Never before has a game shaped the release landscape like Modern Warfare 2 has. Other publishers were scared of Activision and Infinity Ward’s latest project and delayed their own games because of it. That is completely awesome. And you know what? It was justified. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the best selling games of the HD generation and Modern Warfare 2 improves on that winning formula in just about every way. This is a must play game.
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Infinity Ward
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: Shooter
- Pros: Great presentation; solid gameplay; Spec Ops; multiplayer
- Cons: Short campaign; no sniper mission; confusing story; strawberry jelly on the screen
Multiplayer is the part of MW2 you are probably going to spend the most time with, so we’ll start there. It uses the same addictive formula that COD4 introduced where as you play you level up and earn new weapons and perks that let you customize the way you play. If you have preferred weapons or perks you can play that way and your experience will be completely personal and different from everyone else you are playing with. A new touch in MW2 is that some game modes are locked from the start and you have to level up to play them. This means that you can’t play higher-level game types until you have proven yourself, which is generally a pretty good idea anyway.
All in all, the level system and customization make Modern Warfare 2 one of the most addictive and fun multiplayer games around. The gameplay itself can be a bit intimidating since it is more realistic (than say, Halo) and it only takes one bullet or one burst from an automatic to kill someone, so new players will die a lot, but once you learn the maps it gets a lot better. It isn't instantly accessible like some games, but worth the effort it takes to learn it.
A new addition to Modern Warfare 2 is the Spec Ops mode. These missions can be played solo or co-op (both splitscreen or Xbox Live), and are single-player-style missions against the A.I., but without all of the story stuff getting in the way. There are tons of Spec Ops missions, each with different objectives to complete, and run the gamut from fighting off waves of enemies to clearing all enemies in a level to escort missions to stealth missions and many more. Each mission has multiple difficulties, and earning all 69 stars for beating every mission on each difficulty is a real challenge.
Spec Ops is a great addition because it gives you bite sized pieces of any of the single-player gameplay scenarios you want to choose from. Single-player is great, but sometimes I just want to shoot some dudes with a sniper rifle, and SP doesn’t always make that as easy as I’d like. That is what Spec Ops is for. Likewise, Spec Ops is the closest MW2 gets to a co-op mode, so if you have been itching for some Modern Warfare-style co-op (and I know I have, no co-op was one of my few complaints with COD4), Spec Ops fits that role nicely.
The final piece of the Modern Warfare 2 package is the single-player campaign. The campaign was my favorite part of COD4 (I still consider the two sniper-focused missions as my favorite FPS missions ever), so I had high hopes for MW2’s campaign. In some ways in lives up to the hype, but in other ways it feels like a step backward from COD4.