Modern Warfare II multiplayer impressions: The basic gameplay is solid

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I played the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II multiplayer for quite a few hours this weekend, leveling my way up to 15 in the first beta for the game on the PlayStation 5 console. Made for the next generation, it’s one of the best-looking Call of Duty games yet.

I was impressed with the gameplay for the multiplayer, which will debut on October 28 alongside the single-player campaign for Modern Warfare II. The basic gameplay of multiplayer, where six human players square off against six others in infantry combat, is solid.

You can see some of my multiplayer rounds in the videos embedded in this story. Early on, I had real troubles staying alive in the game and I thought there was something different about this year’s title. But eventually, once I leveled up my gun some, I was able to even the score a bit.

We haven’t seen some of the deeper gameplay improvements like underwater fighting or vehicle chase combat yet, but the next-generation graphics on the PS5 were quite vivid and detailed. And after I figured out what was causing my initial network problems (the PS5 forgets that it has wired internet every now and then), I didn’t see a single instance where the beefed up graphics caused my machine to come to a crawl on the networking front. Instead, it worked quite well. I only had occasional crashes, but overall I was pretty happy with the networking performance of the game.

With the refashioned Gunsmith customization platform, it will give people a lot of reason to level up their guns for the debut of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 on November 16. The nice thing about the Gunsmith is you can quickly edit it and change a loadout during the very short time in between matches. One of the great things is that the delay between matches is pretty short. So this Call of Duty doesn’t waste your time in comparison to past titles.

I mostly played Domination and Team Deathmatch on three maps: Farm 18 in a classified location, Mercado Las Almas in Mexico, and Breenbergh Hotel in an evacuated downtown Amsterdam. I also played some rounds of Hostage Rescue at the Valderas Museum in Spain, and in Breenbergh, as well as Knockout. In both of these modes, you get one life. But teammates can revive each other.

For this whole beta test, the gaming was all about the core infantry combat in the game with 6v6 battles.

I got fooled a few times by the decoy soldier, who rapidly inflates and draws the fire of other players, exposing their locations. If you hit the decoy, the air deflates from it and you have to wonder where the real shooter is.

Thankfully, with relatively weak guns that weren’t leveled up, I never ran into the giant armored soldier that you see in the trailers.

Everything in these levels was about infantry combat, so we didn’t see any of the more complicated scenarios where you see stealth, amphibious assaults, AI and vehicular warfare. I was able to slide and do a dolphin dive after a tactical sprint, but I didn’t see any mantling. I was able to hang on a ledge and peek over the edge before hopping over a wall. That’s a useful mechanic.

On each map, I was able to figure out the spots where I could expect enemies to run and where I could camp and shoot away with my light machine gun. I played with both an LMG and an assault rifle. While it was tough to get the draw in close combat battles with the LMG, I eventually got used to it and like it’s power to eliminate enemies at long distance. That’s how I usually play. I can’t wait to try the sniper rifles out, which weren’t available in this beta.

The Mercado has a nice long lane down the middle that would be great for sniping or fully-powered LMGs, which I didn’t have. Farm 18 also has some long sightlines on rooftops, while the hotel was naturally more like a close-quarters map.

There is one more beta test coming on September 22 with Xbox and PC players coming on board to test the game one more time. I hope to see some larger battles that will determine whether this Call of Duty game will go beyond the basics.

Later on, we will see large-scale Ground War Battle Maps which will feature 32v32. The graphics in this beta definitely looked better. Modern Warfare ll features a physically based material system allowing for state-of-the-art photogrammetry, a new hybrid tile-based streaming system, new PBR water and underwater rendering system, world volumetric lighting, 4K HDR, and more as well as a new GPU geometry pipeline. But let’s hope there’s more to the fun than just pretty pictures.

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