Game review - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, PS4/Xbox One/Windows, 9/10
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will not ever reach the dizzying heights of its venerable namesake, but it nevertheless feels like a giant leap forwards for a series that has lost its way and perhaps has spent too much time taking notes from its peers.
A true return to form for Modern Warfare wouldn't be possible without the reintroduction of the campaign mode, something which was glaringly absent from last years effort from Treyarch. That being said, while so desperately reaching towards the provocative and controversial, Modern Warfare's latest campaign never really stops toeing the line. Nonetheless, the return of Captain John Price combined with the Russians being the bad guys again are sure to draw misty-eyed nostalgia from long-time fans of the series.
Despite the relatively short runtime of the campaign - par for the course for Call of Duty - the five-hour story is as masterfully crafted as we would expect for the veteran game studio. Chock full of surprises, morally grey moments and a Hollywood blockbuster-esque attention to detail, no true fan of the series could possibly be disappointed.
That's not to say that Call of Duty sticks to the status quo of the series thus far, there are a number of tender and surprising moments devoid of the Michael Bay audience blinding typical of the series. One such scene has you play as a child with dialogue choices, while another takes the weapons completely from your hands and tasks you with a stealth mission in an embassy building.
Elsewhere Modern Warfare's multiplayer is a beautiful but flawed beast. The return to form wouldn't be complete without otherwise good maps ruined by spawn camping and points of extremely limited engagement and the latest instalment to the series doesn't disappoint in that regard.
What is a most welcome diversion from the paltry selection of decent maps is the return of Ground War. Taking place on either one of two gargantuan maps, Ground War features teams of 32 players each being divided into four-person squads and furnished with helicopters, tanks, ATVs and other vehicles to fight for control of five points. The various other multiplayer modes are much of the same, but still acting as very welcome palate cleansers should you tire of one mode or another.
Overall Modern Warfare is a very welcome return to form for a series that seems to have lost its way in the last five years or so. A fantastic effort from a legendary studio.