Game Rant reviews Modern Warfare 2
For months Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has made headlines: record breaking pre-orders, alleged marketing insensitivity, controversial gameplay content, and angry PC dedicated server proponents. Infinity Ward’s game may be the most hyped title of all time (even beating out the always-controversial Grand Theft Auto series), and for months gamers have been speculating, “Is Modern Warfare 2 deserving of all the hype?” Our answer here at Game Rant: Mostly.
Modern Warfare 2 is an incredible game and easily follows in the footsteps of its Call of Duty predecessors. It is without question the premier war simulation first person shooter, no matter what console you’re playing on. The game spans a number of locales, providing diverse, albeit intense, mission variety. Missions find you scrambling through tight Rio de Janeiro alleys, infiltrating a prison, rescuing hostages on an oil rig, and sneaking into the enemy’s mountain-strongholds. The game is at its best in these moments, immersing the player in a variety of exciting and action-packed scenarios.
Without question the title looks amazing. Enemies and supporting characters move fluidly, and with fast-paced action, this is no small accomplishment. Characters stumble around corners, take cover, and melee opponents without stuttering or locking into place. Some of the best animation in the game occurs in the infamous “No Russian” mission, where crowds of pedestrians funnel through tight areas and even drag the wounded across the kill floor. The environments are diverse, but each is crafted with the same careful detail. The scenery is crisp and lifelike whether viewed up close or through a scoped rifle flying high above the ground in a helicopter. The DC map in particular, with the mix of rain and ash falling out of the sky, is especially impressive.
The game controls similar to previous titles and still utilizes the “look down the scope” centering system for firing accuracy – basically one of those “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” situations. There were a few points in the single player campaign where it was extra-easy to get disoriented, which is further compounded by the aiming system, but altogether the game handles great.
Modern Warfare 2 provides three main modes of play: the single-player story campaign, traditional online multiplayer, and Special Ops — a series of tactical scenarios that can be played alone or with a friend. Infinity Ward knows its audience, and the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2 is everything you’d expect from a FPS war simulator. The reward system is much larger than previous Call of Duty titles, providing players with regular incentives to level up and build their combat arsenal. The game also introduces “Kill Streak” rewards for racking up kills without dying – i.e., a kill streak of 5 will net players the ability to remote-drop a predator missile on a selected area, and a kill streak of 15 will allow the use of an electromagnetic pulse to disable all enemy electronics. If a player happens to get a kill streak of 25, they’re rewarded with ability to drop a nuke that kills everyone on the battlefield – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, literally, because the bomb kills them too.
The multiplayer has been hampered a bit out of the gate with leveling and unlockable problems being reported on both Xbox 360 and PS3, not to mention a sea of still-sore PC gamers who are boycotting the title for its lack of dedicated servers. In the long run, these problems won’t affect the core gameplay. Infinity Ward will certainly patch the game to correct any glitches that may currently be plaguing gamers; as for the dedicated server issue, there’s no doubt it was a lousy move on Infinity Ward’s part and will certainly discourage some PC gamers from picking up Modern Warfare 2, but if you’re not concerned with the controversy, it shouldn’t deter you from purchasing a copy of the game.
The “Special Ops” mode adds great replay value to the Modern Warfare 2 package, especially for players who get worn down by the intensity of online multiplayer. The variety of missions (imagine DLC-like challenge rooms) can be played individually or co-operatively with a stranger or friend (both online and local). If you don’t have a lot of friends playing the game, you’ll still enjoy these added missions; though they definitely shine a bit brighter in two-player co-op. The missions are un-related to the story mode and range from training in The Pit, racing snowmobiles, racking up body counts, and securing an entire airbase with only stealth weapons. Successful completion of the various challenges nets you stars that unlock trophies and achievements. The higher the difficulty level you play on, the more stars you’ll snag.