Thoughts on MW2, a review of sorts!

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Posted by Hamz (6899 posts) -

So having recently setup a LoveFilm rental plan I had PS3 copies of both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Modern Warfare 2 shipped to me. Since I've already written up an extensive blog of my views on Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PC we'll bypass comments on the PS3 version. Except for the mention that it controls so much more smoothly with a controller than it does with a keyboard and mouse. 
 
Now onto the MW2 content!
 

  • Campaign Mode
I started the campaign on the Regular difficulty setting and took around six hours to complete it at the very most. A short campaign much like COD4's and a campaign that has some really nice set-pieces such as the besieged White House lawn and Russian gulag levels. The campaign was, thankfully, almost non-stop in its high octane action and there were very few times where I wasn't shooting at someone or being shot at.
 
However the problem with the campaign was that I never quite understood fully as to why I was being shot at or why I was actually shooting the enemy. And by this I mean what story the game actually has is so poorly conveyed that it was a complete mess and extremely confusing to try and understand. By half way through the game I gave up trying to keep track of what was actually going on with the story and characters, instead just focusing on completing my missions. And that was a huge disappointment on what I imagine Infinity Ward hoped would be an emotional or thought provoking conclusion, but because everything in the story leading up to it was so poorly delivered I was left feeling nothing.
 
For all of the campaigns fun action I felt entirely detached from the game itself due to shockingly poor storytelling. It felt more like a war simulator than a progressive story. Overall it was a big let down, COD4 may never have had the best story but it managed to competently progress that story enough that you understood what was going on, the modus operandi of characters and their actions etc. None of that really happened in MW2.
 
  • Spec Ops Mode
I haven't had much experience with this mode compared to the others but the time I spent playing it I enjoyed it. By far one of the finer additions to MW2, however not having a large PSN friend list does kind of ruin the chance of experiencing the fun to be had with the co-op missions in Spec Ops. The fact I can't even attempt them on my own with an AI controlled NPC or have some built in match making for it was a bit of a let down. The various goals you need to achieve to get the 1, 2 or 3 star rankings in each mission are a good addition and I can't count how many times now I've tried to run the pit in 35 seconds or less for the 3 star ranking. The variation in the missions and the fun to be had with them is pretty good, especially just being able to replay the snowmobile chase sequence over and over.
 
  • Multiplayer Mode
The multiplayer in MW2 follows that same MMO-ish style of having to grind experience to unlock content or having to achieve goals to unlock content. And while it isn't necessarily difficult or impossible to unlock everything (judging by a glance over the Challenges menu) it still isn't that fun to have to go through the long grind to unlock stuff. I'm already level 20 and it's beginning to become a slow annoying process of grinding in the hopes of unlocking more guns, perks or attachments, I can only imagine the frustrations at the higher level 50's, 60's etc to unlock stuff and prestige.
 
That being said the actual gameplay of the multiplayer is an odd mixture of love it or loathe it. For every frustrating '"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!" moment I've had (Knifing a player twice from behind with Commando equipped at point blank range and not having a kill register, then have them turn around and knife me) I've also had some awesome moments such as an 11 kill streak all achieved using a Riot Shield. Moments like these that are equal amounts frustration as well as sheer joy and delight are what make a multiplayer like this somewhat addictive. The emblems and titles are also a nice addition as well allowing a certain level of extra customisation on top of the five custom classes you can design.
 
Changes to the custom classes and perks in particular are good additions as well. Being able to have a primary and secondary weapon helps adjust for different maps and situations much more easily, Eg. Sniper Rifle + Shotgun combinations help those campers deal with long and close range combat better. The ability to upgrade each perk to a 'Pro' version that adds an additional ability to the basic version of that perk is nice. My current favourite perk would have to be Scavenge, such a suitably useful perk in almost every build I've come up with thus far. The addition of more and higher rewarding kill streaks is good and being able to unlock them in any order is also an added bonus, just as death streaks provide a slight boost to players struggling in a match.
 
But the multiplayer does have a feeling of deja vu to it in that it strongly resembles the formula COD4 followed, while MW2 arguably has more content to unlock and has refined the system a little more. The notion of 'more of a good thing can't be bad, right?' doesn't necessarily excuse the fact that on a technical level the gameplay is very much the same to the point there feels like very little that has been changed. Juggernaut may no longer exist, Martyrdom may have been changed to a death streak but new perks such as Cold Blooded and Ninja have begun to take the top spot for most used and disliked within the game. These core issues from COD4 still exist to a certain degree in MW2's multiplayer.

  • Closing Comments
The campaign mode is sorely disappointing and crippled by extremely poor storytelling, with what little plot there is in the game it just makes no sense. Often feeling like a random chain of events are playing out in front of you without any of them linking together in a cohesive fashion. Characters have no real personality with their motivations and reasoning for their actions never really explained clearly. While the gameplay is somewhat of a redeeming factor with its constant action and interesting locales it doesn't distract from the otherwise poor quality of the campaign which plays like a B-Movie. Lots of over the top action with very little substance. 
 
While the Multiplayer and Spec Ops modes on the other hand have their own issues they are by and large well done. Spec Ops in particular feels like the strongest addition to the game allowing players to genuinely get a feeling of achievement for completing various goals in each mission. Being able to play co-operatively in split screen or online with friends and in some cases play certain missions all on your own is a nice benefit. MW2's multiplayer has a feeling of familiarity too it due to how closely it resembles the gameplay in COD4 having built itself off of a previously successful model.
 
Ultimately though Modern Warfare 2 feels to me like a multiplayer game with a tacked on single player campaign for the sake of it, an inverted take on the usual trend of a single player game with a tacked on multiplayer component for the sake of it. Definitely not the best game released this year in my book and if I had to give it a score then it would be somewhere along the lines of a 4/5 stars. But ultimately it all comes down to personal taste, I had my reservations about MW2 before renting it, having now played it I see those reservations were somewhat spot on.
 
 
As usual folks feel free to comment and critique! Hamz, XOXO
 
P.S.  I apologise for spelling and grammar mistakes, had to retype this twice after browser crashes. So it was rushed a little :)
Avatar image for hamz
#1 Posted by Hamz (6899 posts) -

So having recently setup a LoveFilm rental plan I had PS3 copies of both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Modern Warfare 2 shipped to me. Since I've already written up an extensive blog of my views on Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PC we'll bypass comments on the PS3 version. Except for the mention that it controls so much more smoothly with a controller than it does with a keyboard and mouse. 
 
Now onto the MW2 content!
 

  • Campaign Mode
I started the campaign on the Regular difficulty setting and took around six hours to complete it at the very most. A short campaign much like COD4's and a campaign that has some really nice set-pieces such as the besieged White House lawn and Russian gulag levels. The campaign was, thankfully, almost non-stop in its high octane action and there were very few times where I wasn't shooting at someone or being shot at.
 
However the problem with the campaign was that I never quite understood fully as to why I was being shot at or why I was actually shooting the enemy. And by this I mean what story the game actually has is so poorly conveyed that it was a complete mess and extremely confusing to try and understand. By half way through the game I gave up trying to keep track of what was actually going on with the story and characters, instead just focusing on completing my missions. And that was a huge disappointment on what I imagine Infinity Ward hoped would be an emotional or thought provoking conclusion, but because everything in the story leading up to it was so poorly delivered I was left feeling nothing.
 
For all of the campaigns fun action I felt entirely detached from the game itself due to shockingly poor storytelling. It felt more like a war simulator than a progressive story. Overall it was a big let down, COD4 may never have had the best story but it managed to competently progress that story enough that you understood what was going on, the modus operandi of characters and their actions etc. None of that really happened in MW2.
 
  • Spec Ops Mode
I haven't had much experience with this mode compared to the others but the time I spent playing it I enjoyed it. By far one of the finer additions to MW2, however not having a large PSN friend list does kind of ruin the chance of experiencing the fun to be had with the co-op missions in Spec Ops. The fact I can't even attempt them on my own with an AI controlled NPC or have some built in match making for it was a bit of a let down. The various goals you need to achieve to get the 1, 2 or 3 star rankings in each mission are a good addition and I can't count how many times now I've tried to run the pit in 35 seconds or less for the 3 star ranking. The variation in the missions and the fun to be had with them is pretty good, especially just being able to replay the snowmobile chase sequence over and over.
 
