Posted by Tim on November 23, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 Review: We are Oscar Mike!

Post Rating

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Developer: Infinity Ward

Copy Reviewed: PS3

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It was one of the most anticipated games for 2009. It set a sales record for the first week for all entertainment launches, including movie theater releases. It sold almost 5 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release. It is the first game to have two numbers to signify which sequel it is (full name Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2). Ok, that last one might not be true, but the rest of it is, and it tells us that Modern Warfare 2 is not just your run of the mill sequel game. It is a game that sets standards in almost everything it does. It is a game that will dominate your friends list. It is a game you need to buy immediately if you have not yet.

While far from perfect, Activision and Infinity Ward shows us once again why it is the King of FPS, by donning Modern Warfare 2 as its new crown. The campaign mode is short, but it does not lack punch. There is a new mode called Special Ops, which is a welcome addition to the winning formula. And of course, there is the multiplayer, which could eat up hundreds of hours of your playing time before you even realize it. This game is not going to be regarded as one of the best games of all time, mostly because of some flaws and lack of innovation which I will get to later. But it doesn’t matter; the game flat out rocks. It may not be Oscar worthy, but you can crank up the fun-o-meter to 11 for this one, and prepare yourself for excitement that even a Spinal Tap couldn’t numb away (that’s two references in one sentence, all for the sake of the 2nd Call of Duty 4 game).

To start, I’m going to try and avoid the use of the cliche, “If it ain’t broke…” (you know the rest). Why? Because I could honestly use it a dozen times in this review. Why? But cause quite frankly, Modern Warfare 2 is a paradigm for that cliche. If you are expecting some crazy innovative gameplay that is going to change the face of FPS and online shooters for the rest of history, look elsewhere. This game is really just COD4 2.0 (hmm, kind of like the title?). It feels the same as COD4. It plays the same as COD4. The story in campaign mode is similar to COD4. About the only thing drastically different than COD4 is the Special Ops.

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But just like the cliche that I wont use says, thats not a bad thing. COD4 was a great game, so why change things? However, don’t fret. There are a couple subtle differences that spice up the game enough to make it feel like it is its own game. There are new killstreak rewards; much more than 3 from COD4. In fact, there are about a dozen of them, and you unlock them as you rank up in MP.

Not only are there more, they are more interactive. You physically can guide a Predator missile to the exact location of an enemy. You can hop in an AC130 and reign down fire from above, just like in the campaign mode from COD4. But don’t think these are easy to get. Some killstreak rewards require you to get 10, 15, even 25 straight kills, which keeps the game grounded for the most part. If it was too easy to get an AC130 killstreak reward, it wouldn’t make it as special and it would take away from the game.

Additionally, there are some new elements to the multiplayer experience. COD4 saw the incorporation of some RPG-type elements, including unlocking items through ranking up, and getting new emblems through prestige mode. The emblems and the ranking make a return, but get some major upgrades and the addition of a partner: Titles. Titles are what they sound like: a name that gets added to your PSN name that you unlock by doing some specific task in the game. And just like emblems, there are a lot of them. Some of them are harder to unlock then others and can be used as a indicator of your bad-assness. Others are pretty funny.

Emblems work the same way, except there are a bit less of them, and they are just the small icons that go right in front of your PSN id. Titles and Emblems, while not adding to anything involved in the gameplay, are very nice additions, because it adds the same RPG elements we first saw in COD4, and it gives some personal identity for each player. I really enjoy making some of the most unique, yet “cool” looking title/emblems combinations, and as soon as I see someone else with the same title as my own, I change it.

Other additions/changes include new guns, new weapon attachments like thermal scopes and heartbeat sensors, new perks, some new game modes and of course, new maps. While not all the maps are knock out awesome, what I really like about them is that they don’t feel like maps designed for a video game. There isn’t the infamous sniper spot on each map. There isn’t two definitive bases for each team to spawn in. For most of the maps, it seems IW took a more natural approach to setting them up. In some levels there are several to over a dozen buildings to hide in and set up your sniping vantage. There are mulitple back alleys which makes some spots more difficult to defend.

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Don’t get me wrong, each map has a spot that most people flock to to fight. But for the most part, the maps are set up to encourage a diversified approach to each level, rather than an “everybody run here and lets gun it out!” Of course, the strategy for each map changes for each different game mode. Still, it feels nice to play in levels that feel like actual cities/train yards/open fields than “the sniper level,” or “the level with the 3-story building in the center.”

So if you have read this far, you’ve noticed I spent the entire time talking about the multiplayer mode. You might be wondering if there is anything else to this game. Well your answer is, of course there is, and they are pretty darn fun too. But for COD4 a majority of people spent a majority of their time in the online mode, and the same thing will happen here. Special Ops, which I mentioned earlier, is new and has multiplayer elements, and is very fun in its own right, but I still think that a majority of your time will be spent in multiplayer, which I why I spent most of this review covering that.

Nonetheless, there is a significant and important campaign mode to this game, which while short, is very very fun. The story isn’t exactly ground breaking, and not something you’ll remember forever, nor does the campaign have any moments that will make your jaw drop. But its still worth your time in a run through or two, and why wouldn’t you when it takes 10 hours or less to blaze through it. Players beware though if you plan on beating the game on veteran; IW didn’t slack on the difficult scale. Don’t expect veteran to be a walk in the park.

I do have to say that the single player mode will have its moments that make you smile. I also felt like IW emphasized the cinematic effects, because there are some scenes/levels in the game that just scream Hollywood.

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I’ve mentioned this thing called Special Ops a couple times now, but you might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Special Ops is an additional mode, one that can be played in single player, local multiplayer, or online multiplayer. I consists of several missions each with specific tasks for you to accomplish, and a star rating based on how well you achieved that task. Some of the missions are from the campaign and others are just “defend this spot for this long.” Either way, they are a lot of fun and some of them are pretty darn hard to accomplish and require the aid of a friend. Will you spend as much time on Special Ops as the regular multiplayer mode? Not unless you are crazy. But it will demand a good chunk of your time if you plan on grabbing all 69 stars.

Finally, the last important aspect to cover in this game is the graphics. While the textures are not jaw dropping, and some of the vistas in the game don’t match up to other games of this generation, the overall graphics are very good. One of the game’s graphical strong points is the animations, which carries over into multiplayer. The way that people move in the game are very realistic, and you will even notice, if you pay close enough attention, that enemies will react to how you shoot them in a realistic manner. For example, if you blast a bad guy at point blank range with a shot gun, he will gut-check backwards with a splash of blood that flies off his body. One time I swear I even saw their face react like “Oh sh….!” I can’t verify that for sure, but either way you will be pleased by the overall graphics of this game, and you will be blown away by some of the animations.

Modern Warfare 2 has proved to be as good as its older brother of the same name, if not better. However, this game won’t be remembered as the best FPS of all time, or perhaps even this generation, thanks to it being so similar to COD4. I think that title still belongs to big brother, but that does not mean this game isn’t loads of fun, and one of the best games of the year. Don’t expect it to be perfect, but you can count on Modern Warfare 2 being one of the most exciting and addicting games for 2009. Go grab a copy, and declare yourself “Oscar Mike!”

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One Response to “Modern Warfare 2 Review: We are Oscar Mike!”

  1. Horhay says:

    Good review man! hell of a game indeed.

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