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View Full Version : Modern Warfare 2 Review



Bloo
20th December 2009, 05:13 PM
WARNING A LOT OF TEXT AHEAD. Lets see if we can get this review thing going again...


http://www.play3.de/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/modern-warfare-2-banner-490x185.jpg


Developer: Infinity Ward
Platform: PC/PS3/Xbox 360
Multiplayer: Yes
Single player: Yes


SINGLEPLAYER

So to restart this failed venture a bit, I’ve decided to pick one of the most controversial games of 2009: Modern Warfare 2 to review. In truth, it’s quite a mixed bag. The campaign for starters, is as coherent as a toddler with his mouth full, and amounts to little more than a world tour of shooting people with different skin tones than you.

The plot itself makes little sense, with the crux it resting on the hot topic ‘No Russian’ level – wherein an airport massacre sparks an international war that pretty much kicks off the rest of the plot. The player isn’t thankfully a true believer of the cause or anything like that, but an undercover agent sent to deal with the mastermind of the attack who happens to be right there with you. It does make you wonder why you don’t just kill him there and then to save the next four hours of pure drivel, but then perhaps that is the flaw with the lack of storytelling to tie it together. One might expect at least some form of story will be told in the mission-briefings that precede every mission but instead we’re treated to random philosophical monologues from various characters, one in particular, General Shepherd, is a repeat offender of this.

So instead we get a world tour of disjointed events that make little sense as whole but are altogether, well crafted and entertaining individually. The characters are for the most part pretty pathetically developed. Ghost is pretty much designed to be the “cool” one with his skull balaclava and freerunning moves appearing, but for me personally Craig Fairbrass (Gaz’s voice actor) doesn’t fit the character, and the character himself just seems a bit irritating in general. Even more annoying is the character you spent much of the last game playing – Soap. Once again it’s a case of poor choice of character design with voice design (and one dreadful haircut), but then once again if you’ve played the last game you’ll probably have an image of Soap in your head, and I assure you, the character in the game isn’t him.

The only characters I did enjoy were Sgt Foley and Cpl Dunn – your mentor figure and his right-hand man respectively for the Ranger segments, while some of Foley’s lines don’t fit his general demeanour (“Honey Badger is a mean bitch, sir”) I still think Keith David did a great job voicing him. If only because the Rangers don' seem to teach their recruits philosophy, and therefore they don’t spout some meaningless nonsense during mission briefings.

The gameplay too does its best to be interesting, and Infinity Ward nicely break up static gunplay with different sequences – from snowmobile rides to stealth sections they prevent the game from becoming a wall of continuous shooting. And the shooting itself isn’t that bad anyway, if a little stale, you’re usually equipped with the most boring weapons (M4 or SCAR assault rifle, probable chance of red dot sight and grenade launcher, or some kind of sniper rifle) and I usually go gun hunting for something more exciting (the enemy mooks get P90’s! And FAMAS’ and F2000’s and well basically they drop a variety of guns).

Sadly however, Infinity Ward repeats the same tactic for ramping up the difficulty of a section again and again. The two standard crimes of this are giving the enemies more health or shoving more in your face and Infinity Ward have elected for the more numbers approach. But it is mixed up, to make a section hard they’ll add more enemies AND from every direction, negating you any chance of using cover. This just ends up feeling like a very cheap way of artificially adding a greater challenge however. The other way they try and add a challenge is throwing up a smokescreen or calling in an enemy chopper, but in the former thermal weapons are always nearby and rockets for the latter.

So the singleplayer is a bit contrived, and if you want a decent plot with good characterization this isn’t for you. Then again, this is Call of Duty, who really cares about that anyway? It’s all about the multiplayer!

MULTIPLAYER

The lack of dedicated server is an annoyance, but it doesn’t ruin everything. The lag isn’t that noticeable and while there is the occasional spike, this has happened to me on dedicated servers as well so I don’t so I can’t possibly comment. IWNet isn’t completely irredeemable in other ways either – loading onto a server never takes long and the fact that you can’t remove the Killcam means campers get found out quickly, which promotes a more fluid and dynamic gameplay than the static gridlock you get on some servers.
But then it isn’t perfect – the attempt to add a balancing feature is as successful as you’d think, and the game is only fun with evenly matched team, which sadly isn’t going to be all the time. Its main flaw however is why can’t they combine a matchmaking service and dedicated servers? The two are not mutually exclusive when you think about it. Hopefully with the groundwork done now, they can add dedicated servers alongside it for MW3. Or maybe I’m hopelessly naive.

What is multiplayer like though as a game? A much more opened up version of Call of Duty 4’s gameplay. There is a lot of room for tactical nuances – snipers, assault troopers, defensive shield guys and my personal favourite – knife dicks. You can build an entire style around pretty much whatever you want and still be viable, though it depends on the nature of the map (knifing on a wide open sniper map, not so good...). The levelling up is quite boring however and not as exciting as the first – the sleuth of new weapons and perks mean little. However gaining attachments through kills (and kills with specific attachments) is fun – you can work towards the stuff you want. I’d prefer if this was the same for guns and perks as well – I never use a machinegun, so why should I be getting them? Titles too are a fun and rewarding way of using new tactics, and since they show up when you kill people can be publically displayed – I personally like my titles “Companion Crate” for the Portal reference, and “Infected” for spreading the infection with every person I knife.

