October 2, 2022 Major Meat

Porkchop Platoon Reviews Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) BETA

This Modern Warfare II review is the collective opinion of several of our members, many of which are Call of Duty mains, so we’ve seen a thing or two from Activision and their past titles. Most of us tend to also be Hardcore Mode players, typically in Domination, but with Team Deathmatch sprinkled in. Some of us also spend a decent amount of time in Free-For-All matches. We all play customs during our weekly Community Nights. That all said, some of our contributors are Core Mode players and each of us has their favorite titles from years past—to include loving or hating games developed by Infinity Ward, which this year’s Modern Warfare II is.

As a gaming community for older players (25 or over) and a non-competitive org, we tend to have a different view of games and gameplay. Now that the Modern Warfare II (2022) Beta is in the books, this will serve as our official review and recommendation for the upcoming Call of Duty title.

Before we get started, if you are unfamiliar with us here at Pork Chop Platoon, I encourage you to take a look at our about page. That will tell you a little bit of our story and how we do business as a gaming org / clan. I also encourage you to just dive right in and register for membership. It is an easy process and once done, all we ask is that you play a few games with some members. The rest is on us.

Ok, here we go.

The Great

Call of Duty Modern Warfare II (2022) does some things wonderfully.

All our members said the game visually looks great. The graphics are fantastic and hyper-realistic—much better than the last two COD titles. Textures seem to run smooth, even at 120 FoV on various systems. The color palette is a nice change from standard IW, and there’s not a greenish hue or tons of muted colors.

Mechanically, the game played very well. Opinions on gunplay were positive. The consensus was the system is tight and feels good.

There are varying opinions on the maps and new gunsmith system.

Of the “great” scorers, they said the gunsmith system was amazing or they felt like they were going to love it, not only for unlocking attachments across weapons, but all the variant options played into their customization “OCD”.

Many also loved the maps. While only four were in the main standard game rotation, they felt like the maps were a good blend of the three-lane system COD is known for but with many shortcuts and cross-paths. For team-based matches, there are good spots to post up and pull guard/overwatch in each map, and you are never over-exposed to too many inbound angles. This lends well to team players that run strategic gameplans. Verticality was not a huge issue either, though this aspect can change quickly depending on future maps.

The Good

Taking a small step down, members thought these aspects were good.

Maps were interesting and lane-based. Some thought the visuals looked good for a COD game but may not compete with ARMA or Hell Let Loose. Overall, the maps were not as bright as Treyarch maps but a definite improvement in overall color scheme from previous titles.

Servers did not lag much, and things ran smoothly with only occasional hiccups. It is possible this was only due to lower player count for the Early Access Beta, launch could be much worse.

Menus seemed nice and organized well enough.

You can toggle between scorestreaks and killstreaks based on preference. In the killstreak screen (where you select you streaks) you can hit the right trigger and switch between the two. (Some believe that people don’t play the objective with a killstreak system—just camp for their streaks or play more aggressively than is necessary. With scorestreaks, it lends itself to playing the objective, which was intended in the first place. This is an ongoing argument that often reverts to digs or insults on players’ skill level.) No major complaints about the streaks themselves.

For equipment, the shock grenade seems effective. When you get hit with it, you keep shooting but can’t aim. Your own shock grenade shocks you, though the in-game description didn’t allude to that. It keeps you from throwing it on the point and laying near it. Not sure if that was a bug.

Hit detection hasn’t been a problem in many cases. Weapons feel good and handle well. Members tried several different loadouts and while some were more forgiving than others, nothing was unusable. The new gunsmith is pretty sweet once you figure it out. It treats your weapon collection more like an actual collection—if you have an optic unlocked for the M4 it makes sense that you could swap it to a different weapon in the M4 “platform”. There is a ton more customization than ever seen in any previous COD. There were some overpowered weapons—namely the shotgun, the .458 model M4 battle rifle, and potentially the Mp5 variant (called something else). The Mp5 was supposed to be unavailable in the Beta, but the gunsmith allowed use through a glitch. At least on the M4, the recoil and movement while firing at full auto looked very realistic and the iron sights were clean.

Movement seems good—especially removing slide cancelling. One of the reasons some members quit playing previous titles was people doing that everywhere they moved or jumping while firing around corners. While corner jumping is still there, the movement speed seems slower and compensates.

