through the desert, shooting terrorists from cars, hijacking vehicles, jumping from one knackered vehicle to the next; Think GTA meets COD! There really is a great variety to the campaign missions and something that I really appreciated, it never got boring.
The achievements available also follow this variety, one being to complete a mission without being spotted, another killing enemies whilst underwater. There really is a lot to go back and try to complete to get that nice 100% progress bar filled.
Movement and controls are the high standard we have come to expect from any Call of Duty title, this years edition sees the addition of a backpack, allowing you to store all the scavenged materials and those lovely crafted items. This is something that I am hoping to see cross over into the new Warzone 2.0 as that would certainly mix things up there!
A treat for your eyes and ears!
We now come on to what I think is the standout feature of Modern Warfare II, the graphics and audio.
After last years, in my opinion poor release of Vanguard, Call of Duty is back to its best. The new IW 9.0 engine brings Modern Warfare II to the next level. With massive improvements over the engine used in previous releases, it brings a new water simulation, audio engines, improved AI and improved 3D directional and immersive audio.
There is one mission in particular that you may find yourself going back to, purely just to look at.
I was running the game on a 3060TI, not the most powerful of cards, but with the magic of DLSS enabled, everything set on high/ultra I was able to hit on average between 100-110 frames in 2k for the most part. Those with higher end cards, just sit back and treat your eyes to some of the best Call of Duty graphics ever made.
As always with Call of Duty games the voice over actors come from hit TV, movie and gaming titles, including Dexter, Loki, Deadpool and Saints Row to name a few. Many of them were returning actors from the initial reboot of Modern Warfare in 2019, which is great to see.
The new 3D and immersive audio from IW9.0 is truly something to behold. From standing on the precipice of a cliff and hearing the wind howling over your shoulder, to creeping around a Mexican town and hearing the rain falling onto roofs and litter drifting across the street, really adds to the realism felt within Modern Warfare II.
Having completed the early-access campaign in Regular difficulty in around 8 hours, don’t get me wrong that was difficult enough! I now want to go back and try to complete all the achievements and test out the other difficulty settings. If regular was challenging, what is Realism mode going to be like!
I think the best way to sum up Modern Warfare II is simply to say this is Call of Duty back at its brilliant best. The improvements to the engine are just brilliant and the fact I want to go back to the campaign says it all.
With multiplayer and Co-Op coming on full launch, the less than secret DMZ mode and Warzone 2.0 coming in a few weeks time, this is a truly exciting time for FPS and Call of Duty fans alike. Look out for our review of these modes when we get our hands on them!
Thank you to Infinity Ward and Activision for delivering this stunning masterpiece, and long may it continue now we are moving onto 2 year cycles of Call of Duty games!
All I can end with is that I give Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.