Even if you’re a die-hard Call of Duty fan, 2019’s obligatory COD entry brings tons of new technology, processes and strategies to the series. This primer will help both the veteran and recruit players get up to speed. Note: this article is based on launch window builds and is subject to change over time.
Let’s start off with an overview of what comes with the game this time around.
We traded out the venerable zombies for a single player campaign. I’ve put about an hour into it and it is pretty good stuff. Still, zombies will be greatly missed. Blackout is gone too.
We have some new modes in multiplayer and we have an extensive Co-Op option which mixes a bit of multi with campaign.
With Modern Warfare 2019, we now have cross play with PC, Xbox and Playstation; along with that, control methodologies are isolated so you’ll never have to play against mouse+keyboard players if you’re a controller guru. This has made getting into a match a very quick process. We’ll see if this holds up after the newness of the launch is over.
Maps feel bigger — more expansive and with much further draw distances that make the areas feel almost larger than life. Sure, there are still map areas that are close quarter, tight winding walls and corridors — in previous COD games, there were always one or two “sniping maps”; this time, almost ANY map can accommodate long distance shooting.
Maps also seem to have more … surfaces … to navigate. From piles of rubble you can get on top to many layers of rooftops, walls to run along the top of … Everything feels more real and that is a big win you may not consider in the heat of the battle. Try to climb on top of things — it is a shift in play for COD veterans.
Working with Weapons and Loadouts
Obviously, weaponry is the key to killing the enemy and the venerable favorites are here along with a couple of new faces.
Loadouts work similar to other COD titles. You have some predefined slots that are tailored to a style of play that have features you have to unlock before you can customize your own loadouts.
Once you reach a certain level, you can then create your own custom loadouts — but the attachments and such are locked behind weapon leveling and your own personal leveling. The more you use a weapon, the higher it levels and the more things for it unlock. These include things you know like sights, grips, barrel attachments, etc. But also some new things like “weapon perks”.
Each weapon can hold 5 customization and you can mix multiples from some categories which is neat. You don’t have to unlock slots, either. You get all five right away — you just won’t have enough things to fill them with for awhile.
As usual, you get a primary and a secondary weapon. There is an overkill perk that allows for two primary weapons, too.
There are still lethal and tactical weapons (you get one of each per loadout) so you don’t have to “wait” to get a frag grenade this time.
Personal perks round off the loadout. These are things that affect your abilities as a soldier. Three slots for perks, each slot has six choices (no overkills here that I see — so you can’t ever have more than one perk from a particular category).
By the way, you can now edit your loadouts even when you’re inside a party! Finally, you can make intelligent decisions on the fly without leaving the action. If nothing else, Infinity Ward should get some sort of a bonus for pulling this off properly.
Finally, there are blueprints that allow you to create sort of “special editions” of weapons that have a predefined attachment set; you can use them even if you don’t have all the attachments unlocked.
Killstreaks and Field Upgrades
Not a lot new here from a process perspective. You earn special attacks based on a streak of kills — UAVs, attack choppers, etc. If you’re like me and die a lot, you never see “11 kill streak rewards” anyway.
Field Upgrades are similar to BO4’s specialist stuff. You get a special ability that “charges” over time. This can be a number of different things including physical items like a resupply box or a personal perk that grants you some ability for a short time. Some charge faster than others and can compliment your loadout, although they are set separately from your loadouts.
Fighting the Enemy
Along with the notes above about how the maps themselves have changed, your time with boots on the ground has changed a bit too.
COD has always been more a run-and-gun game than a thinking-man’s-game but that has somewhat changed.
With the maps changes offering you (and your enemy) new ways to hide and engage, you will need to be much more cognizant of your surrounds and the maps natural and unnatural elements. The wider open spaces can be frustrating when you can’t shoot an enemy with a P90 or more-close quarter weaponry all the way across the map.
There is a great deal of focus put on “mounting”. In previous COD games, certain weapons had the ability to be “mounted” on a tripod on certain surfaces. In MW 2019, this works with pretty much any gun; more akin to “steady handing” against a flat, unmovable surface. This increases your accuracy and still keeps you somewhat mobile (more so than going prone, let’s say). You’ll need to adopt this to be competitive. I’m still struggling myself, but the killcams of my death show I’m getting slaughtered by people that have this figured out.
Finally, there is a new “feature” with respawning. As you spawn, you’re taken from a bird’s eye view and “zoomed” into your spawn location. This gives you a quick survey of your area — and let’s you see enemies that may be spawn camping or just where there is heavy activity going on. It is truly one of my favorite parts of the new COD and I applaud IW for being able to pull this off.
More On Cross Play
As mentioned, all three platforms — PC, Xbox and Playstation can all play together and it is seamless. Unless you explicitly look, you won’t know what system your teammates and enemies are playing the game on.
Controller players are only matched with controller players (across all three platforms) which is GREAT if you’re a controller player. If you’re a mouse+keyboard PC player used to slaughtering we the controller generation, then you may find the game a bit more challenging — as you’ll only be facing off against your own.
All game developers need to take note here. This is the way it should be. I shouldn’t be penalized for using a controller.
The games are tied together via an Activision account and all party-related comms, etc. are available as you would expect.
Before I finish up here, there are a handful of random items that didn’t really have a place above.
There are to be no season passes. All content that comes down the pike will be available to all players, all platforms (hopefully not timed exclusive to PS4).
What is not yet in the current version of MW 2019 is the inevitable downstream monetization that will likely be bolted in within the following weeks. There is already a store option and CP points in the interface — so we know it will happen. The question will be: how bad will it be?
Currently there are sprays, emblems, gestures and blueprints that scream to me that they will be monetized. Blueprints could give people a “pay to win” fast track since it can give you weapons and features you haven’t earned yet.
Did you buy COD MW 2019? Do you love it? Hate it? Did I miss something? Share in the comments!