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Modern Warfare 2: Whaaaaaaat.

Okay, I suppose I’ll get this out there early, since I know how the first person shooter crowd usually goes.  I am bad at Modern Warfare 2.  It’s the truth, plain and simple.  On XBox Live I am no xXDarkAssassinXx, NoobPwner49, or SniperSaurusRex.  Though, come to think of it, that last one it pretty awesome.  How would the dinosaur use a sniper rifle with its tiny, ineffectual dino-claws?  Also, what would a dinosaur even need to assassinate in the first place?  Hmmm.

Time to bag me a high profile Stegosaurus.

Why does it seem like I always get distracted really early in these reviews?  Because these things are important, that’s why.

Anyway, I’m really bad at this game.  Actually, you can probably lump all first person shooters in there, too.  You put me behind the eyes of a digital soldier/cannon fodder recruit and there are pieces of me all over the battlefield before you can say ‘giblets.’  It might be a lack of experience on my part, especially since I like my games to have a bit more substance then you’ll find in your standard first person shooter, but I think it’s probably because I’m unable to pay attention to my surroundings for any length of time due to a faulty attention span.

That being said, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is one of the better war simulation first person shooters I have played on the XBox 360.  Notice I didn’t say it was the best first person shooter I’ve ever played, but we’ll get to that.  For now, lets dig into the shiny pile of “while this game is cool” compliments before we start rooting through oozing the “you could have tried harder, Infinity Ward” heap.

First off, the game looks gorgeous.  I’m playing my games on a standard, not-HD television that had a tendency to suddenly turn green if the colors are too light, and even I was shocked by how great the game looked.  The controls are easy to get into, and the difficulty for the main game is forgiving on each of the settings.  It was a bit insulting when I ran the training course at the beginning of the game to be told I probably am not ready to play on normal just yet, but I’ve come to expect these things when I sit down in front of a first person shooter.

Each story mission has its own sense of urgency, whether you’re infiltrating an enemy base, climbing up a wall of solid ice, fighting back Russians in a burger joint downtown, or dodging countless crashing helicopters after a crazy old man blew up space.  Yeah.  That’s actually pretty accurate on what happens.

Oh noooooooooo

“But Tophat,” I hear you yell at your computer screen, because you are a crazy person.  “No one plays Modern Warfare 2 for the single player campaign!  You are dumb!”

Well, okay how about you shut up.  I was getting to that part.

The multiplayer experience, and man is it an experience, is actually loads of fun, when you’re not being matched up with people who play MW2 more than they actually, eat, go to work, or sleep.  There’s nothing like that feeling you get when you launch a grenade into a bunker full of idiots and score yourself a triple kill- except for maybe a well-timed stealth bomber run.  The level gaining system gives you something to work for, and the challenges will have you trying out tactics that you never thought you’d use before.  There’s something downright fantastic about chasing a fleeing foe down with a riot shield before smashing him unconscious.

Special ops, I’ve found, has been largely underrated, but I really enjoyed having the chance to plow through some nigh-impossible tasks with a friend.  My only beef here is that it could have used a four person coop mode to get the job done.  More friends equals more fun, as long as they’re not just random 12 year olds from the internet.

Okay, enough fluff.  Here’s what was wrong with the game.

First:  The single player story made absolutely no sense.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Who cares, right?  Well, I do.  The motivations of the US government, your teammates, Captain Price, Shepard, Soap, ect ect ect, make absolutely no sense.  The only people I felt sympathy for in the game were the Russians, because I know if something like that happened in the United States, I’d want the country responsible to burn to the ground.  But no, the Russians are the baddies, second only to the terrorists, and even though America chose to slaughter a whole buncha innocent people in an airport instead of plugging terrorist jerkface number one in the back the first chance they had, the Russians are still portrayed as the aggressors here.

Don't worry citizens! I'm the good guy here!

Oh, and an old man blows up space.  With a nuke.  I mentioned that, right?

Honestly though, the game still was loads of fun to play, even with the major plot holes and blemishes.  Of course, I was just thrilled at the thought of a Call of Duty game that wasn’t set during World War II.  We’ve been there, seen it and done that at this point.  Modern Warfare 2 is left wide open for a sequel, which simultaneously fills me with dread and anticipation, because I know MW3 will be just as confusing as ridiculous as MW2.  But it should still be enjoyable.  It’s like having a bad movie night, every night for a week.  Except it’s the same movie, night after night.

The multiplayer has a few annoyances as well.  Care package glitches aside, (they fixed that a while back, but it was still made the game pretty much unplayable for a while) I’ve never seen a game so dedicated to making you talk to random douchebags on XBox Live.  You can form a party of all your chums, you know, people you actually want to talk to, but if you want to stay in a group without outsiders butting in, you’d better be prepared to play a lot of ground war.  Just about every other mode requires you to be lumped in open chat with everyone in your game, whether or not they’re a part of your XBox Live chat.  I understand Infinity Ward designed it this way to promote team cooperation, but if they actually thought it would go that way in reality, well, they’ve spent an abominably low amount of time on the internet.  If I wanted to have long chats about puberty with a seventh grader, I would have become a guidance counsellor.

Also:  I’ve been dropped from games more in MW2 than any other game, regardless of if I’m playing with friends or not.  At one point, during a game of domination on highrise, my friends and I suffered a crash so hard I that fell through the map, all the way back to the lobby, and another one of my friends ended up in a team death match map in Afghan.  It was pretty fantastically bad.

Now how in the hell did I end up here?

Still, with hundreds upon thousands upon millions of billions of people now playing this game, you’re always guaranteed someone will be playing if you’re jonesing for a game.  And like I said, the game is pretty solid, if full of enough plot holes to strain noodles through.  I did enjoy this game a lot, and I still plug it in to play an online match with Enosh and Elrood every now and then.  But do I like it enough to buy the new overpriced map packs?  Ehhh, not so much.

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One Response

  1. Remember my epic stealth bomber on Derail? No help from you I might add. Would it kill you or Enosh to get a UAV so us people that actually earn large kill streaks can place them properly? ……..Ok sorry, I feel better.

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