Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is seeing a lot of changes to the usual Call of Duty multiplayer formula when it comes out on October 25. One big element is crossplay, allowing you to take on any Modern Warfare player regardless of whether they’re on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PC. There are a host of smaller changes as well, though, like the addition of doors and night-vision goggles. One you might not notice right away, but will definitely affect how you play, is its changes to radar.
Usually, in a Call of Duty match, you’re afforded a small minimap in the corner of your screen that shows the layout of your immediate area and the locations of nearby teammates. It also can give you hints to the locations of nearby enemies, showing them as red blips when they fire their guns. The enemy blips are based on the sounds they produce, so anybody using suppressed weapons doesn’t show up; for the most part, though, the minimap is an essential part of the fight, showing you where fights are happening and providing a little bit of intel on the enemy squad (and vice versa).
That’s no longer the case in Modern Warfare. There’s no minimap at the start of a match; you’ll see your teammates’ nameplates and death markers on your screen to give you a sense of their locations. The only way to track down enemies is to look and listen for them, though. In fact, Modern Warfare’s upgraded sound tech means that one of your greatest tools for finding enemies is listening for them.
Radar is still a thing in Modern Warfare, but you don’t just get it in every match–you have to earn it. As in past games, there are a few Killstreak rewards that provide you intel on enemies, and in Modern Warfare, they open up opportunities to support the rest of your team, if you can get the kills to earn them.
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Past games have included a UAV Killstreak reward, which launches a drone that scans the battlefield from the air, providing all teammates with enemy indicators on their minimaps, regardless of whether they make noise. That’s back in Modern Warfare, but when you earn it for four kills, it provides everyone on a team with an intermittently updated radar. A new Killstreak reward, for three kills, sends a helicopter to hover overhead and provide you with personal radar–good for you, but not especially helpful to your team, unless you’re very vocal about what you learn from it.
Both of those radar Killstreaks can be shot down by anybody carrying a rocket launcher (you can also use your lighter weapons, but it takes a lot more effort). Another four-kill reward we’ve seen in other Call of Duty games provides you with a UAV scrambler that you can set on the map to zap any enemy radar screens. You choose where the UAV hovers, and the closer enemies get to it, the more it messes with their heads-up display. That, too, can be shot down.
You have another handy option to help identify enemies for your team, even though it’s not radar. There’s a new set of equipment you can add to loadouts in Modern Warfare called Field Upgrades, which give you one optional item that usually fills a support role for your team. Among these is a remote recon drone you can pilot around the battlefield, marking enemy locations for teammates (and momentarily blinding enemies you spot with it). The info only lasts a few seconds, but that can be enough to turn the tides of a battle.
So while radar isn’t something you’ll have to help you through a multiplayer match most of the time, it still exists, but you’ll have to earn it. One of Infinity Ward’s stated goals with Modern Warfare’s multiplayer is to provide avenues for more variety in playstyles, and this take on radar seems like it helps players who like to take on support roles for their squads.
Check out our impressions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s multiplayer, and read more about its open beta, new details on Spec Ops, how big teams can get, and how the game is changing radar and Killstreaks. You can also check out footage of the Modern Warfare’s new night vision goggles in action from our hands-on session.
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