Thursday, July 27, 2000

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare 2 | 10

Just like its most recent predecessors, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: World at War, the campaign portion of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a really fun game with extremely intense battle sequences. The downfall is that it's very very short. So let me start by saying that if you're not set up to, or you just don't intend to, play the online co-op or multiplayer modes, you really want to think twice before paying full price for this game. Single players either need to rent this or wait for an inexpensive used copy to go on sale.

So you get three game options: Special Ops (online isn't necessary, but at least two players are required for some of the missions), Multiplayer (designed to be played online; this is no fun split-screen with a max of 4 players), and the single player Campaign that took me less than 6 hours to finish.

In single player Campaign mode, you're a first person shooter (soldier) on the frontlines, and this time the frontlines aren't limited to overseas territories. Primarily you're playing separate, interlacing missions all over the world as two different characters. The story takes place several years after CoD 4 ended. And just as in CoD 4 you're with a team of characters that are truly your band of Artificial Intelligence brothers. On easier settings the AI soldiers can do practically all of the work for you on some missions; the help you might get from your team is based on the difficulty setting you've chosen. So unless you want to just glide through the game, definitely don't pick the Recruit difficulty (the other difficulty options are Regular, Hardened and Vet).

I could take away a star from the overall score of this game for how short the single player mode is, but I won't....All of a sudden it's not so short when you go back and try to play on the Vet setting and spend the time looking for all of the Intel items.

You arrive in single player boot camp just like in all of the previous CoDs, and you get a brief tutorial on how to maneuver around, shoot your weapons & throw grenades. After boot camp you get to choose the difficulty setting, then you're immediately strewn into various battles. (Once you've completed the game on any setting you can go back to various chapters to clean up any items or trophies missed, and at the start of each chapter you can choose to attempt on the higher difficulties.)

You fight your way through some intense chapters....really intense. In fact, when you first start off, there's even a warning that you'll be in for some VERY disturbing sequences, and you have the option to tell the game to skip "offensive material". thanks. I think that this is the first game that I've played that offers the option to censor itself if you choose the option. The story is a bit choppy at times, but the battles are wild. The graphics are out of this world, and some of the "familiar territory" scenes will just blow you away with how much it really looks like your own back yard.

The weapons are plentiful and sophisticated. You're shooting whichever modern-day weapon you happen to have picked up along your objective route. Objectives that guide you along are updated regularly as you complete each task throughout each chapter. And some of those tasks are brutal. There are frequent checkpoints (I think I remember even reaching new checkpoints without firing a single shot) in the campaign, so no need to worry about respawning back before what seemed to take an eternity to complete. On the other hand....

....There is the Special Ops portion of the game. I think that there are 23 different missions for you here, and you can play each one by trying to earn 1, 2 or 3 stars in each mission. Some of these are darn hard, especially the final 3-star unlocks. You will be frustrated by playing some of these a few times before you beat the levels to earn your stars. And there are no checkpoints in these missions, so if you fail in the final moments of a mission, you start over from the beginning of that mission.

Special Ops is most fun with a partner. It's best online so that you get to play full screen, but if you have a guest over you can play split screen offline. For all you World at War players looking for Zombies, you're out of luck here. You get Special Ops instead. There was a silly rumor that MW2 would have an "Alien Invaders" mode that would rival the Zombie mode of WaW, but that indeed was just a silly rumor.

Online Multiplayer is where you'll get addicted. No AI brothers here...just your fellow gamers. You'd better have your FPS skills honed if you think that you'll score better than some of the MW2 online players. A very high percentage of the online players have been honing their skills online for years now with CoD4 and World at War.

The concept with Multiplayer is certainly not new. The more you play, the higher you rank allowing you to unlock more (fine tuned) weapons. The game sets you up in matches with people at your level and rank, but that ain't gonna help you if you're new (you will be fondly referred to as a noob by your swell fellow online players) and you're up against the CoD4 or WaW vets.

What makes MW2 Multiplayer more than just a new map pack for CoD4 is that the Multiplayer weapons and perk system are vastly improved. And so is connectivity (so it seems in the initial week of play after a few day one and two glitches). You get 10 times the amount of points for the kills and captures that you're used to getting only 5 or 10 points for in CoD4 and WaW. You also now get points for not just killing and capturing, but for taking out enemy air support, coming back from deathstreaks, killing your nemesis, breaking an enemy's streak and other stuff. Yeah, Multiplayer is good fun, habitual and bad for a marriage.

So all in all Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is major fun. The only drawbacks to this awesome game are that the campaign is really short and the multiplayer action is a bit familiar. But the MW2 Multiplayer improvements over its predecessors far out weigh the familiarity.

Modern Warfare 2 is a must for FPS fans. Add it to your cart, soldier!

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