Video Games

Hands On with Modern Warfare Open Beta

Infinity Ward hosted two different Multiplayer tests. One is an Open Alpha, in which I participated in along with millions of other PlayStation 4 owners. The other is an Open Beta. There was not one, but two Weekends of this Open Beta. PlayStation 4 owners had Early Access to the Open Beta, ahead of everyone else. I pre-loaded the game before this Early Access began, and once it was open. I participated in the Open Beta the whole first 2 days of the first weekend. I even livestreamed them. You’ll see two videos embedded below, they are the best of my plays in the Beta. But how is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s beta…? That’s what this article will be about..

Let me preface this “Hands On” with a notion. You need to understand that I’ve been playing Call of Duty games since Call of Duty 2. I played Call of Duty 2 at E3 2005, and Call of Duty 3 at E3 2006. I was not interested in Call of Duty until one day, my brother and his best friend was talking about how realistic Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is/was. The next day, I went out and bought it for my PS3. I’ve been addicted to it since. My favorite Call of Duty titles are in this order: COD4, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II [2]. Following that is Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Give me a good game, and I will play it. I don’t care about anything else.

So, at this point: I will say this – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the best Call of Duty title since Black Ops II. Everything that I’ve seen thus far in Modern Warfare is glued together to build this beautiful swan song in your mind. Everything from beautiful graphics to every boom sound. I don’t think anyone will go back to COD4 or Modern Warfare Remastered again after Modern Warfare. We’ll come back to it at some point, but at this point, all I can tell you right now, Modern Warfare is at its high that hasn’t been seen since Modern Warfare 2. I’ll explain as I go along.

Modern Warfare’s Open Alpha was good, but it was in a secluded Multiplayer experience. Modern Warfare’s Open Beta took the Alpha and enlarged everything. The game’s graphics are crisp, detailed, and all around beautiful. You can see every inch of detail, every bit of each weapon, or model. You’ll see this from the minute you get into the Multiplayer menu, and into the GunSmith (or previously known as “Gunbench.”) Once you go into the Gunsmith screen, you’ll marvel at the attention to detail.

When you edit your loadout, you can see the “Gunsmith” option, which opens up your weapons to modification in ways we’ve never seen a weapon being able to modified…

Above is how you start your Gunsmith. You can modify Muzzle, Optic, Underbarrel, and your weapon perk. Later, you can modify more weapon attachments…

Keep in mind, this is a maxed out MP5 in the Beta, which was capped at Level 30. You can’t level up after that, but you can level up your weapon to at least Level 5. As you get closer and closer to maxing out your weapon(s), you get access to new ways to modify your weapon attachments. In the above image, you can see new additions: Barrel, Laser, Stock, Magazine, and Rear Grip. Each with their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you read everything to see what you’ll get out of the attachments …or weapon perk.

There’s also an option to select your killstreak, as it has been a staple of Call of Duty since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, there are some differences here. You can’t just build it the way you want it, you’ll have to sacrifice something in order to build out your killstreak loadout. In here, you have to swap out one killstreak for another if that killstreak is about as powerful or more powerful than the killstreak you selected. This is infinity Ward’s way of balancing out the killstreaks.

Field Upgrades isn’t what you think it is. Field Upgrades are like your secondary killstreak, to put it bluntly. In previous games, this would be your special order, but they work a little differently. Each Field Upgrade has a cool down timer until you can use it again. For example, you can use Deployable Covers as a means to stop someone from going a specific route, or defending a flag. And you can place many of them as long as you recharge the cover or field upgrade. However, each field upgrade has their own weaknesses. Someone can easily destroy your Deployable Cover, and you can easily be exposed. Another example is a Munitions Box – shoot at it and it explodes. Careful – that’s your weapon cache, your teammates can also collect ammo from it, and you can earn points when they do. The twist is nastier than it sounds, though – you can use the box to kill your opponents since they’re live rounds inside. Those are the few tactical moves you can thwart your opponents, or they can thwart you.

Your player character is called an operator. You can do two things here: Change your operator, or change the faction you wish to play. In the beta, this is limited, but it has potential to be expanded upon down the road.

You can modify how your player card is presented. You can change your emblem, your calling card, or your clan tag as you normally do. In the same menu, you can also see your rank, and your rank progression…

Once you’re ready after modifying your player, which actually comes together in your playthrough, you select the “Play” tab. You’ll be given a few options – which switches around during the beta. At first, it was the Night Vision Goggles (NVG) mode, then Cyber Attack, then Gunfight, then Ground War. “Quick Play” has a new button once you press it, it brings up the filter button, which allows you to select the modes you’d like to play. The issue here is that “Quick Play” picks your matches based on the modes you’ve selected. You don’t have the option of selecting these modes, you’ll be put into the rotation or matchmaking pool of the “Quick Play” selection(s) that you’ve just made.

