Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is easily the biggest title of the year. Is it deserving of the hype? Or does it need more time in training before it join the ranks of this year’s other major titles? Find out in our full review…
Five years after the events of Modern Warfare, we find ourselves back in the middle of a bad situation. Imran Zakhaev’s defeat brought about some unforseen consequences; the ultranationalists seize control of Russia and paint Zakhaev as a Russian hero and martyr. One of his former lieutenants, Vladimir Makarov, swoops in to fill the void with his own brand of terrorism.
Throughout the single player campaign, you will find yourself hopping across the globe in traditional Call of Duty narrative style, playing as either an Army Ranger, or as a member of an elite squad called Task Force 141. Makarov is up to something, and your job is to stop him.
By the end of your journey through this cinematic gauntlet that Infinity Ward has crafted, you will be bloody, dazed, and more than a little confused. While the core gameplay is possibly the best first person action experience known to man, the plot does not give much time to take in what you’re experiencing before being dragged through one plot twist after another. Then again, there is no time to talk about feelings when you are constantly being assaulted by soldiers, helicopters and the occasional caged chicken.
Speaking of gameplay, take what you faced in Modern Warfare and turn it to eleven. You won’t be manning any AC-130 gunner seats this time, but don’t worry: Spec Ops and Multiplayer have your AC-130 needs covered and more, but more about that later. Instead you will find yourself nervously scanning buildings manning a Humvee Minigun, controlling Predator drones, sniping from helicopters, dodging glaciers, walking through space(!), crawling through the snow, and all sorts of other “Oscar Mike” activities. That’s “On the Move” for you civilians.
Not every mission is enjoyable, however. Unless you have been stuck in a Russian prison somewhere, you have heard about some of the events early on in the game involving violence towards non-combatants. It is understandable how many might see this part of the game as unnecessary. However, every opportunity is given to the player to avoid it. If you do decide to give it a try, it is possible to get through it without firing a single bullet at a civilian. The scene is, however, an integral part of the story and is no more violent or gratuitous than similar scenes in any number of recent movies. War is ugly. You will see this emphasized more and more as you progress through the story.
Once you survive the single player campaign and have caught your breath, the fun has only just begun. Before you inevitably make your way into the multiplayer action, don’t miss out on the Special Ops mode. If you have enjoyed any recent games with cooperative gameplay, this is where you will find yourself coming back to. There are five sets of “Spec Ops” challenges, starting with Alpha. As you complete missions and earn up to three stars per mission, you start to unlock more and more difficult missions in Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Each mission falls into a “classification”, such as “Assault” where you just blast your way through an enemy force to reach the end, or “Wave Defense” where you must survive several waves of various enemy threats.
One of the most insane mission types are the “Timed Escort” missions that require two players. While many of the missions will allow you to play them solo, the timed escort missions require a partner. For instance, the “Big Brother” mission in the “Bravo” missions puts one player in the gunner seat of a Blackhawk helicopter, clearing the path ahead for the other player to advance through a horde of enemies. Teamwork is essential, and you will see why when you get there.
After you have completed each of the Spec Ops missions, not only will you earn stars for unlocking more missions, you will also see your completion times in comparison to the “estimated completion time.” Then Infinity Ward mocks your pitiful time by posting their own best time for you to try to beat. Good luck with that.
Are we done yet? Hell no, soldier, turn around and complete your mission!