We know it’s easy to sit here and find issues with the current state of Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2, and the battle royale game Activision has decided to slap onto the side of it – again. However, as raw gameplay mechanics go, this generation of CoD games is actually pretty good – and, graphically, they look stunning. However, performance issues aside, Modern Warfare 2 has a skin problem – no, not that kind of skin problem. Modern Warfare 2 has an issue where hyper-realistic military aesthetics and cluttered environments are making things unnecessarily difficult in a situation where SBMM already makes every game a challenge. What’s more, it’s an issue that’s making Shipment – a fan-favourite mess of a map – even more stressful.
In the past, Call of Duty players have rightfully called upon the shooter’s developers to alter skins that contribute towards a ‘pay to win’ environment – the all-black Roze skin ‘Rook’ from the original Warzone is a prime example of this, and the recently-altered LA Thieves CDL skin proves that it’s still something that crops up in-game. We should expect to see tweaks like these in Modern Warfare 2 patch notes to come, too.
However, while this can be an issue in certain environments, it’s not actually the main problem Modern Warfare 2 faces right now – when it comes to skins, anyway. The main issue is that every Modern Warfare 2 skin looks the same. Not only this, but the improved visuals only seem to make these identical skins blend into the backdrops at a distance.
Now, we know what you’re thinking – and, we know that they don’t look exactly identical. However, at the moment, they’re all similar enough that it becomes quite difficult to tell them apart in the chaos of a Team Deathmatch – or while you’re pushing the point on Domination.
Of course, you can learn the operators for each team (SpecGru and KorTac) in an effort to differentiate them – which does help a little. But, that’s made redundant when every other operator skin released is some variation of tactical gear that features a helmet, a face mask, and some sort of goggles or visor. The distinguishing features of each operator, which are already hard to make out when you’re sprinting through a flashbang, are only obscured further.
Why does Shipment only make matters worse? Well, spawning rotations on this miniscule map are horrendous at the best of times – and when they’re worse than that, you can find yourself with only seconds to pick up a kill before you find yourself on the wrong end of a frag grenade. In these situations, you want to be able to quickly assess who’s on your side and who’s your enemy – right? Well, that becomes nigh impossible with the current slate of Modern Warfare 2 skins. Thankfully, at a particular distance, there’s a small indication of who’s an enemy and who isn’t thanks to a coloured icon above players’ heads.
But, when someone is closer than melee range, that becomes somewhat irrelevant and difficult to see. We don’t have all the answers, but you have to wonder if something more can be done to better differentiate who’s who in a multiplayer game of Modern Warfare 2. With everyone wearing dark-coloured military garb, it’s all too easy to start shooting your teammate with the best Modern Warfare 2 SMG or best Modern Warfare 2 shotgun in the moments you have before you’re killed.
Adding to this, on other maps, when enemies are too far away, this coloured icon isn’t visible. You’re going to be able to spot your teammates, though, so it isn’t quite as bad. However, it makes it all too easy for enemies to blend into the wonderfully detailed backdrops. If someone’s looking down a sightline, you really don’t stand a chance – even if you’re using equal weaponry like the best Modern Warfare 2 assault rifle – when it comes to a firefight. If the SBMM doesn’t make you feel like a dinosaur, the fact that people are only really visible when they’re moving will.
Then, there’s the argument that the current selection of operator skins makes effective callouts near-impossible. At a glance, if you can’t tell which operator is which, how are you supposed to effectively communicate with your teammates? This is something that affects Warzone 2 and DMZ just as much, if not more. It doesn’t matter if you’re using the best Warzone 2 guns or not – effective communication is vital.
Modern Warfare 2 has the potential to be one of the best competitive FPS games of this generation, and we surprisingly can’t wait to see if that’s the case when the skins start to get a little less realistic – which, let’s be honest, we all know is coming in the next couple of seasons.