Repost: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

Infinity Ward, in my opinion, has yet to make a disappointing Call of Duty title. Since the beginnings on PC and up to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the team has created tight narrative stories and believable characters that resonate through the gameplay of each game. With Modern Warfare 2, a direct sequel to the previous Infinity Ward-developed title, returning characters brought back some fond memories and the concise storyline continued the extreme drama of how this “other” universe could fall into chaos so quickly.

The beginning of Modern Warfare 2 brings a quick refresher for those who never played through the single-player campaign for the first game. The plot of Modern Warfare 2 could be summarized as:

“Previously executed terrorist is regarded as a hero in his native land allowing his subordinate to frame the United States in the eyes of every country across the world leading to an invasion on American soil.”

This surface level summary of the plot covers the main plot points, but fails to include all the key moments that need to be experienced by working through the single-player campaign.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is considered one of the best looking games released so far on current consoles and Modern Warfare 2 is using a tweaked engine of the original. I don’t know what Infinity Ward tweaked, but this engine is amazing. During many of the levels, where chaos is the main component, the game never stutters or drops a frame.

Animations are more believable, and each NPC character looks much more realistic. Just the models for characters are more impressive. As opposed to just layering skins, characters have a three-dimensional look to them. Satchels and weapons dangle and move with a realism I haven’t seem before.

Lighting effects are a highlight of the game, playing in the dark or at dusk is difficult, but tracer rounds and flashbangs all add an ambiance to the environments. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how much was going on during each scene and not seeing any issues with the graphics.

One little mark against the game was all the NPC characters look either Caucasian or African American. I’m not saying there’s a problem with this, but when a soldier has an Asian surname, it would be nice if they didn’t look like a copy/pasted skin.

Along with the graphics, the sound for Modern Warfare 2 continued to impress. Play the game over surround sound, it’s absolutely necessary for this title. Not only including the assaults around the East Coast of America, but the missions that take place in South America are amazing with surround sound. The gameplay is not just a FPS shooter, but a careful aiming platformer.

Explosions scream through speakers and the ambient sounds (whether they’re machine gun fire or yelling from allies and enemies) envelops all around. Even during the final scenes of the game, the audio of the game was amazing.

Most FPS fans know how the gameplay will work. Though Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a FPS, it is not a run-and-gun title. And while the teammates in squads help, they shouldn’t be counted on all the time. The physics of grenades and flashbangs is better than the first game, which helps when clearing rooms of hallways.

An addition to the game is the aided down the scope lock, something I didn’t see in the first Modern Warfare. Quickly pulling out of down the scope and going back in with enemies nearby each other with pull the sight to nearby enemies, assisting with multiple targets. It works early in the game, but suffers later on when enemies are armored or attacking in waves.

The plot of the game helps specific elements shine and since the title throws so many environments at you, it never gets old. Infinity Ward created a plot that surpasses the first title, but also prepares for a much different sequel, should (and they should) decide to continue the story.

Most players will also join in on the multiplayer. Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer mode is an upgrade to the first title’s, with leveling and a perks system. By leveling and completing weapon challenges, new perks, weapons types, and accessories can be added to weapons. The standard game types are present and the multiplayer is a fun and equal part of the game to the single player campaign. Leveling is paramount to success in the multiplayer.

I enjoyed the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2 more than other FPS games, but the amount of campers was astounding during my time.

Also included is a solo or co-op mission mode called Special Ops. By working through different scenarios on different difficulty levels, a pair can gain stars. These missions are off-shoots from the single-player mode and are fun if both players work in tandem. Go off on your own and prepare to lose.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is another worthy addition to the series. While some complained that the story was too fragmented, I found it to be more compelling because of the overall plot required quick action from both sides of the coin. The single player will pull FPS fans in and the Spec Ops mode is nice for a break, but the multiplayer will keep the game alive for some time to come.

There hasn’t been a game previously that threw so much at you, not just in gameplay modes, but a story that should be recognized as one of the best video game plots ever written.

Review copy provided for review purposes