Game Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Two years old. HD-to-Wii port. Surprisingly good

When Treyarch first announced that they'd be porting Infinity Ward's two-year-old Xbox 360/PS3/PC powerhouse Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to Wii, nobody seemed to think that the game would faithfully translate to Nintendo's underpowered console. The first screens were laughed at and the game seemed poised to be a disaster of Dead Rising: Chop 'Til You Drop proportions. It just seemed like a bad idea that wouldn't work. It shouldn't work, right? But it does; it honest-to-goodness does.

What stands out the most isn't how many corners Treyarch had to cut to cram the experience on weaker tech but just how much they managed to keep intact. Reflex stands toe-to-toe with nearly every feature and gameplay mode found in the HD original, in both the single-player campaign and online multiplayer, while sharpening the controls and pushing the Wii harder than most developers bother to.

It's tough to recommend Reflex without hesitation as there are a lot of factors to consider for this two-year-old title. If you're a shooter fan, odds are good you've already found some way to blast through the campaign and destroy the multiplayer modes, and unless you really want pointer controls then Reflex is not for you. If you haven't played it but own a capable PC or HD console, you're likely better off with that version, or even Modern Warfare 2. However, if you're a Nintendo stalwart who hasn't ventured into multiconsole terrain for the past two years then you're in for a treat, even more so if you want a serious online multiplayer experience.

Reflex obviously can't compete with its older siblings' photorealistic HD visuals, but it's still unmistakably Modern Warfare. Environments and character models are less detailed, lighting isn't as dynamic, explosions and smoke don't look as cool and all of the videos are noticeably compressed. But what's here is still great-looking and one of the best use of realistic visuals on the console so far. Screens make it look like a muddied, low-res mess compared to its HD outing, but seeing the game in motion smacks those suspicions in the face. It's relatively smooth too, although the framerate takes a minor hit when there's massive chaos on the battlefield but never to the point of being unplayable.

The story centers on both SAS and Marine Corps. squads in the near future, tasked with stopping a radical group in an unnamed Middle Eastern country and an ultranationalist Russian movement who have managed to get their hands on nuclear missiles. It's solid, but where Modern Warfare shines is in its intense set-pieces throughout the campaign, all of which made the jump to Reflex. Missions haven't shrunk or been broken up and things get equally chaotic, another impressive feat on Treyarch's part. You'll infiltrate a ship and escape as it sinks, control an AC-130 gunship in detached combat, fight in an impressive nightvision battle and take out tanks with a really cool rocket launcher, and that's only the first few missions. Combat is intense, and harder difficulties do not mess around.

What gave the HD game legs was its multiplayer mode, which has been brought over also largely intact. Treyarch's previous Call of Duty Wii effort, World at War, made an admirable attempt to bring its online multiplayer to Wii despite only including two standard multiplayer modes (Free-For-All and Team Deathmatch) with Hardcore variants, a whopping four options. Reflex squeezes every single one of its source modes in and manages to take the top spot for most robust online shooting experience on Wii, easily trumping World at War and The Conduit. The leveling/unlocking system is intact, complete with all of the perks and challenges that encourage continued play and helped make Modern Warfare an online giant. There have been sacrifices, though: the max amount of players has been cut from the original's 18 to 10, no DLC and Wii Speak is not supported. Lag is kept down to a minimum and additional visual sacrifices aren't noticeable. Local deathmatch is a no-no, but there's a two-player Arcade mode that allows a second Remote to assist in blasting terrorists lightgun-style. Unless you're extremely attached to the WWII theme, World at War Wii vets will want to make the upgrade post-haste.

Control is fluid and customizable but not to the same level as The Conduit. Aiming is precise and the dead zone bounding box size and turn sensitivity can be tweaked to be as fast or slow as you'd like. Motion control is optional and non-intrusive; if you'd like you can use gestures for reloading and switching grenade types, and those who'd rather everything be button-based are but a menu option away.


Hats off to Treyarch for showing that a crown jewel HD game can work well on Wii. It's not the best version of the game, but Wii-only owners who have yet to experience one of the biggest shooters of the decade now have a very good opportunity to do so. With a strong campaign and a rock-solid multiplayer that will keep you playing well into the new year, Reflex shames its competition and delivers a great FPS package. Developers, take note: this is how you do a Wii port.

From the web

User Comments (87)



RyuZebian said:

F**k yeah! Way better than my wildest expectations! I've been crazy about the online for World at War, and this seems even better! In my opinion, it's way better than The Conduit... Conduit is WAY to chaotic for me. You start with more than 200 ammo with some weapons, so people fire like crazy. COD is a bit more realistic. Thanks for the review anyway, I'm definitely checking this game out!



