CoD: MW2 Beta offers a tepid glimpse of its multiplayer AI in Ground War Invasion

The second weekend of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer beta is officially available and this final trial period brings together PlayStation, Xbox and PC players to battle between maps and modes from the first weekend exclusively for PlayStation, but also includes the new addition of Ground War.

The second weekend of the Modern Warfare 2 beta includes Team Deathmatch, Domination, Knockout, Prisoner Rescue, third person mode, and Ground War. Be sure to read our initial impressions of the Modern Warfare 2 beta to find out all about the maps, new objective modes, and changes to the Gunsmith feature. Third-person mode was added at the end of the first weekend, so we’ll discuss it along with our initial thoughts on Ground War.

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Third person mode returns

Third-person mode, which previously featured in the original Modern Warfare 2, returns as a separate playlist with mixed respawn modes. The return of this reboot mode offers players a different way to experience Call of Duty multiplayer and should be a welcome addition for those who prefer third-person shooters.

Personally, I find the transition to third person perspective a bit awkward in Modern Warfare 2. You don’t stay in third person all the time, as the perspective changes and zooms into first person when you aim down. It would feel more like a true third-person mode if we instead had an over-the-shoulder perspective to aim. Any gamer like me who easily suffer from motion sickness may want to be wary of the particular playlist, as the transition between zooming in and out can seem a little too much. Motion sickness has definitely crept into me here. Of course, I can often be quite sensitive to motion, so this is something that probably won’t affect most players.

Overall, this might be a fun change for some players. It also offers a better look at the character models, which are likely to have fancy operator skins in the store after launch. This means that gamers who aren’t very sensitive to motion sickness will be able to better enjoy the expensive skins they buy.

A little taste of Ground War

Standard Ground War for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be played in 32v32 matches, but currently the only Ground War option for the beta is the game’s new Invasion mode. This mode includes a scaled down 20v20 version of the Ground War Sarrif Bay and Sa’id maps.

Sarrif Bay is described as a 32v32 map set in a large harbor, with many combat opportunities on land, sea and air. However, Invasion cuts off the areas for water combat. You can see the piers, but there are no boats to take for a test ride. In Invasion you mainly fight in the streets and buildings of the port city.

The part of Sa’id used for Invasion has a similar appearance to that of Sarrif Bay with a city environment with a lot of verticality. Some roofs are close together and others have bridges to keep moving across the tops of buildings, but many actions also take place in the streets with vehicle fighting. Just like Invasion on Sarrif Bay, this experience doesn’t include boats or water fighting. There is some water on the outskirts of the map, so technically players can go for a swim, but so far this appears to be a mode with no boats or real opportunities for water combat.

Modern Warfare 2’s ground warfare

Invasion mode is a large-scale deathmatch that is played alongside the new advanced AI in Modern Warfare 2. Friendly AI teammates are marked on the minimap as circles, while human teammates appear as triangles and AI additional enemy and human players are distinguished in red on the minimap.

In this mode, vehicles are available and each squad will start with AI soldiers. By eliminating players you will earn team points and the team with the most points will win the game once the time runs out.

Players earn points for their team by doing the following:

  • 1 point: eliminate an AI enemy
  • 2 points: shoot down an enemy UAV or Counter-UAV
  • 3 points: Shoot down a VTOL Jet, Support Helo or Chopper Gunner
  • 5 points: elimination of a human player, shooting down of an enemy gunship or destruction of a vehicle owned or occupied by a player

Over time, the game escalates. Additional elements are added to the combat like armored soldiers and killstreak drops, so there is a real sense of progression to the action, which ensures that matches don’t feel too long. I also appreciate the fact that eliminating enemy series or vehicles contributes to the score in Invasion, but overall, I think this mode is too much about breeding robots. Modern Warfare’s new “Advanced AI” moves and reacts a little smarter than NPCs in the past, as I’ve seen them rush to take cover and look around in a slightly more conscious state, but they’re still remarkably robotic in the real rush of action. This will be a good mode for players who are just starting to try their hand at the Call of Duty franchise, or as a less competitive mode for players just looking to level up their weapons in large-scale matches, without the pressure of capturing. The objective points found in the traditional Ground War objective mode.

That said, this is still a decent taste of what to expect from Ground War. Modern Warfare 2’s new gear and movement mechanics are best demonstrated on large-scale maps. There are more opportunities to hold or hang from ledges, including shooting a gun while hanging. There are multiple kill streaks and opportunities to use rocket launchers, and it has all that chaotic gameplay you’d expect from Call of Duty’s Ground War. Hopefully, the standard Ground War mode will be added later this weekend so that players can head out for some boating adventures.

Here are all the Modern Warfare 2 changes that Infinity Ward discussed after the first weekend. This includes fixes now implemented for map exploits and improved visibility during firefights, but other changes may not be implemented until launch. Visibility in gunfights is definitely an improvement over the weekend, as there is far less muzzle flash and smoke effects blocking the view of the targeted player.

This second weekend of the beta is currently only available to those who pre-ordered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox and PC, while it’s an open beta for everyone on PlayStation.

For the final days of the beta from September 24-26, anyone will be able to participate, regardless of platform or game pre-order. However, Xbox Live Gold is required to play the Modern Warfare 2 beta on Xbox, but PS Plus is not required for those on PlayStation.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be released on October 28 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S and PC.

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