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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Modern Warfare 2
By: | November 12th, 2009 | Xbox 360
Review |X360

modern-warfare-2

Finally, after months of waiting, “the most anticipated game of the year” is here. Surrounded by controversy on one side, and hype on the other, Modern Warfare 2 has gamers asking one question: “is it worth my money?”

The short answer is yes. MW2 is a crisp first-person shooter that features some of the best visuals that can be seen on current generation consoles, as well as the same intense action and tight narrative that we’ve come to expect from the Call of Duty franchise.

MW2 picks up five years after Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare. The epic story stays true to its CoD roots by being rife with triumph and tragedy; it’s easy to think of this game in terms of a movie due to the numerous scripted events.

For instance, there is one level that I absolutely have to mention, called “Wolverines!”. Anyone familiar with the 1984 classic film Red Dawn will instantly get the inside joke. Basically, you and your squad are stranded in a suburban environment, and are forced to hold off invaders until help arrives. There is just something so satisfying about holding off tons of enemies, knowing that you are the last line of defense.

MW2

The game basically plays like all the previous CoD games. You run-and-gun though various environments until you find cover. There, you pick off all the bad guys until you are clear to move again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Please understand, I don’t mean this in a bad way; this formula has lasted for six games because it provides an extremely satisfying and intense experience. Just don’t expect MW2 to revolutionize first-person shooters.

The single-player campaign is fun, albeit short. I was able to power though the game in just over five hours. Much like CoD4, you take control of several different soldiers, located in various parts of the world, and blast bad guys into oblivion. Expect all sorts of twists and turns as the story progresses. Aside from the single-player campaign, there are two game modes: Special Ops, and multiplayer.

Special Ops is basically a “challenge map” game mode. You play through various maps, either solo or co-op, and, by completing objectives, you earn stars. The more stars you have, the more maps you unlock.

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Personally, this is my favorite part of the game. You see, each map has a different style of gameplay; some maps will have you holding off waves of baddies, while others will have you racing though alleys, hunting down enemies before time is up. While the single-player campaign may be short, the Spec-Ops game mode easily adds several hours to your total game time.

From my experience with MW2‘s multiplayer, I feel safe in assuming that Infinity Ward is a fan of the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality. The multiplayer component is basically the same as in CoD 4 and World at War.

All the game modes we’ve come to love are present: deathmatch, team deathmatch, search & destroy, ground war, and so on. Kill streaks give you special abilities, including a predator drone that reveals all enemies, and a C130 Gunship that lays waste to an area on the map you specify. As you kill more enemies, you unlock more powerful perks and weapons. The multiplayer is extremely enjoyable, but, like the single-player campaign, it’s nothing revolutionary.

Despite my praises, MW2 is far from a perfect  game. There are plenty of little things that had me wondering “why did Infinity Ward include this?”

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One thing that really bothered me was the controversial airport scene. For those of you who don’t know, you play as an undercover CIA agent who is part of a terrorist raid on a Russian airport. You and a crew of goons walk through the terminals, indiscriminately shooting civilians and security guards. Apparently, this scene was included to show just how brutal and evil your enemies are. In a way, I guess it accomplishes this.

Maybe I’ve been desensitized to violence, but I was never shocked or appalled during this scene. Perhaps I was just expecting too much from it; something like the village massacre in Rambo 4. I think a large part of my indifference to this scene comes from the fact that all the civilians look the same. There just isn’t enough detail to make you really feel anything. It would be one thing if they were so detailed that you could see the look of horror in their eyes, but instead you are simply met with blank stares from the uncanny valley. In the end, I felt that this scene was just a cheap way to get everyone’s attention.

Another issue I had with the game was that each level was just a series of gimmicks. This is not to say they are not enjoyable gimmicks, but they are just so obviously scripted that it broke my immersion in the game. Sure, breaching doors with explosives, and entering with guns blazing in bullet time is cool, but every time you do it, it’s the same thing: shoot the bad guys, not the hostages. It would be like going through a haunted house with signs posted outside each door saying “Monster on the left”.

