Welcome to Uncrowned Gaming’s first-ever game review! We will be looking at the hit release Call of Duty Modern Warfare II, although that is the Roman numeral II not the number two as that would be an entirely different game. Yay for modern naming schemes. Overall I enjoy pretty much all the changes that they added to this game and most of the new systems are actually quite positive. However, due to a few key features, this review would actually be more of a thumbs down than a thumbs up.
But first, let's go through the good, the gameplay itself is extremely solid and in fact, it might actually be my favorite Call of Duty game as the gunplay is extremely crisp the modes are all enjoyable. Even the new unlock system is actually something I really enjoy, but I can understand why some may not. The maps are solid and while some of them aren't the best there is actually none that I truly dislike. Although the ones that are simply cut-down versions of the larger invasion maps tend to be my least favorable maps and seemed to be a cheap way out of map development.
The weapons are all nice and include a very nice variety for players to enjoy. The balance is definitely not perfect but overall it is very well done and every weapon is usable in some manner. The gunsmith system allows for massive customization across all of the weapons and players can really fine-tune the weapons into the weapons of war that they truly prefer. The new frame system is a nice way to unlock weapons however being able to swap out the frames within the gunsmith system seems like a feature that very few people will actually use as it is generally easier to just swap out the weapon as a whole. Forcing me to use other guns and items to unlock weapons and attachments (and camos) is something that I might complain about, but is helping me enjoy more of the game more. So yes, I put it down as a pro.
The new perk system is different and while I can't say that I dislike it, I mostly feel like it was an unneeded change. The perks unlocking partially through each match don't really change the gameplay much in my opinion although it does make me much less involved with the perks that I no longer have for the entirety of the match. None of the perks that unlock are truly groundbreaking or game-changing that would turn the tide of a game, so the system as a whole seems to be just a new system to just be a new system. They did move cold-blooded and ghost to be delayed perks and while I was not a fan of this move at first, their changes to the mini-map and what I will call "nerfs" to suppressors pretty much killed the stealth gameplay right from the start.
However, the perk system does add one feature that I don't necessarily like or dislike but I mostly don't understand. Perks are no longer selected per class and are actually set up in "perk packs" that the players can then add to their classes. Again this seems like a mostly unnecessary system change that doesn't seem to have benefited or hurt any particular feature of the game itself. However, it does create a fundamental problem as you can only have 5 custom perk packs while they allow you to have 10 custom classes. I understand you will very likely use the same perk packs across multiple of your classes, but this artificial limitation seems poorly thought out as there does not appear to be a need to even have it at all.
Of course, I had a feeling this game would be mostly pros as they basically took all of the favorite maps and features from the previous games and shipped them into this one while fine-tuning the gameplay. Sure that sounds very uninspiring, but it absolutely does work. However, there are definitely cons to this game and the last one is enough to ruin the experience for many players.
First, it does have to be mentioned that the game's launch was very not great and players are continuing to face crashes and server issues along the way. A handful of features and entire modes are currently not in the game along with the battle pass and other significant items that would be expected for a full release. Granted, comparing it to a game like Halo Infinite this release was a masterpiece. Although at the end of the day the features in the game are more than enough to keep the average player content and hopefully the crashes will be fixed in the coming days.
However, there are some cons that I do not believe will be fixed in the coming days and first of all, is the UI system. I'm not sure if they were trying to simulate a mobile UI as it would also be a terrible mobile UI in my opinion, but the UI for the game is simply not good. While the menus and game mode selection are adequate for the game, the items that you will use frequently such as class selection and even setting up your perk packs is mostly a nightmare that feels like it should be on some sort of arcade machine and not a modern AAA game. I don't recall older Call of Duty games having huge complaints about their UI, so I'm not exactly sure why the drastic changes were implemented.
There is of course the elephant in the room of skill-based matchmaking and while it would be simple to dump on skill-based matchmaking for its ability to make every game sweaty and remove the casual fun that many players are looking for in a first-person shooter, the overwhelming problem is how it correlates with the new features they added into the game. The first problem with having the matchmaking in social matches being based on skill-based matchmaking is that the majority of the new gun unlocks, camo unlocks, and attachment unlocks are based around using weapons that may not fit your playstyle well and, of course, many will not be the meta weapons of the game. This is double downed by many of the daily challenges that also focus on pushing the player to use other weapons and equipment that they normally would not.
While I would be ecstatic about these changes as I was in the pros of the game, the problem becomes when every game is based upon your best performance and the people you are against are all of the adequate skill levels and utilizing the meta weapons in the game. It is not hard to see the problem and lack of enjoyment that happens when you come walking in with a gun that you are simply not good with trying to unlock an attachment for something else. There is really no way around this as all the game modes are based on skill-based matchmaking and the player simply has to suffer through unlocking pieces of the game in a manner that should be unbelievably enjoyable but it's actually a nightmare due to the matchmaking.
And of course, to top off the skill-based matchmaking problems, it simply does not work well. Every game I have been in since the release of this game has been full of players doing exceptionally well while other players on the same team do exceptionally poorly. It is extremely rare to be put into a game where all of the players are of remotely equal skill and the competition is tight between the best and the worst. The worst case scenario is if you have any friends, you better hope that they're all of the equal skill of you as if you bring in a friend who is significantly lower skilled at the game than you are, they are going to be introduced to your skill based matchmaking and I have never seen a person quit a game faster.
So would I recommend the game? Probably, but with a strong notion that nearly all of the awesome features and changes they implemented into this new Call of Duty have been crippled by the ongoing skill-based matchmaking system that no player seems to enjoy. Overall we have the same sweaty Call of Duty matches that we always have and the devs added tons of features. Although they do not seem to understand what it means to enjoy a game.
Edited by Uncrowned Guard