Impressions

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II & Warzone Season 5 impressions — Holding the line

We are officially to the next part of the Call of Duty cycle. The one where everyone starts to focus on the next game. With Modern Warfare III in view, the seasonal content for Modern Warfare II can fade into the background. Look, I know you’re excited. I am, especially with all the new things we’ve learned about the carryover. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to split on the current season. Season 5 is in full swing, and I’m enjoying what’s there, even if in the end it’s more “sticking to the status quo.”

Let me preface this by saying that Warzone, while it certainly gets all the weapons and the skins/operators/battle pass items, it’s light this season. That is largely due to two in-season modes, along with the Shadow Siege event that will be revealing Modern Warfare III. As is with DMZ (and Ranked Play), there’s not enough to really talk about, so we’ll sit back and be excited as things come. That said, the Dirt Bike is awesome. I’ve been seeing lots of fun clips, and I need a mode centered around it.

Beginning with a trip around the new weaponry, the FR Avancer assault rifle and Carrack .300 sniper rifle are interesting additions. With the FR Avancer, many will think of the Famas from COD’s past, but I’m reminded more of the FFAR from Black Ops Cold War. It has a really high fire rate (which we all know means lower damage rate), with heavy vertical recoil. Yes, you can control it, but this one is tougher than most. This leads to something that is decent in small spaces due to its handling, but not that great in a long range fight. I don’t mind the gun – it’s better than say the Tempus Razorback – but it’s still not preferable over other meta guns.

The Carrack .300 however is a different story. Plenty will tell you about which sniper they think this gun resembles (I’ve heard Dragunov as well as the WA2000), but in general this is a heavy sniper rifle with a few tweaks. It’s certainly easier to move with, and though it has a lower ADS speed than something like the Signal 50, can still fire almost as quickly due to its semi-automatic nature. The Carrack is also highly accurate, with an easy sway to its iron sights, so a beginner might find this one a bit simpler to start with.

My only dislike with the Carrack is that, unlike other heavy snipers, it gets a few too many hit markers. If you don’t get those upper-chest or headshots, you’re not going to get the kill, and that can suck even with the fast fire rate. In fact, it may push you to miss some of the shots given you’re so willing to keep shooting. Even with those drawbacks, it’s still one of my favorite snipers in Modern Warfare II.

As far as new modes go, Havoc is actually an extremely interesting one. The premise is pretty simple, first to 75 kills wins, but with a catch. There are modifiers that pop up over time via a meter, up to five at once, and these change what you’re doing. My first match started off with my equipment refilling with each kill, meaning grenades were very expendable. The second one refilled my ammo after every kill, also allowing me to be more free with my bullet dispersal.

This continues on until a full reset after each modifier is revealed, and boy, is the reset crazy. It isn’t just rolling back the clock, but changing the initial five over into a new set that is immediately unlocked. Throughout the round there was chaotic stuff like semtex grenades flying out of my body when I was killed, a permanent advanced UAV, and the weirdest one in a bit of low gravity. I jumped one moment normally, and the next I could hop into a second story window. While this isn’t a mode I’d play on the norm, it certainly fits into the cooldown phase of playing Call of Duty, and it’s fun.

We’ve somehow gone this entire time without talking about the new maps, and these are a bit of a mixed bag. Strike and Punta Mar have come into play, and at least according to a recent dev interview, these are more “competitive focused.” For Strike, I can understand the notion, being a former COD4 map, but Punta Mar has too many caveats to be viable. That said, neither are going to make it into Ranked Play, so you wonder what the point of the statement even is.

Strike definitely feels like a classic COD map in design, with plenty of buildings and vantage points along with obvious lanes to focus on. It’s also got that color palette we’ve come to expect from the Modern Warfare series, being drab in its choice of browns and grays. The biggest issue that lies in this map is the spawn system. It’s a shame given the map is objectively good, but the Kortac spawn is in a junkyard that is quite removed from the action. If you bring a contingent of Specgru up to the Tower, and cover the Market lane as well, you’re stuck in Junkyard. All the opposing team has to do is sit back to ensure you continue to spawn there. Can we get this adjusted? In almost every other way this is a good map, except maybe for the A bomb in Search and Destroy.

Punta Mar has a different problem, and it’s kind of a weird one. This map is pretty much always uphill, but has a ton of buildings and alleys. There isn’t a ton of open space on the ground, but once you get to the rooftops all hell breaks loose. The high amount of sightlines that are available mean you’re checking a bunch of headys and positions, so you have to be careful every time you peek around a corner. The more I play it, I’ll admit it gets easier, but so many are going to be thrown off by their initial impression. It’s actually a stellar Search and Destroy map, with some interesting ways you can set up on attack and defense. Between that, and reminding plenty of people of Favela, it’s another good map with a singular issue that will lead you to love or hate it.

After three iterations of BlackCell and a new formula for the battle pass this season, I think I’m rounding out my feelings for it. The map format is cool in being able to choose your path in unlocking things, but I feel like that also means I’m done being interested well before the battle pass has been wrapped up. I don’t know if there are some numbers backing up this being the better formula, but I find myself finishing out the battle pass due to dedication more than actual desire at this point. As silly as it sounds, I think the old 100 tiers might be better.

BlackCell is at least pretty cool, with some sweet skins thrown in. Anytime you get to have a doggy on your back it’s a good day. Thankfully the pet cannot be killed, so it’s purely cosmetic, along with some barking to alert you of nearby enemies, although only during times where that would make sense (UAV being up). The extra COD points are always worth it, and I appreciate being able to have the new weapons almost instantaneously with exclusive BlackCell blueprints, so the value proposition is strong with this one.

Overall, this is a solid fifth season. You usually get a little less at this point in the cycle, and while there are definitely some areas of this iteration that aren’t getting much attention, the core multiplayer is getting more than it has in a moment. That’s enough to call this one a win, and once the Warzone reveal event drops, we’ll all be readying up for what’s next.

Lead Video Game Editor | [email protected]

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.

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