KGUN 9NewsE-Team


'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II' makes all-out assault on multiplayer, campaign fronts

A Call of Duty character hangs on the wall in a stairwell on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, at Activision Blizzard, Infinity Ward Division, in Woodland Hills, Calif. The release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 continues a nearly two-decade run for California-based Activision Blizzard's wildly popular military shooting game franchise. New installments of the game can rival Hollywood's biggest blockbusters in how much they earn on their opening weekend. But the battle this time is also happening off-screen as Call of Duty is at the center of a corporate tug-of-war between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation over Microsoft's pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard.(AP Photo/Allison Dinner)
Posted at 8:00 AM, Oct 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-01 15:42:37-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The annual "Call of Duty" release is holiday in gaming. Known for delivering tight combat, immersive multiplayer, the series is the equivalent of a summer movie blockbuster. The nineteenth game in the series goes back to fundamentals while pushing the series forward in some fresh new directions.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II" — not to be confused with the 2009 game — is a direct sequel to the 2019 "Modern Warfare" subseries reboot.

Phil Villarreal: I am normally drawn to the "Call of Duty" campaign before I head into multiplayer, but this time around, I played a few missions of the campaign — and while I enjoyed the bombastic set pieces and mix of scenarios — I found myself sucked into multiplayer and have yet to return.

I was impressed with the map design and variety. I appreciated the vigilance of the curators, making players agree to abide by guidelines and avoid harassment. Hopefully this gives moderators the fuel they need to weed out the griefers and keep sessions from devolving into harassment-fests. The sessions I played were good-natured and full of spirited trash talk.

What stood out to you, Sean?

Sean Newgent: The first thing that stood out was the egregious 150 gigabyte download. I don't understand why a game like this has nearly twice the requirement of something as large as "Cyberpunk 2077" but it does, and it's painful. Following that up with signing away your life with a handful of privacy policies, you finally get into the game and see it's just another live service "Call of Duty" game. The last "COD" I played was the one where Jon Snow was a space terrorist, so I've missed quite a few titles. I'm not great at shooters that aren't "Quake" or "Unreal Tournament" so I skirted around the multiplayer and took a crack at the campaign.

I was surprised in many ways. First off, the game is gorgeous. Cutscenes are well-acted with fantastic voice acting, the locations are outstanding with levels focused on mundane locations like cliffs in Spain being so memorable because of the way they transport you in such a immersive way. When the game leans into cinematic moments, like a mid-game section where you dangle upside down from a bungee cord and shoot at a caravan of terrorists. Those moments are so much fun and gave me flashbacks to Uncharted.

The problem is following that upside-down segment you have to drive a car for twenty minutes in an aggravating stretch of middling variety. "Modern Warfare II's" campaign excels in the core shooting portions but the additions, while interesting, are generally too long and half-baked. In one section you are sneaking through a town, using items found in homes and businesses to wage guerilla warfare. It's a great idea and a tense sequence — for the first five or ten minutes. It just stretches on and on.

You can speak more to the multiplayer — which is likely why anyone is buying this game — so how did it look and play Phil?

Phil Villarreal: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale platform, tends to draw more attention these days, but I found the traditional modes — such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, Invasion, Kill Confirmed and Prisoner Rescue — to be more lively and fun. Squadding up with your friends and chugging through a playlist as you take on all comers remains one of the most invigorating ways to kill an afternoon that may stretch well into the night.

There's a reason nearly every other multiplayer shooter copies the "Call of Duty" progression system. There's a thrill in watching the system tabulate your battlefield actions post-match to dole out ranks, perks and unlocks, and always plenty of reasons to jump back into the fray afterward.

Time will tell whether the structure stands up or the nefarious section of the community manages to exploit bugs to rack up camping carnage and take the fun factor away. It will be up to developers to keep up with griefers in an ever-escalating arms race.

For now, things are humming. I don't see myself managing to pull away from multiplayer to jump back into the campaign any time soon.

Final thoughts, Sean?

Sean Newgent: If you like "Call of Duty", you're going to buy this game and you're going to get the squad together and enjoy the multiplayer. The campaign, though plagued with issues (bad AI, overlong levels, a story that is serviceable but forgettable) is honestly worth a rental if nothing else. It's a breezy six to eight hours of high-tech military battles with creative attempts to change the usual formula that maybe aren't as solid as the traditional gameplay sequences.

I did have the issue of the game crashing a couple times, something I've never encountered with any other game on the Playstation 5. Hopefully after some patches it will be up-to-snuff in that regard. As it stands if you're a "COD" fan, you'll find a lot to enjoy here. But even as a "Call of Duty" agnostic, I had fun saving the world for a few hours and look forward to seeing how the franchise can build on some of the ideas presented and make "Modern Warfare III" a memorable finale.

Publisher provided codes. Phil played on Xbox Series X. Sean played on PS5.

Past game reviews by Sean and Phil:
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Diablo II Resurrected
NEO: The World Ends with You
Rainbow Six: Extraction
King of Fighters XV
WWE 2K22
Weird West
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
Capcom Fighting Collection
Capcom Arcade: 2nd Stadium
Digimon Survive
Cult of the Lamb
TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection
NBA 2K23
Lego Bricktales
Gotham Knights
Star Ocean: The Divine Force

Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Sean Newgent has been with KGUN9 since January of 2020 and is Good Morning Tucson's executive producer. He graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. He is a critic and cultural commentator. Share your story ideas and important issues with Sean by emailing