But mostly the actual gameplay is nothing exciting – you shoot people who don’t see you and they do the same, when you both see each other it becomes somewhat more exciting, until the enemy chopper summoned in shoots you from the sky. Killstreak rewards are good idea in theory, but in practice make a one-sided game even more one-sided. Its main fault really, is that teamwork in the multiplayer isn’t needed or that easy to accomplish, setting up a group is easy enough but playing together is a hazard since death comes quickly and you’ll often respawn pretty far apart. If you’re playing with friends then it’s best to be fully prepared as a clan, if you’re just in it for fun, the experience won’t widely differ from having or not having a few mates alongside you.

So far I would probably give this game a decent score, though not the excellent and mind blowing experience impressible console gamers would give, until Chazlene and I fired up Spec Ops, a series of single missions with no overarching plotline (somewhat similar to the singleplayer experience...) but simply a series of challenges – sneak past all these blokes, hold out against waves of enemies and capture the intel and then get extracted. It is simply awesome.

<3 SPEC OPS <3

Alone the Spec Op missions are somewhat dull, but with a partner it becomes a whole other experience. You progressively unlock harder missions and the challenge ramps up fairly well against the learning curve. You’ll quickly learn to use each other for flanking manoeuvres and covering each other’s backs. Some missions are spectacular – one sees one player in the AC130 and the other on the ground, the man on the ground getting covering fire from his mate above. Another mission has a helicopter gunner covering his grounded friend. And with the added bonus of your comrade being able to help you up when you’re downed it quickly becomes a much more different game.

The challenge of these missions are usually ramped up – partly because of the introduction of Juggernauts, heavily armed enemies with machines gun who take an entire sniper clip to take down (one wonders why they didn’t just add a tank in these sequences to be honest...) and partly because of the usual trick of cover denial. But this matters less when playing alongside a friend – you die, you rethink your strategy, you try again. Its crystallised tactics, Left 4 Dead (at least, the original) can’t hold a candle to the kind of teamwork involved. Whereas dying repeatedly in singleplayer quickly causes infuriation (poor balance, one might say) and multiplayer bring about a feeling of jealousness and inferiority (well if I had that gun I’d be able to do that!) here dying again and again feels like you didn’t do it right.

But there is never a more satisfying feeling as only just surviving a mission you’ve previously had difficulty with – one which involved a straight dart through a prison shower area – filled with enemy soldiers, some with shields and others in the balconies above you- ended with us having three seconds to spare and me dropping into the extraction point in last stand dying mode, we succeeded, but barely. Another set in an aircraft graveyard seems like a simple mission – a few guys to kill while grabbing some intel and moving to the extraction point, becomes a massive coordinated challenge because the enemy AI is ramped up – they take cover, move about and are always laying ambushes for you. It was intense and did produce some gnashing of teeth, but at the end of it I felt quietly proud of us both.

So it seems that when it comes to fighting against AI, Infinity Ward shouldn’t bother with making named characters with personalities and interests, they suck at that. Angry Guy and Calm Guy (the names I’ve given to the two British Spec Ops guys, I haven’t named the two Yanks yet) had more character than the entire cast of the singleplayer combined.

On the whole, Modern Warfare 2 is probably one of the most mixed up games I’ve ever played, and I would say that if you’re feeling sceptical of the game, I wouldn’t buy it for the price they’re charging. If it was normally priced I would tell you to go for it. The singleplayer is a poor effort and I don’t think has any long term appeal other than finishing it on Veteran, the multiplayer is functional but not revolutionary and the loss of dedicated servers hasn’t really caused the game to degrade in quality, but it does seem like a stupid move considering the matchmaking service could work alongside a dedicated server list. But it really is the last mode I’ve tried, and probably the one most people will look at the least, that’s the real star. It’s my hope that when Infinity Ward do inevitably cash in on the game and start selling DLC, that new Spec Op missions will be the front and centre for this. It’s such a brilliant idea – two guys, no story, no jockeying to be Mario rather than Luigi just an objective to drive the action forward and a variety of boomsticks.

Good points – Spec Ops is fun and interesting, multiplayer isn't as bad as people would think.
Bad points – Dedicated servers do remove any clan or mod support, campaign is rubbish, Multiplayer isn't a revolution.

Total Rating - B

Target
20th December 2009, 06:38 PM
Mega lolz at how long this reviews is, think I mite have to have it in chapter next time bloo

Isphera
22nd December 2009, 10:13 PM
I think my WoW one was longer :D. Nice review though.

Chalex4
23rd December 2009, 12:39 AM
Really great review there Bloo, I enjoyed the read. You actually picked up on a lot of things I'd just glazed over on, like the characters/voices and really made me want to check out the spec ops!! It would be awesome if we could just buy this part of the game :).

Sadly/happily though I don't have the game, and if it ever becomes <25 I'll probably snap it up.

Target
23rd December 2009, 02:51 AM
LoL in Gamestation you could buy it for 19.99 for ps3!!! Epic fail!!! PC version should be free.
And tbh it takes ages inbetween games to load and most the time the lobby crashes and you have to find a new server and then end up playin the same maps over and over again :( Plus killcam is gay if you bother to use cold-blooded and you want to snipe without gettin noobtubed

Bloo
25th December 2009, 12:05 AM
Plus killcam is gay if you bother to use cold-blooded and you want to snipe without gettin noobtubed

Guess that just comes down to opinion then. Getting tubed because you stayed in one position all the time for me is completely fair. Getting tubed because a guy is losing a firefight definitely pisses me off.
Its nice that snipers need to stay mobile and change positions, it adds risk to the player and prevents one area from being a killzone permanently.

Target
25th December 2009, 08:18 PM
If you can't work out where you got shot from the first 3times then you deserve to die :D