Modern Warfare II Builds Something New By Learning From the Competition (Beta Impressions)

This weekend, Call of Duty fans (and more specifically PlayStation CoD fans) got their hands on an “open” beta of Modern Warfare 2 — provided they pre-ordered the game. The beta itself came at the end of Saturday’s Call of Duty “NeXt” event, where publisher Infinity Ward showed off what’s coming to Call of Duty, more specifically Modern Warfare. II” in the remake.

Honestly, at launch, the MW2 beta itself had a rather limited palette, which was a bit disappointing. The general hope is that players will play the new Warzone sometime during the 10-day beta period, but for now, Infinity Ward only gives players access to the new Gunsmith along with the quick game mode. This includes major returning modes in Infinity Ward’s CoD offering, Team Deathmatch and Domination, as well as new modes Prison Rescue (pictured below) and Knockout.

Source: Activision

Right off the bat, though, the map’s look is a little neater. They’re a bit brighter than the last few CoDs, so they feel less crowded in IW’s Modern Warfare remake (a regular complaint about the map). There seems to be less and less places to camp, which I’m sure will make a lot of players happy so they’re not surprised (though it’s still pretty common in the games I play).

On top of that, the visuals look great and crisp, which makes for a smoother gaming experience than previous Call of Duty games. No render textures or anything. Additionally, the highly anticipated field of view slider has been added to the latest entry in the shooter series for PC and console players. For those unaware, this allows players to fully understand their surroundings. Speaking of which, the third-person perspective is also back, which is a breath of fresh air for anyone who wants to actually see their characters in-game.

But not everything is positive, as the overall movement appears to have undergone some major changes. Traversing can feel clunky and almost sluggish at times, especially if swipe to cancel is canceled. Tactical Spring seems to have made a comeback, and players can once again “Dolphin Dive,” which is more of a way for players to run and dive into cover in critical situations. This resulted in the COD’s regular running and shooting feeling different than it used to be. Also, the timing of the kill does feel a bit fast, like Valorant fast, which makes awareness all the more important. A moment of inattention can easily end in your death.

Regarding the franchise’s servers, the MW2 beta also seems to stutter at times, and continues to have network-related issues similar to those that have plagued Warzone since its original release. There’s also a weird bug where the enemy team’s nameplate doesn’t appear on them at all, which makes identifying them a bit risky. Also, the minimap doesn’t seem to show where enemies are shooting from, making strategy very difficult.

All in all, Infinity Ward seems to have been listening (for better or worse) to critics and fans alike. This feels more like basic Call of Duty than it has been in years. The feel is based on skill and reflexes rather than fancy upgrades or anything like that (similar to the tone of COD games released after Advanced Warfare). MW2 also implements more objective-based multiplayer modes like in-game modes like Rainbow Six Siege. This is a very welcome change, as it makes Modern Warfare 2 feel more pop, while also adding variety.

As revealed in the “NeXt” stream, in addition to the usual emergence of new gun options, gun manufacturers are also bringing further changes to the gun economy. Specifically, the remake will introduce a revamped Gunsmith. Compared to 2019’s Modern Warfare remake, Gunsmith 2.0 offers a more personal and authentic experience, allowing players to hone their weapon platform, which houses various types of guns (or weapon families). For example, the footage we’ve seen has players using a gun body with multiple lethal attachments that have been leveled and unlocked accordingly.

From there, players can use these attachments on another gun without repeating that grind (if it’s in the same series). Some gun families will include SMGs or light machine guns, while others may also include sniper rifles. So it’s up to the player to decide what’s worth upgrading and what’s not. Honestly, it feels closer to the weapon customization options available in Escape from Tarkov, where everything under the sun can be modded on any given gun. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, and it certainly helps change the status quo.

Overall, I left the MW2 beta with very positive feelings about it. I do hope that Infinity Ward might change what the beta has to offer, especially considering that even if that’s unlikely, the beta will still be around for a full week. It would be very sensible for them to give us a taste of Warzone, as that seems to be where most of the attention is. You can find other related articles below, including how to get exclusive rewards for the beta, and a guide on how to play the Prisoner Rescue game mode.

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