The big one has landed, its made $500 million and broken the sales records already but is it worth all the accolades? Modern Warfare 2 is part of the long running Call of Duty series that recently left the WWII era and went modern in 2007. This is the direct sequel to 10 million selling COD 4 Modern Warfare. Now there has been plenty of talk about the controversial scene and I must warn you there will be plenty of spoilers in this review.
The third mission ‘No Russian’ asks you to become a covert member of the CIA and infiltrate Markov’s terrorist group which results in the massacre of innocent civilians in an airport. You don’t have to shoot them but you can. This has lead to widespread debate about the morals of such a scene which whilst skip able you can do nothing to prevent it in game. It’s designed to shock, horrify and disgust you and achieves these results in abundance. But is it really necessary? Yes, as it justifies the horrors of war, there will always be unarmed casualties and validates the sustained campaign of violence you are about to undertake against Markov in order to stop him.
MW2’s story campaign follows an instantly recognisable template from the Call of Duty series with a series of set pieces getting grander and grander. This is not to say it is without new ideas though with the inclusion of civilians in other missions that you have to avoid killing to snowmobiles and my particular favourite; breaching rooms. This involves placing an explosive on a wall/door and making your own entrance into a room filled with hostages and terrorists, this all happens in slow motion giving you just enough time to pick your shot and save the hostages.
The campaign features plenty of travelling from oil rigs to Favelas in Brazil and even space! All the while accompanied by more than capable squad mates who give useful tips so when you hear ‘enemies by the Burger Town sign” there really will be enemy targets there. To be honest my major problems with the campaign were that it is too short (I beat it in 5 hours) and that the story does get a bit convoluted and confusing towards the end.
Thankfully Infinity Ward has included an entire new mode called Special Operations (Spec-Ops), think of it as a best of Modern Warfare but without a plot. It take key set pieces from 2 with some from 1 and some made up ones for good measure and asks you to fulfil certain requirements. These vary from elimination to protecting a certain area to my personal favourite – racing snowmobiles. These can also all be tackled in 2 player either online or split-screen, unfortunately the Spec-Ops is invite only and the party system doesn’t seem to be operational yet.
Of course the main meat and potatoes of MW2 are the online multiplayer which is as strong as ever. The maps are brilliantly designed and the weapon selection is massive. The perks and attachment system is overwhelming at first but definitely comes into its own after you wrap your head around the new load outs you can quickly work out what you want. Kill streaks have seen a big upgrade allowing you to customize which 3 you have. They do stay locked to a certain kill count though so no choppers after 3 kills but you don’t have to have a UAV if you don’t want, there are many kill streaks to choose from, which are all detailed in an earlier post.
There are simply too many rewards though, I don’t need to know if I killed someone just before they are on a kill streak or if it was for the 7th time in a match or if it was whilst they were picking their nose. There are too many numbers flashing up on screen it can end up obscuring your view which means you can’t see your enemies when you most need to. Otherwise it’s as fun as ever but now unpredictable thanks to death streaks which help give you an advantage to get back into the game to air drops that can be received by anyone.
Modern Warfare 2 more than justifies the hype, ridiculous sales figures and is without doubt worth all the accolades. Whilst the single player is shallow and short, its fun and the multiplayer will keep you playing for weeks. If you want a FPS then there is no need to look anywhere else but then all over major FPS games have all shifted their release date to early 2010 so you can’t. If you still haven’t made up your mind, one quick look at your friends list will show you everyone else is playing this and you should too.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Modern Warfare 2 provided by Activision Blizzard Inc.
Written by: Trev
- Contributing Editor