I’m most of the way through my top ten and I’m finding ever more games that I’d forgotten I’d missed. I honestly can’t understand people saying this was a weak year for video games. Next year is going to be the weird one, what with so many games not coming out till the very end of the year along with the new consoles.
I know I already rewrote my 2018 Game of the Year list a few weeks back and not much changed. I really want to get to the half dozen games I missed in the next six months and see how this list changes, because it’s going to be a much more difficult top ten to compile after I’ve gone back and done that I think. Which isn’t to say the games I’m talking about here are undeserving, I’m just some weird kind of completionist when it comes to making and compiling ordered lists.
#9: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Played on Xbox One X | Released 25th October | Developed by Infinity Ward
I kind of feel like I’ve fallen through a time warp. Playing this game this year, it almost took me back in time ten years and reminded me of what it was like to pick up and play Modern Warfare 2 for the first time. And become hopelessly obsessed with that video game for months on end.
It’s been a few years since I’ve actually played a Call of Duty game, the annual iteration of the franchise wearing me down pretty quickly in hindsight. Not really helped by the fact that the games themselves really struggled to retain their relevance, especially as the first/third person shooter genre ballooned larger and larger, and started changing thanks to the Battle Royale genre taking over.
Even now, I don’t think I can quite explain the reasons behind this game finding its way into my hands. After years of not really being interested, there was something about Modern Warfare that ended up drawing me back in. Personally, I feel like it’s probably my favourite setting for one of these kind of games. WWII has never done anything for me, and the more science fiction aspects of the game felt like ground trodden much more successfully by other franchises. The “Modern” setting feels like something all Call of Duty’s own.
Which is why I obsessively played this this game’s campaign almost as soon as the game came out. When people talk about this franchise, they almost always focus on the multiplayer, but I feel that the teams making the Call of Duty games are experts at creating and telling very tight, very directed stories.
Certainly by that metric, Modern Warfare is continuing that trend, it provides the same highly curated, cinematic story campaign that only a third of the people who pick up the game ever play, and a multiplayer mode that is fast paced, frantic and fun too.
There’s also another mode in there, but I haven’t touched it. And from what I hear, it’s probably for the best that I haven’t.
I’d forgotten how impressive Call of Duty campaigns could actually be. The developers are experts at putting the player into environments and sequences that seem far more open ended than they actually are. They do a fantastic job of keeping you bottle necked and looking at the right places to see the seamless chunks of story content without you ever realising it.
On top of that, the campaign constantly surprises you. It’s rare you find yourself doing the same thing more than once. Confined, breaching sequences in suburban settings. guiding people through guarded office blocks using security cameras. Open ended stealth sequences. Sniper stages. Cinder block kill streak sequences.
The story is relentless and goes by in a flash, an example of the Call of Duty teams showing that they can still do what these kinds of campaigns incredibly well.
Additionally, the multiplayer is a back to basics approach that I appreciate white a lot, with an absolute ton of carrot on a stick progression to keep someone like me interested in playing for weeks and months to come. Player level, perks, gun levels. It constantly feels like there are number going up when playing multiplayer.
It’s just too bad that between Destiny, Apex Legends and Borderlands 3 I’m probably not going to spend anywhere near the mount of time with this multiplayer that I did with the first two Modern Warfare game a decade ago.
The remake of Modern Warfare is one of the best games in the franchise for me. That might not mean a whole lot from someone who hasn’t played one since Modern Warfare 3, but I like enough to go out and buy Infinite warfare second hand almost right after finishing this one. Cursed to repeat the past and burn myself out on the franchise within a couple of years.
In all seriousness though, this return to form will be meaning that I’ll be looking very closely at whatever next year’s Call of Duty ends up being. Activision have done good to get the franchise back on track, but in this time of battle royales being the biggest draw of the shooter franchise, they’ve got a big uphill battle on their hands.