Call of Duty Modern Warfare II – Beta Hands On – Familiar Faces, New Guns

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is just a few months away. This means that we are as consistent as death and taxes and a new Madden. Activision and their leading studio had made it a tradition to open a multiplayer test to select people, namely those who pre-ordered the title for PlayStation 5 or selected outlets like Wccftech, who were granted access along with the same. Press personnel weren’t invited to the Call of Duty Next like many of the larger content creators were, so our impressions have only been based on what we’ve been able to experience since the closed beta officially opened up on September 15th.

Players are immediately greeted with a mix of old and new for Modern Warfare’s reboot series. Operators Farah, Captain Price and others are shown in the operator menu. They have new looks that will be more useful in the campaign. PlayStation players will be able to experience familiar modes like Domination and Search and Destruction in this short first look at multiplayer to Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. But there are plenty of new experiences.

For the first time since the original Modern Warfare 2 (as if the naming conventions haven’t been hard enough to keep up with), third-person multiplayer is a core playlist to the multiplayer. Third Person Moshpit is a smaller version of your favorite multiplayer modes. Warzone still doesn’t offer this vantage as a standard menu offering, instead limiting the out-of-body experience to parachuting and driving a vehicle, among others. Warzone 2.0 will feature a TPP option as part of its regular selection, thanks to the Modern Warfare II framework. 

In the Call of Duty Modern Warfare II closed beta testing, Knock Out and other new gameplay modes are also available. This new update transforms all of the multiplayer maps into what I imagine a team based Gulag brawl would look like. All the standard Team Deathmatch offerings, with a unique twist: being knocked down means that you must watch until the next round, but your fellow teammates can revive and revive you after a few seconds. Each round will see a package spawn to keep teams from escaping to safe areas and chain-reviving each other. Whichever team is left holding the bag at round’s end wins, regardless of how few teammates are left on each respective team. It’s not as innovative as last year’s Champion Hill but does give the multiplayer a nice boost to the variety of tactical modes on offer.

Modern Warfare II’s class customization is quite unique. There are four levels of perks. The first two perks will be available immediately at the start of each match. The Bonus and Ultimate perks will gradually be distributed to the player as the match progresses (roughly 4 and 8 minutes, respectively). Tracker and Scavenger are two of my regular perks in rotation. Spotter and Cold-Blooded are not available in the base set. However, Spotter and Hardline are available for those tiers. Some of the most important perks are reserved for those tiers. The Ultimate tier now has a Birds-Eye perk. This gives players a wider view of their minimap, while enemy directions are displayed much like previous UAV tiers. Plus, there’s the added bonus of getting an instant map sweep of all enemy positions. 

The few multiplayer maps available use an asymmetrical 3-lane approach with a center line that allows either team to freely cross. There are a variety doors that can be opened or closed to conceal a claymore. Each map also has one to two overwatch positions, which allow for a bird’s eye view of the field. It is rare to find a straight corridor that extends beyond a few yards before you reach a dumpster or angle into a walkway. There are often multiple ways to reach the same spot. Venturing out into the open can easily get a player shot from half a dozen different spots, but for many of the objective-based modes, that’s an unfortunate necessity.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare II has a Time-to-Kill feature that feels deliberate. Most battle rifles require a few solid shots to knock down an enemy in Core game modes. The beta’s only sniper rifle can handle the task in one shot. The faster, more powerful assault rifles are superior to the semi-auto marksman rifles and LMGs, especially on consoles. You can carry a 60-round magazine in your starting assault rifle and get through most encounters. Although there are many attachment slots available, players should only select the five best attachments to bring into battle.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare II makes it easier for players to choose weapons they don’t even touch. After unlocking a core weapons, such as M4, leveling it can unlock a new receiver that transforms the weapon’s performance. This continues a few times even in the beta test’s limited offerings and gave me a reason to experiment and play with other weapon styles. While it won’t radically change the game, I feel like this new combination of progression tracks beyond just rewards for leveling up/progressing the battle pass will keep players invested with trying out different weapons.

PlayStation 4 users who aren’t on it can wait for the next beta invite. Call of Duty Modern Warfare II isn’t far off. Crossplay beta is now available for Early Access for Weekend Two Xbox Open Beta access on PlayStation and PC will be available beginning Thursday, September 22nd, and continuing through Friday, September 23rd.

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