Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

It’s pretty sad that when a game as hugely anticipated and as well made as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 comes along, that any controversial elements are going to overshadow the game itself, particularly in the non-gaming media. You see, you may have heard of a particular portion (you can skip it if you wish) of the game, which may be a plot device, though it feels wholly unnecessary and certainly wasn’t needed to garner interest in what is the biggest game of 2009. It’s likely that the media attention would have boosted the sales a little, though.

It’s definitely the weak point of what is an exceptional campaign, a single player run that just so happens to be up there with the very best of them. Anyway, before getting a bit too far ahead of myself, Modern Warfare 2 is the sequel to the 2007 original: the game which bravely took the series from its World War II roots and placed it into the modern day. It was an outstanding achievement, which may very well of got a few people interested that had grown weary of being a part of World War II for so many years.

So, it was the underrated Treyarch’s turn last year with the brilliant World at War, this year the superb Infinity Ward are back on development duties. As 2009’s monster game, I’m glad to say that this is certainly no disappointment, and whilst that could have been my concluding comment, I’ve said it now, nice and early.

Lets begin with the single player, which is one of the most explosive, hard-hitting and memorable campaigns that an FPS has ever received. If you’re looking for any major innovations, then this campaign isn’t going to satisfy, though Infinity Ward have crafted a campaign to be proud of. It’s a campaign that may very well walk a well tread path, though it walks it confidently, using its mostly worn features to an immensely satisfying degree. It’s just a shame that the story is so poor and that the characters haven’t been given a little more personality, although much has to be said about the game itself, as the story is perhaps its worst problem.

Like the original, Modern Warfare 2 is also one of the most intense FPS’s currently in the world today. There’s just so much going on: so many explosions, so much echoes of gunfire, bullets bouncing off your surroundings and whizzing past your ear, as well as plenty of yelling from both enemy and comrade. It’s enough to drown out what I found to be an otherwise excellent musical score (masterfully composed by Hans Zimmer), well it was excellent when I could actually hear it.

The game has a very scripted nature at times, though it’s so wonderfully cinematic, so gloriously visual (everything from the guns to the explosions are spectacular in their detail), that many of these moments add so much to the campaign, even if you have little say in the matter. Scripted or not, there’s some truly exciting moments that makes you feel as if you are playing a part in a war film.

The brevity of the campaign (6-8 hours) may be a downer for some, though for me, there’s enough memorable moments and intense action to make any complaints invalid. It’s short, so what? It’s a campaign that I’d be happy to relive again and again, and if it had lasted any longer, who knows? Perhaps its appeal would have begun to fizzle out a little, although I very much doubt that this would be the case. Of course, there’s always the steepness of the veteran difficulty level to challenge yourself with.

But, as most of us know, Modern Warfare 2 isn’t just about the campaign. The popular multiplayer modes of last time around are joined by the cooperative focussed Special Ops mode. Special Ops takes locations from both of Modern Warfare’s campaigns and tasks you with various missions, but more importantly it’s some of the best cooperative fun in recent memory. The mode can be played in single player, though it’s obviously designed to be mainly played with another player (some of the levels require this), either through split screen or online. One mission may have one player on foot, whilst the other player provides support from the air with a helicopter gunship, another has you picking off camouflaged sniper targets, whilst one final example is fighting off enemies and pushing up a bridge. There’s 23 of these missions, although all aren’t unlocked to begin with, but come available by earning stars (up to three, dependant on the current selected difficulty level) at the completion of levels.

Then there’s the other side to the multiplayer, an improved version of Modern Warfare’s very well received multiplayer modes. There’s still perks and experience to be earned (unlocking new ranks, weapons, modes and more), though there’s now 15 kill streak rewards to unlock and new perks, too. It’s still one of the most rewarding multiplayer experiences currently in existence today, and certainly one of the best.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 could have been one of those over hyped games that didn’t deserve its inevitable sales success, although this one deserves every bit of record breaking success that it has already enjoyed and will likely continue to enjoy. The explosive high production values of the campaign and the stunning and rewarding multiplayer makes for a truly excellent package, and one that is deserving of all the attention in the world.