I'm shocked at how much I love Modern Warfare 2's third-person mode

Modern Warfare 2
(Image credit: Activision)

The Modern Warfare 2 beta is over, but the discourse will continue up through its launch next month. TTK, mini-map problems, and a new perk system are just some of the features that have divided the player base, but there's one shining star that everyone should be able to agree on: third-person mode kicks ass. 

Call of Duty games haven't had a third-person playlist option since 2009's Modern Warfare 2, and its reintroduction is the best part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 thus far. There aren't a ton of AAA third-person shooters out right now or on the horizon, so it's great to see Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer is bringing the perspective back – especially when it's such a blast. 

A new perspective

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

It takes a second for my eyes to adjust to Modern Warfare 2's third-person mode. The new angle is jarring, and the camo hood on my character's jacket moves bizarrely, shaking and twitching as she sprints. But the moment I run up to a corner and realize how well I can see around it, I'm intrigued – this is literally an entirely new perspective on the action, and a wildly different Call of Duty experience.

Each match feels more dynamic and intense, with a broader field of vision adding a new layer of realism. While the shift to first-person when aiming down sight is a bit rough (I'd love to see Infinity Ward give us the option to zoom in over the shoulder here), it forces me to focus more on hip-firing, which ups the stakes for every enemy encounter. I quickly realize that throwing knives in third-person perspective is a special kind of satisfying, as you can watch your character swiftly chuck a blade and see its entire trajectory as it takes out an enemy player. After realizing that, I change all of my custom loadouts to include throwing knives and spend way too much time trying to pull off trick shots in every match. 

And that's another thing: Modern Warfare 2's third-person mode facilitates a game-wide meta shift. It's not just me swapping to throwing knives; you can build loadouts with a focus on hip-fire accuracy rather than ranged fire, while certain guns are much more useful in third-person than first-person (like shotguns or SMGs instead of snipers and long-range ARs). This gives various players and playstyles a chance to enjoy Modern Warfare 2 – if you want to take part in a sniper sweatfest, hop into the regular playlists, but if you're looking to get some ridiculous growing knife kills, meet me in the third-person playlist on October 28.

Admiring animation 

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)


Modern Warfare 2's third-person mode also gives us a rare chance to appreciate Infinity Ward's incredible attention to detail – particularly its character models and animations. Watching my Operator Kleo strafe sideways, leap to prone, and ledge hang is incredibly satisfying, and I love how her hair shifts under her beret while she moves about the map. It's also incredibly cool to watch your Operator swap between weapons – a simple animation that we take for granted in Call of Duty since we haven't gotten a chance to see it in over a decade. Slinging a shotgun over your shoulder and pulling out a handgun, not to mention that I'll finally be able to appreciate my hard-earned Operator skins outside of staring at my dead body is also lovely – I frequently shell out cash to ensure my character looks fabulous, but never get a chance to properly see my skins.

The new perspective feels like a shot of adrenaline straight into my veins. From the moment I dropped into the Third-Person Moshpit playlist, I spent the rest of the Modern Warfare 2 beta playing that mode. It feels fresh and new, like a modern SOCOM or an updated throwback to Ghost Recon Future Soldier, and it's exactly the kind of thing Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer needs to stand out against the scores of best shooters out there right now in a sea of Call of Duty titles. When this game drops, you can find me in the third-person mode playlists. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will release on October 28 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. 

The Modern Warfare 2 campaign seeks to strike a balance between provocation and pleasure.

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.