Two years after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare wowed first-person shooter fans on Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3, the game gets both a sequel for those consoles and a Wii port of the original.
The Treyarch developed Wii port doesn't offer anything new or significantly changed from the original Modern Warfare. Gameplay switches perspectives between a series of individuals caught on various sides of a global nuclear conflict. Primarily, you'll be a gun-toting military type following behind or leading a non-playable character strike force tasked with everything from "go here, kill this" to "find this guy and run for your life." The big selling points are the intricate story with its upsetting plot twists and the fact that this is the first Call of Duty game set in the somewhat current/near future time line.
Show of hands here – who's already bought, played and beaten Modern Warfare 2? No? Well, then maybe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex is for you.
Doesn't Dumb Down The Gameplay: You'd expect a few sacrifices in any port of an Xbox 360/PS3 game to the Wii, but Reflex doesn't skimp on the gameplay. It looks like all of the features, weapons and difficulty levels from the single player campaign made it onto the console with no major changes to story objectives or AI.
Solid Multiplayer: It's true that the Wii caps multiplayer at 10 per match—about half of other versions of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare—and only lets you have private matches with people whose friend codes you actually have (ugh, friend codes). However, it's got the same maps, same snappy pace and no discernible lag from what I saw. What more could you ask for from a multiplayer on the Wii? Besides Wii Speak, of course –- and frankly, I can live without that because I hate having strange men alternately hit on and swear at me.
Scaled Down Graphics: The one thing Reflex does skimp on compared to the original is visual quality. While it's true that looks aren't everything, they are definitely worth a lot where Call of Duty is concerned. The varied settings of the different levels -– mountains, desert, snow, nuclear wasteland -– are all pixelated and flat with none of the visceral edge that set Modern Warfare apart from other shooters in 2007.
Frustrating Controls: Switching from game pad to Wii Remote is always a tough adjustment, but Reflex suffers from a particularly rough learning curve because there's just so much to fiddle with in Options menus order to make the motion controls feel "just right." Movement is controlled with the analog stick on the Nunchuck, but both your aim and the camera are fixed to the pointer which can lead to wild, crazy-panning or sluggish sitting-duck turning depending on your sensitivity settings. Worse, a lot of the secondary things you need to do (like putting on night vision goggles or triggering a UAV in multiplayer) require you to hold down a direction on the D-pad and mash the analog stick in a specified direction on the Nunchuck. Very frustrating indeed.
Frame Rate Drops During Scope Mode: The is the worst possible time for the frame rate to drop. Totally hosed me on the sniper mission with Captain MacMillan.
Pretty Late To The Party: Part of what made Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare such a massive hit was the freshness of the experience. We were in a new setting with a somewhat edgy plot in a way we'd never seen Call of Duty before. That feeling of newness doesn't hold up as well after two years –- even if you somehow did dodge all the spoilers.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex is a good game by itself. Once you tweak the controls, the gameplay is solid and the story really is intriguing. Wii owners looking for real first person shooter experience instead of something on rails owe it to themselves to pick this up.
The downside is that Reflex isn't really ever by itself. Many of us can't think of it and not think of the original Modern Warfare experience from 2007. Also, given that Reflex came out the same day as Modern Warfare 2, you can't not think of that either. So as far as Call of Duty fans are concerned, what would normally be a good first person shooter on the Wii is instead reduced to an exercise in settling for something less, instead of getting the absolute best.
In other words, Modern Warfare Reflex is a good game... as long as you really don't know what you're missing.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision for the Nintendo Wii on November 10. Retails for $49.99 and is compatible with the Wii Zapper. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Completed single-player campaign and logged three solid hours of multiplayer — also had previously played Modern Warfare on Xbox 360 in 2008.
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