Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Open Beta Thoughts

Call of Duty returns with its 2019 offering. Was the beta worthwhile?

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The Official MP Trailer

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Open Beta recently concluded. Throughout the two day adventure, we got to see multiple game modes and a good amount of the progression system that is currently in the game. While we are well aware that betas are typically there to hash out server issues and tiny bugs, we are sold so far.

The beta was a great opportunity to show off the new cross-platform multiplayer experience. I didn’t find myself running into any lag or any sort of one-sided situations where a PC player plowed through my console loving soul. The game actually felt balanced and fair. The combat overall is a much slower pace than the last few outings. Honestly, it needed to change.

The past few games were getting ridiculous with their jet packs and their neon-colored weapon skins. Admittedly, WW2 was a slight move in the right direction and ended the reign of the jet pack, but it never really felt “right”. They made the right choice in remaking a classic for the franchise. The fans need to realize that this isn’t a replacement. You can’t replace the original Modern Warfare and what it did for competitive multiplayer. What you can do is create a modern military shooter that hits hard. Modern Warfare (2019) seems to be on the right track.

Visually speaking, the game looked crisp and clean for the most part. There wasn’t really any harsh clipping or mesh loads that looked wonky. This was honestly the cleanest beta experience I have had. The gun detail was spot on and the playable characters looked unique. Each playable character has their own sort of flair with their designs. We didn’t have access to every character in the beta but we got a good taste of what is to come.

The overall amount of guns in the beta was fairly impressive. I didn’t feel bored while progressing guns for unlocks. More importantly, I didn’t feel as if any one gun overpowered another. The gunfights were purely conditional in terms of the outcome. The unlockable attachments weren’t overbearing and changed the physical appearance and attributes of the guns ever so slightly. It felt pretty realistic in that matter. One of the cool aspects that some people likely overlooked in the beta customization for the weapons are the abilities. Each gun features a final unlock that will modify small aspects of play. For example; A gun might have an unlockable perk that enables you to stun someone when you melee attack them with the weapon. I didn’t really come across anyone going ham with melee so I didn’t really get to see how this changed gameplay.

The overall gameplay felt fluid and balanced. I know that is hard to believe with a Call of Duty title given the history of one-sided affairs such as the classic Akimbo G18’s and the almighty P90, but the gunfights were largely based on the scenario you found yourself in. You could find yourself scoring a triple kill if you had a good set up on some rushing foes, but often, team play ruled the game. I found people working together and traveling more in packs overall than running the perimeter. Modern Warfare is a bit slower, pace wise, than some of the previous offerings. Your character moved at a slower pace but moved fluidly. Running teammates and enemies looked like they were naturally running in the real world. The perks, killstreaks, and field powers were all just as equally balanced. The ability to rock two primaries right out the gate made a world of difference and really helped progress your weapons.

The maps are large. I want to make this very clear. The maps are large and they are not approachable in a way that the other CoD game maps and playstyles allowed. Each map had numerous vantage points and possibilities for gunfights. Utilizing that old school perimeter run might have you finding 0 confrontations. Meanwhile, you might find your whole squad getting obliterated by a well side-mounted light machine gunner from a walkway above. I found myself having to focus more than I have ever had to in a CoD game. Speaking of side-mounted light machine guns, one of the coolest aspects for me was the fact that you could mount any weapon to the side of a surface for stable fire.

We didn’t get to see the full plethora of playable game modes but we did get to see some fun stuff. There is a modified gun game mode that pits you with a friend in a 2v2 small map verse another team. Each of you starts with nothing and have to quickly secure a weapon. There are no respawns in this mode. The rounds are fast and the play is chaotic. There was also a wonderful night mode where everyone has night vision goggles. This was surprisingly the best looking in terms of fidelity out of all of the modes. The lasers cut through the night like a slab of butter on some hot flapjacks. We got to experience the game’s “realistic” mode as well. I found myself playing the majority of the open beta in this mode. No one has any sort of hud and the stakes felt higher in this mode. It was a solid change for the “Hardcore” mode players. The key mode they were testing for the beta was Ground War. Ground War has returned to CoD in a big way. The map was huge and featured vehicle combat and nerve-racking team fights. The word I would use to sum up 32 vs. 32 CoD is chaotic. I didn’t enjoy Ground War as much as I thought I would. I am a battlefield veteran and have played thousands of hours spread across the entire franchise. I am used to big battles. Ground War often felt like it was just too much. It’s amazing that they are doing it finally, but the arcade feeling of the vehicles in-game kind of killed it for me a bit.

I imagine they will be able to work what little bugs they have out before launch. The beta was clean and functioned well. The multiplayer servers held their own and the downtime was minimal. I have read that some people found issues with their online experience and went right for the “net code” excuse. It’s your internet homey. I am interested in seeing what other game modes are in the pipeline and how they will approach the dreaded microtransaction market. I didn’t specifically see anything for microtransactions but I am not holding my breath. Hopefully, the campaign kicks as much ass as the multiplayer beta. I got a lot of Medal of Honor vibes from this beta. That’s a damn good thing.

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