There’s one franchise that has defined the fps genre since it’s first release. Whether we agree with the direction the company has taken or not, it has risen up and given us hit after hit. I am of course talking about the Call of Duty series, a series that has set the standard for single player and multiplayer experiences. With the huge success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, does Modern Warfare 2 live up to the hype?
Spoiler alert: This review may contain spoilers on plot, sequences, and missions. Note: This review uses Corsair Obsidian 700d, Corsair 750w Psu, Intel i7 930 @ 3.2 w/ cooler master v8, GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R, Gskill 6gigs, EVGA gtx 275 superclocked edition, system.
From the moment you start the opening introduction, you’re immersed into the Call of Duty universe. The bass starts pumping, and music overwhelms you with nostalgia. As you hear the pounding of the music you see flashes of the previous ending. Explosions rumble, your fallen comrades are being shot where they lie. Out of the corner of your eye you see a 1911 sliding your way. Palms sweaty, you know what’s coming. You grip your mouse for the inevitable. You grip the pistol slowly and bring up the iron sights. The moment feels like forever. Your target reacts, bringing his weapon up, and you fire. As the theme song plays you are brought back to how the game started, how Infinity Ward took you to that special place. You then realise, we’ve only just started.
Modern Warfare 2 takes place five years after the events of Call of Duty 4. You are able to take over the shoes of multiple characters, even Soap from the first title. The game takes you to multiple locations such as Brazil, for an intense roof chase, a Russian air base, and to the White House running towards a hail of gun fire. I don’t want to spoil the whole plot, just that it involves a whole lot of Ultranationalists, Brazilian gangs, and Weapons dealers that need to be killed. Infinity Ward takes every place you’ve ever wanted to battle and has meshed it into an over the top plot (think The Rock, Heat, and a bit of Tears of the Sun). Yes, there are times where you say “Wait, What?” or even wonder if the plot makes any sense what-so-ever, however its one hell of a ride nonetheless. As your roller coaster makes its final turn, you’re hit with another classic ending. You’re on the ground, blood dripping, unable to move. Deep pain is coming from your chest, you’re helpless. Then it becomes clear what you must do. You raise your arm. Shaking, you tighten your grip and….. Well, you’re going to have to play it yourself.
The single player experience is well worth paying full price for, as well the extra modes it comes with. Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 does what the series does best, it stays true to the core formula of a shooter and adds new elements. For example, your first mission you play as U.S. Army Ranger Jospeh Allen. After your briefing you find yourself looking up at the sky and General Shepard brings you to your feet. Mission objects are simple enough, this being your first mission. You later drive through city in humvees. You get ambushed, and well lets just say you’re in for a treat. After the mission is complete you learn more of the over-all mood and era as the plot thickens, and why the first character is so important to the development of the story. The missions themselves are very linear, there isn’t much room to enjoy the surroundings or to causally go at it. It’s chaos, with the exception of the opening levels. Whether you’re either in a truck, helicopter, elevator or APC; you’re always in constant battle, which over a set period of time gets repetitive. The A.I. stay constant the entire game, the only thing that really changes are the player models, behavior remains the same. Some of the missions do seem recycled, however they add elements like breaching and lone wolf missions to liven things up.
Modern Warfare 2 is extremely well polished for the single player and the special modes. The spec ops mode provides at least 6+ hours of enjoyment, and you are also able to co-op in the spec op modes. The campaign however is very limited on re-playability; besides difficulty there really isn’t any real motivation to go back. I found myself struggling to replay the game a second time, only being able to play portions of missions.
Notice any differences? Besides smoother shading and slightly better textures everything remained the same. The only real changes are the texturing of the player models and weapon models; environmental and coding remained the same. But nonetheless the game still looks good, even on an aging engine.
The graphic options are a bit limited compared to PC exclusive titles, and FPS capped at 90. Most of the standard options are included (texture detail, model detail, etc). One complaint that I have is the “zoomed” feel of the game. The fov (field of view) is very cluttered and all the icons are too big; this was implemented to aid console setups to be able to see more clearly if players were far away from the t.v.
The audio in MW2 is sub par, most of the weapon/voice/ambient sounds are recycled from previous versions; an example being the audio file for the 1911 featured in Call of Duty 1 has remained the same in COD2,COD4, MW2, and WaW. Side note: In multiplayer headphones are very useful, you are able to hear foot steps from across the map with the right settings.
If there is one quote that can sum up multiplayer for MW2 it’s “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” In theory a matchmaking system for consoles is the perfect combination, however when implemented on PC, it’s far from perfect. It’s no surprise that Modern Warfare 2 is a “shoddy” port, where many PC features have been removed to tailor to the console crowd. Whether it was just pure laziness or lack of support, Modern Warfare 2 really dropped the ball in this section of the game. Most games end up with players having 600+ pings but are conveniently covered up by four colored bars. Some adjusting in the cfg. files will show actual pings. With all that aside, the experience is still fun. You’re able to customize your weapons with holographic sights to grenade launchers. The customization is definitely one of the high points in mp, giving you more reason to rank up and “grind” your weapons (weapons include: m4, fa-mas, acr, scar-h, mp5k, ump and etc). You are also able to customize your titles and emblems, which are images that are shown when you kill an opponent or unleash a kill streak.
Modern Warfare 2′s multiplayer is tailored to the average casual gamer. The game allows the player to be rewarded by using more “unconventional” methods which the kill streaks reward. Jump into one game and you can see the style of play, spam and chaos. While multiplayer is easy to jump in and out, more experienced FPS vets can easily exploit the games flaws which results in many newer players rage quitting and/or calling “hacks”.