ModernWarfare2image

What also bothered me about these scripted events was that some of them really didn’t add anything. One part in particular sticks out to me when you have to climb up a vertical sheet of frozen rocks using ice picks.  The game forces you to alternate between the left and right triggers in order to climb up the wall. As I was doing this, I couldn’t help but think, “what does this accomplish?” There are several other scenes in MW2 that left me with similar impressions. Maybe I’m just being nitpicky, but I feel that if you are going to make a game this short, you better make every scene count.

In the end, I feel confident in saying that MW2 lived up to the hype. Sure, the game is extremely scripted, but that is what allows Infinity Wards to provide such an intense experience.  If you’ve ever wanted to be part of an action movie (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) MW2 is the game for you. Fans of shooters will be hailing MW2 as one of the best FPS games of all time, or at least until Modern Warfare 3 arrives.

Rating Category
9.5 Presentation
You'd be hard-pressed to find a shooter that looks this good on current generation consoles.
How does our scoring system work?
9.0 Gameplay
The tried and true CoD run-and-gun methodology really shines in MW2, with great mechanics and solid controls.
9.5 Sound
Everything from the "ping" of ricochets, to the "ka-boom" of air strikes feels like it's happening in your house.
9.0 Longevity
Although the campaign is a mere five hours long, the Special Ops mode and multiplayer will add endless hours of fun.
9.0 Overall
Modern Warfare 2 does indeed live up to the hype. If you've ever wanted to be in an action movie, this is probably the closest you will get.

  1. Agreed 100%. The single player is fun, yet short and very scripted, and the multiplayer isn’t much more than COD 4.5.

    But I love it.

  2. Can’t wait to start playing this game. Must. Finish. Dragon Age.

    Great review, Alex!

  3. avatar Anonymous

    A tad too obvious you were looking for something to say bad about the game the further you went in…
    But none the less, spot on.

  4. Well, it’s not really a perfect game…so it’s nice to see a review that says more than that…

    Honestly, very accurate review! It feels almost exactly like CoD4…and still, basically like a rail shooter. Good fun sometimes, but not enough freedom for me…

  5. Good review. I think this opinion may apply to me a bit more than others since I’m not too fussed about MW2′s online multiplayer. Seems like there are way too many people out there who have played that stuff for the past two years straight and wouldn’t give me a chance online. :P

  6. I beat the game in six hours and the multiplayer doesn’t work on PS3 (as of last night). I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

    • avatar Shirley

      try going? into an empty server to paitcrce basic maneuvers. When in game fly high and spot (if you fly high enough, about 600 or 700m high, enemy stingers can’t get you). I find it easier to take out heli. You want to have enough distance, line up the enemy chopper while slowing down. Then just fire your cannons and you should take out the heli, and even if you just disable it thats 100 points.

  7. I’m glad to hear it lives up to its hype, but when I read Austin can’t even play online, it makes me glad that I’ll be waiting till Christmas to pick this bad boy up. That way, all of its problems should be patched by then.

  8. I too am waiting until Christmas for this, along with Uncharted 2.

  9. PC version here:
    WTB in game clan matches! Also the fact that you still can’t choose the map you want to play on is soooooooo gay. Granted you can play a private match with friends, but the normal match system doesn’t give a shit what you want or like. I hate 2 of those maps with a passion, and sometimes it will ninja change the map on me right when the game starts. So I spend time waiting around in the lobby thinking im going into a map I want to play just to get dumped into a map that I hate.. All in all the game IS very fun, but the multplayer matching is defiantly some of the worst out there. Maybe its different on the Xbox? However this game did not even come close to my expectations for multiplayer, It seems a big step backwards from most pc games out there. With no dedicated servers, poorly matched players (lag wise), problems connecting to a friends/group, and the ninja map changes.

    I’m in a fairly large clan and I can tell you every single one of them are rip shit over the problems I mentioned above. I hope the console world is happy with multiplayer, because we’re not.

