Modern Warfare 2’s wide-open map design is great for FPS grandpas like me

As someone who loved all of 2019 Modern Warfare reboot, I have to say that, contrary to expectations, I found the MW2 campaign largely disappointing. But its multiplayer – apart from the problems at launch – is what I enjoy the most call of Duty for ages.

The campaign certainly tries to do new things.

I could write an entire article about how gunplay has never felt better, or how Infinity Ward has once again taken big strides to push the core CoD formula forward in a meaningful way. After two highly predictable Premium releases in Black Ops: Cold War (2020) and Vanguard (2021), Modern Warfare 2 feels like returning home. Yes, the current UI is incredibly gritty and the new perk system will cause more balance issues than usual, but its MP core is rock-solid – especially when it comes to choosing maps that don’t feel like three-lane slaughterhouses actively killing brain cells .

That last statement might be the “nope, I’m done” point for many hardcore CoD players reading this article, but bear with me. I’m aware of the leanings of a good portion of the community of these games towards more traditional three lane maps with clear sight lines and easy to remember corners; These are, after all, easier to “work” for competitive play. But that’s not how most cards used to feel in the most popular CoD entries from the PS3/360 era.

Complaints aside, the hotel is a wonderful piece of card design.

For example, let’s start with a quick recap of OG Modern Warfare classics Crash and Crossfire. These maps didn’t feel similar (apart from the abundance of campsites). The action in the former foamed around a crashed helicopter and several dangerous buildings, and the latter encouraged a more cautious playstyle and long-range engagements. Cards like Showdown and Vacant (or the madness that Shipment was – and still is) – catered to Run n’ Gun matches. And we were all totally fine with that.

If we move on to Modern Warfare 2 (2009), Modern Warfare 3, and the earlier Black Ops entries, there’s a clear and sustained progression from the aforementioned type of map design to levels with stronger visual identities – but at the same pace, that clearly became. Cut through venues with little to no space to maneuver forward. Push back, push forward, or try to hold a position you don’t want to hold. Enemy spawns screwed you asap. Cover was limited. Rinse, repeat.


Running for cover in MW2 means the difference between keeping or losing your scalp.

As mentioned above, many have argued that Call of Duty is at its best when it eliminates campers and more defensive players. And that cue has dominated map design for the franchise’s core MP experiences for most of the last decade. Regardless of class builds and various weapon customization options, newer entries have tapped into every available gap, the implicit message has always been “well, that’s how CoD is meant to be played.” And that kind of sucked.

That philosophy probably reached its peak with the fourth Black Ops entry of 2018, which dropped the campaign (one of the franchise’s biggest mistakes of all time) and adopted a MOBA-like identity that wasn’t nearly as appealing as Overwatch was power.

The “soldiers are now heroes with ults” approach that worked decently in Black Ops 3 took over the entire game, and that included an excruciatingly long TTK – sorry, I don’t want my military shooters to play like Unreal Tournament – and the most restrictive one and basic cards throughout the franchise. Any graphical complexity found in it was just a pretty disguise for the level geometry and overall design, which at best felt like playing the earliest versions of Counter-Strike.


Learning all the nooks and crannies is once again a joy in MW2.

Thankfully, the Modern Warfare reboot changed things. With the (soft) restart, mpas got some personality back; They arrived with actual verticality, they weren’t afraid to lose symmetry, and they gave us all more freedom of movement, encouraging updated mechanics (night vision, footsteps) and forcing us into any nooks and crannies we needed to crawl back until the pressure got too much. You could top the scoreboard again by sneaking around with a sniper and claymores, or running around like a headless chicken with your SMG of choice… Unless you’re playing the Shipment reboot, of course.

Military shooters can feel very different, and that’s a good thing. But I firmly believe that they shouldn’t forget where they came from or their place in the ever-expanding FPS environment. By reviving some of its more tactical roots, Call of Duty has regained much of its lost value. I still think Treyarch and Sledgehammer aren’t as keen on the slower gameplay as Infinity Ward, but the fact that the latter studio is spearheading the development of CoD’s next-gen (having defined the last three years with its 2019 release) , gives these team decisions a lot of weight.


Even the literal lanes of the highway map feel more creative than some CoD maps.

I know, I know… CoD gameplay isn’t what you’d normally call tactical – its strong trickshotter, super tryhard DNA is going nowhere – but there’s a huge difference between the average Black Ops 4 match and that of Modern Warfare 2 6v6 encounters. As fast-paced as they are, both the available loadout options and the maps take into account playstyles that were lost long ago. Wide areas are wider, there’s more cover, spaces to hole up in. It’s not hard to spot three main leads in most of them, but a team can be absolutely fine in kill-centric modes by sticking to side routes – which were once erased altogether – and keeping key buildings as a checkpoint of sorts , raining fire on unsuspecting strays.

For someone heading to 31 and already losing fast FPS reflexes, it feels odd to have the choice to be useful to my team by selecting an area of ​​the map and huddled with squadmates (Ground War is the best for it). worthwhile while playing the latest CoD version. Modern Warfare 2 (2022) is still a twitch shooter at its core, and chances are I’ll get smoked in a head-to-head 1v1 encounter, but I appreciate having options to take my opponents with to outwit the environment. Battlefield does Battlefield best, but the fact that a lot of its DNA has been successfully injected into Modern Warfare 2 – and this goes for smaller game modes too – makes me feel optimistic about the future of the franchise again.


Let’s hope the new cards live up to MW2’s excellent standards.

Santa Seña – in both its small and giant versions – is perhaps the best example of MW2’s map design; The three main lanes are pretty clear as their center is a wide freeway with two straight side streets (and covered walkways) on the sides. But the big twist is that it’s full of abandoned cars that present both explosive hazards and the perfect cover to duck and ambush enemies.

Third-person TDM matches — the overall feel changes wildly when you can use the camera to peek around corners and over obstacles — in Santa Seña are some of the most tense CoD experiences I can recall, as reviewing each one devastated Cars and openings suddenly become top priority to stay at the top of the scoreboard.


Knowing the verticality of the new maps is refreshing and fun.

Ground War and Invasion maps also feature more varied geography that feels both natural and more playful. Additionally, almost any structure can now be a deathtrap, and special attention has been paid to high ground, as most capture points can now be fired at from almost any direction and height. Check these windows!

I hope that Modern Warfare 2 does not forget about Warzone 2.0, new maps and much more, making it special and refreshingly attractive for players who have had a long nap on Call of Duty. Modern Warfare 2’s wide-open map design is great for FPS grandpas like me

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