When I first heard that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may be controversial, I didn’t think much of it. After all, it was a Call of Duty video game and it was rated M, which usually leads to some parents overreacting and screaming about how violent video games are. The opening cutscene starts with a video from a terrorist leader encouraging his followers to “wage war” before showing a van full of terrorists—including a suicide bomber. They all stepped out of the van onto a busy city street (which I would later find out was in London) and before the bomber detonates, the game cuts to a title card: “Modern Warfare.”
This is just one of many controversial scenes that appear throughout the campaign. One scene that was the most difficult for me to take in, emotionally, was during the mission “The Wolf’s Den.” I, playing as a soldier, had to enter a home and kill all of the hostiles with my team. During this, I see a mother hugging her child, whom—when she realizes I’m there—grabs a gun and shoots at me, to which I have to kill her—in front of her son. Once her body falls to the ground, her son moves over to her, grabs her and starts crying. Another controversial part of this game was the mission, “The Embassy” which seems almost as if it were inspired by Benghazi. The player is at the embassy trying to prevent a terrorist leader from being captured by his forces.
I think it’s important to note that while these scenes are dark and disturbing, they are also very real, which is one of the game’s strong points. The characters are real people, who are trying to find a way to deal with the issues that come up in war today, and the issues are so real that I honestly could see some of them occurring in real life. The dialogue adds to that, along with the game’s photorealistic graphics. If you look at the environment and the characters, they almost look real. The visuals in the game were very similar to “Avengers: End Game.”MW’s multiplayer mode is also one of the strong points. As someone who has played both the last Call of Duty game’s (Black Ops 4) and MW’s multiplayer, let me tell you how nice it is to not have to worry about completely illogical special abilities or ridiculously overpowered weapons that most definitely had to come from the hyperactive mind of a 13-year old who suddenly thinks that they are an expert on first-person-shooters and they know what’s best for Call of Duty.
MW’s multiplayer is balanced and real. There are no fancy guns and when you die, you die based on skill—and not some superpowered weapon that shoots gold scissors or something. The different modes and maps offer a variety of options for every player to try and see what matches their playstyle.
One of the game’s weaker points is its Co-Op mode. The first option in the mode offers players the chance to team up in groups of four to complete new missions that are revealed after the campaign is completed. Another mode that is called Classic Special Ops offers players the chance to group up and use different weapons and killstreaks while facing enemies. While trying the first mode, I joined mid-game, which did not give me any chance to prepare for the chaos that was about to happen. While attempting the first mission with my team, we were overwhelmed by the amount of enemies we were facing, and died several times. It was like we were a needle in a haystack—except the haystack had the size, and firepower, of the Chinese army. The Classic Special Ops mode was boring and got more repetitive the longer I played.
While this game had great moments and features, its weaknesses stand out. With the game having possibly one of the most controversial campaigns in a video game in recent history and having a lackluster Co-Op mode, the game has its caveats. However, the game was real, and that’s what makes it enjoyable. While controversial, the campaign was well written and highlighted what modern warfare has become and is becoming and the multiplayer brings Call of Duty back to a simpler time.
This game brings the Call of Duty franchise back to its roots, but it’s not for everyone and that’s why I like it. It challenges you.