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Sometimes when you’re part of a really massive online battle, you can find that rare moment and place on the map where everybody in the game makes the mistake of ignoring you. You get a chance to shoot fish in a barrel and you wonder if everyone else is a bot.
I had that feeling this weekend as I had a chance to play the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II multiplayer beta on the PC, as I had my best round ever. Last week, I played enough to level up to the first 15 levels on the PlayStation 5 beta. And this week, I earned another 15 levels, maxing out at level 30 on the PC/Xbox beta. My accounts are linked so I was able to continue leveling up from the PS5 to the PC.
During all of those hours of play, I had one round where I got into a state of flow and slaughtered the enemy. It was in the Sa’id map in the Ground War mode, where 32 human players square off against 32 human players in massive maps. I managed to get 42 kills and suffer only seven deaths. I had some good Killstreaks and a number of triple kills. This never happens, in case you’re wondering if I’m actually good. But this is what Call of Duty players live for, a chance to be the hero and whoop the other side. The good thing about this particular map is that it is set up in a way that enables this to happen.
I played the game on Falcon Northwest computer with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card and a 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 processor. It’s not the most powerful machine anymore but the graphics of the game looked pretty awesome to me.
Modern Warfare ll features a physically based material system allowing for realistic photogrammetry, a new hybrid tile-based streaming system, new PBR water and underwater rendering system, world volumetric lighting, 4K HDR, and more as well as a new GPU geometry pipeline.
While last week I played a lot of 6v6 basic multiplayer maps, this time I tried the really big modes. Ground War was my favorite, as two teams had to struggle to control five points on the big map. Invasion was also pretty interesting, as it features 20 humans against 20 humans, with 20 AI bots each on both sides.
Most of the time, I have pretty pathetic results, getting killed twice for every kill, or trading even one for one. That’s enough to maybe rank me in the top five million or so Call of Duty players.
But I enjoyed being a demon in one round with my Signal 50 sniper rifle and a 556 Icarus light machine gun. I was able to carry two primary weapons thanks to the Assault Perk Package. And I rounded out my sniper kit with a munitions box field upgrade, a proximity mine that goes off when it detects movement, and flash grenade. I felt like my guns were pretty powerful, and the LMG was stable without a gunsight and a large magazine of 100 bullets to keep it under control. With this kit, I succeeded by camping and sniping. The other team had plenty of chances to shut me down. But they neglected to do so.
The Sa’id map was actually much better in my opinion than the Sarrif Bay map that rotated through the Ground War mode over the weekend. The Sa’id map channeled players through several lanes of multi-story buildings in a desert city. A flat amusement park is on one flank and a road is on the other. So the players just charge each other in massive waves, using foot soldier squads, tanks, APCs, and choppers. It’s a three-dimensional battle, and the easiest way to play is by jumping in a tank or sniping from above.
I chose to snipe from the tallest buildings in front of a square that was like a killing zone where players had to traverse as they made their way to two of the five objectives. And it turned out that it was pretty hard to dislodge me from the top buildings, though expert players could have done it quite easily by dropping hard-earned cruise missiles on me. Fortunately, that didn’t really happen.
In many of the other rounds I played, I died in every way imaginable, with VTOL aircraft or helicopter gunships raining bullets from above. I saw other snipers, cruise missiles, tanks, APCs, and stealth bastards who sneak up behind you and melee you to death. You have many ways to die in MWII. I found them all. But it’s a thrill to turn the tables and get back at your enemies for once. Call me a camper, but I found that I did better if I mixed it up, running around with the LMG and sniping at different times.
For the most part, the game was stable. I only saw lag in one of the rounds that I played, and it was so bad I had to back out. But lag didn’t hold me back from charging into the breach again.
This is one of the best betas I’ve seen for a recent Call of Duty, probably since 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. And it’s not because I happened to have one good round. The Ground War and Invasion modes will be a welcome addition, and it should hold off the urge to go play the rival Battlefield with its massive battles. It shows how important it is to get the maps right.
The Battlefield multiplayer rounds that I played were plagued by bugs. And they were too spread out, where it took way too long to run from one objective to another. That was the case with Sarrif Bay for me (though it did feature nice water combat). With Call of Duty, you don’t have aerial combat with player-controlled jets, but that means the maps are smaller and more intense. That intensity is something that this Call of Duty gets right. I’m looking forward to the game’s debut on October 28.
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