4 buddies playing in a small darkened room. The only light comes from the glow of a few monitors. Light trash talk and expressions of rage is all that can be heard above the sound of gunfire. This is a LAN party as I remember it. And its at sessions like these that I’ve had some of my best experiences playing Call of Duty games, in particular the Modern Warfare series.

LAN multiplayer was so good because you knew who you were fighting, they were there in the room with you. You can’t run around killing random strangers on the internet, besides, there was more on the line that kill counts and ratios; you were playing for bragging rights. Those kind of multiplayer matches resulted in short individual battles, in the tight corners of a map. And a victory in a close quarters, tense game, feels all the more rewarding

And in many ways, it’s the same deal with 2 v 2, the new mode dials down the player count and dials up the stakes. One life per round ensures you take things seriously, and the reduced player count adds a sense of intimacy often missing from these games. You are forced to balance your gameplay, you cant simply rush and shoot everything that moves, you could be slaughtered without the proper support. So you will be forced to sneak, to creep, to push through the map, gaining ground on your enemy and trapping them. It forces you to play like there are real stakes, like its life or death.

You will have to bond with your teammate, even if it’s a complete stranger. Work together to give yourself the best chance at victory.

All of this just brings me back, and reminds me that in a time of 100 player PvP battle royales, there’s still a lot of power in a 4 person set up.

And considering the recent Battle Royale craze, it’s no surprise that 2 on 2 feels so refreshing. But I wonder if the mode has legs, will it have a consistent player base when the full suite of multiplayer modes come out? I suspect it will always have some sort of an audience, but will struggle to change the status quo in COD multiplayer the way Infinity Ward probably hope.

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