Egg_miester said:

i am thinking a 9 is a bit high after i read on ign on how the on spot the pointer isn't as good as it was on world at war



SeniorDingDong said:

"Surprisingly good" fits the most. I never played CoD4 yet - besides the PC demo once - and I am very surprised how good it looks, controlls and plays on the Wii.

The MP is the best and deepest online multiplayer you can get for the Wii right now.



Dazran303 said:

Yay! The internets first, and true review of the game! This has been getting bad press for unknown reasons from other reputable sites like IGN. For someone who has never played Modern Warfare on the Xbox/PS3/PC This game is every bit as good, if not better with the Control Scheme. Gameplay over Graphics any day!
Check out my Dedicated CoD Modern Warfare Topic on the Nintendo Life forums for Videos of online gameplay.
Click Here



PiribroH said:

Nice review, I think that I'll buy this at some point. And by the way, is there going to be a review of the DS's Modern Warfare: Mobilized?



ReifuTD said:

I remeber playing CoD3 for Wii, I remeber the controlls really sucking. I sounds like this ones better.



Knux said:

@Egg miester-Don't ever listen to IGN, their reviews pretty much suck. The score sound pretty good to me, great review! I might buy either Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare, or Modern Warfare Reflex depending on how much money I have.



Odnetnin said:

"Two years old. HD-to-Wii port. Surprisingly good"
You told me everything I needed to know about the game in the tagline. Nevertheless, I read most of the review and loved it. If I'm able, this will be my first M game.
P.S. How do the filters work?



Shiryu said:

Absolutely mandatory for anyone who either has no capable PC of running the original above minimum specs or other home console. Im having tons of fun playing this again both online and offline with all new wiimote pointer controls. Best FPS on the Wii hands down and will probably remain so for a long, long time. Wonder how long will take Activision to tell Treyarch to port MW2...



JonWahlgren said:

@ioioi210: I coulda sworn it did, but apparently I confused it with the hardcore modes. I'll amend the review accordingly, thanks.



MasterGraveheart said:

Glad to hear this. Although I'm partially disgusted the 4 was left out of the title, I'm just glad we got the game at all, and that effort was used...

...but no version with night-vision goggles? Jerk-move! lol.



irken004 said:

Hmm.... I may have to get this then. I wasn't a fan of World At War since that was WWII based. I prefer modern battles



Dru192 said:

Really glad this turned out to be the game every1 wanted, imagine the flamewars if it had of sucked lol. At least now people no Wii FPS's can work. I still prefer TCON as it has a more arcadey feel to it and I love the
sci-fi weapons (shrieker rocks!!!) but I'm really pleased we got a good port for a change



Objection said:

Gotta say the review surprised me. I will be surfing for videos to see how it looks and plays and might just pick this up after all.



Shmavey said:

In world at war there was an extreme content filter, and basically it turned off swearing and blood so people like me could play it. but I guess there's not one in this



astarisborn94 said:

This game certantly does NOT deserve an 9/10. Regardless of what you people say, the game has been massively dumb down just to get on the Wii. Now you peole might say that I'm being unapperative, but this is Activision here. I may be a Wii/DS-only owner, but I don't put up with crappy ports llike this.

I know IGN review is messy, but it tells the truth. This game cannot be properly ported to the Wii without massive sacerfices.

Then in case you know, you'll probably wonder why I bought the Nintendo Wii version of Sonic Unleashed? It has two missing places, lacks DLC, and runs at 30FPS. Well because they put gameplay over graphics in the Wii version and I can consider that an true muti-platform game.

Anything that is not the exact same or better then it's PS3/360 counterpartners should be a no-go here.

I'm sorry for ranting on this, but this game arrives too late for me to accept it being dumb-down like this.



Tate24 said:

Lets not go mad its not 9/10 game lol its far from that

its funny how many people get excited over ports when there so many more unique games out on wii.

The more this get bought more developers think its good idea to port more games on to wii this means less unique games and more sub standard water down versions of games from other systems Whooo................



Luigi-la-bouncy said:

I think the reviewer did a great job, he reviewed the game for what it is without any pre-concieved ideas. I think that's to be commended.

I mean, just imagine for a second that this was just a Wii game that hit the shelves without any history, what the reaction be? 10/10?



blank_user_1 said:

@Tate24: You know, the Conduit made us believe what you're saying, in original, unique Wii games, but it let us down. Ports can be just as good, if not better, in some regards. Graphics, sure Conduit takes it. But Reflex wins for sheer scope. I got to get Reflex.

I didn't go for World at War, so I'm due for a good shooter.