Somewhere In-Between

Movement seemed slow or a weird hybrid—like it’s slow but not. This can be good or bad, depending on your level of “twitchiness”. Some members appreciate the speed as it allows you to hear someone before you see them (especially good if your reaction speed isn’t that of a teenager!). There’s still plenty of hopping and sliding, but unlike other COD titles, members didn’t feel forced into that playstyle and didn’t feel as though they were always losing against mechanics rather than skill. Regardless, this title it is very playable.

Some thought the gunplay was “fine”. There were no “lasers” in this game, but weapons didn’t feel as accurate as in other games. Gunplay is different. It seems they made most weapons ultra-bouncy so attachments have more of an impact. Again, attachments bring down the “bounciness” of weapons and reduce the recoil and lift while firing in burst or full auto, but often at the cost of mobility. This should lead to some good “rock-paper-scissors” gameplay.

In Core Mode, the extended time to kill is everything people are saying. It does take a while and some weapons can feel very imbalanced because of it. Be prepared to see a lot of nerfing and buffing throughout the life of this title.

Most of the maps are good, but many players were not fans of the Museum or Hotel maps. They are way too large for a 6v6 map, especially if the parties aren’t full. Many games ended on time limit. The upside is there are lots of avenues for flanking around people, and it cuts down on camping. You will get lost for a while, though. Be prepared.

Head glitches are very prominent, so hiding behind cover is somewhat out of the question. Bullet penetration was also very hit or miss (no pun intended) throughout. I suspect this will be tweaked at launch as well.

Enemy visibility and minimap are ok if you are used to playing hardcore. Core players will suffer from not seeing enemy name plates on screen or on the minimap with lack of red dots when firing weapons. The red dots only become visible when UAV is active.

The overall system and menus have a definite learning curve. This is not the typical COD system. Especially at the beginning before custom loadouts are unlocked. It will likely get fixed, but during the Beta, weapon building was a little confusing. They added an extra step to load outs that didn’t feel natural (Load out, load out, equip, select, armory…) It simply was not intuitive or quick. The tree view for common unlocks across weapons was also a little weird and the zoom features didn’t seem to work well.

The Bad

Now we will start getting into the negative end of the spectrum.

The new perk system is no one’s favorite in any way. With this title, you now pick perks in “Perk Packages”. Each perk package consists of two “base” perks, a “Bonus” perk, and an Ultimate perk. There are a few pre-built packages, but you can create custom packages. At the start of the match, you begin with only the two base perks. You earn your Bonus Perk a few minutes in and your Ultimate a few minutes after that, meaning that you’re without those two perks for a decent portion of the match.

During the Beta, Infinity Ward reduced the perk package earn time, so it felt a bit better, but this system is still, frankly, stupid. Rumor has it the earn rate can be marginally reduced through score or kills, but it doesn’t seem to make that much difference overall. An arguable example of this perk system’s drawback is GHOST as an Ultimate Perk—you earn it super late in the match, making you vulnerable to UAVs for the first half or more of the match. Bottom line, it is safe to say that if we wanted to play Overwatch and have “Ultimate Abilities” throughout time-based gameplay, we would play Overwatch. This system has no business in Call of Duty.

Squad spawns are back, and some people hate them. They aren’t the end of the world, but it can turn a match into a shitshow with wonky spawning everywhere. Especially if you aren’t playing with a team who holds one side of a map as opposed to flipping sides/spawns constantly.

Sprint out/ADS times are super slow in this title. If you want to keep frustration levels manageable and win gunfights, learn to either pre-aim every corner or post up on a head glitch. Some people get extra frustrated by the jumping, sliding, and no-scoping tactics, all of which are present. Also witnessed making a comeback was dropshotting, which is super (not) fun. This may not be a huge “bad” for some, but Infinity Ward added the mechanic of enemies leaning and tilting their weapon as they move left or right (strafing), which psychologically threw me off for some reason. I know to stay shooting center mass, but that little lean made me overcompensate and move my weapon too far to trace ahead of them.

In the Beta, the unlocked field upgrades suck. You absolutely wanted to grind for better ones immediately.

Biggest controversy overall (other than Skill Based Match Making, which pisses everyone off except total newbs to COD who don’t know how to play) are the crazy loud footsteps. Not only are they louder—they are WAY louder. It can make it hard to move in the game without using different avenues of approach every time. On the other hand, if you are a camper (or if you “heavily utilize tactical patience”) this game should be amazing for you. It’s very easy to triangulate someone’s position from their footsteps.

