MULTIPLAYER REVIEW: ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’ Multiplayer Produces Mixed Feelings

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Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer

Published by Activision and developed by multiple teams, including Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter that takes players across the world and follows the fan-favorite Task Force 141. While the campaign focuses on 141 and their ventures to stop the trafficking and deployment of American-made missiles, the multiplayer takes us across various settings, from an active raceway to a bustling marketplace and a training facility fashioned out of an old cement factory. And just like the variety in locations, our team at But Why Tho? had a variety of feelings surrounding the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer. Check out their thoughts below about how the multiplayer gameplay felt, how the maps stack up, if Gunsmith 2.0 works, and if it’s really worth $70.

How does the multiplayer handle?

Quinn: There’s an interesting balance between old mechanics and new. For example, you can slide and dolphin dive; past games gave you one or the other but not both. It’s a smart move to include both because there are very different circumstances where one is more useful than the other. This makes the gameplay much more dynamic. And I really enjoy that you can pick between scorestreaks and killstreaks, depending on your preference. However, I do have some qualms with the fact that the minimap continues to not show unsuppressed weapon fire. And the perks have gotten a major overhaul where you don’t start the match with all of your perks, but instead, you earn them progressively through the match. This choice, at times, makes it feel like your perks almost don’t matter. And, while they are on a base timer, the more points you earn, the quicker you unlock each perk, allowing an already winning team to have an even greater advantage. Of course, not every round unfolds like this, but the inconsistency rankles. 

Mick: So far, I’m loving the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer. It’s a nice balance of what we’ve recently gotten from Vanguard, Black Ops Cold War, and Modern Warfare. While there are some issues I’ve experienced on PC, like it being obscenely laggy during my first two to three matches, it’s handled quite well. Particularly, gun unlocks being tied to leveling up other guns rather than account level is a refreshing change of pace.

Jason: As a whole, the multiplayer feels fine. The graphical oddities are definitely fewer than I experienced in Vanguard, and the controls feel crisp. I appreciate that most everything feels the same as it ever has, and I will forever live for the satisfaction of landing a hit on somebody.

What’s your favorite game mode?

Mick: My favorite so far is the Prisoner Rescue. As an avid Rainbow Six Siege player, it’s nice to see a similar mode in Call of Duty. Plus, Prisoner Rescue is a good reprieve from the fast action the other game modes carry. You need to be more tactical to get wins. 

Jason: Honestly, I’m just a vanilla kind of player. The co-op modes are nice in theory, but they’re a bit too sprawling, easy, and boring for my long-term interest. I can see myself grinding at them with friends to get achievements related to them, but they’re nothing compared to the original spec-ops missions of the original series. I’m just sticking to my classic Hardpoint and Kill Confirmed modes for the most part.

Quinn: It’s all about the classics! Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint, Search and Destroy. But if I had to pick one, I really enjoy Kill Confirmed. It gets people moving and changes up the spawns often.

How do the maps stack up to past multiplayer maps?

Jason: Not a huge fan of most of them. Some are fine, some are annoying, but none are iconic. Many of the maps just feel iterative of not only each other but maps I feel like I saw on the GameCube. I don’t look forward to any of them getting selected, I am often just unsure of where I even am, and I hate the water element. I avoid that at all costs at all times.

Quinn: I can see why some people may not like the current roster of maps, but for someone who really enjoys CQB, the maps are perfect. I even prefer some of the really cluttered maps because it makes spotting people more of a challenge. Though, the fact that the maps have a lot of indoor cover makes some of the killstreaks/scorestreaks pretty useless.

Mick: Honestly, I am not a fan of the map selection in this game. Most feel too indoors, while others have too many obstacles. Specifically, Santa Sena Border Crossing, with all of its cars, is just rough for the first three minutes. Cars exploding everywhere is just frustrating. After the explosions settle, it’s a really enjoyable map that lets me be stealthy to get behind the enemies and take them out.

How do you feel about Gunsmith 2.0?

Quinn: I’m a fan, though it takes some time to get used to. Essentially, each weapon is part of a family of weapons. As you unlock attachments by using a weapon, you eventually unlock a Receiver which unlocks another weapon in that family. On top of that unlock, whatever attachments you’ve unlocked for the previous weapon are now unlocked for the new weapon as well. This makes unlocking attachments a lot less repetitive because you don’t have to unlock attachments for each weapon separately. But it also gets players to try different weapons because each weapon in the family isn’t necessarily the same type. It’s a nice touch, in my opinion. 

Mick: So far, Gunsmith 2.0 is fine. It’s not something I’ve messed with too much. I’m a layman player and just focus on the attachments. But from what I’ve seen and messed with, it’s going to be where the true players shine. Getting everything just right will be a game-changer, and I look forward to pulling up guides every patch to make sure I’m doing it right as well. 

Jason: I hate it. Like, a lot. My entire brain is wired to the satisfaction of unlocking things, and there is simply no satisfaction in this system. The interface for reading my progression, foremost, is awful and makes it very difficult to even ascertain objectives to work towards. Only having five attachments is boring, and I instantly miss Vanguard’s system for unlocking every gun’s attachments individually. It felt like I was actually progressing, having to go through so many dozens of levels with each. And the worst offender in the new system is the camos. There were so many to unlock for each gun in the last game. And while there is a load of spray paints here, they’re all easily obtained. The four camos you unlock per gun are bland, the mastery challenges are vapid, and I’m just very disappointed. The challenges associated with each gun are similar, but the rewards are just substantially diminished, as is my motivation to keep going.

Is it worth the $70?

Mick: This is tough. There’s a lot of fun in the overall package, but it all depends on what you’re looking for. I pre-ordered Modern Warfare 2 to check out the campaign early. The campaign was fun, but it had a lot of issues in its second half, particularly the boss fights, that were inexcusably rough. The Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer is fine. It’s nothing to write home about. But it is beautiful and feels like a modern shooter. From my experience, I’m fine paying $70 for it, but if I wasn’t in the mood I am in now for a good shooter, I’d say no.

Jason: Well, I don’t think any game is worth $70, so this is a bit of an unfair question. The current-gen inflation is absurd and unwarranted in a world where game devs are underpaid and mistreated at the expense of corporate greed. But I wouldn’t suggest spending $60 either unless you’re a total diehard fan. The game won’t lose its player base anytime soon, so you may as well wait for a sale. There’s nothing extra special about Modern Warfare 2 that warrants paying release window prices to get in on the action early. And most definitely, don’t spend $100 on the Vault Edition. None of its extra content is worth a dime, let alone $30 for skins and blueprints. Just wait to buy the first season’s Battle Pass on its own if that’s your thing.

Quinn: If you’re a diehard Call of Duty fan, sure. But, let’s be honest, you probably were going to buy this game regardless of the reviews. But where it sits now, while I can definitely throw kudos at the gameplay, and I personally enjoy Gunsmith 2.0, there’s just not enough originality to warrant cashing out $70.

There are many aspects of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer to love and hate. And while the maps and Gunsmith 2.0 produced some mixed feelings, the one thing that we can agree on is that the $70 price point leaves us wanting more.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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