  • Multiplayer Mode
The multiplayer in MW2 follows that same MMO-ish style of having to grind experience to unlock content or having to achieve goals to unlock content. And while it isn't necessarily difficult or impossible to unlock everything (judging by a glance over the Challenges menu) it still isn't that fun to have to go through the long grind to unlock stuff. I'm already level 20 and it's beginning to become a slow annoying process of grinding in the hopes of unlocking more guns, perks or attachments, I can only imagine the frustrations at the higher level 50's, 60's etc to unlock stuff and prestige.
 
That being said the actual gameplay of the multiplayer is an odd mixture of love it or loathe it. For every frustrating '"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!" moment I've had (Knifing a player twice from behind with Commando equipped at point blank range and not having a kill register, then have them turn around and knife me) I've also had some awesome moments such as an 11 kill streak all achieved using a Riot Shield. Moments like these that are equal amounts frustration as well as sheer joy and delight are what make a multiplayer like this somewhat addictive. The emblems and titles are also a nice addition as well allowing a certain level of extra customisation on top of the five custom classes you can design.
 
Changes to the custom classes and perks in particular are good additions as well. Being able to have a primary and secondary weapon helps adjust for different maps and situations much more easily, Eg. Sniper Rifle + Shotgun combinations help those campers deal with long and close range combat better. The ability to upgrade each perk to a 'Pro' version that adds an additional ability to the basic version of that perk is nice. My current favourite perk would have to be Scavenge, such a suitably useful perk in almost every build I've come up with thus far. The addition of more and higher rewarding kill streaks is good and being able to unlock them in any order is also an added bonus, just as death streaks provide a slight boost to players struggling in a match.
 
But the multiplayer does have a feeling of deja vu to it in that it strongly resembles the formula COD4 followed, while MW2 arguably has more content to unlock and has refined the system a little more. The notion of 'more of a good thing can't be bad, right?' doesn't necessarily excuse the fact that on a technical level the gameplay is very much the same to the point there feels like very little that has been changed. Juggernaut may no longer exist, Martyrdom may have been changed to a death streak but new perks such as Cold Blooded and Ninja have begun to take the top spot for most used and disliked within the game. These core issues from COD4 still exist to a certain degree in MW2's multiplayer.

  • Closing Comments
The campaign mode is sorely disappointing and crippled by extremely poor storytelling, with what little plot there is in the game it just makes no sense. Often feeling like a random chain of events are playing out in front of you without any of them linking together in a cohesive fashion. Characters have no real personality with their motivations and reasoning for their actions never really explained clearly. While the gameplay is somewhat of a redeeming factor with its constant action and interesting locales it doesn't distract from the otherwise poor quality of the campaign which plays like a B-Movie. Lots of over the top action with very little substance. 
 
While the Multiplayer and Spec Ops modes on the other hand have their own issues they are by and large well done. Spec Ops in particular feels like the strongest addition to the game allowing players to genuinely get a feeling of achievement for completing various goals in each mission. Being able to play co-operatively in split screen or online with friends and in some cases play certain missions all on your own is a nice benefit. MW2's multiplayer has a feeling of familiarity too it due to how closely it resembles the gameplay in COD4 having built itself off of a previously successful model.
 
Ultimately though Modern Warfare 2 feels to me like a multiplayer game with a tacked on single player campaign for the sake of it, an inverted take on the usual trend of a single player game with a tacked on multiplayer component for the sake of it. Definitely not the best game released this year in my book and if I had to give it a score then it would be somewhere along the lines of a 4/5 stars. But ultimately it all comes down to personal taste, I had my reservations about MW2 before renting it, having now played it I see those reservations were somewhat spot on.
 
