* Awarded 'Best Shooter' 2009, 'Multiplatform GOTY' 2009
This is the big one and as I’m sure you already know Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a huge hit. Not only has it broken sales records in retail, it has been widely accepted and loved by its audience, the gamers. So we’ll put our spin on the Modern Warfare 2 hype to see what perks Infinity Ward has in its anticipated sequel.
The original Modern Warfare took a chance by switching up the formula from a historical WII perspective to a modern take on war. This chance paid off big and Modern Warfare ended up being a highly successful hit for Infinity Ward and Activision. It's not surprisingly that Infinity Ward would revisit this concept which has already been more successful than the first. Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) has already quoted to have grossed $310 million worth of units in one day which overtakes the last two gaming big sellers, Halo 3 and GTAIV. This means Modern Warfare 2 is on its way to becoming one of the largest media releases of the decade. What is surprising is the general public who has also been getting into the hype-- not bad for a simple war game. So what's all the hype about?
A good portion of MW2 success has been the online community that boasts over 30 million users on Xbox Live and the PSN. Gamers have been waiting for a new Modern Warfare title every since the first one started burning up bandwidth. The original has been going strong to date and even World at War's excellent showing wasn't enough to muffle their desire. Well, Modern Warfare 2 doesn't disappoint as it has already broken online records for the most users playing a single gamer in a day. MW2 success is simply really... Infinity Ward knows its customers and has taken everything you loved about the original and made it better. Not only does MW2 give us another solid competitive multiplayer game, it returns with another gritty tale of modern terrorism and a fresh new mode called Spec-Ops. Modern Warfare 2 is the game you wanted and more.
Another Reign of Terror Begins
Modern Warfare 2 isn’t all about the online game, although it’s a big portion of it, it also has a strong, but short single player campaign. This stuff isn’t for the younglings, so if you have young gamers around I would take the prompt to skip certain disturbing content. Without spoiling the plot line, a certain part of the game which you might have heard about is highly violent, very disturbing and unmoral to say the least. This section is only a brief part of the game, however when you see it with your own eyes you will understand the controversy. No one said war is pretty and it’s interesting to see the medium of gaming push the uncensored imagery of terrorism and war into our living rooms. For the sensitive gamers, not to worry Modern Warfare 2 isn’t one big pile of controversy and grotesque imagery, for the most part the single player campaign is like the last Modern Warfare title and nothing out of the ordinary for a war-themed shooter.
Picking Up The Pace
The pacing in Modern Warfare 2 has been kicked up a notch and this bleeds into the story and into the in-game action. Each level you will be switching around your character between five different perspectives that will be constantly faced with changing objectives usually at the worst time possible. In fact, Modern Warfare 2 can be too frantic for its own good and underneath the madness of screaming enemies, explosions, and pouring of bullets, you have to listen for commands and move on to new objectives on the fly. This leads you to starting running around like a crazy maniac, half the time without a clue what you are doing besides heading for that little dot indicator. It's cool that Infinity Ward want to make MW2 feel bigger, but maybe it is a little too "action-blockbuster" for its own good.
The levels in MW2 are larger than the original with multiple paths to take during each level. This open space gives the player more freedom, but it can also cause for more confusion as it is each to wandering off course without even knowing it. A calm head helps out here, but mixed in with all the madness the quickened pace doesn't help. The enemies A.I. has been boosted and now these spawners are relentless for the kill. It is almost like their precision and aggressiveness is on speed-- not the motion, the drug! Modern Warfare 2 sends in the masses to take you out and if you’re not in a group, so you should be ready for a fight. Even though a good portion of the game is fast and furious, there are so moments when the game slows down, like the “snow” level Infinity Ward showed off in the games early development. These levels seemed to be paced more like most gamers would like with it picking up when it needs to.
Don't Step on the Invisible Line
I have no real problem with Call of Duty’s set up in the campaign as I’m aware of its heavy scripting, although I still can expose the system and use it to my advantage. Running over invisible lines can clearly trigger the enemy to back off, or you can even get away without shooting when you are around allies. In one level under heavy gunfire I simply ran around for a good few minutes and watched as my team took out the opposing forces, and I managed to make it through a hefty section of the map without firing a single bullet. It could just be me, but I always find this fault within the franchise. Who knows if it will ever be addressed and it's not like it even matters because the majority of the public doesn't mind.
