machofantastico's Modern Warfare 2 (PC) review



Three years ago, the folks at Infinity Ward offered the gaming world their latest creation in the much acclaimed Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was met with award after award and few gamers would begrudge Infinity Ward those precious treasures of the videogame industry. It offered new and exciting additions to the classic formula of competitive multiplayer combat and set a stunning high bar for every future first-person shooter to aim and hope for in the years to come. Since it's 2007 release, Modern Warfare as continued to influence game developers around the world and with the expectations of a sequel running high, one as to wonder if those expectations can truly be met in Modern Warfare 2.
Modern Warfare 2 is a pure sequel, following the same formula of past Call of Duty games. In fact the franchise as seen little change since it's first appearance on PC back in 2003. But that's not such a negative factor, it's still as excited and fresh as it's ever been and one that still as strong legs for future instalments. But rather then generalising this review, I thought it best that I take a closer look at each key section of the Modern Warfare 2 package. First discussing the eight hour long single player campaign and then of course the much anticipated multiplayer mode. 


The single player campaign is set five years after the previous instalment, following the classic Call of Duty formula, you will experience the views of war from multiplayer characters. From US Ranger Private Joseph Allen to the Task Force 141 operatives Sgt.. Gary 'Roach' Sanderson and Captain John 'Soap' MacTavish. This means that there is always a variation in the types of set-pieces found in the single player campaign. It's worked well for past entries and it continues to work well here. The story follows the rise of a new power in Russia, formally lead by Imran Zakhaev and now headed by Vladimir Makarov, the ultranationalists party of Russia have become a dangerous figure to world peace and so Task Force 141 is created to track down and put and end to Vladmir Makarov.  
Russian Ultranationalists led by Vladimir Makarov, bring terror to the civilized world.   
While the franchise as never been known for it's detailed storytelling, the original Modern Warfare placed down solid foundations for an exciting tale to be told. It's a tale that offers some truly wonderful twists and turns, but ultimately feels a little flat and disjointed on occasion. Not all of it makes a great amount of sense, but I'm pretty sure most gamers don't play this franchise for the story development. Thankfully the action is still as edge of your seat, wet your trousers, action packed as you'd hoped. More importantly, Modern Warfare 2's single player campaign features some of the best missions the franchise as seen.  
You'll be gliding down snow covered mountains in snowmobiles while chaos surrounds you, you'll find yourself at the helm of a humvee's powerful minigun as it makes it way through a dense and dangerous urban warzone and then you could find yourself suddenly at the controls of the all power predator missile. The variation continues to be a great attraction and allows for some stunning set-pieces throughout. While the single player campaign is the usual eight hours or so, it's one that is filled with memorable moment after memorable moment, a true highlight for anyone who found themselves satisfied with the previous campaign.  


Modern Warfare 2 is one of the few games, where it's multiplayer experience is judged higher then it's single player offerings. That's understandable when one considers the impact made with the original game back in 2007, changing the face of competitive multiplayer combat forever. It's a mode that as also been filled with controversy and debate months before it even hit stores, vast changes have been made to the PC version when it comes to multiplayer, even leading many to boycott the PC experience in favour of the original Modern Warfare multiplayer mode. While I'm glad to say that certain multiplayer types benefit from the downgrade in players (now only 18 players per match then the 64 players capable in the original game), the overall changes made don't always have such a positive effect.  
Multiplayer is a guaranteed blast, but one that still feels like a slight downgrade on the PC. 
It's hard not to feel that the changes made by Infinity Ward feel like a downgrade from past entries, mode types such as Free-For-All benefit greatly with fewer players and means that you'll no longer find yourself getting spawn killed every second. But other types such as team deathmatch feel a little flat when compared to the chaos and excitement had in the multiplayer mode of the previous game. I had a blast playing multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2, though I mostly stuck to my preferred match type in Free-For-All. New gameplay additions are worthy of being compared to the impact made by the perk system, the new killstreak customization options are a blast and allow you to suit the settings to your style of play, plus a few of the new perks are an absolute joy to use. It's only the new Deathstreaks that feel a little weak compared to everything else on offer.
But even with the new additions in mind, multiplayer lacks some of the key functions found in the original game. Despite Infinity Ward's guarantee that the new IWNET Matchmaking system would change the way PC multiplayer is experienced, like all matchmaking systems it feels far to limited and repetition is had throughout. The largest praise that could be given to the multiplayer experience is that despite the changes and downgrades in options, Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer is still as addictive and exciting as it's ever been. I've already found myself tactically changing my Killstreaks to suit my style and the new perks can be deadly when used in the correct manner. Even Deathstreaks aren't totally useless, despite being the weakest of the new additions to multiplayer.   
A new special ops mode can also be found for multiplayer action, allowing you and a team-mate to take on a number of missions that vary greatly by location and objective. It's a welcomed addition, though it won't be offering the degrees of co-op challenge found in other co-op modes such as Gears of War's Horde Mode and Halo: ODST's firefight mode. It's still a rather intriguing new experience, one that will probably see extra additions in the form of downloadable content at some point. On a side note, the special ops missions also feature unique enemies such as tough to kill soldiers covered in bomb disposal suit and skilled snipers. The missions take team work and skill to complete, especially at the high levels of difficulty. 
I'm far from happy with the general downgrade in the mode itself, but the multiplayer doesn't take such a huge impact for it. The mix of multiplayer maps is great, with none of them being anywhere near as bad as Call of Duty 4's Shipment map. It still offers the pace and challenge few games can match and it's still all about finding a setup to suit your style. Hopefully both Activision and Infinity Ward see it fit to offer a dedicated server allowance at some point in the future, but for now the matchmaking system will do. Those that boycott may boycott, but despite it's flaws Modern Warfare 2 offers a multiplayer experience worthy of matching it's previous entry and one that shouldn't be missed.  


Overall Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a pure sequel, one that will please the majority of gamers. Those who have been blown away by hype and expectation might be slightly disappointed that developers Infinity Ward played things rather safe, and PC based users will feel that the new multiplayer additions don't exactly make up for the general downgrade in player count and server customization. Still both single player and multiplayer experiences will please the vast majority of players, while offering new additions that will require time and skill to master. Something could be said for the lack of true development in the franchise since it's early beginnings, but when you drop a predator missile on your mortal online enemy such issues seem small and insignificant. This is still a top experience.  


Thanks for Reading! 
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