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

The game’s AI system has also been given a welcome kick up the backside. Not only do enemies now exploit your weaknesses much more thoroughly and unpredictably, it makes for a more convincing spectacle as a whole. It’s also fair to say that buddy AI is generally a lot more helpful, and it’s typical of even the game’s cannon fodder to get stuck in and help out, rather than simply leave you to it while they apparently fire into thin air. In essence, the illusion of battle has never been better. Of course, if you go looking for game-breaking exceptions then you’ll find them easily, but more often than not, the game presents the miserable, shouty chaos in superb style.

Getting deja vu yet?

Getting deja vu yet?

And MW2′s AI improvements also extend to the game’s own analysis of your performance. Usefully, the game appears to notice when you repeatedly suck at a particular section and will, eventually, throw in a closer checkpoint to where you keep tripping up, or improve the performance of buddy AI to compensate and help you get you through. Although this is tantamount to cheating on your behalf (and ought to be optional), it does at least ensure that players of a lower skill won’t give up in resigned frustration. Fortunately for the elite, the presence of the Veteran skill level still provides one of the most awesome tests there is in FPS gaming.

And yet despite Modern Warfare 2 providing one of the best gaming experiences of the year, there are elements which could definitely have been improved. Top of the list is the new damage effect, which regularly delights in splattering claret all over the screen if you so much as dare as catch a stray bullet. The effect, while visually impressive, quickly proves irritating, as the way it obscures your vision merely compounds the issue, making it instantly harder to dodge incoming attacks. Within a matter of a couple of seconds, you’re running almost blind, being urged to ‘get to cover’. That’s all fine, but the truth is the blood effect often makes it hard to see where that elusive cover might actually be, and so it becomes something of a vicious circle as you dance around.

"Last one to drop a tactical nuke's a bastard, lads."

"Last one to drop a tactical nuke's a bastard, lads."

There are also question marks over whether the gameplay remains rather too scripted at times for its own good. As fantastic an illusion as it often is, on the odd occasions that it breaks it provides an awkward reminder of the smoke and mirrors at work here, and how little room for experimentation there really is. It’s also pertinent to mention – as ever – the issues over the single player campaign length. With most players reporting a 6 to 7 hour run through on first completion on Normal difficulty, it’s hard not to feel that Infinity Ward could have easily beefed up the campaign by a couple of hours to justify that price tag just a tiny bit more. That said, the addition of the new Special Ops mode goes a very long way to address those complaints, while the awesome-looking online component more than makes up for any grumbles over long-term value.

Emerging unblinking from the hours spent in the brutally uncompromising company of Modern Warfare 2′s so far, it’s hard not to be uniformly impressed with what is an extremely impressive package. With another memorable single player mode to look back on, in addition to the excellent Special Ops mode and more multiplayer goodness to look forward to, Infinity Ward has once again come up with a cinematic masterpiece.

9 out of 10

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.


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