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Modern Warfare II - Dark Water Gameplay Impressions

by Peter Ellis 4 months ago in new releases · updated 4 months ago
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The emperors upcycled clothes.

Irrespective of what the final product ends up being, one thing Call of Duty always tends to nail are its pre-release trailers. After a gung-ho reveal trailer scored by a J Balvin cover of Metallica's Wherever I May Roam (a sentence I never thought I would type), the following gameplay trailer showed us the mission titled "Dark Water", a moodier, quieter affair. However, veteran Call of Duty players will recognise the structure of it.

Back in the shoes of fan-favourite Sergeant John "Soap" MacTavish (ridiculous mohawk still in tow), the mission sees him and a group of TF141 operatives infiltrating an oil-rig to prevent the launch of a missile system. As mentioned, CoD veterans may recognise this sequence as remarkably similar to the 2009 Modern Warfare 2's "The Only Easy Day... Was Yesterday."

Typing that out has made me realise how far away 2009 is now. *Shudders*


Following on from MW2019, Modern Warfare II finally seems to be embracing downtime and quieter action for this little thing we in the business call pacing. It's almost too quiet. The wind and the waves crashing against the rig is about as much as you can hear as Soap and his team creep through the lower floors, clearing out opposition with precision. Combined with superb lighting crawling through the oil rig, the lack of music and also the HUD really adds to the tension, creating a much more engaging, cinematic experience.

It's only once the team reach the top of the rig, and the action and the music ramp up that you realise how muted the first half of the mission was (it's those suppressors, I tell you). It's dark, it's moody, it's compelling. It feels like an answer to MW2019's incredible "Clean House", which proved Call of Duty doesn't have to embroil itself in relentless bombast to be memorable. The original MW2 went for style over substance, lets hope they can at least find a middle ground with its 2022 reboot.

Then, on a dime, the end of the mission switches things up, and becomes more akin to COD4's iconic "Crew Expendable", except this time you can really feel the high seas tossing the boat about. Loose cargo containers slide across the ship's decking, meaning cover you had a moment ago could either be not there now, or it's crushed you. It's an excellent end to the Dark Water mission that feels much more dynamic and interesting to watch. Could this be a potential reimagining of Wet Work for the multiplayer mode? That remains to be seen. I feel like the ever-shifting containers would make for an interesting multiplayer arena and, more importantly, make at least one of the maps not an unbearable camp-fest. Whether it would actually work is another matter.

As far as first impressions go, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has made a pretty darn good one. I almost hated how much I was excited by the trailer, but Infinity Ward look like they're onto another winner. And to think I counted them out after the back-to-back failings of Ghosts and Infinite Warfare.

Some clever reworkings of fan-favourite moments combined with a more mature tone suggests that the series is back on the up. Modern Warfare changed the industry back in 2007, and MW2019 brought the franchise back to its best. Modern Warfare 2 blew the competition out of the water in 2009, can Infinity Ward really catch lightning in a bottle again (again)? The jury is still out.

What did you think of the gameplay? Did the grounded tone and more realistic gunplay and sound design take to your liking, or was the leaning on old ideals suggesting a lack of imagination to you?

Let's have a chat in the comments. But remember, be nice!

Bravo six, going dark.

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About the author

Peter Ellis

25// Published author and blogger.

Currently editing my debut novel⚡ Looking for a rep.

View my work via the link below! ⬇

He/Him 。◕‿◕。

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