The Ugly

Now for the downright ugly.

Hopefully this will be fixed for launch, but several people experienced crashing before even being able to log into the Beta. This occurred for 3 days before a few people figured out if your friends list was over 500 people it would cause crashing. Even after cutting the friends list down, however, a couple folks still needed a certain amount of people online from their friends list to even load in. (This only appeared to be an issue on Xbox, not PC or PlayStation.)

Cheating was relatively prevalent during the Beta. Even Infinity Ward stated they were taking active anti-cheat measures during the Xbox and Open Beta times, which is sad. One member encountered a player on the other side of a wall in a building tracking him. When he stepped out, he had him dead bang. Our member watched the kill cam, noting it really looked shady and he swore there was no way he could have known he was there. I had several games where hit registry is simply non-existent, regardless of weapon bounce, although I chalked that up to Beta bugs or me just being inconsistent. I also had one (thankfully only one) match in which I literally could not move anywhere, the enemy team was everywhere at once. To the point it was like they could see us moving through the walls like in CWL spectator mode. As stated about the size of the maps, there are too many ways to move around for them to always know exactly where we were and where we would be next, regardless of shifting spawns.

The 3rd person mode? Stinks. End of story. The movement looks terrible, you can see around walls…it just wasn’t Call of Duty. Period.

Again, the perk system. Many members absolutely hate the new system, particularly Ghost as an ultimate perk. It makes UAV extremely OP, especially because enemies don’t show up when firing anymore. Basically, when someone gets the UAV, they can control the game. Since Ghost doesn’t show up till later in the game as an ultimate, the game could be already out of hand. Especially if people stack UAV’s—matches basically turn into “whoever gets the UAV first.”

Also again, the footsteps are atrocious… you can hear people from miles away it seems. IW had this same problem on the first Modern Warfare so you would think they would have learned from that time. It leads to people camping the moment they hear footsteps, not to mention not seeing people firing on the minimap. The size of the maps coupled with team call outs and the ping system is going to be crucial to winning matches.

Finally, enemy visibility on Core Modes is terrible. No red nameplates on enemies anymore, nor any other indicators. Teammates do have nameplates and little blue dots over their heads, but where this becomes a problem is because you see teammate’s dots through walls, and it often looks like someone in that same sight line has the blue dot over their head. By the time you realize it’s an enemy it’s too late. You’re dead. Super frustrating.

Final verdict:

Bottom line, Modern Warfare II (2022) has some great upsides and a few crappy downsides, but ultimately, everyone that played the Beta really liked it. Some liked it so much that they are coming back to the Call of Duty series after a several year hiatus—even buying the preorder or vault editions.

The graphics and gameplay are fantastic. Though, overall, the characters are a little small and zoomed out. It will likely get fixed for launch, but the Beta seemed very jerky and the screen bounced a lot. If that doesn’t get fixed, folks with mild (or worse) vertigo will hate this game—just not as much as Titanfall; easily the jerkiest game I have ever played.

Weapons are generally good, but like always, there will be a lot of tuning and nerfing before and after launch.

The perk system really needs some work. It’s pretty bad all around.

Hardcore players won’t mind not having enemy nameplates or people on the minimap firing. Core players, however, could suffer long-term. That said, some HC players that prefer a more challenging game could treat Core like a hybrid mode, where it lacks visibility but with the benefits of added TTK, health, and damage.

Spawns are a little wonky depending on team playstyle, but bad spawns are not unexpected during a Beta.

People are not fans of the Hotel and Museum maps because they are too large for a 6v6 match, especially if the lobby isn’t full. That said, the other maps bring you back to older CODs. They feel and look good. Very good.

Teamwork-wise, get ready for callouts and communicating constantly! It is hard to cover all the lanes. It does have a great three-lane feel, but there’s a ton of doors, windows, ups, downs, shortcuts, basements, etc. Enemies WILL get in. I promise. Fun, fun, and more fun!

All-in-all, we think Modern Warfare II should be a solid COD. Regardless of the relatively few downsides, we think it will be a good purchase that can bring our Pigs and hopefully some new players and teammates back into the fold. Ultimately, it all comes down to playing together again and never gaming alone. Buy it and come play with us!