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Modern Warfare's multiplayer maps are broken

Published: 19:56, 07 November 2019
Updated: 20:03, 07 November 2019
Infinity War
Key art for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The kind of facial hair I could only dream of.

With Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward have delivered a fresh, feature rich soft reboot of their ever lasting franchise. But despite the broad selection of game modes and grounded approach, many of the multiplayer maps at launch feel fundamentally unbalanced.

Regardless of your affinity for the Modern Warfare series, it is a generally accepted rule that being on the receiving end of relentless camping tactics is a frustrating occurrence within a competitive shooter. The tendency for players to pick a corner and bunker down is hardly a new problem, but Modern Warfare's complex, multi-lane multiplayer arenas seem to exacerbate the issue.

It won't take you long to single out "Azhir Cave" and "Picadilly" as being among the worst offenders. There's nothing inherently wrong with these maps from a visual standpoint; there's plenty of detail, fully immersing you in each location. Thankfully, it's also not particularly difficult to distinguish enemy character models from background elements (a visibility issue that still persists to some degree in Battlefield V), and hit detection seems pretty on point. 

But as your kill-to-death ratio takes a hammering, it won't take long for the penny to drop. There's countless opportunities for players to abuse the geometry, whether that's sniper camping in the back of a cave, shrouded in darkness, or parking yourself up high in a retail store which provides sight lines galore. It feels odd to say that there's almost too much cover, and too many opportunities to be flanked, but those of you who've dipped a toe in Ground War will know this to be true. 

Infinity Ward A Juggernaut player with a minigun in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer. Killing a Juggernaut is a legitimate nightmare.

Combined with the corner/surface mounting, an abundance of hiding spots, and the fairly unforgiving health pool, you're left with an at times rage inducing multiplayer offering that makes you more vulnerable than ever before. The learning curve here is enormous, and can in large part be attributed to the density of each map, and the cocktail of issues outlined above. 

Spawning also remains an ongoing headache, with the lack of any kind of "no go" zone for the opposing team, constant location swapping, and a sense that you're more likely to be shot in the back than anywhere else. It is perhaps a symptom of this being a tightly contained arena style shooter, but your patience for this will inevitably be stretched thin on more than one occasion.

There's so much that Modern Warfare gets right; player movement and vaulting is excellent, gunplay feels great, and the sound design is exceptional. Killstreaks don't dictate the flow as much as they used to, but remain effective without feeling underpowered. Cross play support is a magical slice of wizardry that, across PC, PS4, and Xbox One, that will likely set the benchmark going forward.

Infinity Ward An action shot from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Looks like he brought a knife to a OH GREAT I'VE BEEN SPAWN KILLED.

But despite talk of classic COD maps making a return as free DLC, and given the barnstorming popularity of this latest installment, there's clearly still work to be done. Perhaps the return of previously successful locations will be the shot in the arm that Modern Warfare needs, and it's not like everything I've mentioned can't be iterated upon and improved. For the time being, you'll need to keep your head on a swivel, and never vote for "Azhir Cave". Ever. 

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