Powerful and compelling storytelling brought to life through unique and innovative game play from the developers of one of the all-time greatest shooters. A solid follow up that improves on the original in every single way.
The legendary look and feel of a Call of Duty shooter.
Emotionally stirring soundtrack.
Powerful scenes that will make you pause and think.
The new standard for online shooters.
Shorter single campaign then the previous chapter.
Easier than the previous game.
Better. That’s the easiest way to put my feelings of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 into a review. The game is better all around when compared to its predecessor. Every mode has been touched up, added to, and had each aspect carefully tended to in order to improve the experience of the previous game. That’s exactly what a sequel should do, right? Infinity Ward steps up to the long awaited sequel of Modern Warfare in a big, BIG way. As most of you know the original Modern Warfare is still one of the most highly populated online shooters, even now two years after its release. However, I’m happy to say that it is finally time to retire your copies of Modern Warfare and step into the new hotness.
Modern Warfare 2’s story picks up 5 years after the events of the original Modern Warfare game. You’ll start out with the US Rangers showing the new troops how it’s done; which is an interesting take on setting up your controls for the game and establishing your best-suited difficulty level. From there you’ll be whisked away to a firefight in the middle of Afghanistan where you’ll help your squad hold position for a mobile bridge to be brought in. The scale of the game can only be described as epic, and this small skirmish sets the stage for a sequel that would be best described as a Hollywood blockbuster in a video game. That’s just the intro; things get bigger and bigger as you progress. But I’ll try not to spoil too much for you here today.
A lot of the game’s best moments are contextual. It’s something that you will want to experience for yourself first hand instead of being told about it. But I will take time to note one such scene which has been the center of much discussion and debate recently. A scene in which you’re playing through a level as a member of a terrorist organization shooting up civilians at an airport (worth noting this is only available to play after confirming three times that you’re of strong constitution). In an act of powerful story telling the game slows the pace, you’re stuck walking through the level and forced to let the full weight of the situation sink in as civilians are gunned down before you (at your discretion you can also join in on this).
This is what makes it hard to describe the story; it’s more of an experience than most games. But be assured, there are plenty of iconic moments in this game that you’ll want to talk about with your friends once you’ve all completed the single player campaign.
Everything in the game is taken to the next level. While the first game sets the tone as a dramatic and realistic depiction of war, the sequel feels a bit more like a movie. Things are a little crazier this time around. Constant high speed chases, massive scale battles, and the majority of the fight being brought to your home turf in the US of A.
The single player mode does seem a little shorter than the previous instalment, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. This in part due to the pace the game sets. You’ll be experiencing epic moments on par with the original title’s nuke scene every 30 minutes or so. It can be a bit exhausting, though you’ll also have a hard time pulling yourself away. Along with being quicker it does feel like the difficulty curve has been ramped down a bit. While there were moments in the first game that I had to spend a long time with to pass (the ferris wheel) there were only a few minor moments in CoD:MW2 where I felt momentarily tripped up; even when playing on Veteran level difficulty.
The game will do a fantastic job of sucking you into its world despite being more over-the-top than the previous title. That’s all thanks to the tight and striking soundtrack which always does a perfect job of setting the emotion for the scene and making you feel as your character should feel. Not to mention the fact that Call of Duty continues to set the standard in the realistic sounds of modern weaponry.
Along with the amazing soundtrack you will be treated to some impressive updated graphics. While the original title seemed gorgeous in its day, MW2 steps it up in a big way. You’ll be blown away by the scenery and environments that you blast your way through. And when it comes to your tools of destruction, the level of care and detail applied to the weaponry is so good that you'll often swear you’re shooting the real thing.
Scale is something talked about a lot these days and it’s an important part of modern video games. Modern Warfare 2 does a great job of making you feel small, insignificant and expendable with massive full scale battles and huge levels to fight your way through. It gives you a great sensation of feeling like you’re just another soldier, even though you’re supposed to be a lead character.
Aside from the continuation of the story, improvements to the sound quality and graphics of the game, Infinity Ward has come back to set the new standard for multiplayer FPS. The online competitive mode losses absolutely nothing that made the original so addictive. Along with the persistent rank system and the perks we’ve all come to know and love, Infinity Ward has brought out new features to dedicate yourself to. Now you’ll be able to customize your killstreak awards. This brings along new bonuses called “deathstreaks” where you get extra help if you get killed three times in a row without netting a kill for yourself.
All of the best changes that are brought into the multiplayer game though are subtle. Changes like: being able to see your challenges per weapon by pressing a button while you’re reviewing/upgrading it. Other advances to the system include the ability to defend against the killstreak awards; you’ll even be able to shoot down UAVs now! Another interesting change made to go along with this new defensive addition is that rocket launchers and shotguns are no longer considered primary weapons and may be used instead of sidearm. On top of this, options for customization of your character classes have gone through the roof. You’ll probably want to make sure your character classes are well balanced this time around as there’s big points for taking out the opposing team’s killstreak awards (i.e. shooting down their helicopters).
Finally there’s the addition of a completely new mode called Special Ops. This feature is meant as a cooperative section to the game where in you and one of your friends can play online and go through challenge missions similar to the “Mile High” level in the previous title. Cooperative play is one thing that I missed from the original title and it’s fantastic to see that Infinity Ward has stepped up and offered something to do with your friends besides kill other people in the competitive multiplayer.
Varied kinds of missions are offered up here including: Assault; where you’ll be defending against waves of troops. Stealth; where you push from point A to point B as quickly and quietly as possible, and Driving; where you and your partner race away from/after enemies on vehicles. All the modes are extremely fun and force you to work very closely with your friends. In some of these missions you’ll even be cast into a support role. For example there’s a level called “Overwatch” where you’ll man the AC-130 while your friend makes their way along the ground on foot.
Modern Warfare 2 is sure-fire contender for 2009 Game of the Year. It brings back everything we loved about the original game, and then steps it up in every single facet. Finally we have ourselves a new game to set as the gold standard for competitive online play and can retire our copies of the original title. If you’re a fan of First Person Shooters and could do with a break from WWII, then there’s absolutely no reason what so ever to not already own this game.