Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

It’s the biggest release of the year. Will it get the biggest score? FPS Gamer’s Kristan Reed takes on Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2.

By Kristan Reed, November 10, 2009

What’s impossible to ignore is the staggering beauty of the presentation. While the original Modern Warfare certainly had its moments, the gigantic strides the team has made with its IW 4.0 engine back up the claims of it being a ‘generational leap’ ahead of the previous tech. Quite simply, its tough to think of another game which has pushed this generation’s consoles so impressively, and as a result it’s completely impossible not to be swept along with just how astonishingly slick the whole spectacle is.

Prepare for claret-spatter.

Prepare for claret-spatter.

With barely a single dropped frame to report in the entire game, every scene is awash with incidental detail to the extent that describing a single sequence could take up half the review on its own. Merely focusing on one single element of the action, it’s apparent just how slavish Infinity Ward are to the details: the little touches as you reload your firearm, the spent cartridges that spew forth and litter the ground.

The sheer unfettered chaos of every single encounter has always been built into the Call of Duty DNA, but the new engine gives them room to craft far more convincing environments, not only in basic technical terms of graphical detail, lighting and ambience but also in terms of size and scope. On top of that, the character modelling has also stepped up noticeably, with noticeable animation enhancements complemented by other improvements such as lip synching and richer facial detail. In truth, wherever you look, there’s something new to admire.

Your enemies like to wrap up warm. Won't stop a bullet, though.

Your enemies like to wrap up warm. Won't stop a bullet, though.

And even though the basic gameplay still very much adheres to the tightly funnelled, linear experience which every cinematic shooter tends to abide by, the restriction isn’t quite so transparently obvious and irksome as it usually is. Previous Call of Duties always ended up shattering the suspension of disbelief by pouring respawning enemies at you until you eventually moved beyond an invisible line, but this time it’s evident that enemies appear dynamically, and tend to come in a set number of waves.

Another benefit the new IW 4.0 engine brings to MW2 is the presence of noticeably larger and better designed levels. The dreaded invisible wall has been a perennial bugbear for any right-minded FPS gamer down the years, and the Call of Duty series has been as guilty as any in this regard. But with a greater emphasis on branching paths, and multi-tiered environments, the game quite often gives you the opportunity to sneak off down alternative routes. And not only does this open up a more tactical approach, but gives the game a more exploritative quality as you venture down new paths in search of intelligence dossiers.

9 Responses to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review”

  1. lan lover says:

    finally a review with a sensible score.

  2. mitchell says:

    sensible? mw2 is easily at least a 9.5 horrible read/review.

  3. Nathan says:

    Haha mitchell doesn’t sound like a fan boy… have you even picked up the game? if not then you are just a fan boy and not really helping anything.

  4. MattyF says:

    Note: Lower scores do not equal smarter reviews.

    If you low-ball a score, it does not mean you’re the smart guy who didn’t give in to the hype. If a game is deserving of a 10/10, give it one. It a game is just shy of being perfect, then it’s a 10/10, and NOT a 9/10, because it’s CLOSER to a 10/10. It’s called rounding.

    Halo 3 was by no means a perfect game, but reviewers were so quick to slap it with 8/10 scores just to proudly and arrogantly say “overhyped.”

    If Modern Warfare 2 was a new IP and had a different name but was the exact same game, people would revere it instead of try to battle the hype like an arrogant douchebag.

  5. Maggie Simpson says:

    mitchell sounds like he’s had his throat filled with knobs on multiple occasions.

  6. AndrewF says:

    How about play the game for yourself? I own the game and I hate it when people go around saying its “overhyped” and “won’t be good” when THEY haven’t even played it. Once you do, you’ll realize that the review score here IS low, and should be closer to a 10/10, because the game is ridiculous…

  7. Zeraphil says:

    And once you ALL understand that review scores are based on an individual’s OPINIONS, and that there is not a single test that can quantify with any kind of mathematical precision how awesome or crappy the game is, you’ll realize that reviews scores can be anything they want and you won’t like the game any more nor any less.

  8. Gory says:

    In case he’s right and it makes you think? :P

    I wholly agree with the review on 99% of the points raised. Being a PC gamer, I’d have given the game a 10/10 if it wasn’t for the dumbing-down of MPlayer options usually available to the unwashed PC gaming masses. Even still, hits a 9/10 for me.


Kikizo Classic: