| |

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

Developer: Infinity Ward Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 10, 2009 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

In November 2007, Activision released a game that significantly changed the way that shooters would be played in the years to come. Call of Duty 4 introduced an old franchise to a new form of warfare, a more modern form after years of re-fighting World War II. Call of Duty 4 did more than just introduce modern weapons and a storyline that was more relevant to the geo-political situation of our times. It has influenced games ever since with its customizable weapon selection, ranking system, kill streaks that are earned to reward for performance and perks to enhance their abilities.

That was two years ago. The developers at Infinity Ward have been working on the follow-up to Call of Duty 4 ever since. Modern Warfare 2 takes what was good about the first game and changes things up a bit. I’d like to say it makes everything better, but that really depends on your preference. A number of changes have been made in the multi-player that, while not groundbreaking, certainly change the game in a number of interesting ways.

But first we need to cover the single player. Call of Duty 4 had a short, but deep single-player campaign that involved a conflict in the Middle East, an Ultranationalist uprising against the Russian regime and a nuclear explosion. It was an intense experience that won it a 9.6 out of 10 from Game Freaks 365. Modern Warfare 2 has that same intensity at times, yet the storyline does not seem to be as well developed as Call of Duty 4. The game jumps from one location to the next. One minute you’re playing in Afghanistan, the next you’re in Virginia defending American soil from the Russians.

One of the more controversial missions has you take on the role of a U.S. Army Ranger recruited by the CIA to infiltrate the Russian terrorist group. While you don’t have to fire a single bullet, part of convincing the terrorist group that you are aligned with their cause is that you join them in shooting up an airport in Moscow. Interestingly the developers made it to where if you turn your fire on your “comrades” you instantly get brought down in gunfire. They also make it so that you slowly stroll through the airport. It’s a brutal depiction of how groups like this (fictional) one pursue their political objectives.

While I was not particularly impressed by the storytelling, the actual gameplay is quite good. Certainly I would say that it is less memorable than Call of Duty 4’s campaign, but among some of the best in the genre, even if it is only about five hours long. It’s a rather difficult slog, too. Expect to die a lot, especially if you play above Normal. This game requires a lot of cover, precision and tactical use of items such as stun grenades, frag grenades and the occasional rocket launcher. I will quickly say this about the single-player. If you only intend to play offline, you should probably just rent this game.

Now to the meat of what Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is all about. The multi-player is clearly the central effort of the development team. They packed a ton of levels, game modes, weapons and other customizable aspects to this version of the game. You still have a choice of whatever game mode you want to play. Everything from Free-for-All to Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are included. There is also a new Third-Person perspective mode that they included that really wasn’t worth adding.

I still think that Call of Duty has one of the best matchmaking systems around. You can quickly join a game, stay with the same group of players once you finish and invite friends to play with you. Between matches, while you wait for more people to join, you can adjust what weapons you want to use, what attachments you want on your weapons, what secondary weapon, and so on. The maximum number of players that you can have in a match is 18 (9 vs. 9). It may not seem like a lot when a lot of games these days have 32+, but it is more than enough. There are times when enemies will still spawn on top of you even with these smaller number of players.

The biggest change to the multi-player comes from the perks, kill streaks and the newest addition known as the death perk. The perks are mostly the same. You can have faster reload, more damage, pick up items off of corpses and so on. Martyrdom is no longer a perk, but considered a death perk. This means that when you die x times you will drop a grenade on that last death. Other death perks include Final Stand, similar to Last Stand, except you can get up after a certain amount of time if your enemy doesn’t finish you off and also a temporary health boost known as Painkiller.

The kill streaks have been changed significantly. While UAV (radar), airstrike and helicopter are still options, a number of new kill streaks are offered. Furthermore, you get to choose one of three kill streaks that you want to have in a given match. Not all of them are unlocked, you have to earn them through the experience system. Once you do have them unlocked, you can choose from other kill streaks such as a turret gun (which gets dropped in in a crate that enemies can get if you don’t get to it first), a harrier jet (which sticks around firing at people similar to the helicopter from the first game), a predator missile where you control where it lands on the map and more. Oh, and yes, the tactical nuke exists. There is no hiding from that.

If you have never experienced a Call of Duty title before, Modern Warfare 2 is a shooting experience that is hard to match. The single-player has a relatively weak story that starts off where the first game ended and is just too short in length. The multi-player, however, is something that you are likely to play at least for the next year, if not beyond. It is well worth the $60 investment, the 2 year wait and lives up to the hype. This is a game that you should own this holiday season.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review