1 Step Forward, 2 Steps back
Like everyone else in the entire world I was super excited for Modern Warfare 2. I loved Call of Duty 4 and was looking forward to how Infinity Ward would improve upon the flaws of the first game. So I was disappointed to find that Modern Warfare 2 was an unbalanced game that aims more at equalizing the skill of better players in favor of the masses.
Single Player= 4.5
My beef is not at all with the single player, in fact I beat the campaign in one sit down and thoroughly enjoyed it. It actually warrants me giving this game as high of a score as I did, because it was just plain fun to play through. It is action packed, crazy, with twists that I thought were well contrived and nicely executed. However it is a small portion of the game, since the vast majority of people's time will be spent with the multi-player.
Spec Ops= 4.5
Again I have no problems here, as the Special Ops are basically just an extension of the single player (not story related, but game play wise). It was really fun counting down synchronized head shots with my friends on the stealth missions, and the level of difficulty that veteran brings keeps you fighting for your life so much that you feel very accomplished when you finally complete a mission (Damn you Big Brother!). Overall, this mode is a blast to play.
I'll start by saying that Modern Warfare 2 did do some things to improve upon the multi-player from COD4. So let's just start with what was good:
The game controls nicely as it did in COD4, the guns feel good to shoot, all the noises are fine, and it is very satisfying to drop someone by pumping them full of lead. I also feel like the host migration was a much needed improvement, although there are occasions when a kill streak continues to go, effectively wasting it as the game re-hosts (which is a really big bummer when it happens to you). They also fixed one of the biggest issues with COD4 by getting rid of frag x3 and making marty drop a death streak and not a perk. They also lessened the kill radius of frag grenades making them far less effective and thus preventing people from constantly spamming them. There are other good things that are minor that I can't think of right now, but most of them were par for the course because COD4 did them nicely as well.
This, however, is where my praise ends...
With every cool idea they implemented in this game they also seemed to put in things that make you go "whaaaa...?" What I mean is that some of the new things either were a bad idea, or a good idea with bad execution. For example, shotguns were underpowered in COD4, so they added more of them and made them stronger, good idea. However then they decided to make them a secondary weapon, bad idea. They also added the ability to duel wield them, bad idea. This leads to any class being able to run wild with akimbo 1887 shotties (which are way too strong) and causes balance issues big time. I.E.-Snipers can now kill people at any range or just run around with shotguns and do fine. Basically the shotgun is a secondary weapon that is just as strong as a primary, balance issues. Lets go back to the grenade situation. Yes, they made frag grenades less powerful, but then they added in semtex, which have a very large kill radius and fast detonation time. This effectively is the same problem that COD4 had with frag grenades. They assault rifles are far too overpowered, the smgs are underpowered, and as for mentioned the shotguns are overpowered. The servers kick members of your party if your in any type of large group, and if you are in a group bigger than 4 it seems to have a difficult time finding a game for you. This shouldn't be a problem seeing as how popular the game is. My biggest beef with the game is that it rewards one good life far more than it should. What I mean by this is that the kill streak rewards are so good that if and when a player reaches them there is hell to pay. This would be fine with me if they took skill to get to, but the easiest way to get to them is by camping, and slinking around corners playing very carefully, no longer can a person do well by fighting war how you would actually fight wars. The most effective strategy is to just sit in a corner and wait for someone to walk by, kill them, then move to another corner and do it again. This type of strategy isn't any fun to play, and it definitely isn't any fun to go up against either. And since the rewards build off each other, a person, with a little luck, can go on a 25+ kill streak after shooting about 5 people. After those 5 kills his predator kills 3 people, that allows him to put out his harrier, which in turn kills 3 more. Congratulations, you now have a chopper gunner, the most ridiculously overpowered perk in the game. By holding down the R trigger and flailing the left stick you can get around 10-15 kills. It just feels way to overpowered rewards people too much for camping (since again, camping is the easiest way to build a streak). It puts so much emphasis on this that the game is really about who can get that great kill streak and less about shooting people and taking bases. They did not improve upon a major flaw in the COD4 which was the spawn situation, it is still a mess. I have died up to 5 times in about 5 seconds...just broken. The death streaks are a cool idea but they never seem to work the way you want to. Painkiller is the single most stupid one there is. It seems like a good idea, give the player more health for 10 seconds. Yeah, that works. But if you get painkiller (I think its 3 deaths in a row) then your team has probably been pushed back into the spawn. So it does no good to run out crazy for 10 seconds because you wont find anyone and you will probably just end up putting yourself in the open and get torn apart. The reason you got painkiller was because you ran around crazy and then it gives you a reason to try it more...it just ends up getting you killed. The early glitches there were flat out ugly. For about a month the game felt so broken I refused to play it. I myself don't like the inclusion of the thermal scope, as it takes much of the skill out of sniping, once again, bringing the game back down to the masses to prevent good players from doing well consistently. If you are good at a game you should be able to do well at it much of the time, but Modern Warfare 2 feels like luck when you do good. I've had games where I feel like I did great (shooting wise) but in reality on went a couple positive because I never built up a nice long streak and raped with a kill streak reward. I wish IW had taken the Bioware approach to Mass Effect 2 with Modern Warfare 2. What I mean by that is Mass Effect 2 didn't change what made Mass Effect great, but improved or got rid of what was bad. That is ALL I WANTED from MW2. But they added so much new things that there was bound to be new problems that people didn't like, and guess what, there is.
Fun single player and the spec ops is great, but the multi-player stripped the magic away that made COD4 a great online experience. It is in no way a bad game. But if and when you go to play MW2 online, be ready for the problems.