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Activision and Infinity Ward decided to surprise Call of Duty fans by putting out the alpha for its 2v2 Gunfight mode a day early on PlayStation 4. That means fans of the franchise can get hands-on experience with at least one mode from the upcoming Modern Warfare game before its October 25 release date.
I’ve dabbled in almost every Call of Duty game since the franchise began, so I’ve spent a good deal of time and know what these games offer. Needless to say, I was super psyched to get my hands on Modern Warfare, especially with an exciting new mode like Gunfight.
Getting the Modern Warfare Alpha
Sony and Activision have a partnership, so the Modern Warfare alpha is only available on PS4. While that’s unfortunate for Xbox and PC Call of Duty fans, at least Sony isn’t requiring a PlayStation Plus subscription to download the alpha.
You also don’t need to have preordered the game, so anyone with a PS4 and an internet connection can download the alpha and give Gunfight a shot (it’s a bit over 36GB, so make sure you have room on your PS4 and data cap).
The alpha runs until Sunday, August 25, so you can spend the whole weekend fragging with your friends (or random strangers on the internet).
Snag it here: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Alpha [no longer available]
Modern Warfare Gunfight Impressions
Kicking it off, there are few things you know about this mode that make it stand out from other COD multiplayer styles. First of all, as it is in modes like Search and Destroy, when you die, you’re dead for the round. Thankfully, unlike other modes of this sort, it’s only two-on-two, so you’re not spending large amounts of time waiting for the next round to start.
In fact, even if the game goes to a stalemate, overtime starts 40 seconds into the match, meaning that there’s very little downtime, even if you mess up and die right at the start of the round.
Overtime sees the still-living players battle for control of a flag in the middle of the map, though it seems like more often than not, someone dies before the flag is captured. Basically, the flag is just there to force players out of hiding and keep the game moving.
And move it does. The five included maps are some of the smallest we’ve ever seen in a COD game, which makes sense for the 2v2 style of game.
The developers made some smart decisions to work around these small maps. When a round kicks off, you can’t use grenades for a few seconds, which prevents those instant deaths from those start of the round grenade spammers.
Another interesting thing about Gunfight is that you don’t pick a loadout. Instead, each round a loadout is provided, and every player gets the same one. That means you’ll need to learn to use pistols, single-shot rifles, snipers, shotguns, and so on. It forces you to diversify your skillset, which will come in handy as you explore other modes in the final game.
Also, not messing with loadouts and killstreaks means that Gunfight is a pure test of skill. Gone is the excuse that someone unlocked a better gun than you and that’s why they won the gunfight. You’re all rocking the same loadout on tiny symmetrical maps. Whichever player plays better is going to win each fight.
As far as the actual shooting goes, it feels like any other Call of Duty game. And that’s not a bad thing—few franchises feel as good as COD. Each of the different guns has its own feel, from the recoil to the range, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for from a COD game.
There’s not much in the way of progression with the alpha, so you’ll mostly just be playing for fun. That’s fine, as presumably, nothing you earned would carry into the final game anyway.
Give the Modern Warfare Alpha a Shot!
While this mode is really fun, it doesn’t reinvent the Call of Duty wheel. If you loved COD games before, you’ll probably enjoy the feel of Gunfight. If COD has never been a franchise that caught your attention, adding a 2v2 mode probably isn’t going to bring into the fold.
As a somewhat lapsed COD player (I’ve purchased every game for the last few years, but haven’t been fully sucked into one since Black Ops 3), this mode feels just different enough to bring me back into the Call of Duty fold. Add in the fact that modern setting has always been my favorite theater for these sorts of games, and Modern Warfare is looking like the perfect point to jump back in.
To put it simply, my hype for Modern Warfare was probably at a 2/10. After spending a few hours playing Gunfight, I’ve jumped all the way to an 8/10, meaning I will be purchasing the game on day one!