Strofan7 said:

People's arguments against this game are juvenile. Of course it is not going to be as good as the PS360 versions. It doesn't try to be, and the excellent review states that if you have other options go for them. Then @Super_Smash_Bros_Fan you say you bought sonic because they cared about gameplay over graphics? Did you read this review? It says the graphics took an obvious hit from other versions but the gameplay and game content was retained and is solid. Why do people feel they must hate on a game because there is a better version on other systems or because it attracted a mass audience? Yes by all means, find your rare wii titles and feel that you are a cult follower, that is all well and good because there are countless overlooked wii games. Don't dish on this game just because its famous and others like it.

I am looking for a good multiplayer FPS on Wii, and it appears this takes the cake by far. So why is a 9/10 so outlandish? It is in comparison to what is available on the wii. And the score seems completely merited and extremely well backed up in this review.



James said:

So let me get this right... all the content of one of the most praised FPSes of all time, an online experience far above anything on this console... and still people complain? Seems anything but a cut-down port to me.



Devil_Hunter_Dante said:

I am probably the only one glad there is no WIi Speak. But to be fair several sites announced that there would be no Wii Speak as early as July and August so its really no surprise. Sites that provided that information was Official Nintendo Magazine, IGN, Gamespot



JonWahlgren said:

@Devil_Hunter_Dante: To be fair to those guys, Treyarch originally announced Wii Speak support would make it in, but it was cut. My guess is to make everything run smoother, online really is awesome.



Devil_Hunter_Dante said:

It really does not matter if they originally announced it because at the same time there was 3 months notice that this feature would not be included.



megaboomface2 said:

p.d4ng3r lol no this is out of 1000 i guess lolololol even though i hate call of duty i do need a shooter but not this im getting the conduit and water warfare



sonic_brawler95 said:

I LOVED the first Modern Warfare. Now playing the second. Love that even more. I wouldn't mind playing the game through again on the Wii. I might pick this up eventually.



Ashtrine said:

i bought it friday and i cant believe that its so amazing i didnt think id like it cause you can ask chrono i have the most horrible luck with shooters but i love it and i will prolly lose a few friends from not leaving my house



Bassman_Q said:

I have it for the DS lol (No online multiplayer! WHY??!!) and the campaign was fun. Won't be picking this up, though it sounds rock solid. I was just wondering if NL would be reviewing Modern Warfare Mobilized, the DS sequel. Its got online multiplayer!



CanisWolfred said:

Glad to hear this is one of the better HD-to-Wii ports out there. Too bad I hated the 360 version so much, otherwise I might actually give this one a shot. I just hope Wii version of Modern Warfare 2 is just as good, if not better, since I've actually been enjoying the 360 version.



joebish said:

Real shame that they couldn;t have just made a Wii port a year ago, or made a MW2 port to release alongside the other consoles. At least we know they can make a good Wii port



JimLad said:

Think I'll stick with the Conduit, (since I only play these games online really) the online maybe flawed but once you get a match going it can be pretty damn fun. And I wouldn't give up its controls for anything.
Looks like they did a pretty good job though.



RyuZebian said:

You never play COD for a great single player game, but for a GREAT multiplayer time. And when you're sniping heads on Makin on WAW, don't you just feel that controls are more important than graphics? Yes you do. That's why I played it every day it was in my possession! I played campaign once. Didn't replay a single stage! When my newspaper reviewed COD MWF 2 they gave it 3/5, but said that if you were only in for the multiplayer, you could ad a few points... 2 perhaps? My point is: COD p*wns at online. or something like that...



Varoennauraa said:

I picked this instead of MW2, because of controls. I don't like the graphics too much, but aiming is fun and this time MW feels like warfare.



SeniorDingDong said:

Cant play MW2, but it think it goes some strange ways:

Shooting while riding a snow mobile ? Thats so James Bond...
The USA getting invaded from Russia ? Red Dawn and 80s cinema anyone ?

MW feels at last plausible.



Junkface said:

I only have a Wii so this is one of the few options for multi-player fps that aside I really like this game. I own Conduit also; comparing the two I guess I like both of them. Reflex runs smoother for me and I like the weapons better but it lacks the Wii Speak compatability and only supports up to 5 on 5. I believe they each bring somthing to the table and if you only have a Wii you should try both games each is quite good.
Well heres to hoping developers keep pushing the envelope.



Machu said:

Great review Panda. Looking forward to getting this.

I'm annoyed to see though, that the exact same screenshots were used as the 'news' report a while ago, which basically attempted to destroy any hope that this might be good, having read it on Kotaku/Demonoid or where-ever it was. That still p1sses me off.

But nothing to do with you Panda, great review, thank you for going in without any pre-conceptions.



Varoennauraa said:

For me this is upgraded version. Aiming versus 600p-graphics. I get Full-HD on PC(with mouse, instead of last-gen pads) and immersive feeling of shooting on Wii.



