Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review (Xbox One)

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brings many new things to the franchise with this latest release.  Gamers finally get Crossplay, Cross Progression, zero loot boxes, free post launch content and a wildly impressive new graphics engine.  The latest tech used here by developer Infinity Ward raises the realism to a new level in the incredibly tense campaign.  It hits home hard, with present day terrorist scenarios that our military forces come face to face with everyday.  The story told here is one where split second decisions have to be made during absolute chaos and mayhem.


True Modern Warfare


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review (Xbox One) - Pixelated Gamer


The Single Player Campaign in MW involves some of the most intense missions found in any shooter to date.  As a soldier, you are tasked with taking out every enemy amidst the smoke, fire and dozens of innocent bystanders that cross through your line of sight as they run for their lives.  It proposes the question…can you retain your humanity after facing such evil in this world and killing others to save yourself, your squad and your country’s way of life?

You’ll engage in covert missions in Urzikstan, deal with enemy ambushes, face deadly IED’s and contend with fearless suicide bombers either sprinting toward innocent people or directly at you.  Gamers take the role of either CIA officer Alex, who is tasked with dealing with the threat from Russia, and SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick who comes face to face with a horrific scene in London.  We want to remain as spoiler free as possible, so we’ll leave it there and let you unfold the rest of the storyline.



The enemies faced here are still actively engaged in forcing their will and violence upon the US.  They don’t fear death, in fact they are inspired to sacrifice themselves for their cause, while taking out as many innocent people as possible.  That is deemed a success and is highly honorable within their culture.  How do you fight against such reckless force?  How can you save those trapped in this madness that have no part in it and are only trying to survive?  You’ll have to figure these things out and much more.  This is what makes this such an engaging campaign that is frighteningly realistic to the very core.  Chemical warfare is a big part of the story as well, which that in of itself presents some horrific scenes and circumstances.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review (Xbox One) - Pixelated Gamer


As your progress through the story, you’ll get to choose and make moral decisions along the way.  This can at times weigh on you more than one might think, due to just how realistic these scenarios are depicted.  This is due in part to the new game engine, in combination with the latest graphical effects such as advanced photogrammetry, volumetric lighting, and ray tracing on compatible RTX cards on the PC.

While we reviewed this on the Xbox One X, we also have a high end PC, packing a EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER XC ULTRA and Intel i9 990K.  This allowed us to experience all the game had.  We tested it under Ultra Settings at 1440p and the graphical fidelity achieved here is just stunning.  With that said, everything ran beautifully on the X as well on our 4K TV and both platforms showcased the horrors of war like no game before it.  It provides a truly gritty experience, seeping with great depth and realism.  It’s no doubt the most defining campaign in the entire series yet.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” -Friedrich Nietzsche




Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Review (Xbox One) - Pixelated Gamer


The online scene and multiplayer options for Modern Warfare are more impressive than ever.  Crossplay opens up the door for PC vs Console, and Xbox vs PS4.  Within the lobby, you’ll see an icon beside each gamertag, designating their platform.  Activision has ditched loot boxes in exchange for free post launch content, in which most new maps/modes will launch simultaneously across all platforms.  We are already off to an excellent start here.

First up on the Multiplayer Menu is Quick Play (which can be configured to rotate around your favorite game types).  We returned to TDM and Gunfight the most often.  The tension that is built and teamwork required to be successful in Gunfight makes this one of our favorite new additions.  Each team of 2 face off with the same weapons and loadout.  First to win 6 rounds wins.  I’d like to see 3 versus 3 added here for even more action in the future.



Multiplayer Modes:


Team Deathmatch – Two teams face-off with one simple goal: eliminate the opposition. Each takedown of an enemy player awards a point for your team. The first team to reach the point limit, or the team that earns the most points within the time limit, wins the match.

Free-For-All – Similar to Team Deathmatch, but with no teams. Eliminate as many other players as you can before the time and/or score limit.

Domination – An objective mode where two teams fight for control over three objective points.

Gunfight – A 2v2 experience with no respawns on small maps where every player uses the same weapons and loadout items that rotate every two rounds.

Ground War – The polar opposite of Gunfight. This game mode features large-scaled objective based combat with vehicles and supports up to 100 players.



There are also Featured Playlists, an option for Private Matches and the already highly popular Special Ops Mode.  This new mode is a ton of fun and is split into two categories.  Operations requires teamwork and features unique objectives; while Missions can be played solo if preferred and tests your mettle across different weapon types.

In typical COD fashion, as you progress you will be able to upgrade your primary weapon,  secondary weapon, perks, lethal equipment, and tactical equipment.  There are 3 loadouts to select from in total.   Whether you push the action aggressively or prefer stealth, there is a loadout suitable for your play-style here.




Assault – This class can hold its own no matter the engagement type. From long distances to close quarters, the assault rifle and handgun combo is fairly formidable in combat.

Ghost – Silent, but deadly. The Ghost default loadout could be great for those who love playing with a bit of stealth, as the primary weapon has a Suppressor on it, which reduces the sound the weapon makes while firing.

Heavy Support – Bring out the big guns! This loadout has a light machine gun, which could provide plenty of suppressing fire, as well as a shotgun for close engagements courtesy of the Overkill perk.


Killstreaks are in place and are activated upon successfully getting a consecutive number of kills in a row (3, 5 and 10).  These range from a personal radar that can quickly identify the opposing team’s position, to calling in a heavily armed helicopter for mowing down anyone caught running out in the open.  You’ll also have to choose a faction, which will be either Coalition or Allegiance.  Depending on which one you select predetermines which side you will be placed on for online matches.





Call of Duty: Modern Warfare could end up being one of the most defining games of this generation.  The realistic visuals and gameplay made possible by the new graphics engine, captures the horrors of war and terrorism at a level of detail never before seen in a video game.  It’s incredibly polished in every aspect.  The controls are on point and have been finely tuned for the extraordinary multiplayer offerings.

All time fan classics like Team Deathmatch are firmly in place here, but alongside new company such as the highly entertaining Gunfight and Special Ops modes.  No matter which platform you are on, it looks and performs extremely well.  It looks amazing on our Xbox One X and the visuals blew our minds on the PC.  The content of the campaign has stirred up some controversy, but it’s also what makes the story and experience so compelling.  This resonates due to the realism achieved by Infinity Ward and the modern day threats that are portrayed through each mission.  It’s certainly not for kids and will even be too much for some adults; but in the end it delivers one of the most exhilarating campaigns in Call of Duty’s history.


Review Copy provided by Activision

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