Call of Duty Modern Warfare PC Review: The series has never looked this gorgeous

The floorboards creak as we softly make our way up the staircase, pointing our weapons in every direction to cover all areas. Pitch black, night vision goggles equipped. As we go door to door, clearing the rooms, I open one carefully.

I spot a woman and nudge the door even further to see a gun to her head. I immediately take the shot, dropping the hostile, but I am alerted as the hostage runs to grab his gun and points it at me. I take her out before she gets the chance.

That is just one of the many tense missions in this year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Our review of Modern Warfare can be found here if you’re wanting to read about the game’s story, gameplay and how well it tackles war crimes and terrorism.

In this feature, I’m going to be talking about how the game feels, looks and runs on PC and compare features that it boasts such as support for RTX raytracing.

For transparency, the specs used to play Modern Warfare included a NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti, AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2GHz and 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM. As for resolution, the game was played on a 144Hz monitor with a video resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a render resolution of 3840 x 2160. The video settings were set to the highest possible, with raytracing enabled.

I’m referring here to the cinematics in the game that are pre-rendered and used as transitions between missions, so the frame drops certainly aren’t a performance issue or the game lagging, they seemed to either be a bug or just poor optimisation.

These frame drops still happen to me for every single pre-rendered cinematic in the campaign and can sometimes make the audio become out of sync with the cutscene itself.

The second it goes into gameplay, the game runs as smooth as butter. During my entire time playing Modern Warfare, I did not experience any form of frame drop or technical error other than the cutscenes.

As for the heavily advertised RTX raytracing features, they have no major effect on performance at all.

In the past, raytracing has sacrificed smooth performance massively, but I played the entire campaign with RTX enabled and did not go under 60fps in pretty much any situation.

I don’t know whether that speaks for the PC hardware or the game’s optimization, but there are some games with worse graphics that don’t run as well on this exact setup.

When you think of raytracing, you ultimately think of both enhanced lighting effects and real-time reflections. Modern Warfare only serves one of those two purposes, but when it comes to shadows – it does it very well. The game’s shadows and lighting already look remarkable but with raytracing enabled, you see improvements you didn’t even think were needed. Here’s a comparison image from the first mission of the game, comparing shadows with raytracing on and off.

Raytracing in Modern Warfare improves its already astonishing visuals. That’s a fact, but with RTX cards costing huge amounts of money, it’s hard to use Modern Warfare in examples of the wonders that the feature can do, especially when the game only supports shadow improvements and not reflections.

For a more visual look at how the game runs with raytracing enabled in 1440p, here is a video of the “Clean House” mission – the one I described at the beginning of the review. This is one of the most jaw-dropping parts of the game, both gameplay wise and graphics wise. Modern Warfare’s night vision is so gorgeous and photorealistic that it actually looks like video footage from real raids sometimes.

On mouse and keyboard, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare plays like a regular first-person shooter would.

It has its advantages over using a controller, but also is annoying at times when some missions force you to walk slowly or approach a situation more carefully and you cannot move at slower speeds on a keyboard compared to a thumbstick on a controller.

It’s something that has always irritated me about Call of Duty, not just this game particularly – NPCs move either way slower or way faster than you, there’s no balance. At least on controller you can slow down to their pace.

That’s just a pet peeve, but it can get irritating when you either find yourself way behind or way in front of where the game actually wants you to be.

In the video of the Clean House mission, there are times you can see my character vibrate because I’m walking too fast for the NPCs, or I get stuck in-between the other soldiers when walking downs

Call of Duty Modern Warfare (PC) – 4/5

– Reviewed on PC

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on PC shines where past instalments have not, finally bringing uncapped frame rates, multi-monitor support and an FOV slider in the settings. Paired with multiplayer cross-play, you finally can’t go wrong with picking PC over a console copy.

The Good

  • Raytracing improves on already perfect visuals
  • Mouse and keyboard movement is responsive and adjustable
  • Support for much-requested PC features

The Bad

  • Laggy pre-rendered cutscenes
  • Raytracing doesn’t include reflection improvements

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