Call of Duty Modern Warfare Review

November 4, 2019

When Call of Duty Modern Warfare launched 12 years ago, it changed the face of online shooters forever. While the Call of Duty franchise was already into its 5th year, online gaming wasn’t massive until the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 generation. We remember Call of Duty 3 as a launch title for that generation, with a small online presence, but when Modern Warfare hit, it was all that anyone could talk about. “I’ve prestiged” said one gamer, “Well I’ve already prestiged three times!”. A whole new way of playing online shooting games had emerged, and the Call of Duty franchise was solidified. Modern Warfare 2 was an even bigger commercial success, and though the franchise has had its ups and downs over the past decade, it remains one of the most popular first-person shooters every year.

The new Call of Duty Modern Warfare is packed full of gameplay modes from the single-player campaign to PvP multiplayer to various cooperative modes. With the new cross play feature, players from PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC can now all play together meaning the pool of players is much larger and more sustainable than previous entries in the series. We’ve spoken with PC players about this new feature, and many of them absolutely love seeing that they are one of the only PC players in a game as they feel they’re getting a significant advantage over players using a controller, but we’ll keep our reservations until some solid leaderboards begin appearing as to whether PC gamers are better or have an advantage over PS4 and Xbox One users.

As has become typical of a Call of Duty Modern Warfare campaign, each time you load up the campaign mode you are greeted with a Mature Content Notice warning you of graphic and intense violence. Also in typical Call of Duty style, the campaign only takes around 10 hours to complete. It consists of a little over a dozen missions which span from Kastovia (renamed from Russia) to the United Kingdom, though more than half of the missions occurs in a fictitious Middle Eastern country called Urzikstan. Without revealing too much about its story, Captain Price makes more than one grand entrance, and our favourite mission was the one on home soil in London.

As mentioned, the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare is all about social access and cross play. The settings within the game allow for maximum privacy and to only play with your platform if that’s what you prefer, though for players wanting to make a wide variety of COD friends, there’s a social menu where you can quickly sort through your friends and get started on your next session. While you can access all of your friends on the platform you’re playing the game on, you can also access your Activision friends list which is how you can link up with real-life friends that are playing on another platform. There’s also the option of finding players you’ve recently played with, and a handy little icon distinguishes what platform they’re playing on.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

The multiplayer menu is very well laid out with everything easily accessible. The Play menu has six options: Quick Play, Ground War, Gunfight, Free-For-All, Realism, and Private Matches. The Quick Play option has a filter where you can deselect any of the seven modes, all of which are team based. Party sizes are limited to just six players, a massive difference to the new Ground War mode which can include as many as 64 players in large-scale conflict with vehicles. Gunfight is a quickfire 2v2 mode in a no-guts-no-glory style multi-round match. The maps are very small here, and if you’re new to Call of Duty then this mode will be the most challenging.

Free-For-All mode is a whole bundle of fun with players killing everything that moves, while Realism mode removes all HUD elements providing a more realistic shooter experience, albeit with the usual COD over-the-top elements. There are 17 maps available at launch, five of which include night mode, and all of these can be accessed in the final multiplayer mode Private Match. The cool thing about Private Match, other than being able to customise everything down to the smallest detail, is the inclusion of bots which means you can set up some fun party games with split-screen multiplayer, as well as getting your online friends in on the action.

As you level up, new items, operators, and liveries become available. Players can have up to six custom loadouts with weapons, equipment and perks of their choice, though there are also default loadouts to choose from such as Recon or Demolition. You can also change around your killstreak rewards and field upgrades to suit your style of gameplay. Personalising your operator has never felt so involving, perhaps because of the combination of the modern setting and the 2019 graphics. Choose an operator for both the Coalition (SAS, Warcom & Demon Dogs) and the Allegiance (Spetsnaz, Jackals & Chimera) and then customise their skin to your style to make sure you look unique on the battlefield, while also making sure to hit up the Barracks to customise your clan tag, calling card, emblem, sprays and gestures. There’s plenty to unlock in the Call of Duty Modern Warfare online modes, and fortunately everything you unlock can also be utilized in co-op, and vice versa.

The co-op menu has four gameplay options from a generic Public Match to Classic Special Ops to Private Matches and of course the PlayStation 4 12-month exclusive Survival mode. While 12 months will come and go, so too will this Call of Duty game, so we’ll be interested to see if players on other platforms ever get around to trying it out. The Special Ops missions are all supposed to be played after you have beaten the single-player campaign, though we found the missions to be generic in that you have to move to an objective and kill any enemies along the way, adding next to nothing to the Call of Duty Modern Warfare story. There are currently four operations to choose from, each one allowing up to four players. They require teamwork and skill to complete, and players might want to consider leveling up in the normal multiplayer before attempting to complete them.

Survival mode is self-explanatory. Players are restricted to a small map and must clear waves of enemies. After each wave, there is the option to purchase weapons, equipment, and kill streak bonuses, as well as restocking your ammunition. The waves gradually get harder with more and tougher enemies spawning, but with a good group that knows the map it was fun and easy to push through the waves. Whether this mode needed to be a PlayStation 4 exclusive remains to be seen, as it’s not a mode worth purchasing the game on a certain platform for.

Finally, we must confess we did feel like using a Dual Shock 4 was somewhat of a disadvantage compared to a keyboard and mouse, but online gameplay was still fun and if we used appropriate warfare tactics, we could still be a very useful member of our squad. Sometimes it was quite clear who was using a mouse, particularly when sniping, and we have had some complaints about the game’s Time-To-Kill (TTK) being too fast, however it seems realistic enough and nothing like some of the bullet-sponge games on the market today. A headshot should always be an instant kill, and modern weapons with their modern rounds are designed for perfection, typically causing instant death in a real-world scenario, so it should be no different in this game.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

While we were initially skeptical of the graphics in Call of Duty Modern Warfare due to some of the muddy textures that we experienced in the Gunfight alpha, the campaign packs some serious polish on a PlayStation 4 Pro in 4K. While the framerate is capped at 60, rarely did it drop any lower than that. The cut-scenes looked incredible, and Captain Price has enjoyed a serious make-over since the previous generation’s Modern Warfare trilogy. The firearms have amazing attention to detail, and fire, smoke and explosive effects are all on point. We’re not quite sure when Activision plans to tell its developers to add legs and feet to your character though, which is certainly becoming a recognisable feature of the Call of Duty games. It was strange in the campaign when you go from sitting or lying down with your legs visible to suddenly standing and having no legs or shadow though, so hopefully we can get that extra touch of realism in the next generation console Call of Duty that we’ll most likely see in 2020.

The new Call of Duty Modern Warfare is packed full of content at launch and with the promise of map packs from previous games, including popular maps from Modern Warfare 2, the road map ahead looks very good. Its biggest competitor Battlefield V has just launched its biggest update yet, so we’re looking forward to the rivalry that the two will have throughout the holiday period and beyond. While the campaign never goes for as long as we want it to, the online modes are everything hardcore Call of Duty fans could want and the Modern Warfare timeline is a welcome return to the franchise.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Call of Duty Modern Warfare on a PlayStation 4 Pro console in 4K. The game is also available on Xbox One and Windows PC. For more information, head to the official website.


- A typical controversial Modern Warfare story, which we love
- Wide variety of fully customisable modern weapons and equipment
- Online community seems friendly enough, possibly due to Fortnite


- Some online modes have limited map rotations
- Campaign is too short

Overall Score: