Developer: Infinity Ward
Also on: Xbox 360
Release Date: Tuesday November 10th 2009
Age Rating: BBFC 18
[Disclaimer: This is the first of two reviews for Modern Warfare 2. This one focuses on the PlayStation 3 version, with our second on the Xbox 360. Read that soon. Find our full PS3 review below.]
The winter of 2007. I fondly remember it well.
At that time, I had so many great games to keep me company. The Orange Box, Halo 3, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Assassin’s Creed and, of course, Call of Duty4: Modern Warfare.
Now, two years later, as we enter the exact same stage with sequels for the games all out by now or are due out soon (bar The Orange Box), comes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It is simply put the most anticipated game this year, and one of the most anticipated games ever, full stop. The question though is can Infinity Ward live up to the awesomeness of the first game? Somewhat yes, but not by much.
There are three key points in the game, which I’ll detail for you in three parts.
The game picks up five years after the original Modern Warfare. If you didn’t play the first game, you will be brought up to speed on it, with a montage from the first game detailing what happened from start to finish. You will mostly play as Captain Gary “Roach” Saunderson, although there will be more characters to play as, as the game progresses. You land up throughout the game in places like Afghanistan, Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and more, including the U.S.
For what it is worth, the campaign in Modern Warfare 2 is great and well done. It leaves you with some well written set pieces, a couple of story shockers, high-octane tension from start to finish. Arguably, this could be Season 9 of 24, if it wanted it to be. Plus, great acting from the likes of Keith David (of Mass Effect fame) and Glenn “Aaron among god Pierce of 24″ Morshower. And while last time, COD4 had Harry Gregson Williams of Metal Gear Solid fame, this time around, you get the legendary Hans Zimmer, who scored most of the game’s score.
As well as that, it’s mostly presented brilliantly. The graphics are fantastically done, especially in levels like “Cliffhanger” and “Whiskey Hotel”, with the pair of them detailing harsh and bleak levels respectively. The new HUD is simple and easy, stuck in the right hand corner of the game. And while it is only available for two levels together in the game, vehicles in Modern Warfare 2 are fun to use, especially the snow mobile in “Cliffhanger.”
But here comes the icky sticky parts. First, it is completely short. I finished the game on Regular at about 6 hours, while the last game was a bit longer if I remember correctly, coming in at roughly 8 hours on Regular. It’s a shame, as for what it is, it is a great campaign for whatever the amount of time there is. But that’s just it: the time. It feels too short, and could have at least added on an hour more of content.
Secondly: “that level”. Yes, you know the one I am talking about – the Russian airport level, “No Russian.” You play the earlier stages of the game as Private First Classic Joseph Allen in Afghanistan, before being pulled for a deep op undercover mission as Alexei Borodin to join the ranks of the main villain of the game, Vladimir Makarov to shoot innocent civilians in a Russian airport in Moscow. Before the release of the game, I argued with myself as to if I should play this said level or not. Needless to say, I did. And because of it, I can say… I didn’t feel disgusted. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel anything, but nothing like being disgusted or unhappy this level was put in. More weird than disgusted.
I say that because the level didn’t feel right in the game, but not because of its intentions, more the fact it felt out-of-place. I think it was mostly put there for shock value and to start a shitstorm of controversy. Something which is starting to materialise.
And yes, I did shoot civies. I’ll go sign up for my nearest terrorist boot-camp, shall I?
But while the campaign from MW2 is arguable, there is no mistake about it’s multiplayer: it’s downright awesome.
While it ain’t as big as a revolution as the first Modern Warfare, it does bring to the table major adjustments and refinements that make it’s multiplayer one of, if not, maybe even the best played this year.
A lot more toys to play with then last time, including new kill streak rewards (they go all the way up to 25 this time around), such as a supply drop (which gives random kill streak perks away, even if the total number of the kill streak isn’t reached), predator missiles, AC-130 and even a nuclear weapon. Oh yes, a nuclear weapon. Then again, if you’re getting owned, don’t worry, there are Deathstreaks. There are only four of those in total in the game, with you starting off with “Copycat”, but you do get more as you progress like “Painkiller” and Martydom, which is removed as a perk this time round. As well as that, you get new weapons and new gameplay modes, including third-person gameplay modes.
The look and feel of multiplayer in MW2 is a lot more streamlined then it was in the first game, which makes the presentation for the multiplayer in MW2 look great. It ain’t as revolutionary as it was back in 2oo7 with Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2′s multiplayer is still as fantastic now, with new weapons, new perks, new features and more.
It’s just as addictive as it was two years ago.
Multiplayer is the keystone of Modern Warfare 2 and it’s Campaign is where the drama is, but Spec Ops is a fully fledged gameplay mode, similar to the level in Call of Duty 4 “Mile High Club”. 23 different levels to play through, as you try to collect 69 stars throughout all five tiers of the mode.
We haven’t played enough of the mode to tell what we think, but our second review should tell you what you need to know about the mode. But our first impressions are that we are impressed with what we have found for Spec Ops.
Final Thoughts: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a show stopping game to play. The campaign is ridiculously short, the airport terrorism level feels so out of place, but that’s the only criticism we can think of for the game.
Other then that, it really is a fantastic game. Campaign might be short enough, but Multiplayer and Spec Ops are well enough reasons to get the game. Miss at your own peril.
Story – 8: Fantastic story and great acting, as well as fantastic soundtracks from Hans Zimmer, but it is very, very short.
Gameplay – 9: Multiplayer and Spec Ops are well worth the admission. Fantastic.
Graphics – 9: Looks fantastic to play at. A looker.
Sound – 9: Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is the highlight, with great acting from the cast.
Overall – 9: Two words: buy it.
Modern Warfare 2 is an incredible game to play through, complaints aside. One that needs to be added to your collection. Go buy it. NOW!
[This is only the first of two reviews concerning Modern Warfare 2. Our second, based on the Xbox 360 version, will be coming very soon.]