Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review
The King of FPS Shooters Returns with a Vengeance.
The Call of Duty franchise needs no introduction. Activision’s gaming series has become synonymous with excellence of production and execution, engaging and adrenalin pumping single player campaigns and unrivalled multiplayer content. At the forefront of the Call of Duty charge is Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which, as you know unless you’ve been living in Tibet, has just received a heady dose of competition thanks to the release of its upstart younger brother Modern Warfare 2. So how does the latest Call of Duty title shape up? Well, let’s put it this way: Modern Warfare 2 is so much better than Call of Duty 4 that it ruthlessly kills off its older brother and laughs at his smouldering corpse.
The Modern Warfare 2 story begins with a montage of footage inter-spliced over a Bond-esque global communications grid. The sequence highlights the key events of the original Modern Warfare, including the death of Zahkaev, and sets the scene for Modern Warfare 2. Now five years later, a new separatist leader, Makarov, has emerged to fill Zahkaev’s shoes. Makarov has a grand plan: the total ruin of the United States using any means and weapon available. Sound familiar? It should: Call of Duty 4 (Modern Warfare) has a virtually identical precise.
After wading through the lengthy introductory scenes it’s finally time to start clipping terrorists. You start the single player campaign as PFC Joseph Allen, but in tried and true Modern Warfare style you will play as several different characters during the campaign. After a quick weapon demonstration at Fire Base Phoenix in Afghanistan, your superior, Sergeant Foley, sends you off to The Pit to run and gun your way through a small arms test for General Shepherd. The Pit is a copycat of the Call of Duty 4: Killhouse level, where you must shoot a series of targets to complete the course before selecting the difficulty level for all future missions. Once you have completed the run and selected the desired difficulty level it’s off to the Red Zone for you.
A few minutes later you’re manning a Humvee minigun as your convoy weaves through the twisting streets of the Afghan Red Zone. Initially you can’t shoot anyone: the powers that be have decided you must be shot at first, but it’s not long before you’re back on foot and fighting your way through the dusty streets and decrepit buildings of the Red Zone. Your Military prowess is so awe-inspiring that General Shepherd orders you into a special unit and off you go to meet up with the hero of the original Modern Warfare: Soap MacTavish.
Without going into too much detail, the single player levels are classic Call of Duty Modern Warfare set pieces, so you can expect to experience the same chaotic and unrelenting combat thrills delivered by the previous title. There are a few minor variations to the formula, a good example of which is the early snow base level. Whilst the ice wall climbing scene looked great when displayed at E3, it fails to feel spectacular when you actually play it for yourself (by comparison, the opening train wreck scene in Uncharted II is a grander experience in every way). On the other hand, the snow mobile chase is a high-speed adrenalin-charged shoot em’ up that delivers everything it promises.
In terms of plot, there is one more level worthy of mention. Most of you have probably seen the Infamy trailer that is currently a hot topic of discussion on the internet (the trailer depicts a terrorist cell killing hundreds of unarmed civilians in an airport). The level in question is early in the game, and yes, you do have the option to skip it, but you will miss a turning point in the story by doing so. Given the real world’s current political climate and the backlash against violence in video games the inclusion of this level is fraught with potential problems and long term ramifications. I don’t shy away from video game violence; some of the best titles available are ultra-violent, but I do question the judgment of Infinity Ward for including such a brutal milestone in gaming when it wasn’t really necessary and isn’t even enjoyable.