‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ (2019) Review

Fans Appreciate a Return to the Game’s Roots

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On October 25, 2019, the famed Call of Duty video-gaming franchise released a much-anticipated title. Serving as a reboot to the Modern Warfare sub-series, the game prompted controversy upon its reveal, with some companies and critics deeming its portrayal of war to be too harsh. For many fans, however, the game served as a return to what they had been wanting.

With the launch of Call of Duty (CoD), the first three games in the franchise took players to World War II battlegrounds. There, they got to play through some of the conflict’s largest battles, including Stalingrad and D-Day. Then, in 2007, the franchise took a revolutionary turn with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

This entry took players to a fictional conflict set in Russia circa 2011, as well as the Middle East. CoD 4 received critical acclaim, and it introduced some of the most memorable moments in the franchise. Few fans will forget crawling through the Pripyat wasteland as Captain John Price in 1996 Ukraine, as he attempts to assassinate a Russian arms dealer.

Throughout the story, players witness the true brutality of war

Upon the release of Call of Duty: World at War in 2008, the franchise saw a return to World War II, though this would virtually be the last time until the release of Call of Duty: WWII in 2017. Following World at War, fans were introduced to Modern Warfare 2, which, just like CoD 4, generated enormous popularity.

The story picked up five years after the events of the first game and reunited players with old heroes, while introducing several new ones. After the release of Black Ops in 2010, which followed secret CIA missions from the 1960s, Modern Warfare 3 dropped in 2011. This game served as the final chapter in the Modern Warfare series.

A State of Decline?

For several years, the Call of Duty franchise seemed, to many fans, to be in a state of decline as far as quality was concerned. Black Ops II released in 2012, which introduced the concept of futuristic warfare. Following the release of Black Ops II, which was a major financial success, the franchise began to dive further into the futuristic realm.

With titles such as Advanced Warfare (2014) and Infinite Warfare (2016), many fans began to grow disillusioned with CoD and called for a return to the game’s gritty, realistic roots. Call of Duty: WWII attempted to take players back to that era, but it just didn’t accomplish that goal for many fans,

Then, in May 2019, the first trailer for this year’s Call of Duty version was released. Set in a timeline separate from that of the original trilogy, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was announced.

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A Return to Gritty Warfare

Modern Warfare is set in present-day 2019, mostly in the Middle East. Following its reveal, the game stirred up controversy due to its dark portrayal of armed conflict. Players primary follow four main characters: Captain John Price and Kyle Garrick of the British SAS, Alex of the CIA, and Farah Karim, leader of the Urzikstan Liberation Force.

Throughout the story, players witness the true brutality of war, and the campaign portrays many of the events taking place in real-world Middle Eastern conflicts. For instance, one level brings to mind visions of Benghazi, where the players must repel waves of attacking radical Islamic insurgents at a US Embassy.

Another level portrays the player as a young Farah, in which she attempts to evade Russian soldiers while escaping with her brother. Early in the story, players have to fight Islamic terrorists on the street in the Piccadilly Circus area of London.

According to Gamespot, studio narrative director Taylor Kurosaki said this about the game’s content: “I would say that compared to 2007, the [Operation Iraqi Freedom] or whatever it was, that was kind of traditional warfare. Those were guys in tanks, fighting other guys in tanks and Jeeps, and this side wore this uniform and this other side wore a different uniform, and this side flew this flag, and the other side flew the other flag. Today, modern warfare means that the war isn’t just over there. That the war is everywhere. It’s in our own backyards. It’s in places that can suddenly become a battlefield at a moment’s notice. It’s about enemies who don’t wear uniforms.”

War is Hell

Though the game received criticism from some observers for its harsh portrayal of current events, it should be noted that war is called hell for a reason. In today’s age of political correctness, many media pundits seem offended by events that are portrayed in accurately manner, horrible as they may be.

If anything, Modern Warfare does its fans justice by depicting war in its truest, most brutal form. It shows us why war is hell and why it should always be prevented, if at all necessary.

Garrett Smith
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