Going into Modern Warfare 2 I honestly wasn't expecting to be blown away by the single player campaign, because frankly, I was mainly buying it for multiplayer. I really liked the campaign in Call of Duty 4 (CoD4), but to be honest I thought World at War's (WaW) campaign was better. So having finished Modern Warfare 2's campaign on Veteran (which was noticeably easier than CoD4 on Veteran) my feelings toward the campaign are that while it was very fun, it didn't make a whole lot of sense story-wise. I remember that the first thing that went through my mind when the credits came up was "WTF?!? It's over??", I honestly thought that there had to be at least one or two levels left. I really think that this game could have benefited greatly from some good 'ol fashioned cut-scenes to help flesh out the story. It's never a good sign when you have multiple forum threads/gaming podcast' trying to explain the story gaps to people.
The Spec-Ops mode is really fun and a great distraction from normal multiplayer. I haven't tried any of the harder ones on Veteran yet, but word on the street is that it gets crazy hard on the last missions, so I'm looking forward to trying those out. I did find it interesting that at least one of the Spec-Ops missions is from CoD4. I can't remember what it's called in Spec-Ops, but It's basically "All Ghillied Up" from CoD4, which was my favorite single player mission from that game.
For me personally though, multiplayer is the shining star in this package. The sheer number of improvements that Infinity Ward has made to the already superb multiplayer is short of mind-boggling. This time around you earn experience points for almost anything and everything, from stopping an opponent short of a killstreak to scoring a kill after suffering consecutive deaths, you truly feel as though you are always progressing. While there are plenty of new attachments, perks, etc. to dive into, a number of things have been restructured.
Some things that were perks in CoD4 are now attachments or deathstreaks (deathstreaks are rewards you receive if you die a set number of times without scoring a kill, a sort of helping hand to get you back in the game). Many people complained about the "martyrdom" perk from CoD4 and so this time around Infinity Ward made it a deathstreak. Each perk also has a "pro" level that can be achieved by completing a particular challenge thus granting you an added layer of depth to said perk.
There are many more weapon attachments now as well, allowing you to outfit you weapon with everything from a holographic sight to a heartbeat sensor. You are no longer locked into carrying a pistol as your secondary weapon either. Now there are almost as many types of weapons to choose from for your secondary as there are for your primary. Things like shotguns, machine pistols, and launchers make up the secondary. Cool little things like carrying throwing knives or dual-wielding sub-machine guns really add that extra layer of depth to the multiplayer.
The level cap is 70 this time around, but given the fact that there are so many challenges and other ways to earn experience points, leveling up quickly isn't a problem. Me and my son share a gamertag and we are currently level 32,1st Prestige. It definitely slows considerably once you reach the 60's, but not too painfully slow. I still feel like team-deathmatch is they way to go because certain maps just don't seem balanced for certain game types. I really love the customizable killstreak rewards and call signs. There is also more incentive to "Prestige" this time around as well, rewarding players with things like new challenges, titles, emblems and extra custom class slots.
I must say I was pretty disappointed in the way people reacted to the airport scene, I mean really? I've seen and done far worse things in Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA). People were acting as if they were shooting real people. I've spent so much time over the years trying to convince non-gamers that they shouldn't get upset over violent games because they aren't real, so when people in the video game industry started acting like the non-gamers I couldn't help but think, "WTF?". I couldn't tell you the number of fellow marines that I've purposefully killed in any number of shooters just so I could have their weapon, or how many innocent civilians I've murdered in GTA. But yet I'm listening to all these gaming podcast' where people are talking about being offended, I mean how can we expect non-gamers to take us seriously when we are constantly eating our own.
In the end I feel like Modern Warfare 2 is deserving of all the hype that it's received. It has a fun-as-hell single player campaign, one of the most rewarding and in-depth multiplayer modes I've ever played, and hours of co-op in case you ever do get tired of multiplayer. Modern Warfare 2 is a fantastic game that any self respecting gamer should own, despite all the "controversy".