Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Review

The video game Call of Duty has become a cultural icon over the past 15 years. One of our generation’s defining traits is the rise in popularity of shooter video games. Halo, Counter-Strike, and Battlefield are all examples of games with colossal followings. While games like Counter-Strike remain beloved to this day, the undisputed king of gaming of the 2010’s was Call of Duty

However, in recent years Call of Duty has been subject to large annual waves of disappointment, disdain, and more importantly disinterest. Gamers gave the previous Call of Duty, Vanguard, on average a three and a half out of ten according to Metacritic. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022), often shortened to just COD or MWII, is a legacy reboot of the original Modern Warfare 2 released in 2009. The original Modern Warfare 2 is looked back on as one of the pinnacles of online shooters, and is often used as the example of what an online shooter should strive to be. But how does the reboot stand in comparison?

The reinvented character Ghost, from an early mission in the game.

The Campaign mode continues the story of Modern Warfare 2019. It offers a refreshingly different take on modern day warfare. While partially set in the Middle East like its predecessor, a large part of the game now takes place in Mexico as well. Other virtually recreated destinations gamers will see are downtown Amsterdam, suburban America, and coastal Spain. The characters this time are even more diverse and deep than the settings. Alejandro Vargas, a character part of the Mexican Special Forces and Ghost, a British special operatives soldier stand out among the new characters. While it offers a refreshing take on the state of real world modern warfare for a video game, it is the fast paced action that steals the show. Whether it’s hanging upside down from a helicopter while barely missing speeding cars or sneaking through the grass past enemy soldiers, the player will almost always be fully invested. 

While the campaign is good, the multiplayer is better. Unlike past games, MWII mixes realism into the classic and arcade-like COD formula. Progression has been streamlined, making unlocking items faster than ever before. In addition to the improved gameplay, level design has also been fine tuned to be both unique and fair for all players. Games can range from anywhere between 12 players to 150 players. Whether big or small, matches feel fast paced, skill-based, and cinematic providing a new experience every time they play. 

A promotional image for Warzone 2.0

Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, takes on battle royale-like games such as Fortnite, also launched shortly after Modern Warfare II. However, Warzone 2.0 lacks luster in comparison to the original with fan-favorite minigames and mechanics inexplicably missing. Unlike all other parts of Modern Warfare II, Warzone 2.0 is plagued by technical problems and it leaves players frustrated and discourages returning to play Warzone again. 

Lastly, Modern Warfare II introduces the new DMZ mode, where players infiltrate a large map filled with other players with only two objectives: survive and find better equipment. It takes heavy inspiration from the game Escape from Tarkov, with the basic concept being identical. While brand-new, the mode already has players hooked and is likely to become a fan favorite.

Modern Warfare II has taken the gaming world by storm and shows no sign of losing hype anytime soon. The game maintains a steady average player count of about 250,000 players even a month after release. It is a reimagining of a modern classic and reimagines a tried and true formula in a refreshing manner. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II earns a 9/10 from me.