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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Treyarch

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 11, 2009

 

 

- Numerous control options

- Functional online multiplayer

- Same great gameplay and setting

 

 

- Severely downgraded visuals and audio (compared to PC, 360, PS3)

- Controls require much tinkering to suit personal preferences

- Lack of Kill Cam makes camping far too easy

 

 

Review: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (360)

Review: Call of Duty Modern Warfare (360)

Review: The Conduit (Wii)

Review: Dead Space Extraction (Wii)

 

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex

Score: 5.5 / 10

 

modern warfare reflex          modern warfare reflex

 

The law of averages assures that if a game has reached a sufficient amount of popularity, it will get ported to multiple consoles, regardless of any “exclusivity” it may have written on the box. These days, not even technical differences can stop a game from being ported, even if it’s far below its original specs. With the Wii continuing to dominate console sales across the world, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Activision maximize their potential profits by bringing some of their acclaimed series Wii-side.


And yet, the Wii edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare still comes as a surprise; specifically built for the most powerful consoles in mind, it seems too lofty a goal to downgrade the big budget FPS to meet the Wii’s lower technical standards, not to mention releasing it on the same day as the highly anticipated Modern Warfare 2.

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But for households that strictly carry the Wii, will this downgraded port keep budget-priced players from being envious of their multi-console peers?

 

The setting of Reflex remains unchanged from the original. Not just a mere subtitle, the term “Modern Warfare” refers to a change from the Call of Duty norm; no longer restricted to historical settings, Call of Duty 4 takes a

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controversial approach by focusing on present-day conflicts, including those between the United States and the Middle East. The main threat, however, comes from a Russian terrorist who plans to overtake America with a massive militia and a few nukes for good measure. Players will watch the story unfold through different POVs, from an SAS rookie to an established USMC Sergeant, among several other characters. This approach gives players a constant heads-up on the story as it develops, and is also used for very dramatic effect, showcasing some violent imagery of the kind found on YouTube or CNN. And while many of your squad-mates are the clichéd gung-ho guns found in most films, the sheer danger and impossible odds they must face will most certainly connect with gamers mindful of the sacrifices troops around the world must endure. Despite the Hollywood-composed soundtrack or the constant Michael Baysplosions ringing through your ears, Modern Warfare takes its grim outlook of war and terrorism very seriously.

 

Originally created for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, it should go without saying that the Wii edition of Modern Warfare doesn’t quite hold up visually. But just how noticeable is the technical downgrade for those who have experienced the original?

 

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly noticeable. Featuring a lower frame-rate, zero lighting and shadow effects, lower quality textures and facial details, Reflex isn’t just a massive step-down from its HD predecessor, it would barely pass for a PlayStation 2 title. Technical hiccups add to the watered down visuals as well, such as small instances of freezing as the game loads, or how it becomes difficult to tell if an enemy soldier has been put down completely or still barely hanging on while attempting to put some final shots into you (also known as the Last Stand perk) due to the limited frames of animations. The audio side of Modern Warfare has taken a beating as well, no longer carrying the same booming effects from grenades or exploding cars, or the whizzing of bullets coming from all directions.

 

modern warfare reflex           modern warfare reflex

 

As is the case with most Wii ports, the revamped controls become the most recognizable feature, not the graphics, and Reflex certainly does feature several options for owners of Wiimotes and Wiimote accessories. Supporting both the standard Wiimote+Nunchuk combination as well as the Wii Zapper lightgun, Activision has also included several customizable presets for handling the controls. While it is admirable that they have included so many options that cater to most gamers’ preferences, it still requires some expert tinkering in order to find a control scheme that accommodates the different guns used in the game; the controls may feel intuitive when handling an AK-47 or standard handgun, for instance, but can become very floaty and unresponsive when staring down the scope of a sniper rifle. Adding to the tricky controls is a very confusing button layout that requires memorizing a specific set of commands that can be quickly forgotten during the heat of battle; Specifically, switching between a weapon’s alternate fire (such as a mounted grenade launcher) or calling up an airstrike requires pressing and holding down the Wiimote’s d-pad while using the Nunchuck’s analog stick to complete the command. It is a very cumbersome management of some of Modern Warfare’s key features, and will no doubt lead to many instant headshots during a heated multiplayer match.

 

Despite the Wii’s spotty relationship with online interactivity in games (often just flat out ignored), Activision has done a commendable job of incorporating Modern Warfare’s online multiplayer to the Wii edition. While the number of players allowed per game have been reduced, the multiplayer still performs adequately with little lag issues, and features most of the features that made the original online skirmishes such chaotic and noisy fun, from airstrikes to helicopters, to different skills and promotions obtained through earned points, along with the Perk system which allows players to customize their load-outs with any combination of weapons they prefer, along with added bonuses such as extra health, extra bullet damage, faster reloading, and so on. The biggest feature missing in Reflex, however, is the Kill Cam, which shows during respawning periods who killed you and how they did it. Often used strategically, the absence of a Kill Cam makes it extra difficult to catch on camping players who remain invisible to the naked eye.

 

While Reflex still retains the familiar gameplay and gritty urban outlook on war that made the original game such a massive success, it’s still difficult to recommend this severely downgraded port, even if the Wii was the only system available to players. While high-end graphics aren’t always important, they are, without a doubt, instrumental for a series that prides itself on delivering smooth, intense action like Modern Warfare, in which playing a stripped-down version like Reflex is more of a disservice than an alternate experience.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(December 31, 2009)

 

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