Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review
- Posted November 16th, 2009 at 11:11 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Modern Warfare 2 is an essential purchase regardless of your affiliation with the Call of Duty brand. In short, buy this game now. That is an order, soldier.
- The stunning visuals
- The gripping narrative and action-packed campaign
- The utterly brilliant Special Ops and Multiplayer modes
- The fact the main campaign mode is over too quickly
You would be hard pressed to find another franchise more firmly embedded on the public consciousness over the past few years than Call of Duty. Since the series’ emphatic leap from WWII-era first person combat to the more contemporary shenanigans faced in 2007’s Call of Duty 4, developer Infinity Ward has subjected the franchise to a much-needed shot in the arm, with Modern Warfare garnering universal acclaim, mountains of awards and racking up countless hours of play time on PSN and Xbox LIVE. Unsurprisingly, Modern Warfare 2’s unveiling earlier this year was met with prodigious applause among punters and industry folk alike, with launch celebrations falling on London’s swanky Leister Square this past Tuesday. Crammed full of salivating gamers, celebs and legions of blokes dressed in cameo gear, Modern Warfare 2’s premiere not only proved a fine bash in its own right, but, concurrently, offered a fine testament to the sheer impacting nature video games are starting to have on pop culture. Of course, this leads us, inexorably; to ponder the following– does it ultimately live up to the hype?
Opening up half a decade after the events of its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2 once again has players hopping between two distinct factions throughout the game– the U.S. Army Rangers and elite British forces, Task Force 141. Any fears that the constant switching between two forces puts a damper on an extremely compelling narrative can be put to rest immediately; Modern Warfare 2’s plot unfolds in a cohesive, gripping manner not unlike past iterations in the series, and the constant changing of factions actually compliments the proceedings immensely. After all, each time you change roles, you’re itching to find out what’s been going on across the other side of the globe.
Any preconceptions you may have on Modern Warfare 2 are justified in abundance upon your first mission – Infinity Ward has wisely plumped for the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy for its mammoth follow up, and we’re frankly chuffed they did. Sure, it’s as heavily scripted as it’s always been, but every explosion, ambush, twist, and turn has been conceived with such meticulous attention to detail, that you won’t give it a seconds thought. Locations remain just as satisfyingly diverse as always. One minute you’re sniping at enemies through a raging snow storm, the next you’re battling against overwhelming odds in the middle of a quaint Virginia suburb, USA, military aircraft flying incongruously over the rooftops and picket fences against a pitch black sky illuminated by the flicker of AA fire. Lengthy shootouts are punctuated by adrenaline-filled set pieces, pitting you on snowmobiles, jeeps and choppers in high-speed antics, while the regular on-foot missions rarely have a chance to descend in to monotony thanks to the brutal AI and varied mission parameters. Indeed, adaptability is paramount to survival, with some missions requiring the application of stealth, others focusing on a search and destroy mentality, methodically dispatching your foes alongside able squad members, while at the other end of the spectrum, you’re defusing bombs and extricating hapless hostages. Controversially, one particular episode has you assuming an undercover identity with a group of nefarious Russian folk embarking on a killing spree at a bustling airport. You, of course, are obliged to join in the massacre in a bid to keep you identity intact.
Still, despite its inherent familiarity, Modern Warfare 2 isn’t entirely devoid of surprises – there’s still a dose of welcome gameplay tweaks you’ll encounter. Among the most noticeable include the ability to scale snowy mountainsides, utilize riot shields for added protection, fresh weaponry, and other tweaks that help flesh out the proceedings and distinguish the game from its predecessor. However, these merely play second fiddle to the meaty Special Ops mode, which remains one of Modern Warfare 2’s most substantial efforts. Here, players tackle bite-sized missions either solo or with a friend (either online or split-screen) set in locations plucked straight from the main campaign – fundamentally, Special Ops is the closet you’re going to get to a full-fledged co-op experience. Fortunately, missions are richly diverse and in no short supply, ranging from sniping, search and destroy, racing snowmobiles, defusing bombs, quick kills and more – make it through alive and you earn yourself a gold star, ... (continued on next page) ----
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