The upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II game is a direct sequel to the 2019 reboot of the same name, and is the nineteenth game to release in the Call of Duty series. Developed by Infinity Ward, it will be released for the PlayStation and Xbox consoles as well as for the PC on October 28, 2022.
Interest in the game is quite high, as it will be one of the first to be fully modernized to run on next generation consoles as well as high-end PCs, yet also able to be played on PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones.
To let players get an idea of what is coming, publisher Activision is hosting a series of open and closed betas as the game continues to develop. Most of these betas will feature a few of the game’s multiplayer maps. Over the past two weekends, the beta was first opened up to members of the press as well as invited guests and others who found ways to qualify for a code. This made it so that there was a large group of people playing, without it being too overwhelming on the beta servers. This was followed by an open beta weekend where everyone could play.
GiN was fortunate enough to be given several codes, and many of the GiN staff participated in one or both weekends of the beta. Everyone agreed that the beta event was a lot of fun, especially for a beta. The following are some of their thoughts about the upcoming game.
Michelle Sayatovich, GiN Fresh Look Columnist
Believe it or not, this was my first time playing any Call of Duty game. After watching my husband, Neal, play both Call of Duty Vanguard and Modern Warfare II, I decided to try a few rounds myself. The user interface and controls are intuitive and easy to get the hang of, even for a beginner like me. The team deathmatch games did sometimes feel a little bit like luck was more of a deciding factor for victory than skill, at least to my inexperienced eyes.
And I did struggle a bit. For example, whenever I thought I found a defensible spot to take out the enemy, nobody would show up. So, after 30 seconds or so I would abandon my post and then another 30 seconds later I would round a corner and run right into a cloud of lead. When Neal played some of those older COD titles, I would often hear him complain about ridiculous kills that should not have counted. I used to think he was making a big deal out of nothing, but after watching one kill cam review from my own games, I’m much more understanding. For example, once I was crouching near a corner, and the other player either missed me or nicked me in the butt, and got the kill. I didn’t realize butt shots were as deadly as head shots.
All in all, I found the beta enjoyable, and I will be playing more of Modern Warfare II when I can.
Vincent Mahoney, Save State Columnist and GiN Reviewer
The beta for Modern Warfare II has a handful of maps and modes to play to entice the player to buy the full version. The designs of the maps themselves were pretty decent, with plentiful lines of sight and escape routes to watch during team deathmatch or domination games. Breenbergh Hotel has some verticality to it along with tight corridors for brief shootouts, and Mercado Las Almas reminded me of a shrunken down version of Grand Bazaar from Battlefield 3 with its various alley and tunnel choke points.
Outside of a fun x-ray glitch where I could see through a red crate in one of the maps, there weren’t many bugs I ran into during the beta other than a couple crashes. There were also some weird instances where it seems my opponents and I desynced, because their killcam footage would clearly show them in completely different locations from where I was shooting, sometimes at completely different elevations (so I would be effectively shooting at nothing. I am unsure if this would be an issue in the full game, of course).
Beyond that, I just got to experiment with the guns, perk loadouts, and to shoot bunny hopping players as they’d jump around corners looking in the wrong directions. The new perk system does seem extremely limiting, however, because you pick a group and earn them as you play in a match, with two of them only unlocking after five or eight minutes have elapsed in a match. I understand that this is a balancing choice, but to add to my confusion, the Hardline perk that lets you acquire killstreaks with one fewer kill is one that only unlocks after eight minutes…why? Perhaps that’s to balance the perk package that lets you use a second primary weapon, sure, but it seems fairly arbitrary when Hardline is, to my knowledge, considered a pretty weak perk.
The spawn locations, especially on the map Farm 18, were horrendous in team deathmatch. It was not at all uncommon to kill someone, push forward, and then be shot in the side or the back by the person I just killed. The time frame between these events being five seconds or so seems a bit wild, especially when you’re just a fair weather Call of Duty player. For the most part, though, the rapid deaths and killing in Call of Duty just seems to be part and parcel of the experience. As someone who played thousands of hours across Battlefield 3, 4, and Bad Company, I enjoyed my time with the Domination mode the most as it allowed me to use my old Battlefield brain and actively perform better in each match.
All that being said, my time with the beta was enjoyable. There were a few instances where things got frustrating, but that can mostly be chalked up to my playing a Call of Duty game once every four years or so. The new maps lend themselves really well for Domination gameplay, and I’d be interested to see what new guns, perks, and modes come in the full version of the game.
Neal Sayatovich, Director of Media Development
I was initially excited for the opportunity to play this beta, similar to the time when I played the Call of Duty Vanguard beta. I even talked Vincent into joining me for a few rounds. The initial startup for the game took a while, and I had to agree to a couple user agreements. I miss when I could just start playing a title without having to read a bunch of legal jargon first.
Graphics wise, the new game looked good. I found one wall of the hotel in the Mercado Las Almas map that kept flickering in and out, but that was about it for beta glitches. The audio was fine with typical Call of Duty fare. At least there were less people talking on this one than in Vanguard, and a lot less personal issues coming through my speakers. Hell, having a friend with me the whole time actually made it much more enjoyable. Vince is a great wingman.
There were a few negatives I encountered during my time with the beta. The first is that some of the weapons are locked. At the time of this writing, I am level fourteen or so, and not one sub-machine gun, sniper rifle, or marksman rifle has been unlocked. This causes problems especially on levels like Farm 18 where there are long, open corridors that leave you exposed to people with sniper rifles or with weapons with thermal scopes. Hell, it took me a while just to get a light machine gun to use. We should have access to at least some weapons of each type much earlier on in the experience tree.
I also was not a big fan of the three levels available. Farm 18 was horrible. I just hated the level from front to back and always felt uninterested when it appeared. The remaining ones felt uninspired and had all of the color washed out. The hotel level in MWII felt like a gray/brown blur while the one in Vanguard was bright and had anti-aircraft fire in the background. Spawnkills became a problem, and I was having bad latency issues. I would get ten or so hit markers and they wouldn’t die, but I died to three shots. Overall, as someone who passingly plays Call of Duty, this beta didn’t yet convince me to preorder the game.