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Thursday | October 18, 2018
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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360 & PS3)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360 & PS3)

The Call Of Duty franchise has always been one of the pioneering war based first person shooters – with big budget movie style action packed game play. Infinity Ward were responsible for probably the best game in the Series – Modern Warfare. It is therefore without question that the followup was certain to receive huge levels of hype in the run up to its release – but the big question is, can it live up to our expectations?

Modern Warfare 2 is probably the least traditional FPS in the series with the core mechanic split into three areas. Single player fanatics obviously have the obligatory campaign based missions but there is also a Spec Ops mode which introduces cooperative gameplay locally or over an online connection. Multiplayer is catered for with online elements – so it would be safe to say that regardless of your personal demands, MW2 will offer something to enjoy.

The single player campaign features an all new and incredibly detailed engine which breathes life into environments such as the icy Kazakhstan. Graphically the game is significantly improved over its predecessors with a higher emphasis on terrain detail and an all new weather effects system which really immerses the player into the experience. The environmental destruction has also been ramped which helps to create a feeling of being inside the game rather than merely an observer. Further enhancing the overall realism is the improved artificial intelligence which means the enemy have never before been so lifelike in their movements and strategies against the player.

While the new engine is immediately impressive, the first thing to hit me when I was playing the game was actually the wonderful score by the legendary Hans Zimmer which helps to create a wonderful dynamic within the game. Audio is an often overlooked element of a game but with MW2 it is so integral to the overall package I can’t imagine it would half as successful without it.

The in game conversations and chatter also deserves a mention because it is staggeringly well detailed – you aren’t merely listening to randomly generated dialogue because on occasion what they shout is actually happening – even key targets get passed in the chatter, so if you hear one of your colleagues telling you that two tangos are behind a yellow car, you will be able to actually look over and see them! I was very impressed with this side of the game, more so than anything I can remember this year.

The single player campaign is incredibly impressive and I am wary of detailing anything important as I wouldn’t want to ruin the game for any potential buyers – the only downside is the length. I had the single player beaten in just under 5 hours which was massively disappointing as I was expecting it to last at least 30-50% longer. I played on regular difficulty setting and the game was actually so short I wanted another fix so I played it again on hardened and it took me around 7 hours due to dying on a regular basis. One thing veterans of previous titles in the franchise will immediately recognise is the new blood splatter system because your screen now has a thicker layer of blood on it when you get injured and need to seek cover before dying. Some people have mentioned already that they feel this is too distracting and I have to say sometimes it felt to me that it ‘got in the way’ but it is a small point. On lower difficulty levels you can obviously take more damage while on the veteran modes sometimes 2 shots is enough to take you down for good. While the AI is impressive generally there are still times when some random soldier will get in your way and stand like an idiot blocking you while you try and fire around him. This happened in Modern Warfare as well however thankfully the issue has mostly been resolved with this follow up.

One of my key concerns has been addressed and those of you who read my last review on COD5 will notice I mentioned the respawning of enemies in key positions – I loathe it when developers incorporate this methodology into a game so the fact it has been ditched in MW2 is a massive plus point. Thankfully they also realised that the waypoint icon on screen should always be displayed and you never are lost wandering around trying to find the key guy to follow or the location to travel to.

The single player element is not based on anything from history so Infinity Ward are not only the game creators but they are also responsible for creating the background and in game histrionics. Unfortunately this is one of the games weaknesses as the pacing is all wrong, the campaign backgrounds just slip past unnoticed and most of the story is told via loading screens or by the in game AI chatter – this is rather annoying at times as you have to listen to this key dialogue sometimes during firefights. More than once you will complete missions and say “that was epic!” only to look back and wonder what the purpose of the mission was in the whole context of the setting. Again it isn’t a game ruining aspect, but I felt that sometimes more interaction between characters and perhaps a slightly higher focus on the storytelling side of the game would have made the missions more involving. Everyone will have different views on this and people who don’t care about being involved in a flowing realistic story will already be wondering what the point is I am trying to make.

Much like Modern Warfare, there is a huge list of tech weaponry at your disposal which means the single player has many of those ‘WOW’ moments but I couldn’t help but get the feeling that the single player was not the primary focus for the developers. Therefore the best value you can get from this game is in the company of your buddies either online or locally with a few systems networked.

While the single player element of the game is shorter than ever before the new mode called ‘Spec Ops’ is a major blast to play. This Special Operations mode is a challenge mode that can be played on your own for the majority of the game if you wish but it is designed to work best with two person based team play. This mode is split into five tiers and each has missions that have a total of three stars to earn based on the chosen difficulty level in each of the 23 missions. There are some areas lifted from the single player game but the objectives and exact level layout is new. There are also no leaderboards for this mode, as expected.

The SpecOps mode is surprisingly addictive and even more fun to play – it is longer than the main campaign based single player mode and builds upon the previously unlockable Arcade Mode from the original Modern Warfare. I am confident that the trophy hogs amongst us will be playing this until they earn all 69 stars available – everyone is already talking about the AC 130 mission which features two players working as a team. One guy controls a gunship while the other sneaks into enemy territory on foot – with the emphasis on focused team work objectives. SpecOps in MW2 is one key elements to the game and once single player campaign mode is finished this will give you many more hours game play time and somewhat helps to justify the shortness of the main campaign missions.

Competitive Multiplayer is set to appeal to a huge audience because the levels are not only massively improved on the original designs but they incorporate physics effects throughout – this time around the Multiplayer isn’t a stripped down single player experience and I think Infinity Ward need some recognition for going to town on the environments and design – they did after all involve a full team behind the scenes just for the multiplayer element of the game.

The Class system is back in full force with new weaponry brought into the mix as well as customisable kill streaks and perks. A lot of time was clearly spent play testing as the strategic side of the game is very well rounded and players of all skill levels will be able to add something to their teams production.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is probably this years best first person shooter and will be remembered for very strong multiplayer elements as well as an amazing engine and audio sound track. I need to mention however, if you are only buying this for the single player campaign missions then this game has cut some corners in regards to overall content – the experience can be completed in under 5 hours. If on the other hand you want the game for the complete package then it is one of the finest games you will buy this year.


Stunningly good FPS action.
Some of the finest graphics I have seen on either the Xbox 360 and PS3.
One of the best soundtracks I have heard in a game, courtesy of Hans Zimmer. The effects and overall ambience are almost as impressive.
As an overall package it scores highly, but if you are a single player purist then you can drop 20 points from this score.

One you won’t be disappointed with.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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