Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II plays it safe by recycling other games
The leader seems to have become a follower by taking heavy inspiration from CoD4 and Uncharted while the innovations are made for Warzone II.
Yours truly has become known as the one with some of the more positive opinions about Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Vanguard, and that makes me both very curious and worried about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II after watching a close to 90-minute presentation about Infinity Ward's highly anticipated game.
Because it gave me some real Call of Duty: Ghosts-vibes. Why? Well, I love learning more about how these talented people make such great games, but even I started to scratch my head when one of the first improvements mentioned was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's water technology. Sure, having amazing-looking water has been an easy win for games since the beginning of time, so topping that with impressive physics and tiny details definitely sounds fantastic... until you remember this is a Call of Duty game. Bullets doing less damage and having obscure visuals while being underwater just sounds like Call of Duty: Ghosts' highlighting of Riley the dog, the zero gravity mission and fish AI, as they'll probably be most apparent and cool in a campaign mission or two. The comparisons to Ghosts and other games don't stop there either.
Another thing mentioned in the presentation was having diverse missions. This was shown with a seemingly stealth-focused mission where the player was supposed to eliminate hostiles at a dock by utilising the aforementioned swimming and diving, a mission where our team rappelled down an office building, one you'll see in tomorrow's Summer Game Fest that sure looks a lot like an evolved version of an icon mission and a fourth one where we're supposed to work our way through a vehicle caravan by jumping from vehicle to vehicle and/or driving through it while taking advantage of far more extensive vehicular gameplay.
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Each of them fascinating, but doesn't it sound extremely familiar? The player in the dock mission failed several times, leading to multiple loud shootouts that apparently didn't scare off the targets hidden away in a nearby boat. Highlighting a rappelling mission extremely similar to Ghosts' Federation Day mission is also weird, so having the yet-to-shown officially shown reference and the caravan bragging about something Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End did 6+ years ago ends up being icing on the recycled cake.
Don't get me wrong. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II looks beautiful, and having NPCs around you behave and animate more realistically in bigger and more detailed environments will along with what sounds like an engaging story lead to me pick it up on October 28. My main concern is that this kind of feels like stuff taken from other games and is a showcase for what's possible in Call of Duty: Warzone II. Being able to aim while climbing, having objects interact realistically with water (including vehicles that will sink and stay there), exploring large areas with hundreds of characters, being able to dive over ledges, introducing new multiplayer modes that are simply altered blends of old ones and the continuously deeper options in Gunsmith are all things we've been expecting or seen done in other games years ago, making it seem like Call of Duty has become the follower instead of the leader in terms of its new releases.
The iterations and improvements are clearly made with Warzone II in mind, so maybe it's time to make the multiplayer and Warzone free-to-play and make the single-player a cheaper standalone purchase? Hopefully, I'm just jaded or given the wrong impression by this early version, but I wouldn't go in expecting anything ground-breaking this fall if I were you, even if I hope my hands-on will make me do a complete 180. Those of you looking forward to a bigger, better and free Warzone II should be excited by these features and improvements, though...