We're Oscar Mike
Reviewing a game like Modern Warfare 2 is a difficult process. It's always tempting to talk about why a game has so much hype surrounding it rather than talk about the game itself. And make no mistake- Modern Warfare 2 has garnered more hype than any other game I can ever remember. However, once you look past all the buzz and evaluate Modern Warfare 2 for what it is, it's pretty easy to see what's going on. This is a must have multiplayer experience, but lackluster single player offerings make this an iffy package for the offline crowd.
For anyone that played Infinity Ward's previous game, it should go without saying that the competitive online modes offered by Modern Warfare 2 are once again fantastic. The persistent level up system has gotten a complete overhaul, and feels even more streamlined and rewarding than ever. The pacing at which you unlock new equipment feels right, and you're constantly being rewarded for performing all sorts of feats, which provides a lot of incentive to keep going. The overall array of guns and perks feels more balanced as well, and the ability to customize your kill streaks is a brilliant addition. And of course, the shooting controls are just as snappy as ever. Infinity Ward has a knack for delivering tight, responsive controls that keep you at the helm at all times. I feel like this has been the key to their success over the years, and that's certainly the case when it comes to their latest offering. All of these features combine to create some exciting online play, which will be enough of a reason for many to purchase a copy of Modern Warfare 2.
Unfortunately, there are a handful of annoyances with the online structure. Most prominently, the stupid respawning bugs are back, and are as unwelcome as ever. There is nothing worse than dying only to respawn right in front of an opponent who is all too eager to take advantage of the situation. Another example- the care packages that give you a random kill streak reward just feel kind of lame. Randomness is never good for fair competition, as anyone who's ever been nailed by a blue shell in Mario Kart can testify. These gripes certainly don't destroy Modern Warfare 2's online play, but they can be incredibly frustrating at times. Otherwise, my biggest complaint with Modern Warfare 2 is its short single player campaign. I just don't find the style of play it demands very fun. It's a compilation of "stop and pop" shooting without any legitimate cover mechanic, and more often than not boils down to trial and error gameplay- you can thank the clairvoyant AI for that. I also found the narrative to be unnecessarily contrived, which ultimately left me disinterested in the game's happenings.
Past this short campaign, there is nothing in Modern Warfare 2 that can be enjoyed without the addition of other people. Therefore, as a single player game, Modern Warfare 2 feels pretty limited. Add some friends and the online modes, however, and everything improves tenfold. It may not be perfect, but playing online in Modern Warfare 2 is as good as any competitive shooter I've ever played, making it a must buy for any fan of online shooters.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.