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Posted by moonhead on Nov 13, 2009
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / Xbox 360 / Activision

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / Xbox 360 / Activision

The big one finally arrives.

This game is being touted as the highest grossing entertainment launch of all time. By this I mean it is going to make more money and sell more copies than any film, CD or book at launch than anything else that has been before. It really is a major milestone in our favourite past-time becoming mainstream.  But has Infinity Ward made a game that  lives up to the hype?

With the first Modern Warfare title Infinity Ward completely re-wrote the script about what a modern war based FPS should be.  And since its launch two years ago there have been  a few impersonators but none that come anywhere near the first games quality. So it is down to Infinity Ward to surpass their own game and I’m not sure they have quite done it. Do not get me wrong this is a truly stunning game and the best war based FPS since the first game but it does fall just short of its predecessor in terms of the main campaign mode at least.

The story in campaign mode takes place five years after the first game and is the same mix of American Rangers and Special Forces telling the same tale from two sides. All of the survivor’s from the first game make a return including Soap MacTavish who you controlled in the first game but now partner.  The story itself follows on directly from the end of Modern Warfare and the plot follows the same America vs Russian terrorists vibe. It’s hardly up to Tom Clancy standards (not that they are particularly high) but it does allow for a full-on blockbuster, roller-coaster ride and it does have some surprising fan pleasing twists along the way.

In terms of level design and set pieces Modern Warfare 2 is truly brilliant with some great stand-out moments. These include the Snowmobile chase,

highlighted in the previews; controlling a Predator Drone Ship to fire missiles via satellite link (much like the monochrome gunship level in the first game) and storming an Oil Rig from a Submarine with a thermo vision scoped snip

er rifle. They have even managed to get a Daily Mail baiting politi

cally incorrect level in which you take part in a full on terrorist attack at a Russian Airport. There are others and they are all truly brilliant but none of them really live up to the previous games highlights such as “All Ghillied Up” and the aforementioned Gunship level “Death From Above”.

As with Infinity Ward’s previous Call Of Duty games the level of noise and chaos on the battlefield is fantastic, it really does all kick off spectacularly. The sound is awe inspiring with a level of cacophony and mayhem quite unlike other war games. Add in  top voice acting and a cracking soundtrack and you have top notch sound presentation all the way through. Graphically the game is an improvement from the last one with an extra level of detail in the wide variety of backdrops and no drop in the frame rate even when things are at their craziest. Although that said there are better looking  games currently out there.

Now on to the other game modes which are of course the online multi-player and the Spec Ops mode. First up the Spec Ops mode is a lenghthy collection of  mini challenges that can be tackled by 2 players in either online or split screen co-op or on your own. There are a wide variety of different mission types all based on the maps and missions from the Campaign  mode. From defending a weapons cash through to seek and destroy objectives and even a snow mobile race, it is a well thought out hefty addition to the game as a whole and sure to be a hit with the online fraternity. It is also rock hard, even playing the challenges on regular difficulty will have you boiling over in frustration.  All of this said it is no replacement for a full on co-op feature in Campaign mode.

Online multiplayer is an evolution  of what went before and not a full blown revolution. Considering how good it still is, it’s no bad thing. There is still the RPG style based Perk’s system and a few new Perks have been added and more room bolted on for customisation. Also you now get rewards for “Killstreaks” and also for those like myself who suck at this type of multiplayer game you get rewards for “Deathstreaks” too. There are 16 all new multiplayer maps all taken from the campaign mode and all are well designed and balanced for the various game modes on offer. To be sure there is a lot on offer here and all of those that enjoyed the first games multiplayer features are going to be loving this.

So it all sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Well you can problably sense a but coming, Modern Warfare 2 left a slight bitter taste left in the mouth for several reasons. First of all I completed the Campaign mode in just under six and a half hours and let me tell you I’m no Jedi Master of the FPS, game far from it in fact. Add this fact on to there being nothing really innovative to the game, sure there are new weapons and a few bells and whistles but it all smacks of Modern Warfare 2 being a expansion pack rather than a full on sequel. And priced at Activision’s raised RRP of £54.99 (I know nobody is selling it at this price but all the same whose leg are they trying to pull?).  I traded in Uncharted 2 for this game, a far truer sequel than what is on offer here and still had to part with 20 quid on top and I cannot help but feel short changed and I am also suffering withdrawal symptoms for the game I traded in. I have some concerns also regarding the games politics they are completely at odds with a lot of the jingoistic dialogue coming from the games characters, I think gamers nowadays are a little bit more inteligent and that games should be starting to reflect this. I also find Activision’s decision to release a game of this type the day after Remembrance day in this country and Veterans day in the States more than a little distasteful.

So to summarise Modern Warfare 2 is a fantastic game of that there is no doubt but beacuse of its overly short Campaign mode and a feeling of de-ja-vous, it’s not quite the game I was expecting.  Due to these facts and that the game feels little more than an expansion pack all be it a very sweet but hugely expensive one I have adjusted my score appropriately.

Rating 8/10

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