Final verdict: A
Final playtime: 15 hours singleplayer, ongoing multiplayer
What can I say about a game that’s kept me so well entertained since its launch that I haven’t even found the time to write about it until now? I can say that it’s hella tite, that’s what.
Modern Warfare 2’s campaign mode is a significant step up from its predecessor’s. While it’s still relatively short at a whopping 6 hours or so on Regular (Read: Easy) difficulty and maybe 8 on Veteran (Read: Still easy) difficulty, that simply doesn’t matter. It feels like you’re playing a very action-packed, thrilling movie that will wear out the edge of your seat before you can say “Oh crap oh goodness“.
The campaign is very cinematic, with a lot of scenes designed to relax the muscles in your face and cause your lower jaw to hang open. For lack of a better word, it’s intense.
The game is also an all-you-can-eat buffet for your eyes. I’ve not seen anything so very visually detailed and accurate since Metal Gear Solid 4. The animation is the smoothest I’ve seen in a game, and the amount of detail in the terrain, scenery and character models is astounding. This is especially noticeable when playing Third Person mode in multiplayer, which in my opinion is a really cool and interesting addition to the game, which actually turned out really impressive, when I initially feared it to be a tacky addition to an otherwise perfect game. I’m glad my fears were proven wrong.
But as everyone with a modicum of intelligence and common sense knows, graphics mean SHIT without solid gameplay to back them up. But Modern Warfare 2 brings the good stuff. It’s an indescribably smooth gaming experience. Every button push does what you expect it to, what you need it to, and as a result it feels good to play. It feels right. It feels considered. If all developers put this much effort into their games, I would be so very happy. But I’m not, because Valve and Infinity Ward are the only developers that care about quality these days.
Still, Valve are much better than Infinity Ward, because Infinity Ward are assholes who basically gutted the PC version of Modern Warfare 2, and removed Party Chat from the 360 one, both horrendous wrongs against their loyal fans and customers. The removal of Party Chat is nothing other than an attack against gamers, and a violation of our rights as paying subscribers to Xbox Live. The gutting of the PC version was a severe kick in the face to its most hardcore fan base, who are right to be enraged by the removal of most of the essential features any PC FPS should have. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that Infinity Ward will right these grievous wrongs, but I sincerely doubt that they ever will, because they have our money now, and any incentive for them to fix the huge problems they’ve deliberately built into their game has gone.
These are the only real criticisms I have of the game, and they’re more criticisms of its developers and publishers than the game itself. A lot of people have been making criticisms of the game itself, though, and I’m here to tell you that these are the kinds of people who eat nachos at every meal.
You’ve no doubt heard that there’s a level early on in the game where you do bad things. This makes you a horrible person, and condemns you forever to hell, because you have the option to shoot pixels at other pixels. It also insinuates that the entire country of Russia and all its people are terrorists who want to kill and eat your babies and blame it on good old god fearing America.
Those are the things you’ve probably heard. Now here’s the truth: Early in the game you play the part of an American soldier. The CIA sends him on an undercover mission to infiltrate the ranks of a Russian ultranationalist terrorist called Makarov. It turns out though that Makarov knows he’s a spy, and sets him up. The group of terrorists, yourself included (still a good guy, undercover) go to an airport in Russia and kill everybody there. Makarov then kills you and leaves your body there, so that Russia will blame the massacre on the American military, causing Russia to invade the US.
Now, yes, this level might be pretty shocking to some. I was a little surprised by it at first, but I also have a brain and the ability to differentiate between reality and fiction, so it didn’t bother me. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to play the level at all. At the start of the game, it gives you a nice big warning stating that one of the levels is graphic and shocking and you can skip it. The option to skip the level is also present during the level, so if you initially somehow missed the warning you can still just go ahead and skip it when you get to it.
Personally I played the level to see what all the fuss was about, and because I don’t give a shit because IT’S NOT REAL. I chose not to actually shoot anybody in the level, because I didn’t feel like killing innocent people. However, this does lead me to my only criticism of the level: It’s fucking boring. You’re forced to walk at a really slow pace through the entire level, which makes it last forever. Even if you did want to shoot at the innocent people, it isn’t any fun because they’re not shooting back. They aren’t a threat, so there’s no challenge, and therefore no fun. I didn’t want to shoot at the security forces because they’re innocent people, just doing their jobs, so I left it to the AI terrorists to do all the killing. Unfortunately, the AI are all SO FUCKING USELESS AND SLOW that this takes forever, so you HAVE to join in if you want the level to hurry up and finish. Either way, because it’s a long, slow, boring level, I always choose to skip it now that I’ve played it once and know what happens.
Anyway, even though that level is boring it doesn’t detract from the rest of the game, which is flawless. Although I was a little disappointed that Veteran mode was so easy. However, Modern Warfare 2 does include a new Special Ops mode, designed to be played with a friend, that IS exceptionally difficult at certain points, which makes up for the campaign being so easy.
That’s all I really had to say about the game. Multiplayer is generally really good, but the maps aren’t anywhere near as balanced and fair as the ones in Modern Warfare, especially in game types like Capture the Flag. My friends and I have found that playing Hardcore mode removes all imbalances and makes the game much more fair and realistic, and makes everything about stealth, speed and skill and removes all the potential for bullshit. While playing most of the game types we were having fun, but we were also really angry whenever we died, because people would get kills with luck or by being an asshole and abusing cheap tactics, but in Hardcore mode there’s no anger, only a slight sense of disappointment in yourself for making a mistake, but mainly it’s just pure, intense fun.
Anyway, if you don’t already have this game then you’re probably eating nachos with a meal while reading this.
Final playtime: So far almost 40 hours, ongoing. At least 15 of those are in replays of campaign mode and the rest is multiplayer.
Final verdict: A