Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex

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What we liked:
+ Epic campaign
+ Great controls options
+ Co-op mode
What we didn't like:
- Frame rate issues
- No voice chat online
- Visuals take a hit
Rating
7.5
DEVELOPER: Treyarch   |   PUBLISHER: Activision   |   RELEASE: 11/10/2009

All the excitement without the visual punch.

It was a perplexing announcement when Activision said that Modern Warfare was coming to Wii. Would it be the original game, a version of part two, or a Wii-specific port that took advantage of the motion controls? Well we now have our answer with Reflex. Developer Treyarch has done some miraculous things with the Wii. Last year they managed to get World at War running on the system, so they decided to port the original Modern Warfare over to give Wii owners a taste of the excitement. What we end up getting is a stripped down version of the two-year old hit that manages to defy the logic of the Wii’s hardware; a game that should not be running on the console and for Wii only owners, a definite treat.

The most amazing thing here is that everything that was in the original game makes its way into the Wii version. This includes every mode, all of the online functionality and every single mission. Of course the most obvious downgrade is the visuals, but for a Wii game it doesn’t look terrible by any means. Wii owners that have not experienced the game on either the PS3 or 360 are in for a treat. Modern Warfare is definitely one of the best FPS experiences there is to be had. If you enjoy the action/popcorn movie scenario, Reflex will be right up your alley. The scripted events and epic set pieces are the highlight and if you haven’t been spoiled by the other versions, there are some truly jaw-dropping moments to be found in the campaign.

When porting the game to the Wii Treyarch followed in the footsteps of Conduit developer High Voltage and gave players the ability to customize every single aspect of the controls. Turning speed, button placement and cursor size can all be tailored to your specifics, and if you spend some time with it I guarantee you will find a setting to your liking. They have also thrown in the ability to lean left and right, which feels cumbersome as it can sometimes interfere with the sprint action. Surprisingly the controls of Reflex really balance out the lack of visual panache. The accuracy and customization go a long way in creating a truly great feeling experience throughout the campaign.

The single player campaign is just long enough to not get repetitive and will provide you with some truly unique thrills. Even though I already completed the original game and even Modern Warfare 2, it was fun to go back through this incredibly action-packed experience. Everything you remember is here, and like I mentioned if you have not been spoiled by the other versions the experience will blow you away. Sadly the same cannot be said about the online mode.

The general idea is still present as you work as a team to rack up kills and coordinate strikes but now without the ability to talk to each other. The Wii version only supports up to ten players online and absolutely no support for Wii Speak. The lack of this feature sets the title back further than it already is. In a day and age where online gaming is what gives a title legs it is a crime to omit it from such a sought after package. People continued to play the original MW until the second one released because of the addictive online. When you take away one of the major draws of that mode it becomes more or less a distraction. I guess you could say that Wii owners are simply not accustomed to having such luxuries, but in a day and age where this is standard in other games, it is unacceptable.

The biggest deterrent of this version though as we mentioned is the visuals. Not only are they downgraded due to the lack of hardware power and HD, but the frame rate is also terrible at times. The CoD franchise has always been known for its rock-solid frame count and Reflex destroys that by delivering a nearly unplayable level of slowdown when the action gets too hectic. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t affect the aiming and cursor movement, but every time the frame rate dips, expect to miss out on a few kills and waste plenty of bullets. Outside of that the only addition to make the Wii version special is a co-op mode that allows a second player to basically become a second cursor of bullets.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex may have more subtitles than it needs but it is a respectable port of one of the greatest first-person shooter experiences of our time. Yes the visuals take a beating, the multiplayer is lacking voice chat and a larger player count, but when all is said and done you have to appreciate the amount of effort that Treyarch put into re-creating the experience as well as they did. Reflex isn’t going to impress anyone who has already logged countless hours in the original game, but if you only own a Wii and have yet to experience the phenomenon that is Modern Warfare, you are definitely in for a thrill ride.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.