Thursday, November 12, 2009

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Activision/ Infinity Ward
Basic/ Hardened Edition for the Xbox360

This version of the COD franchise picks up where Modern Warfare left off. Five years after the events of COD4 we see the next batch of elite soldiers hunting the uber-terrorist for hire Makarov. "Soap" McTavish returns in the mentor role that Captain Price held in COD4.

The single player campaign is as before...simply brilliant. Infinity Ward really pulled out all the stops on it. My only complaint is that it is so short. The SP Campaign is well written. It has a few plot twists that I didn't see coming, which always counts as a win in my book.

At the beginning of the game there is a disclaimer and warning about one of the scenes and you are given the option to skip the questionable scene with no negative repercussions. The scene in question gave me a moment of pause, but it certainly fit the story. I had no real problem with its inclusion, though I'm sure some will.

Moving on to what the COD series is all about: Multiplayer!
Things have been tuned up for MW2 in a way that I wholly approve of.
First's lethal. I've always preferred Hardcore play and thought Core play on COD4 was a bit silly: you could hose on people and they could shrug it off, ESPECIALLY with perks like Juggernaut. Now it seems that the Core game is fast and lethal. The weapons hit pretty hard, and Hardcore isn't all that different from Core (excepting friendly fire and lack of HUD).

Weapons: Wow, what a stunning array of glorious killy death. Available at the beginning of the game even! There are a lot more guns available in this version and nifty ways to upgrade them, including "Bling" versions with multiple (2) add-ons. I'm fining some weapons and scopes in this version considerably easier to use effectively. For example the ACOG scope in COD4 was always a pain for me. I always got tunnel vision and lost peripheral awareness. Not so now, very nice. Add to this thermal sights and heartbeat sensors. GEEKGASM!

Perks: This system has many of the old standby goodies we're used to, and many MANY more. It's not simply overload (as I feared). They really revamped how the perk system works. Perks now become enhanced with play and affect multiple things when enhanced. For example "Stopping Power" is one I usually use (as I'm a horrible shot...I need each one to count). Stopping Power when enhanced gives a bonus against vehicles. This is just the tip of the iceberg kids!

Maps: Good solid maps. None are seemingly "broken" in the respect for favoring one style of play overwhelmingly. That rat bastard sniper may have some advantages in "Quarry" but there are always several ways to skin that cat. Of course they are all beautiful. There are several good maps to choose from and so far the rotation seems excellent. Even after playing for days now I get on a map and say "have we played this one before".

I think the best descriptor for MW2 is simply "More". More goodness. More weapons, more perks, more killstreaks (and deathstreaks), more player options (callsign, symbol, banners). Drones, UAVs that can be shot down, Harrier Jump Jets, Sentry Guns, more, More, MORE!

Thing is, it's not just's BETTER! They were really smart about how things were added. They took their time, and really playtested the hell out of this. I'll be the first to admit that while I LOVE FPS games, I suck at them. MW2 has helped me bring up my game through smooth gameplay, deathstreaks and just an enhanced way of getting in the fight and being effective. For example when you get a killstreak, and call in say a C-130 Gunship (shudder) those kills don't count towards your next streak (something in COD4 that was certainly unbalancing. The guys who were better got more and more powerful and it was almost impossible to catch up to them. )

Overall it's a very exciting game. It stands up easily next to the rest of the COD series and as far as gameplay goes, it's unparalleled. It's really that good. Unlike some releases this year, this game is worth the pricetag. You will most certainly get hours of entertainment out of this and see a good return on the $60 you drop to get it.

Get the basic version. I got the Hardened edition and you get a cheap metal DVD/ CD case and a $5 thin book; totally not worth the extra $20.

Awesome gameplay, great story, tremendous value are all a big plus.
Short story (campaign was only 5 hrs of play) and chintzy goodies in the Hardened edition are a small minus.
4 out of 5 Stars for the Hardened Edition.
5 out of 5 Stars for the Basic Edtion.


Louis Porter Jr. said...

Shouldn't you be drawing? LOL!

Splendiferous Travelogue said...

And on the console it should stay, the PC version appears to be a mindless abomination of a port...

Jeff said...

Hah! I set aside a couple days to dedicate to my COD:MW2 habit...get it out of my system and all that.

mechanicalhamster said...

You're spot on with this review and I'll just add a couple of observations of my own.

Length - it would have been nice if the single player campaign was a bit longer - after all it is great and more is always better. On the flip side I am really pleased that the CoD franchise has avoided the 'three films about walking' syndrome that lots of games have these days. Every level is beautiful and worth looking around, but the tempo is fantastic and there's no aimless wandering or back-tracking. My first urge on completing the campaign was to start it again! I am so sad, I spent a couple of minutes watching the guys playing hoops in the army base at the start - no loop or repeat in the animation...

The narrative is fantastic too, and like Bioshock MW2 avoids lengthy cut-scenes and keeps the story moving along in-game (I'm looking at you, ODST!).

It might be worth adding a bit about SpecOps in the review too.


Jeff said...

You're right. One of the things I noticed are that there are NO cutscenes. It's all you and what you're doing...not what else is going on that you weren't cool enough to do.

I did neglect SpecOps didn't I? Considering hal of the achievements are for the SpecOps portion of the game I'd consider that a FAIL on my account. I'll rectify that!