Crunc said:

I may be alone, but wii remote control for aiming is the killer feature here, and not something the 360 has. I'll take Wii remote pointing at what you want to shoot over HD graphics but akward dual-analog stick control in the 360 version. I'm looking forward to picking this up. I'm hoping we get some good Black Friday deals on it.



container1024 said:

Now for the shock.
I hated Modern Warfare 2 - HATED IT! Awful... and soooo glad I rented it.
All the XBOX freaks are going to go "ner ner its great - ner ner ner"
But its not.
However, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Reflex.
I love the Modern Warfare 1 story and immersing myself with the Wii-Zapper... bring it on.

IMO - Wii 1 - XBOX 0



bro2dragons said:

gonna have to get this. WaW was fantastic in my opinion (i'm the only one i know who thinks so, but oh well). this'll have to be my next shooter.



Kirk said:

If the same pointer issues plague this game as they did WaW, and many reviewers have said they do so there must be some truth in it, then I simply can't see how this game can possible get a 9.

The pointer control, for both turning and aiming, is what makes or breaks Wii FPS games imo.



davegorack said:

Im sorry guys but i dont think this is a 9.
I bought this game and i had fun but it was to short.
i got through it in 3 hours on vetrin. I admit its a fun game but the graphics comparid to thje 360 verson are bad. Im uselly one of thouse ppl who say graphics dont matter but for a game like this and for COD:MW2 they do. i took it back the next day and got me some Ducktaies and Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers DVDs, and im haveing way moer fun. still good revew.



Varoennauraa said:

Aiming and baddish/ok graphics is much more enjoyable than (under)HD-Ready-graphics with gamepad.



Varoennauraa said:

Sorry man, but XBox's graphics are not that hot(marginally better than ps3, but both HD-Ready -consoles look dated, last gen even, next to PC. And in this case those HD-Ready consoles are not even HD-Ready. 600p is not HD at all. Perhaps the HD never was that meaningfull improvement after all.) and the game is boring on gamepad, with plenty of "cinematic", numbing duct taped on rails sequences. And MW2 is even shorter than MW1, and I'm going to play Reflex's multiplayer as long as the next one comes, because of unique, refreshing, fun, fast and immersive gameplay that only Wiimote can offer.



davegorack said:

Hey even if i had a 360 i still whouldint buy this game.
Im not keeping a game that has a 3 hour story mod and expects me to
keep it for a pontless online mode.



KiroX777 said:

how the f**k is online pointless? maybe if you suck and cant beat a real person



Nintendoid said:

I was an early adopter and believer in all things Nintendo but became an older dude who due to a career and family commitments lost touch with the gaming world for 10+ yrs. But I recall Nintento predicting yrs ago they'd deliver a console like the Wii and like Kung Fu showed yrs of patience and penitence, waiting until my kids got old enough to pester the missus hard enough that she caved in and I "reluctantly" had to get the Wii. You learn to lie in marriage. So this game is a "port" from other platforms whatever that means and yes, I'd never let my kids near it. But there are some of us so old that we cannot remember any dreams, except that games may become this interactive and immersive. I'll check out the other consoles in due course as I'm sure I've missed out (though Halo was no big shakes); but good things come to those who wait. Young guns today have it so easy but for us older folk, this game is....well, just call me a secret lemonade drinker.



The_Nakalz said:

@NINTENDOBOY: I, so agree with you. This is a good game. I've already try this game. My friend lend me for a week. And you know what. The control just so nice. We can setup just how we wanna play. The camera...and everything. But why the Wii version only got the port or remake. Can't wait to c more from Ninty...



nintendoman235 said:

the graphics arnt the greatest but at least they have a gam like this and xbox only worries about there graphics



Deviant_Mugen said:

Interesting review; I might just have to check this game out at some point in the future to see what all the hype is about...



nemo12 said:

i got this for christmas, its really great. i agree with the rating because i find the blood looks fake when you shoot people and the graphics are pixely



Marvelousmoo said:

I don't know why people complain about this game, and the graphics of this game. The graphics are good for a wii game, and the fact that the Wii has a good shooter is amazing. The only thing worth complain about is the fact that you can't do four player splitscreen.
Oh, and @74: you did buy this game.



Snoopy said:

i needed a new online game for wii. and this fills that need. the single player is okay. but the online is great. we need more online shooters on the wii, gameplay over grafix anyday.



jufonuk said:

Been playing this game Heavily Online, Really enjoying it, i suck at dual analog aiming but the wii mote works for me.. cannot wait for COD 7



RedSteel said:

uuhh people,i dont know if i should get modern warfare but...people likr it and other people dont and...i dont know if i should get it...on the other hand,the conduit does have a lot of glicthers and hackers which messes everything up...yet,it still seems cool,but i also have never have tried modern warfare,do you people think i should get it???????please put comments on this page:)



salty1264 said:

I love this game my fave game on wii infinite of 10 best ever get it, online is awesome.

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