STAFF REVIEW of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)

Sunday, November 8, 2009.
by Stephen Cameron

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Box art On our well loved and sometimes excessively used Xbox 360, things all got started with a killer launch title called ?Call of Duty 2?. This was Infinity Ward?s launch title on the next-gen console and it literally knocked everyone?s socks off. It had a great single player campaign, and incredibly addicting multiplayer action, and finally a history lesson. Two years down the road, they literally blew us all away once again with the released of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This game truly had a next-gen feel to it, and once again had a great single player campaign, but the difference was the setting, they completely did away with the World War 2 theme. The multiplayer action in this title simply just made people buy the Xbox 360 just had us begging for more.

In the next few paragraphs...I?ll attempt to map out the various facets of the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and why it?s really a top contender for game of the year once again. Now, you?re probably asking yourself, ?Is this game really that much better?? ?well, just when you thought it just couldn?t get any better; Keep reading.
(If you?re worried about spoilers, then you might want skip to the bottom)

Single Player Mode

I honestly think Infinity Ward really pride themselves on giving the player an epic cinematic and incredibly immersive storyline. There are three acts in MW2, with five to seven level or chapters each.

The first thing I would like to point out is that there are a lot of bad people and backstabbers in this game! The story gets tossed around in several different directions that make the story that much more engaging. At one point you are asked in the game if you want to skip the more offensive moments. This really adds a whole new dimension to the COD series, why? Because you always end up playing the good guy, you point the gun at the bad guys, pull the trigger and you rinse and repeat. I won?t spoil anything here, but don?t skip them!

At first I honestly had no clue what the devs really meant; hell, we?re talking about Call of Duty here! Nor did I know what they had planned for me. Little did I know what was coming. Get this, you are quite literally dropped in to the role of an undercover terrorist. Honestly when I played through that part, I was left in a state of confusion? Do I blend in and kill the poor Russian citizens in the airport? Or do I just follow these guys and not shoot anyone? (Maybe there?s an achievement for that). Oh, by the way, if you try and be the hero and take out the terrorists you are with, they?ll cap you like old yeller, so forget about it. Anyways, the reason you?re there, is to dig up important information about these goons.
Another great single player moment are the snow covered areas, why? It made the northern woods of Canada look bleak. Not only is there a nice variety of stealth, assault, sniping, but a shear awesomeness of brutal mow-down action. Also, you get to take a incredibly fast snow machine out for a spin and take out bad guys while driving.

MW2 overflows -- In a good way -- with several ?holy crap? moments. They completely immerse you in the hot seat of all the action. At the beginning of the Oil Rig level, you start off the level inside some sort of underwater military vehicle along with your soldier buddies, it looks simply incredible. You then show up on the scene underwater ready to take out the soldiers standing guard. Another moment is getting into the Chopper Gunner, and cutting down the museum of World War 2 with the mini gun, just leaves you with a big smile on your face.

I could go on and on here about the single player, but the truth is the game mechanics in MW2 are pretty the same as COD4. I played through the single player campaign on hardened in about seven and a half to eight hours. Let me tell you that the story is nothing short of spectacular, and there?s enough variety in each level to keep things interesting. All these key people and elements, that you encounter throughout the game all converge at the end to give you the most satisfying ending to a game. Period.

Special ?Spec? Ops Mode

The second aspect of MW2 is the new coop mode, where you and a friend team up to run through and complete various single level mini missions. The difficulty can be set from Regular to Veteran, and you can also complete them solo if you dare to do so.
One of the levels you team up with a friend to protect them from the sky while one of you hops into the chopper with the extra large mini gun and the other runs thru the streets of a suburb and tries to make it to the pickup point on top of a burger joint. Another one is a simple snow machine race against your coop buddy.
I played thru a few quite missions to get a good vibe out of the spec ops game mode. Let me tell you, this is my new favorite part of the COD series and new favorite coop game mode. More hours of gameplay!

Multiplayer Mode

Ah the long awaited multiplayer mode. If you loved the multiplayer in COD4 and purchased your console based on the fact that all your friends own and play the crap out of this game; my friends, you?re in for one hell of an awesome treat.

The online matchmaking has been greatly improved, and what makes this even cooler are the new weapons in kill streak. There are unlocked as follows?

3 Kills UAV
4 Kills Care Package
4 Kills Counter UAV
5 Kills Sentry Gun
5 Kills Predator Missile
6 Kills Presicion Airstrike
7 Kills Harrier Strike
7 Kills Attack Heli
8 Kills Emergency Airdrop
9 Kills Pave Low
9 Kills Stealth Bomber
11 Kills Chopper Gunner
11 Kills AC-130
15 Kills EMP
25 Kills Tactical Nuke

If a players gets five kills in a row, they have the ability to unleash the Sentry Gun or Predator Missile. If that wasn?t enough, if a player gets 11 they unleash the Chopper Gunner or the AC-130, and the mother of all kill streaks is 25, this unleashes the Tactical Nuke, yes, you read that right, a big ass nuke. This baby ends the multiplayer match instantly. All the players see is this light coming down from the sky (in rocket form) and comes flying down in the distance to later impact the earth and instantly blind and kill the entire map. If a player gets a hold of this thing, they simply deserve to put anyone out of their misery, because more than likely you?re playing with a bunch of noobs.

Just when you thought, ?Hey, how can Infinity Ward make a great multiplayer experience even better? Or can they?? Let me tell you they took the bar that has set the standard in multiplayer action over Xbox Live, and raised it to a whole new level.

There are no official announcements on DLC (downloadable content), but rest assured its coming. I personally would like to see some more of the old COD4 maps converted to some Spec Ops or multiplayer maps.

Finals words: MW2 is essentially three great games rolled into one. Single played campaign is awesome, Special Ops is fresh, and Multiplayer is addicting. There are only a few minor things I would have liked to have seen. And let?s be clear, that this is NOT a show stopper and should not prevent you from buying this game, I really mean minor. The following ?would have likes? are simply based on the fact that even though Infinity Ward didn?t develop World At War, it doesn?t have a coop campaign mode. The other missing link is a ?look around the corner? system, like they have in the real military, like a mirror, or a snake cam to see enemies around corners.

Modern Warfare 2 is sensational, and sets a very high bar in the Call of Duty series. Well done guys!

Overall: 9.7 / 10
Gameplay: 9.7 / 10
Visuals: 9.8 / 10
Sound: 9.6 / 10


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