Better Get Broadband
The last grip with the single player aspect is that it only last around fiver hours on regular difficulty. This isn’t going to be too much of a problem if you’re going to head online for the multiplayer portions, however if you’re a solo gamer at heart, five hours isn’t going to cut it. All those who are only purchasing Modern Warfare 2 for this part should probably stick to a rental. In a few days you could easily whip through everything it has to offer, and besides achievement hunting, or replaying on the harder difficulties, its not as good as second time around. Maybe its time to brave the storm and head online.
This is How We Do It!
The new addition to Modern Warfare 2 is the Spec-Ops (Special Operations) mode that was actually inspired by a level “The Mile High Club” from the original. In you can take on a number of specialized missions that vary in their objectives. Spec-Ops can be enjoyed as a pair or as a lone ranger, however like most online features Spec-Ops is better with friends.
The new Spec-Ops mode has allowed Infinity Ward to make some interesting levels that might not have fit into the storyline. Free of the constraints a narrative you get straight to business in the Spec-Op section as you work towards earning stars. Stars are rewarded by performance which factors in a number of aspects like speed and difficulty. The Spec-Ops mode is truly a challenging and because a few of the modes where made with co-op in mind you will have to work as a pair to earn the big points. These are the best levels in this new addition which really pops when one teammate is on the ground while the other provides cover from above (Yes, the AC-130 Returns). The action even diversifies more with snowmobile races, bomb defusing levels, stealth missions and more. Unlocking on the stars in the Spec-Ops mode will eat up a lot of time and fine tune your Call of Duty skills at the same time. This new mode is a truly a great addition that will likely be as popular as the normal multiplayer. Even if you're not a huge fan of most multiplayer modes, Spec-Ops is worth a look. It's that good.
Let the Multiplayer Madness Begin
The competitive multiplayer aspect of Modern Warfare 2 couldn't be better and it has returned better than ever. Even the graphics seem to be streamlined better which keeps the framerate high and the action lightning quick. For all those shooter fans who love a challenge, get ready to rock! Although the multiplayer is more than a simple click-and-shooter, its really tailored like a RPG-shooter with a lot class system, perks, killstreak bonus and more. All these extras helps reward the player keeping them in the game longer while beefing up the skill it takes to be successful. Like the past MW it is important to blend your gunning strategies into a mix of perks, weapon choice, and bonuses. Thanks to this system its not always the one with the fastest reflexes who wins. The online game is fierce and feels rewarding when you start to climb up the ranking charts. Infinity Ward has listened to its devoted fanbase and made the changes to the multiplayer game making it better and the problems that started to hurt the original game online seem to be fading away. Bang for your buck, this is one of the best multiplayer experiences going.
Baby it's Cold Outside
Graphically Modern Warfare 2 is a moderate step up from the original that tries harder to showcase its versatility. Stepping away from the normal urban settings you will find the alterative settings like deep brush or the frozen over mountains of Kazakhstan to be a breath of fresh air. The weather effects are simply awesome and accelerate the atmosphere. The amount of destructible items in the world seems to be increased and it’s great to see items fly when you spray bullets into them while aiming at targets. In the city settings this is highlighted the most and the screen can literally be filled with visual effects from every inch of the environment. Speaking of filling the screen, MW2 has added a new “blood-sprayed filter” that splashes all over the screen when you are hurt. This goes along with the blurred vision making the sense of being hurt more realistic. However even though it does a good job of really messing with your player, it can be a little too overbearing. MW2 works with a regenerative health system, so you will probably be relying on the "duck, heal, and shoot" method of progression.
Fans of the Call of Duty franchise won’t want to skip Modern Warfare 2 as it’s the most in-depth, involving Call of Duty release to date. Modern Warfare 2 is really three different gaming experiences rolled up into one package, and when you add up the value of each component, Modern Warfare 2 feels like a steal. The only real downside to Modern Warfare 2 is the short single player campaign that alienates the non-online gamers. All others who enjoy the competitive or cooperative spirit of multiplayer will have an endless supply of gaming enjoyment within Modern Warfare 2. So if you haven't busted out the cash for Modern Warfare 2 yet, it's time to open up your wallet because you’ll be hard pressed to find another online shooter at the same caliber as Modern Warfare 2. Simply put, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is one of year’s best.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 11.16.09