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‘COD: Modern Warfare II’: Campaign details, key features, new multiplayer equipment

Kyle Chua
‘COD: Modern Warfare II’: Campaign details, key features, new multiplayer equipment

Images from Activision Blizzard

The game launches on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, and PC via Battle.net and Steam on October 28

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, the sequel to 2019’s blockbuster Modern Warfare, is shaping up to be the bold next-generation leap that fans have long been waiting for. 

This year’s installment promises a substantial list of improvements and franchise firsts, with lead developer Infinity Ward emphasizing that the game won’t just be an “expansionary experience”. 

We got an early behind-the-scenes look at the game in a press preview, and we’re here to unpack everything we’ve learned. 

Task Force 141

Modern Warfare II features a whole new single-player campaign that’s set three years after the events of the first game. You’ll once again be fighting alongside Captain Price and the rest of the newly formed Task Force 141 in another adrenaline-inducing thrill ride. And this being Call of Duty, expect the action to take you to different locales around the world as you uncover a new terrorist conspiracy that threatens the peace. 

Infinity Ward said they wanted to retain the “provocative” nature of the characters and events from 2019’s Modern Warfare. This meant keeping much of the action grounded and close to the real-world events they’re inspired from. It also meant writing characters that are “heroic” but vulnerable at the same time. 

The theme of the last game revolved around where these characters were willing to draw the line with what they’re willing to do in war. This game takes that theme a step further, throwing the question: Do you become the thing you’re trying to destroy in order to defeat it? As to how this will play out in the narrative, we don’t yet know, but the developers did note they tried to be very sensitive with the content of this year’s game, given the ongoing war in Ukraine. In spite of this, the campaign won’t be pulling any punches in delivering what they described as an entertaining fictional adventure. 

What stood out to us in the preview was the variety of what you’ll be doing in the game’s missions. One mission, for instance, titled Nightwar, is reminiscent of 2019’s The Wolf’s Den, wherein you and the rest of your crew attack a small Middle Eastern village in the cover of darkness. You can have your night vision goggles on as you breach and clear one room to the next until you secure your target. The best part is it’s incredibly cinematic, especially if you can sync your movements with your AI squadmates. 

Another mission, titled Wetwork, meanwhile, has you stealthily infiltrating a dock in Amsterdam, neutralizing guards with knives and silenced pistols. In this one, your cover is the water. You can, for instance, dive underwater if you’re spotted to try and break detection. It’s similarly reminiscent of missions from previous Call of Duty installments, but the new twists here help it feel fresh. 

The developers also showcased two other missions: one where you rappel down from a building and another where you drive a car in third-person as you escape pursuers. From what we’ve seen so far, there seems to be a good mix of mission scenarios to make for a memorable campaign. Oh, of course, they come complete with those big, scripted set piece moments that Call of Duty is famous for. 

Redefining Call of Duty

When it comes to gameplay, Infinity Ward said this is their most ambitious project yet – the goal of which is to redefine the combat of Call of Duty

Perhaps the biggest advancement in this sequel is the new water technology. Not only has the visual side been improved, with lifelike reflections and behavior, but its mechanics and physics have also been reworked, allowing it to play a role in general combat across all the modes. You can, for instance, use the caustics, refraction, and light transmission of water to your advantage: the deeper you go, the harder it is for your enemies to see you. Also, when you’re underwater, it’ll take more bullets to kill you as the travel time of shots is much slower. It’ll likewise take more bullets to kill your enemies on the surface if you’re shooting at them from underwater. 

What’s more, Modern Warfare II includes a revamped Gunsmith feature, giving you the option to customize and fine tune your favorite guns down to the last perk bonus or stat boost. It is what the developers touted as “a game within a game,” where you have more power and control over the feel and performance of your guns to suit your preferred playstyle. And it manages to do all this without compromising the balance of the gunplay. 

The AI across all modes have also been dramatically improved. The developers said they want the AI, whether friendly or hostile, to command your respect. They added that these non-player-controlled characters behave dynamically to the environment and situation. Your squadmates, for example, will check and clear corners as you move through corridors or alleyways. Meanwhile, your enemies will also have a life outside of combat, which means they won’t be idle while waiting for you to engage. They’ll additionally feature coordinated and self-preservation behaviors. 

Getting competitive

No Call of Duty release is complete without multiplayer and Modern Warfare II is adding a good amount of new features to the ever-popular competitive modes. 

First, there are two new modes that will be added to the core selection of multiplayer modes: Knockout and Prisoner Rescue. Knockout has you and the opposing team scrambling for a package that spawns in a certain part of the map. The last one with the package wins the match. Prisoner Rescue, on the other hand, is kind of Call of Duty’s take on Counter Strike, where one team’s goal is to rescue the prisoners while the opposing team tries to stop them. 

Second, your operative will have two new tactical moves to use in the heat of combat: dive and ledge hang. Dive is pretty self-explanatory, giving you the ability to bust through windows and be combat-ready as soon as you land. Ledge hang, meanwhile, lets you grab onto parts of a wall or surface and peek through a perch or window before pulling yourself up. You can use your pistol as you peek, letting you neutralize any threats that can possibly have the jump on you. The developer said they’ve long wanted to add this particular feature in Call of Duty as it helps add some platforming elements to the gameplay. 

Third, vehicle gameplay has similarly been expanded. Driving any vehicle in the game puts you in third-person view, but now you have the ability to lean out and shoot your enemies right from your seat, which will bring you back into first-person view. You can additionally blow doors or tires to either sabotage or hijack a vehicle. Oh, you can climb onto rooftops and shoot your enemies from there. 

Lastly, you’ll have access to new equipment which further enhances how you might approach combat. First of which is a tactical camera that you can deploy in any part of the map, alerting you when an enemy is in its proximity. Another new tool is the DDOS, a portable EMP that disables vehicles and stops them dead in their tracks, opening them up for an ambush. There’s also the inflatable decoy, which works like a proximity mine but instead of blowing up in your enemies’ face, it deploys a human-shaped balloon figure to draw enemy fire. Last but not the least is the drill charge, a sticky grenade that latches onto surfaces, drills holes, and drops explosives through them. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will also usher in a new era of the Warzone battle-royale game mode, dubbed Warzone 2.0. Infinity Ward said that starting with this year’s entry the gameplay will be built on one unified Call of Duty engine and the Warzone experience will be an extension of the Modern Warfare II universe. The standalone mode will also hit mobile sometime in the future, but details regarding that will be revealed at a later date. 

The game launches on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via Battle.net and Steam on October 28. – Rappler.com

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