Once you’re done with all that, and you’re dropped into a lobby, you’ll sit at the lobby screen. You can modify anything I’ve just discussed thus far in this menu.

You can also talk to other players, or talk trash. This time, though, the lobbies are very reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2’s lobbies. It’s very refreshing, very nostalgic as you sit and listen to people talk with each other or trade jabs at each other. It gets worse if you are in a large multiplayer lobby. The biggest one in the beta was Ground War’s 32 vs 32 lobbies – there is no shortage of people trying to talk to each other. And it does not stop at the lobby screen, it continues during the loading screens…

The best part? 2nd Weekend was Cross Play beta testing. This brought many, many new players coming into contact with other players from Xbox, and PC.

It continues into the gameplay, too. Once you’re playing, and you play Modern Warfare’s Multiplayer for the first time, you’ll be overwhelmed by how beautiful the game looks, and how loud the game sounds. You’re not just hearing yourself walk, or run, you’re also hearing enemy fire from a distance. Every gunshot will feel and sound so good. There’s this kick to each shot, there’s this sense of immersion that we haven’t seen in… ever. It was true in the Alpha, it’s even more true in Beta. In the Open Alpha, you can hear and feel each gunshot. You’ll feel it and hear it in the Open Beta, too, but everything else will be heard, and seen. Everything seems real. Almost too real. You reload? You can hear everything moving. You’re aiming down the sights? The game reloads anyway, and there’s a different kind of sound, because you’re steadying. As you load your magazine into the gun, you’ll hear it, even though the action is booming all around you.

I cannot empathize it enough – the sound design is just one sliver of the whole picture. Every time you hold the controller, and you shoot or attack your opponent, you will feel how tight the game is, how smooth the game is, and how immersive the game is. The game is responsive, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some issues with the game. And this is where I will switch to the issues in the game.

Note: I’ve made 2 Open Alpha videos, and 8 Open Beta videos to demonstrate how good and how problematic the game is in the state it’s in. If you’d like to see some more videos or all the videos I’ve made thus far, follow this link. And please, subscribe! Thank you. Love you!

For the most part, the game runs pretty well, and the servers are doing exactly what it was designed to do – run at scale. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. There are. Early in the beta, we experienced a lot of spawn issues, and it was still prevalent in the later stages of the beta. People exploit the spawns to get kills. Infinity Ward says they’re aware of the issues, and are working on a fix. Ground War’s spawns are similar to Battlefield’s spawn system, but still problematic in some places. You can spawn in on a killstreak for example, or someone camping in the corner getting a whole team destroyed.

There are some glitches that are very problematic, and it’s not exclusive to just consoles, it’s also prevalent in the PC version, too. A VTOL can shoot through walls. There are graphical glitches that shows clipping flickering, loading texture flickering, and other technical issues that Infinity Ward has to work on.

There is some input lag in the game, and I experienced it myself a few times. There are times where I shoot, it has this delay sometimes. In other situations, I’ve had buttons not executing the actual button press (one I just did). There are several button glitches, too. I press something, and it does something else entirely. It will also drift in the beta. For those of you who don’t know what “drift” is, is the act of a controller moving the analogue stick to move another way. So, if you intended to stay idle for a second, your right stick acts for you.

I experienced server timeouts, a few times. I also experienced a few errors that was caught by PlayStation 4 itself, and was sent to Sony. On the final day of the beta, I experienced the console “freezing” but still allowed me to play the game. So, when I tried to livestream, and I tried to capture a screencap, the console wouldn’t allow me to livestream afterwards. Then, after a few tries, I got it working, but then I try to press the PS button, the console wouldn’t execute the compute.

Hit detection is a hit or miss in the game. Especially at long distances. I’m not sure if this is just the Beta, or the servers themselves, but I’ve been experiencing some hit detection issues throughout the Beta. It was in the Alpha, too. I thought it was just me, but the beta told me the whole story. Claymores are a little too powerful, when in the past we could get past claymores and escape. Not true here with Modern Warfare. My biggest gripe with the hit detection is the grenades. Now, I don’t know if this is intended or not, but every time you throw a bomb, and you expect it to detonate at the enemy, it doesn’t happen at all. In the past, especially in COD4 (and the remaster), the bomb detonates at the enemy. You often miss kills because the grenade won’t trigger until it wants to. Like, c’mon man

In conclusion: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is shaping up to be a great game, but Infinity Ward needs to listen to the community to fix all the issues with the game. The game is awesome, it just needs more polish to perfect the game itself. I cannot wait for the release of Modern Warfare to sink into the full game and start ranking up.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Blizzard’s Battle.net service on October 25, 2019.