Posts Tagged ‘video game’

Video Game Review- Modern Warfare 2

November 24, 2009

Modern Warfare 2

There’s a very good reason I haven’t been updating this blog very often, if at all, over the past two weeks. I’ve been busy taking down choppers, laying down suppressive fire, securing strategic points, and infiltrating enemy lines in the new blockbuster game Modern Warfare 2, the latest installment in the Call of Duty series.

I was one of the millions of gamers across the nation who pre-ordered the game and stood in line awaiting its release at 12:00 AM on November 11th, 2009. This experience deserves a paragraph of its own as I had never witnessed anything like this before. Our local Game Crazy store was SWAMPED with people when I arrived at 10:00 PM on Monday. Apparently people started showing up for the launch earlier in the evening, and others yet had camped out in anticipation of the store’s opening to nab the first number ticket. Yes, a friend told me that he had seen people in tents outside the store at 5:00 AM. Insane… but not as insane as the fact that a man bought the 18th spot in line for $100. Yes, somebody just couldn’t wait a half-hour in line to get his game, and threw away a Benjamin to jump the wait. I did envy the man who sold his spot away, however, as he basically picked up a free game and a half.

After 45 minutes of waiting (Fifty other people, including a grandmother and an on-duty police officer, were ahead of me in line), I finally received my copy. I raced home, blasting Rage Against the Machine’s hit single “Guerilla Radio” in preparation for this event. I brewed some quick raspberry coffee, raced upstairs, slapped on my headset and ripped open my case in a hurry. I smiled in satisfaction as I watched my friends log onto X-Box Live, one by one, all ready to join me in combat on Multiplayer. One friend of mine walked a total of four miles to get his copy, braving wind and cold as he trudged through busy city streets. That’s dedication, folks.

Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

MULTIPLAYER

The past few Call of Duty releases have had similar multiplayer to one another. Call of Duty: World at War‘s multiplayer seemed like an exact copy of that of Call of Duty 4 (time period alterations aside). I was afraid that Modern Warfare 2′s online battles would fall into that same rut as the past few games. While they were good games, the series was stagnating and beginning to feel like expansion packs rather than games.

Fortunately, Modern Warfare 2 is a different animal.

Compared to the previous two titles, Modern Warfare 2 boasts much more customization, variety, and replay value in multiplayer. The game retains the unlock-weapons-and-perks-as-you-play style as the titles before, which in itself leads to hours of addictive play. This style is beefed up with all-new weapons, weapon categories, perks, perk upgrades, customizable killstreak and deathstreak rewards, and challenges. Guns can be customized dozens of different ways, as the more you kill, the more you unlock; silencers, scopes, camo patterns, grenade launchers, and various other attachments can be added to nearly any gun. Pistols, shotguns, and SMGs can be dual-wielded. The excess grenade use that plagued the previous Call of Duty titles has been mitigated by different perks and less ‘nades in your starting arsenal.There are a handful of different explosive weapons and grenades at your disposal. Instead of being confined to three different killstreak rewards, you can unlock and choose your own strike. Whether you prefer UAV recon and airstrikes, or care packages and attack choppers, or even a tactical nuke; you can completely customize your style of play.

The maps are larger, more detailed, less clustered, and offer a grab-bag of strategic points and opportunities. Whether you and/or your team decide to camp a location, rove the streets, surround chokepoints, or man the rooftops; there’s really no limit to the ideas and tactics you can employ on these playing fields. One controversial move the developers made was to force all players in team games to be in the party chat; one cannot talk in an X-Box 360 party and play a team game at the same time. While this takes away the opportunity to talk with your friends that are playing other games, you’re forced to cooperate and communicate with teammates, promoting strategic conversation and, of course, endless trash talk.

