Infinity Ward's previous creations in the Call of Duty series have been rousing successes, in both sales and acclaim. People are, and will be, comfortable with using the groundwork layed from previous games (mostly from CoD4 though). Now comes the challenge of Infinty Ward to meet the expectations many people have placed upon their shoulders. Although with a few unexpected flaws, Modern Warfare 2 delivers another intense experience that few First Person Shooters can meet.
Entering in the seemingly patented slideshow approach, MW2 (Modern Warfare 2) opens up 5 years after the original. You're given a brief summary of what's happening and who your new target is: Makarov, a praiser of Zakhaev (one of the antagonists in the first Modern Warfare). Now it's up to a special task force to take down this man and his followers by any means necessary. This task force is also the one composed of your playable characters: PFC Joseph Allen, Gary "Roach" Sanderson, and "Soap" MacTavish (for the final levels).
The story transpires in a multitude of situations that will lead to the meat of it later on. You go through the events leading to the inception of the task force, a controversial level (it is gory + skippable for those who wish not to play it) that oddly acts as a weird tether to the next events, and scenes that really hit home for (North) Americans. Overall, the story is a disappointment to those who really enjoyed CoD4's. The great pacing is the same, with it being a great adrenaline-filled ride, but this time if one's to stop and think about it you'll only find connections on the weaker side. The best explainable feeling to have about the game's presentation (story, characters, etc.) is thinking of the idea of level design coming first and the writers needing to chop it down in order for it to fit, which wasn't a feeling many would've had with MW1.
While one disappointment maybe be laid on story part of the game, two facets of where MW2's is exeplary, once again, is sound and graphics. Keeping up with today's changing standards is no easy thing during this generation. One series that has really held it's own would be Call of Duty, when considering how many iterations it has this gen. Although falling a bit flat in things such as thickets and small plants, MW2 is able to hang with the best of them in almost all aspects. The variety of character models is solid and shows great detail throughout all the different areas. It's just as enjoyable to see a solid mixture of different composers for serene and critical moments while also offering an overwhelming amount of background noises during heavier firefights.
Another great aspect of MW2 would be the gameplay. Modern Warfare 2 really raises the stakes when it comes to the variety of things you do in such a small amount of time. Extrapolating certain ideas from MW1 and using some of it's own, MW2 is really able to show it's diversity in ideas and feeling of the battlefield altogether. Instead of a more formulaic approach, expect to have each scene transpire in an action movie setting. With extra additions such as dual wielding, breaches (SP and Spec Ops only), a heap of new weapons + attachments, a few driving sequences, etc. don't expect to have your blood pressure at normal levels until well after you've turned it off.
The online aspect of Call of Duty has truly taken off since Call of Duty 4: MW. That part will still be as popular (and with good reasoning). The new 2 player co-op mode called Spec Ops certainly has some great things up its sleeve. Using certain maps/ideas from the SP, Spec Ops has a variety of "mini games" that earn you stars to unlock more Spec Ops levels; the higher the difficulty, the more stars from each mini game you get upon completion. Although this isn't the next Nazi Zombies takeover like WaW introduced, Spec Ops offers some enjoyable tactical moments with a great variety of mini games to boot.
The pride of recent CoD games doesn't exactly hold up as well as expected. Coming off of the new "must-have" formula for these types of war games, the perks system goes through a bit of a facelift. The best term I can think of is "an evolution, not a revolution". MW2's competitve MP certainly still has the value to boot thanks to the multitude of new perks, titles/emblems, new perks/ pro perks, and the new weapons/attachments/etc . The online certainly adds some great ideas, but implores sour ones that harm the experience. Like that of CoD4, balancing issues are again seen in this online experience. From unbalanced perks to simple weapon combos that seem overpowered, the overall flow of the game can be harmful thanks to this even though there's a plethora of tactical decisions that could make for a wholesome experience as well. Although certain blame should be diverted against the players doing it, the dev. should've also made impedements against the likes of campers (although the case is similar to that of CoD4).
Modern Warfare 2 is an enjoyable experience in so many ways. Abolishing respawning enemies and having smarter AI makes the experience all the more rewarding, with less technical quarrels, so you can focus on the game itself. Overall, MW2 mostly lives up to the hype it's been given by offering new ideas, adding some much needed groundwork on the original formula, and showing a great amount of value on all fronts. Having said that, I also can't recommend this to EVERY CoD player/FPS fan because of the flaws that were paramount in the predecessor's praise.
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