Published on November 15th, 2009 | by prime0
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Review
Summary: You’re constantly part of set pieces which raise the bar of what to expect from a game
Hype is very tricky aspect of the game industry. Even if your previous title in a series is a hit, there’s no reason the sequel will be just as good. Add in a billion dollars’ worth of advertising – which, let’s face it, would make JK Rowling blush – and millions of pre-orders and you have an idea of just what kind of pressure Infinity Ward were under.
Modern Warfare 2 is every bit as entertaining as its predecessor. The single-player campaign lasts around nine hours on hardened difficulty and offers a huge amount of enjoyment. Once again the plot ties different story arcs together, this time featuring a US Ranger and a covert-ops member of Taskforce 141. You’ll start off fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan, then assaulting a base in the ice tundras of Russia, and from then on things get a little crazy…
Infinity Ward seem to be absolutely obsessed with the morality of patriotism, because the single-player campaign is layered with several notions which question how far government agencies should go to safeguard their own security. You’ll be witness to many different nasty things which you won’t have time to question. In a murky war you have to fight just as dirty, and there’s one level which has attracted more controversy than any other – the airport.
It’s a bit of a cop-out, but you do have a choice of not seeing the mindless slaughter. It’s a shame this section has attracted so much attention because the rest of the game is absolutely awe-inspiring. You’re constantly part of set pieces which raise the bar of what to expect from a game, and you’ll often want to take a moment just to catch your breath for a second or two.
There’s also a brilliant homage to The Rock which movie fans will get a huge kick out. It’s a shame that the single-player is getting too much attention for all the wrong reasons, because once you get past that initial shock factor, there’s so many stand-out moments. Killing civilians is supposed to be wrong; it’s supposed to feel uncomfortable and upsetting, but in the wider context it does actually manage to serve the plot well.
There are many examples of how this game pushes boundaries, and it’s to Infinity Ward’s credit, especially when it would be very easy for them to have rested on their laurels.
If you’ve played the original Modern Warfare then you’ll be comfortable with the sequel. The shooting is fast paced and you’re told what to do from the start, with minimal room to go out there and do your own thing. The linearity forces the gameplay to be incredibly tight, so that fighting never feels dull at all. The combat keeps its varied feel throughout, and you’re asked to utilize many different new pieces of equipment.
It’s absolutely awe-inspiring, and a masterclass of plot escalation which culminates in a conflict between the biggest superpowers in the world. We won’t spoil it but needless to say, it’s an absolutely exhilarating ride and ripe for additional playthroughs.
As if the single-player wasn’t enough to satisfy your gun lust, you also have multiplayer. Despite the lack of dedicated server support we still had a good time online. Although we do wonder how Infinity Ward will deal with the ever-present danger of wallhacks without diligent community admins.
On the whole, the multiplayer was stable in smaller matches but host migration became a common occurrence during the bigger battles. It’s a shame, because the lack of dedicated server support stings an otherwise faultless experience. Each of the 16 maps offers a new flavor to the Modern Warfare combat and seems much more laterally focused than before. The addition of death streaks and the ability to choose your own kill streak rewards adds a further layer to class customization. Gameplay wise, a lot has been added to the multiplayer too, and it retains its addictive progression system which constantly propels you forward.
The addition of Capture the Flag is a perfect fit for the run and gun gameplay. Third-person mode isn’t something we’d have asked for, but it’s nice that it’s in here.
It took us around five hours to get to level 20 but getting to even the first level of Prestige would take a fair while longer. Every level you’re offered more rewards with either an addition title or unlockable. We’re happy to say that it’s a system that works brilliantly and retains that ‘just one more game’ factor, even more so than the original.
Despite many gamers highest expectations, we did wonder how Infinity Ward would fair with Modern Warfare 2. Especially when recent news regarding the PC version hasn’t been, shall we say, the most encouraging. We shouldn’t have worried though, because everything is polished, brave and met all of our lofty expectations.
The single player campaign will be remembered for its excellent execution and the multiplayer will keep you entertained for a long time to come. It’s just a shame it doesn’t have dedicated server support. C’mon Infinity Ward you know what to do…