Modern Warfare 2
Is the old Call of Duty magic Oscar Mike, or simply AWOL?
So, here it is. Finally. When the original Modern Warfare splashed down in 2008, it took everyone by surprise. The game’s developer, Infinity Ward, had already shown it could do the whole World War thing well, but what was truly unexpected was that its translation to the modern era could be not only as good, but better.
Now, however, the world of Modern Warfare is a known quantity. People were never going to be taken by surprise in the same way again; they just wanted a game that was better. They wanted a game with better multiplayer, more achievements, more elaborate set pieces, and perhaps most importantly, MANY more explosions. And so it was.
There’s no doubt that the campaign of Modern Warfare 2 supersedes that of its predecessor in almost every respect.
Many levels take place during an invasion of the United States (it’s really not that spoilery: it happens after the first couple of levels), and there are similarities to Fallout 3 in the depiction of a devastated world wracked by conflict. The actual reasons for all this doomsday-like warmongering, though, are hard to see: there’s something about revenge, and some evil Russian guy… *mumbles*... nuclear warheads… *mumbles*...Brazil. Or something like that anyway.
The most controversial moment of the game - a massacre of civilians in a Russian airport, is particularly bizarre. There’s little lead-in to the moment, and the player’s own presence (as an undercover American agent) in the level is almost, but not quite, entirely without reason. It almost seems as if the developer thought of a shocking moment, and decided to build a story around it, rather than operating in the reverse. At least the game gives you the option of skipping that particular scene.
What little sense there is to the plot is at least wrapped up in that crisp, military-grade polish we’ve come to know and love. Dialogue is mostly limited to shouting orders, swearing and ‘Oscar Mike’, but this is hardly Shakespeare we’re dealing with.
Of course, Modern Warfare owed its success as much to its multiplayer as its solo campaign, and Modern Warfare 2 itself is certainly no slouch. The likes of the Demolition and good ol’ Capture the Flag modes, in particular, stand out; in some cases, the lowered player count from the previous game actually creates a tighter, more fast-paced environment.
There will be players who will be more than a little upset by some changes, particularly if you’re a PC gamer at heart. The requirement of using the developer’s own IWNet service as a central area from which to access games, introduces some bugs and latency problems, but that won’t be an issue for console gamers.
In all, Modern Warfare 2 is a good game, but it didn’t have to be fantastic for it to fly off shelves, and Infinity Ward knows this. It made some improvements, added a touch of controversy, and stood back to watch the fireworks. It’s not the revolution, but if all you want is some more CoD 4, this is it.