I’ve seen and played a lot of this year’s Call of Duty. I was at Infinity Ward before they revealed the game to the world. I’ve been hands-on with the multiplayer at a couple different events. If you’ve read my previous coverage of the game, you know I’m excited for it as a whole. It’s coming together brilliantly. But you’ll also know that I’ve already played the 2v2 Gunfight mode and didn’t really think it was for me. That’s why I’ve been completely surprised to have found myself under its influence since the Modern Warfare 2v2 alpha launched yesterday. Just what is it about this mode that’s got me so hooked, despite every personal inclination telling me I shouldn’t be?
Let me be clear: I never thought 2v2 Gunfight was a bad mode, but I’m not traditionally one to get swept up in the ultra-competitive “1v1 me bro” style of pure gun-skill gameplay. I enjoy a good objective-based mode, or something where contributions other than my aim can be rewarded. When I heard that the Modern Warfare alpha would be strictly limited to this particular mode, I casually thought I’d opt out of participating. I’ve already played it, right? It’ll be fun for all of the other people getting their hands on it, but I can wait until the more robust multiplayer beta weekends in September.
When a friend invited me to a game, however, I thought “what the hell. I’ll download it, play a couple matches. Why not?” I didn’t expect to be queuing up for it again and again and again. After waiting for the ungodly PS4 download times (really hoping those get worked on next-gen, or, you know, cloud gaming could solve that issue…), I played a few rounds by myself to remfamiliarize myself with the feel. It’s very different having the game on your home console after having only played it in event scenarios before. I won a couple, lost one, and curiously, started to really enjoy it? When my friend hopped on, we mic’d up and played quite a few more, and when he finally had to go, I wanted to keep playing solo, matchmaking with random other players.
After thinking on it a good long while, I think I’ve figured out just what’s keeping me coming back for more.
What’s Got Me Hooked
Quickness of Matches
Matches are over really quickly. You play to the best of 11 rounds, which seems like a lot, but sometimes entire matches were over in under three minutes. They often didn’t take any more than five or six minutes total. The individual rounds in a match are often over in a matter of about 30 seconds or so. On top of that, matchmaking is fast too. That means if you don’t play well, you can dust off and try again within moments. Each new round is a fresh attempt to do better than the last, and it’s an effective tool to train pure multiplayer gunplay skills in a live fire scenario.
That quickness means that even when I’m failing, I’m learning. I’m applying. I’m adapting. And I’m overcoming. Peek out too soon and take on to the dome? Okay, next time hang back, let them come to me, or maybe find a better flanking position instead of charging up the middle. Loss never feels like a crushing defeat, because before you have time to process it, you’re onto the next one. It’s simply about playing the game.
Small maps lend a hand in this as well. You aren’t going to be searching all over for that last remaining opponent. Engagements are effectively forced. You know where you spawn. You know where the opponent spawns. And there’s not much standing in between the two of you and the two of them.
Weapon Loadout Randomization
Instead of having to customize your own loadout, one is provided for you, matching what everybody else in the round gets. Each round, that loadout changes. Well, that’s not quite true. Every two rounds, the loadout changes. That means if you choke pretty bad with the sniper in the first round, you’ll have another shot to post up at a better lookout and try to redeem yourself. After that, you could be playing pistols at dawn, rockets, or getting up close and personal with scoped shotguns.
Randomizing the loadout keeps anyone from getting too comfortable and settling into a niche. It’s all about adapting to the next set of weapons and support items. And knowing what your opponents have to work with helps the strategy as well. Working with claymores this round? May not want to run blindly around corners. Got a stun grenade? Get ready for one to hit you too. It keeps every one of those short rounds feeling fresh and new.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Looks and Plays Really Good
I mean, sure, I’ve said it before. I really like how the game plays. But there’s something about getting it on your home console and having the opportunity to pick up your own controller and play it while relaxing on your own couch. Infinity Ward’s impressive new suite of technology is on full display here, from the stunning visuals down to tiny details like reworked weapon recoil. Seriously, I still can’t get enough of the pistol recoil, especially on slow-motion kill cams.
Mounting up (by tapping R3 near any edge) is a great new tactic as well that specifically goes again my tendency to charge into a situation guns blazing. I can steady my weapon, peek an edge, and land consistent shots on an opponent across the way. If nothing else, I recommend at least downloading and booting up the alpha to get your own eyes on what Infinity Ward is doing with Call of Duty this year. I’ve been covering Call of Duty for quite a few years now and Modern Warfare is simultaneously a huge departure for the series while also feeling exactly like what Call of Duty should be.
2v2 is also a lot of fun, because it’s much more precise and less chaotic. Bigger matches just seem to have gunfire, grenades, and other instruments of death coming from everywhere. Gunfight is calculated and sharp. You know it’s simply the responsibility of you and your teammate to kill the two enemies is a small arena. Every round is like the final moments of a battle royale match—you know, the most exciting part?
The Audio Effects are Stunning
When you play, put on a pair of nice headphones or make sure your PS4 is connected to a decent sound system. Do yourself a favor and take what measures you need to in order to hear this game on the nicest audio setup available to you. The sound design in Modern Warfare is part of that new tech package Infinity Ward has going on. As much as I love watching the pistol recoil, I love hearing the sound design even more. Fire close to a wall, you’ll hear the clapback as it echoes off the surface. Standing in a metal container when you shoot? The reverb can nearly be deafening. It’s a bunch of super small finer details that I wouldn’t be surprised to go unnoticed and unappreciated by many players, but it’s an element of the experience that really sings for me. Again, I recommend downloading and trying it out just to check out this impressive tech.
It was a pretty big turnaround for me to go from not even thinking I’d actually play it to barely being able to tear myself away to play anything else. The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2v2 Gunfight alpha might just be a single mode with no progression, but it’s amplified my excitement in a way that I can barely articulate (funny, considering articulating these kinds of things is literally my job). Gunfight has taken me out of my usual comfort zones and given me the ability to learn to play better. Coupled with the impressive showcase of tech that Infinity Ward has on hand, it’s not so surprising after all to see why I’m so hooked to a small limited-time alpha test for an upcoming game.
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