TGL’s Joseph Murphy goes back once more into the belly of the monster in Modern Warfare 2
When the term “Epic” is used, it tends to be used relatively commonly and with no real justification. People flash terms like epic, amazing and unreal a lot but don’t really think twice about their REAL definition. The web definition of epic is: “Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size”. MW2 does not only live up to this but takes leaps and bounds past it. Not without flaws by any means but an extravagant explosion of the mind coupled with some incredible set pieces.
Mw2 comes essentially in three packages. No I’m not talking about the editions, more so the types of gameplay. What will suprise you when you load the disc first will be the three options you have now to choose from: “Special ops”, Single Player” and “Multiplayer” modes. Single player and Multiplayer speak for themselves…but what is this delightful edition “Special ops” you might say? Well Special ops consists of different events and these events are pre-determined. So, for example: you may have a “survival” mode which is similar to a horde/firefight mode type of gameplay where you have to survive a barrage and onslaught from the enemy. While trying to survive you will have access to as many guns as you could imagine, UAV strikes and more top-of-the-scale material. This is especially fun and only really comes to life (in many respects) when you choose the “co-op” online option. One of the great joys of relying on a friend is that, if they are as excited to be playing as you: you really do become engrossed in the gameplay, create tactics and formalise percise military-esque maneuvers. Other events include more stealthy missions where you have to make it to a certain area as quick as you can. Special ops is a “time based” type of gameplay. You won’t get annoying “TIME IS RUNNING OUT” pop ups or anything, but, instead the game trys to convince you to better your time each time by awarding stars. This helps to extend the longevity of the game ten fold.
The single player mode of MW2 was, even before “official” release was fraught with controversy. I wish to touch on why soon but lets try focus on the experience as a whole. Within the first 15 minutes of the game, you know that this indeed a premium title here. You are treated to a wonderful and well thought out introduction that simply begs to be on a movie screen: it looks so professional. It’s not that I didn’t expect the game to be good, I just simply didn’t give into the hype of the game. Reports of grown-men crying like babies in shops when the game sold out…made me sigh a very heavy sigh of relief and reminded me that some people don’t have to be at an “X-factor” renunion for a reason to shed tears. The single player experience is one of the best First person shooter experiences (FPS) I have ever had. It’s the kind of game you would happily watch as well as playing. The combat itself is spot-on with the gunplay close to perfection. The guns respond well but in many ways seem “light”. Anyone used to the guns of such games like Rainbow Six Vegas 2, would understand the guns have a simulated “weight” to them which in turn adds to the realism and joy of firing them. This is not nit-picking, just a view that it seems not only I share. The sound effects are almost shockingly close to what i’d imagine the guns sound like and firefights sometimes become events where you literally have to take a breather as you time your run from one side of the street to another: an element most games try to portray but fail to do so. The characters in the game have an all to familiar ring to them as the first Modern Warfare, without giving away spoilers, lets just say some peoples names/faces might sound/look familiar. Another part of MW2 that will stand out in years to come are the graphics. They look phenomenal, running on the COD: 4 engine, it’s easy to see this game standing out from the crowd on this merit alone.
The controversal and the every-growingly infamous mission “No Russian” takes place inside an airport and accounts for the bulk and backlash of publicity the game has receieved. The level itself (let’s face it) is shocking and with the combination of visuals, sound and physics alike, the impact that it will have on you will leave you either upset or at least thrown back. Now, before people start complaining, I do agree that for example, there are Films that have the same brutal violence if not worse (see: Christopher Walken shooting miners in a “View to a kill”) so in some ways Infinity Ward were brave to include this section as this game is now set to be playing on the same visual field as movies. Games have always had this “un-mentioned” shame to them. Years ago to mention you were a gamer would be like dropping your pants in public. These days, as accepted as it’s become, it still has some sterotypical stigma painted all over it. So the question is, why should this display of violence be such a controversal item when we are surrounded by it every single day but in different forms? That in itself is an essy so lets move on shall we? After finished the No Russian level the game takes the action up a notch with a bleak view of the future and subsequent invasion of America by force. The action itself never lets up and time away from the game feels like a deserved break but a painful farwell.
The Multiplayer is a huge aspect for why this game, over most, excels and becomes not only recreation but a lifestyle. The multiplayer is intense, fast-paced and vicious. With team deathmatch a TGL favourite, 6 vs 6 has never been so sweet. The Mutliplayer containing everything that makes the game a pleasure to own all woven together in a neat little package. The maps are especially good and seem incredibly balanced except for the odd one of two which you will find very frustrating. One major downside of multiplayer is the ranking up system. The system itself is not flawed but to those who just started the game it will be a make-or-break element. Starting off with the usual string of guns, you will be pitted against players with extensions like scopes, lazer pointers, grenade extensions and more. So by the time you find your feet and way around the map you will feel inadequate as people pick you off from a distance with their scopes etc. But, sticking with the game means you will upgrade quickly and soon, their advantage will prove void as you gain access to the same materials. The now famous “Killstreak” system allows you access to airstrikes and even nukes depending on how good you are as a player. The more kills you get without dying, the greater the support you can call. Be careful though, as the enemy can do the same so with the sight of an enemy UAV, be prepared to run or face the consequences.
The game itself has flaws, we know, but as a whole the game is outstanding, surpasing the original Modern Warfare and many other titles out there. With an ever-growing list of “Must-buy” titles, this is indeed one of them. In fact this isn’t simply a must-buy more so than one of the finest games around. For those who don’t like FPS games, it could be a let-down and a drag with some eye-candy, but to those who like FPS games this will stand out as a game that summons up all the emotions once hidden and makes being a gamer a privilege.
NOTE: To any parent wishing to buy this game for a child for Christmas, please note, this game is 18+ for a reason. It contains graphic violence and disturbing scenes.
[TGL SCORE 10/10]
Formats : XBox 360/PS3/PC
Release date: 11th November 2009
Developer(s) : Infinity Ward