Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review
It's set to be one of the biggest selling games of all time. Is it one of the greatest?
US, November 10, 2009 - Over the years the Call of Duty series has set the bar for immersive, action-packed, cinematic FPS gaming, and no matter what camp you're from there's no denying the franchise's influence on the industry. When Infinity Ward moved from the classic World War II setting and blazed new ground with Modern Warfare we saw the first obvious split within the world of Call of Duty. The series dropped its historic focus, created a new cast of characters, and began treading on new ground by taking the first-person shooter genre to new locales, and pushing the boundaries of what military games are willing to show. With Modern Warfare 2, the sheer amount of hype has been practically inescapable, with preorders alone setting it up as one of the biggest selling games of all time, the addition of even more multiplayer modes and features, and the game's new Special Operations mode has set Infinity Ward's lastest up as the game to beat this year.
The real question: has it been worth the wait, and can Modern Warfare 2 live up to the precedent set by over half a decade of Call of Duty tradition?
Modern Warfare 2 is by far the least traditional of the series, with the core package broken up into three main pillars of gameplay. Single-player fans have their main campaign, if you're down for more co-op gameplay either locally or via online connection you've got the new Spec Ops mode, and Modern Warfare's groundbreaking multiplayer is back, and truly better than ever. There's an overwhelming amount of content to experience, but with each mode being 100% standalone in nature, you're getting three completely different experiences all in one. That, however, also plays a huge factor into how your final opinion of Modern Warfare 2 as a whole turns out.
First and foremost is the single-player experience. As the anchor of the Call of Duty world, campaign mode is back, and it's intense. You'll instantly get a sense of just how far the improved engine has come when you're thrown into the bustling streets of Rio de Janeiro's favela, the ice-capped mountains of Russia, the dusty roads of Afghanistan, and other unexpected locales. On the visual side of things, Modern Warfare 2 is an obvious step up over Call of Duty 4 and World at War, with a stronger emphasis on complex terrain in the environments, weather effects, destructible objects, and the overall sense of action and chaos that comes with so many visual improvements. This is only complemented further by the increased attention to sound design, with the effects of many returning weapons being re-recorded,even more in-level chatter amongst your allies, and a truly captivating score by Hans Zimmer which builds based on specific in-game moments. Modern Warfare 2 feels like an action movie through and through, with the production values alone dating Infinity Ward's last game, Call of Duty 4, quite a bit.
At the same time, the single-player campaign has its issues. For starters, it's short. I've been playing Call of Duty 4 steadily since its release, and my first completion of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign came in at just under five hours on regular difficulty. Playing through on hardened will add another hour and a half onto that. Modern Warfare 2 is definitely more chaotic this time around – partially due to the new visual effects and upped production values – and with the improved enemy AI and tough scenario design you'll be fighting for every checkpoint. One of the larger visual changes to the game's heads-up display this time around is the blood splatter system. In previous Call of Duty offerings you'd get damaged, the screen would start to shade red, and you'd be required to seek cover before your vision returned to normal. Modern Warfare 2 employs a new system, actually having a thicker blood layer added to up the realism. There's been some discussion on whether the splatter is too distracting, and in my experience with the game it's far from an issue. You'll be able to take more hits on easier difficulty settings, so while a few well-placed shots will drop players on hardened or veteran modes the added splatter is an acceptable trade-off for more overall health
Thankfully many of the glaring issues from last time around have been fixed. You won't find unlimited enemy spawns in areas, there's always a waypoint icon on-screen showing you where to go or who to follow, and the amount of in-game chatter from your team is simply astounding. It isn't often in games that you'll hear your squad call out specific areas on the map and have it mean anything. When your friend shouts, "Two tangos behind the yellow station wagon!" you'll actually see two enemies behind a yellow station wagon. It's a pretty engaging experience. You'll still have random issues with friendly AI, specifically with blocking your movement or deciding to walk in front of you mid-firefight, but for the most part it's a better experience than the first Modern Warfare.
The game sucks; at least for PC. But also in general this game has been dumbed down way too much.
I remember when the first COD came out, and i remember loving it so much because it took a more realistic, squad based approach to war (where as other games had you playing as a lone "rambo" wannabe kicking a** all alone).
This game has suspended realism with its insanely retarded story, and arcade like, borderline rail shooter, multiplayer.
Not only that, but the people at IW have not been very helpful. I suggest anyone thinking about getting this game for PC to check out www.modernwarfail2.com, it will highlight all the issues surrounding this game
besides, $59.99 for a PC game with no dedicated server support, no mod tools, 6vs6 battles, and a 4hour long campaign? no thanks...
Wait for battlefield bad company 2, battlefield3, and the new MoH reboot coming out 2010.
I agree with clydefrog, MW2 isn't that impressive. I played a couple of hours of single-player (kinda cool), and about forty hours of multiplayer. I find the MP very arcade-ish and run n' gun. There's very little skill involved and absolutely NO teamwork or social aspect to the game. In my view, this is a big lost opportunity. Although the lowest common denominator of mindless action and ADD-gameplay still appeals to a part of me, I don't get the same level of depth from this game that I get from L4D or L4D2, for example. Although I haven't played Battlefield 2 or Team Fortress 2 (blasphemy, I know), I imagine the same is true for those games, as well. There are so many shortcomings in MW2. Remember folks, popularity definitely does NOT mean quality. I'll remind you folks that I still do enjoy MW2 and don't regret buying it, but there are many flaws in the game (not the least of which being the ridiculous RPG-ish leveling up system!). MW2 is almost like a guilty pleasure. I imagine my enjoyment of it is similar to folks who don't want to admit being fans of Lost of reality TV show :-)
MW2 it's certainly unrealistic, and less team oriented than games such as TF2 or CSS, but playing in a team definately beats going solo. of course, playing as a team is pretty hard with the stupid matchmaking system.
MW2 shouldn't be the game of the year imo. simply because infinity ward screwed up big-time by turning the PC version into a console game. the reason i play multiplayer PC is because i'm trying to avoid the crappy match-maker and peer 2 peer terribad latency - the same can be said for the majority of PC gamers... why can't infinity ward see this?
that said, the single player and spec ops are a lot of fun. spec ops is fun to try to get a faster time, very addictive, and some of the levels really demonstrate the power of the game engine - i could play the bridge level for hours... (yes, i know, spec ops was stolen from rainbow six vegas 'terrorist hunt')
unfortunately the multiplayer sucks. every time the host drops connection and you have to wait, i want to alt+f4 and play another game. the lag is a joke, if the host starts a download everyone else in the game goes down to red/yellow latency (200+ ping) and lag spikes to hell. it's also too hard to communicate with people, in europe i probably see about one person use their microphone per hour... i find myself talking to myself. this is pure turd and unacceptable. there are also a few hackers starting to appear, you can't kick them from the game - you can't choose to play in a moderated game - they laugh at you and force you to quit. it's the most pathetic multiplayer service i've seen in a game, ever.
if infinity ward are trying to emulate CSS, they have failed miserably. if they're trying to make an arcade shooter to appeal to the younger generation, well done to them.
frankly i think TF2 and CSS are both better multiplayer games than MW2.