Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review
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On 11/10/2009 at 12:22 AM by Nick DiMola
The sequel picks up where the original left off, but does it carry all of the characteristics that made the original so great?
For all first/third person shooter fans. Others looking to get into the genre or the series have an excellent starting point with Modern Warfare 2.
This generation has been dominated by first person shooters, the latest of which is Activision and Infinity Ward's, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The game keeps to the formula established by the preceding title, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The storyline picks up where the last one left off, however, this time players assume the role of Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson, a member of Task Force 141. The task force is sponsored by the global community and carries a simple mission: Stop Vladimir Makarov, the leader of an Ultranationalist Russian organization.
As someone who has been out of the first-person shooter loop for a while at this point, I was pleasantly surprised by Modern Warfare 2. Typically, my first action when starting any console shooter is to tweak the control settings. I was overjoyed to see the presence of a Legacy control scheme that mimics the default one found in both Goldeneye and Perfect Dark; two of my favorite shooters of all time. Furthermore, the game's single player mode features a mission-based structure, another similarity to the aforementioned titles. Both features made it easy for a veteran like myself to hop right into the action.
The game starts off easy with a seamless tutorial, followed by a trip through "The Pit." Depending on how efficiently players complete the exercise, the game will suggest different difficulty settings. The game decided that Normal mode would be the proper challenge for me, which given my time with the game, seemed fitting.
Following the tutorial, players are tossed into battle and are expected to complete the objectives detailed throughout the mission. These objectives give structure to the game and encourage players to accomplish one goal at a time. A few short minutes into the first mission, players will unquestionably take to the smooth and satisfying controls. Shooting the in-game guns feels incredibly gratifying, giving players the proper amount of feedback both on screen and through the controller's rumble functionality.
Modern Warfare 2 also does an excellent job with their mission construction. On one hand the missions feel very directed and orchestrated, yet on the other, players have free reign to move about large environments and find their own unique way from point A to point B. With Uncharted 2 still fresh in my memory, Modern Warfare 2 channels a lot of what made that game such an excellent experience. At times though, the game seemed to throw entirely too many enemies at me, forcing me to stay in one place killing enemy after enemy, for a period that lasted far longer than necessary.
The story mode in general is a rollercoaster ride, taking players all around the world to different climates, locales, and environments. This variety combined with an engaging story provide for an extremely interesting single player experience. However, the game does lose some credit due to a mission early in the game. In this instance, players assume the role of an undercover soldier who is part of a group of terrorists who are gunning down countless civilians in an airport. The scene is tasteless and high on shock value. Given how fantastic the game looks, there was something distinctly unsettling about watching these computer characters slowly swagger through the terminal spraying bullets and killing every person in sight. Given the storyline, the scenario is necessary, but seemingly could have been accomplished in better ways.
Aside from this one particular issue, the single player experience, though brief, is of the highest quality. Thankfully, this experience can be carried into the game's new Special Ops mode which supports both local and online co-op, as well as single player. In this mode players will take on piecemeal missions that occur in locales featured in the Story mode. In each mission, players will need to hit certain goals in order to earn a variable number of stars upon completing the mission. These bite-sized missions are a great complement to the Story mode and an excellent way for a couple friends to conquer the best and most memorable scenes of that same mode.
Modern Warfare 2 is rounded out with its Multiplayer offering which bears much similarity to its predecessor. The mode is RPG driven, wherein players earn a certain number of points for killing other players in the matches. These points will level players up, giving them new abilities to use in subsequent matches. This operates as a nice motivation to continue playing the mode, as well as some gratification for all of the hard work invested online. Though the two games have similar offerings, Modern Warfare 2's is more robust. The game offers 15 different kill streak rewards, as well as new weapons and equipment. Also, players can now enjoy the game from a third-person perspective via special multiplayer game types.
Overall, Modern Warfare 2 is a fantastic follow-up to Call of Duty 4. The game retains all of what made that game a hit and intelligently adds to the experience. Players looking for an excellent shooter needn't look further than Modern Warfare 2; it stands apart from the crowd as one of the best shooters of this generation.