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  10. avatar Jordan Garski

    I think it’s more than a bit hypocritical that Uncharted 2 got praised beyond belief for polishing what it did the first time around instead of just adding new stuff, but Modern Warfare 2 is getting starting to get nagged for not reinventing the wheel.

    Multiplayer wise, MW2 is the first FPS sequel I’ve seen in a long time that added to its system without detracting from what made it fun originally. Everyone who’s saying it’s just COD4.5 really need to look at all of the intricate changes that went into the perks and such to realize how different (and better) MW2′s multiplayer is compared to COD4.

  11. avatar Darko

    I played my first 4 hours of multiplayer last night, and honestly, it does act, look (albeit better), and feel like COD4….but enhanced. Isn’t that kind of the point? If Infinity wanted to make a new game, they wouldn’t have released it under the COD umbrella. If anyone wants to know if they should pass it up, speaking purely from an online experience, I would say yes, IF you want a more polished version of COD4. If you want something completely different, maybe you should wait for the new Battlefield or something? One BIG deal to me is the garbage decision to ban party chat on some of the modes….I guess I see WHY they did it, but it should be an option to the host.

  12. @Jordan
    Uncharted 2 added an entire multiplayer component to a single player series.

    After playing multiplayer for around 15 hours already, I can safely say that other than nerfing Juggernaut and Martyrdom, the multiplayer isn’t that much different. The “pro perks” aren’t anything revolutionary (most are just rehashes of COD4′s), and the killstreaks past 5 all feel the same (bombard enemy with aerial things that have large blast radius). Even the extra gun additions like FMJ are just an extra “Stopping Power”. It’s much more balanced, but not much different, hence COD 4.5: but that’s a compliment.

  13. @Komplex
    I feel you man. I was pretty big into competitive CS, and when I heard about how they were nerfing MW2 on the PC my heart sunk a little. I reviewed the game on the Xbox 360, but if I had done it on the PC you sure as hell could bet I would have brought that up.

  14. avatar dabar

    it was a great game to play. although i waited 2 yrs for this game i beat it in one day. bought it tuesday, started playing at 9 am wednesday and i beat the game 3 pm wednesday. it sweet

  15. How were you able to see facial detail through all that gunfire? Seems like you’ve played that airport level too many times

    • avatar Dassa

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    • avatar Auth

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  16. I haven’t had much time to play yet, but the single player isn’t doing anything for me at all. It does a piss-poor job with continuity between the stages.

    Multiplayer is fun, and my reason for purchase. Not because I love it, but because it’s what everyone else is going to be playing for the next few months.

  17. avatar D Breezy

    PC—MW2 is MW1 with terrible multiplayer (no dedicated servers, boots, map changes, lag), worse single player (expect about 5.5 hours on hardened(pathetic)), and no Zombies (only good thing about WaW). Steam, which is finicky, acts as the PC version of Xbox live so to speak which is the only upgrade from MW1 but WaW had a more stable friend list option. I was excited to hear Infinity Ward developed over Treyarch but I am thoroughly disappointed. Game play is smooth and graphics are console level. Save your money and wait for the price to come down, I was shocked when they hit me for 63 bucks. Its basically a console game with a keyboard and mouse. Another example of developers shyting on the PC community and then crying about piracy.

  18. avatar Sweet Pie

    Yea fell into the hype and gave it 9 out of 10 as well huh. At least you make some very good points.

  19. To clarify again, this is a review for the 360 version :D

  20. avatar Rich scales

    Completely disagree re multiplayer. Its much easier to die during early stages many more options to advance its faster looks better more places to hide less open more tech etc

  21. avatar Johan Oosthuizen

    Good graphics and storyline,but alas NO PRIVATE SERVER,it sucks big time.A small clan in a small onehorse town-woud have enjoyed a good round multiplay.Will stick to the original COD4 for now.Hope someone out there can rectify this asap.

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