Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review
Short single player with good variety and quick missions, multiplayer is quite good but sadly limited on PC.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first person shooter featuring high amounts of level variety and some intricately crafted single player sequences. It features a strong multiplayer component and a variety of co-operative modes. The game takes place 5 years after Call of Duty 4 and allows you to play a few different characters through the story. The action will take you around the globe for some very quick fire missions only to jump you back somewhere else for more action. It is perhaps both a game strength and a weakness that there is very little time spent in the one area. Old faces will return, voiced well, with much of the story being told in between missions through voice conversations between these key characters. Modern Warfare 2 is all about jumping you from one action hotspot to another without giving you much room to breathe or take stock of what you were just doing. It is perhaps its own pace that lets the game down and the fact that the general gameplay doesn’t quite reach heights of the carefully crafted game segments which you may not have much control over. On the PC the multiplayer while fun and polished comes off lacking some of the features that are generally taken for granted in most multiplayer games.
The huge amount of variety to single player missions comes from a few design choices which rarely keep you tied around one location or doing the one thing for long. The missions are quickly over and that location is never really revisited again. Once a mission is complete you’ll be taking over another game character across the other side of the world. You generally play as the two main characters Roach and Ramirez, from Task 141 and the American Rangers respectively. There are a few sequences where you play other characters, sometimes very briefly.
The story and characters keep the cohesion even if the missions at times can feel very random. Some sections also felt created purely for shock factor rather than improve gameplay or push the story forward. One sequence in an airport, as a CIA undercover agent, you can participate in the killing of Russian civilians. Not only was this sequence too long but it wasn’t really necessary and only seemed to exist to present the player with a controversial shock sequence. There were also a few later sequences that proved to follow this trend, unfortunately they were major story twists but left me a little bewildered. Without this mission variety the game would struggle to hold an audience for a long period of time. And indeed even with the variety the game only comes in at about 5 hours long on regular difficulty. When the game isn’t jumping you around the globe it is probably showing you some spectacular sequence.
During missions the game sets itself up for carefully designed sequences, such as riding a snowmobile, driving a vehicle on a runway or even running over rooftops. It’s clear a lot of time was spent on these parts unfortunately some of the other gameplay suffers from this favouritism. I’m not ashamed to admit I died a lot on regular, that’s not to say the game was overly hard. The game saves often; if you die you won’t be repeating much of the game. In the open you are extremely vulnerable to bullet fire which can significantly jolt your vision and partially blinds you with red blood on your screen. I started the game on hardened, a recommended difficulty, but realised quickly that during combat I was spending more time behind a wall or objects than I was shooting foes. I definitely prefer more run and gun gameplay, the regenerative health was almost abused as a time wasting device. It’s good to see that the infinite respawns are a thing of the past. Enemies spawn on rooftops or in alley ways and generally run through or along your field of vision. This creates a much more natural introduction of enemies, even though they are spawning just around the corner it completely blends in unlike some sequences in COD 4. The overly scripted nature of the game shows cracks however. Enemies running up stairs will incur comments from your squad mates. This chatter will continue even if you have killed the enemies, breaking some of the illusion that has been so carefully created.
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