I forgot just how pleasant an experience Modern Warfare 2 was, especially compared to the shitfest that is Black Ops.
I know this opinion probably won't be popular. Black Ops did a lot to change up how the game worked, with the Points system, contracts, and killstreak rewards no longer stacking towards the next killstreak. Treyarch also shifted around a bunch of perks, and changed a few of the most egregiously overpowered class combos. The infinite grenade launcher combo most easily comes to mind.
All of this was pretty welcome, and the change in setting allowed for some different gun choices to vary up multiplayer.
However, for all intensive purposes, Treyarch nearly broke what was actually important to a Modern Warfare-style game: the actual gameplay. SMGs are pretty much straight-up broken, in that any decent player with an assault rifle can outgun any decent player with an SMG, just about all the time. The AK74u was better than all the other SMGs, but that still only made it comparable to, or slightly better than, an assault rifle, and in that only at close range (where an SMG should dominate). In other words, the AK74u didn't need a nerf; every other SMG needed a buff.
The two Modern Warfare games, as far as I can recall, did absolutely fine in largely balancing gun classes off each other (minus some shotgun issues that I never really ran into). In fact, using the classes I made back a while ago, the MP5k is really quite good in Modern Warfare 2 (I never liked the kick of the UMP). I had no trouble dealing with the enemy team, who were largely using Interventions and SCARs, and I outgunned them all with ease. Were I to try in Black Ops, I have no doubt that I would've done quite poorly (especially in the knife game).
But that's not really the biggest problem. No, the real issue, and the one that singularly ruins my Black Ops experience, is the latency issues. I swear to god what I see on my screen is at least a quarter second behind what's actually happening. Oftentimes I'll drop dead, and then hear the gunshots that killed me afterwards, because the game had already calculated my death, but the actual act of me getting shot hadn't occurred yet.
And still 3 days of in-game time (which translates to months of real time), and I cannot for the life of me figure out the correct distance to knife someone. And honestly, that's because the distance changes depending on latency. You see, in a poor latency match, I have to be "closer" than I think, because the game registers me as farther away than what I see. This has resulted in an astounding number of times where I attempt to knife someone, fail, and then they lunge at me from the "same" distance, often appearing to teleport, and I end up dead. The game is, in fact, so broken that I've managed on a couple of occasions to swap knife kills, where me and the other guy kill each other at the same time.
My video evidence.
I played CoD 4 from 2007 all the way up until MW2's launch, and I played MW2 past Black Ops' launch. In the 3 years I played those games, I never once saw this happen. It's happened at least twice to me in Black Ops.
Modern Warfare 2 at its poorest latency isn't nearly as bad as Black Ops at its best. I just played 3 issues, and ran into literally no gamebreaking problems, scoring 24 kills in two of the matches. The game is incomparably more snappy and precise than Black Ops, and the latency problems are nonexistent. I even ran into people who were lagging (evidenced by poor frame rate in the killcams), and had no issues dealing with them. And this is what makes Black Ops' broken networking all the more puzzling: the two Modern Warfare games are absolutely fine, so how could another game built on largely the same engine fuck it up so badly?
Modern Warfare 2 (and original) also didn't contain any guns as straight-up broken as the G11. That gun pisses me the fuck off, because it's ridiculously overpowered (able to easily outclass any SMG at short range), even within the Assault Rifle class, which is already overpowered compared to the other gun classes in Black Ops. The M16 is the only gun that comes to mind as a little unfair in the Modern Warfare games, but even that wasn't too bad, as the delay evened it out.
Overall, I somewhat enjoy the changes Treyarch made to the things surrounding gameplay (unlocks and such), the new modes are good, and the Theater is quite useful. But they somehow managed to fuck up the one thing that's actually important in a game: the gameplay. And so while I won't stop playing Black Ops (until at least MW3 comes out), I'll never get over just how disappointing it is, in retrospect.