 
As usual folks feel free to comment and critique! Hamz, XOXO
 
P.S.  I apologise for spelling and grammar mistakes, had to retype this twice after browser crashes. So it was rushed a little :)
Avatar image for stang
#2 Posted by Stang (4755 posts) -

Nice write up Hamz, I am with you 100% with respect to the multi player aspect of the game. 

Avatar image for aetos
#3 Edited by Aetos (1701 posts) -

Nicely written. Agree with a good majority of it.

Also a 11 kill streak with a riot shield? Thats pretty sweet.

Avatar image for rowr
#4 Posted by Rowr (5861 posts) -

Nice write up, i agree completely. Single player was a huge dissapointment to me, It was fun at first until the story ceased to make sense, and then the wow moments just werent coming frequently enough to make up for it.

Avatar image for caddy
#5 Posted by Caddy (320 posts) -

Would you say the story is 'inelegant'? If you would, I don't think we can talk any more, and our love/love relationship will be over. Do you really want that?

Avatar image for hamz
#6 Posted by Hamz (6899 posts) -
@Caddy: lol twatters is a moron, <3
 
Inelegant isn't the word I'd use, the plot is just very poorly constructed and executed.
Avatar image for mikemcn
#7 Posted by Mikemcn (8569 posts) -

Im assuming you arent in love with the other Call of duty games, because they all have weak stories with a multiplayer focus. But yea, the singleplayer was a bit weak in its story, but the missions were still fun by themselves. 
 
That said, COD4 was by no means impressive in it's story telling, the whole dying from the nuke thing was disturbing but i wouldnt say the actual story behind it all was great, i don't even remember half of it anyways so it cant be that well done.
Avatar image for gbrading
#8 Posted by gbrading (3208 posts) -

Excellent rundown. From what I've read, the story seems to mirror that of World in Conflict, but just not as realistically. World in Conflict was certainly grounded in realism. I mean, you have to suspend disbelief to imagine in World in Conflict that the Soviet Union could lauch a sneak attack against Seattle. The same seems true in MW2 concerning Washington D.C., although then everything just goes totally mental.
Avatar image for deactivated-5b4a512bb9699
#9 Posted by deactivated-5b4a512bb9699 (391 posts) -

You're an arse

Avatar image for pweidman
#10 Edited by pweidman (2845 posts) -

The story in MW2 is pretty poorly conveyed agreed, at least a bit unclear first playthrough.  But play through it again(on veteran is way more fun btw), and it'll come much clearer, and things do click in and make sense, although  far-fetched.  Still plausible, if unrealistic, as Jeff said.  I thoroughly enjoyed this campaign, even more than CoD4, which was actually more carefully put together.  This one is just such a non-stop shock-n-awe thrill ride imo.  Also you can't underestimate the benefit to the gameplay because of the elimination of infinite respawns, invisible spawn lines, and the f-ing grenade spam.
Avatar image for ahmadmetallic
#11 Posted by AhmadMetallic (19300 posts) -

i agree with you, but you didnt praise the explosive action and the overwhelming scenes enough.

Avatar image for collegefootballguy
#12 Posted by CollegeFootballGuy (126 posts) -

The game is a 8 out of 10 AT BEST, and the multiplayer will keep people hooked for a while but it wont have the long lasting 2 year appeal that COD4 did.
Avatar image for raynate2022
#13 Posted by raynate2022 (321 posts) -

See I disagree with the campaign. Though it was much shorter than I would have liked, I thought the story was well done. It kept me very involved and eagerly waiting for the next mission so I'd know what happened. BUT....It seemed that it was kind of poor visually. Almost like this time they made the game 80% multi-player 20% Campaign. It gets a 9/10 from me, simply because Spec-Ops and versus are amazing.

Avatar image for syntaxsmurf
#14 Posted by syntaxsmurf (5 posts) -

Very nice well written post :)
Having bought MW2 yesterday and being level 22 at writing moment, I gotta say I agree it is very grindy. But being an avid MMO play (wow mainly) I do like the grinds :)
And I do have so much fun in that game, though can be frustrated so much sometimes (double shotgun douchbags anyone?) 
 
 
cheerio

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