I’ve spent nearly two days in game hours already playing the multiplayer with my friends, clan buddies, and even my girlfriend. There’s no thrill like unlocking a new, more powerful gun.. and the fun that follows in leveling it up and tricking it out with tiger camo and thermal scope. The “Chopper time.. hell yes!” and “AC-130 Gunship baby!!” moments that myself and my teammates have experienced have been very worth the battlefield grind it took to unlock the airstrike rewards. With the wide variety of weaponry and power-ups available, a team can mold a strategy for any gametype and any map.. and still have plenty of shoot-em-up fun.  Players can now customize their presence in lobbies with all-new unlockable Titles and Emblems. The multiplayer mode even offers third-person lobbies, a “mosh pit” that randomizes game types, and the thrilling “Game Winning Kill” cam. What’s not to like?

I have no qualms in saying that I believe the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer mode is worth the price of the game alone.

Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Screenshot

CAMPAIGN

After several days of nonstop melon-popping and missile-dropping, I had to try my hand at the Modern Warfare 2 campaign. Of course, I chose to tackle it under Veteran difficulty, so I could experience the game in its most terrifying glory. With achievements to be unlocked, blood to be shed, and fun to be had; I was certainly looking forward to playing this.

At first, the campaign superceded my expectations. It was smoother and prettier than the other Call of Duty campaigns, yet still intense with all the fright and vigor of combat. Missions typically began and ended with interactive cut-scenes, and the loading screens connected the mission stories together with voice-overs and images. One critique of this campaign, which I also say about the other Call of Duty games, is that the characterization is a bit weak, many situations seem forced or disconnected, and some of the dialogue stale. That said, these drawbacks are minor enough that they don’t take much, if anything, away from the epic campaign.

There are many thrilling sequences and challenges in the campaign. From frantic truck rides through occupied Afghan cities to climbing icy mountains, from terrifying airport shootings to boat chases, and even a scene in outer space; there’s no shortage of unbelievable moments, popcorn-movie scenes, and fun-to-watch-and-play moments. The missions are all different enough from one another to keep the campaign fresh throughout, there are returning characters from the Call of Duty 4 campaign, and the surprising plot twists and shocking revelations make this one of the best stories in the entire series. There are images and scenes throughout the game that are downright jaw-dropping, ones that will be imprinted on my mind for ages to come.

Of course, there will be many moments where you find yourself constantly dying, pinned down by relentless enemy fire and struggling to find an escape route. This will be especially true if you decide to play under Veteran difficulty. The grind of going through fifteen lives just to make it through one city street, or taking one hallway, can be exhausting. Don’t give up, keep trying, try different movement and shooting patterns. Trust me. The game is rewarding when you tough it out through these exhausting moments. The shocking moments and fun mission varieties make up for the difficult challenges, no matter how long you find yourself hammering away at one part of the campaign.

Unfortunately, the campaign is a bit short.. but it’s definitely fun and interesting enough to tackle time and time again. This won’t win any awards for storytelling, but it’s very dramatic and worth your effort. I must mention before we continue that the graphics in this game are the best yet in the Call of Duty series.

CO-OP

There is no true cooperative campaign in this game. You won’t be able to unravel the plotline, gasp at the sheer grandiosity of the battles, and shudder at the brutality of war alongside one or more of your buddies. However, Modern Warfare 2 offers a new mode called “Spec Ops.” These are a variety of missions, challenges, battles, and even races that you can take on alone or with a friend. Depending on how hard the difficulty is, or how fast you complete the mission, stars are awarded based on performance and unlock new Ops to tackle. Many of the campaign’s thrills are offered without having to play all the way through to get to them. There are even a few Ops that don’t actually happen in the campaign, and are very worth playing on their own. With a couple dozen Ops, they offer replay value and a fresh take on the game’s addicting play.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Better graphics than ever. Thrilling, awesome campaign with its only drawbacks being brevity and a lack of major depth. An all-new co-op mode that’s fun to tackle alone or with a buddy. The best multiplayer in a Call of Duty game ever, which is saying a lot, with enough new features and a fresh feel to keep anyone playing for a long time to come.

Highly recommended to ANY gamer.. this is the best shooter I’ve ever played.. yes, better than Halo 3, which still holds a special place in my heart. But that’s a blog for another day.

Final Grade: A

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