After a lot of speculation, the latest instalment in the long-running blockbuster Call of Duty franchise was recently revealed – and it’s a reboot of the groundbreaking Modern Warfare series.
While plenty of first-person shooters were content to set the action in wars of days gone by, the creators of Call of Duty bucked the trend by setting their game in the present day. It was clearly a decision that worked out, the first Modern Warfare game was well received by critics and fans and sold seven million units, success which led to the spawning of two sequels.
However, the makers of the new game say it will be set in a new timeline, and the events of the original Modern Warfare trilogy will be re-written.
So as to never forget the revolutionary series that paved the way for Call of Duty to become the best-selling shooter franchise of all time, this list charts five of the best missions – not individual moments, but complete missions – from the Modern Warfare series.
Turbulence (Modern Warfare 3)
The action here in Modern Warfare 3 shifts from Task Force 141 and Delta Force to Andrei Harkov of the Russian secret service. Dangerous ultranationalists have invaded the presidential plane, and it’s up to you to protect the president.
On the plane there’s not much room to hide and a stray bullet could decompress the cabin – so you need to eliminate all enemies fast. This mission can feel a bit on-rails, but it’s an exciting interlude in the main storyline, with the zero gravity sections a highlight and a climax that is genuinely shocking.
Takedown (Modern Warfare 2)
What starts out as a simple mission to intercept a Brazilian arms dealer turns into a manhunt in the favelas of Rio De Janerio. You are going in his territory, though, and the deeper you get, the more henchmen you have to overcome in order to find your target.
There are plenty of Modern Warfare missions like this, but what lifts Takedown above the others is that the setting allows for the use of back streets as alternate routes through the level and for high buildings as lookout points. That variety – as well as the suspense and ingenuity – make it a standout.
Mind The Gap (Modern Warfare 3)
The SAS are sent in to intercept a cache of explosives stored at Canary Wharf. After guiding them, from above, through the front gates and to the warehouse, you then have to fight off insurgents defending the cargo – only to find it’s on a tube train and en route to its final destination.
It then becomes a pursuit through a tube tunnel followed by a gunfight in a terminal, trying not to shoot hiding innocent bystanders at the same time. The tension is ramped up all the way through the mission, which is well constructed, highly energetic and makes excellent use of its locations.
All Ghillied Up (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
The highlight of the original Modern Warfare, this mission takes you back to the days when Captain Price was just a Lieutenant and is part of a mission to eliminate the terrorist Imran Zakhaev.
Reaching the assassination point means going through heavily guarded enemy territory in the deserted Ukrainian town of Pripyat – but the ghillie suit you’re wearing means you can get around more easily by hiding, sometimes in plain sight, rather than taking them all out, which here would be suicide.
The design work in All Ghillied Up is incredible and provides for a great atmosphere all across the mission, which is an ingenious break from all the game’s mechanics and conventions – stealth over shooting. It’s a level that those who experience it will never forget.
Wolverines! (Modern Warfare 2)
This level is likely to frustrate, but it’s probably the best example of Call of Duty’s level design, ability to differentiate, and at-times unforgiving AI that forces players to up their game.
Ambushed in a suburban Virginian town, a platoon hole up in a fast food restaurant and have to fight off enemies coming from all directions – so many that an arsenal of increasingly powerful weapons are needed to take them all out.
Only the most seasoned gamers will not have frazzled nerves at the end of this mission. If you’re not on constant high alert here, you’ll soon find yourself dead. It’s that aspect, though, that makes it such a breathless and exhilarating experience, as well as a great example of Modern Warfare’s craft.
So there we go – that’s my list of 5 of the very best Call of Duty missions. What do you think? Anything massive that has been missed out? Let us know your favourite CoD segments in the comments below.