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Review

Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 [PC]

December 8, 2009

MW2 cover

It’s the game the name of which is on the lips of the pc and console communities during these the final moments of 2009. Simultaneously being one of the most successful games of the year and also one of the most controversial, Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) from Infinity Ward is the next installment in the already hugely successful Call of Duty series. Recently released in November on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, as well as the PC through Steam, Modern Warfare 2 has already sold over 5 million units worldwide. Developers Infinity Ward were responsible for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, where players first tasted the thrill of COD in a modern setting, and now with MW2 continue the story from where COD4 left off.

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“You go on ahead, this may take awhile”

Single Player for the Call of Duty series has been renowned for being saturated in a gripping storyline, with Call of Duty 4 being the pinnacle thus far, and although MW2 is a follow-on from that original Modern Warfare storyline it seems to be trying a bit too hard to live up to “expectations”. Alas there’s twice the twists and turns of it’s younger compatriot, and yet less of the interaction between the parties involved. Nevertheless still a thorough and intricate storyline whichever way you look at it.

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Every moment in Modern Warfare 2 is visually stunning

As the Single Player progresses, players get to play as a number of different characters, from secret undercover units to ranger squads. The different characters offer up varying perspectives of the proceeding battles, spanning continents and evidently spreading resources thin. We see some familiar faces from the original COD4 storyline, as well as some new faces which we grow as easily fond of as what we’ve experienced previously. The difficulty of which is COD has a habit of killing off the players you grow attached to, similar to an episode of Lost where all the hot girls seem to die at the worst possible time. Damn it! However MW2 drenched in so much Testosterone it’s hard to stop playing regardless, if only to prove you can single-handedly win a world war on the hardest difficulty, if such an option existed in real life. To put it simply Single Player can become a little addictive.

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Race down a mountain on a snowmobile, make the jump to safety

Fortunately the change in environments helps keep you immersed, ranging from firefights in the Middle East to covert operations throughout Russia, from sand to snow and everything in between. The change from the standard “run and shoot” paradigm also helps, with players also having the opportunity to man the turret on a convoy, snipe from a helicopter, race through enemy fire on a snowmobile, control remote missiles, and much more.

Modern Warfare 2 also provides a plethora of new and exciting equipment to truly bring you into modern times, and this is translated through co-op and multiplayer as well. Guns now feature new attachments like the heartbeat sensor, a sonar-style radar that detects friendlies and enemies, the thermal scope to be able to take down your foes through the thick of smoke, and for some weapons there’s Akimbo where two guns become an option if you don’t like looking down the sight.

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Don’t mess with Ghost, or he’ll be the last thing you see, if you even see him coming that is.

This new technology and setting is accompanied by Special Ops, short missions with a variety of gameplay styles and scenarios, playable with one or two players working cooperatively. Each mission has specific objectives, of which each will earn you a certain number of stars. Earn enough stars in one section of missions to unlock the next section of more challenging missions. However although most are playable as a single player, such as defending against wave upon wave of enemies; some require two players such as a mission where one player must run through farmland to make it to the extraction point, while the other player sits in an AC130 and defends their ally against the swarms of enemies. Spec Ops Missions range from Stealthy covert sniper vs sniper scenarios, to the Rambo style shoot everything with as much as you can.

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Battle through a variety of urban environments

However where the Call of Duty series has shined has been in its Multiplayer. Whether playing on console or computer, its evolved over each release to become more intricate with even more gametypes. In MW2 the focus is on killstreaks, with the player being able to choose and unlock from a dozen or so different killstreak rewards, each of which is unlocked after a certain number of kills of course in a killstreak. 3 kills can get you a UAV, 4 can get a Care package in which a random reward is contained in a box that’s dropped from a container. As the kills go up so do the potential rewards, with Sentry Guns, Predator Missiles, various Airstrikes and Helicopters at your disposal. 15 kills will acquire you an EMP, which will knock out all electrical devices, helicopters, etc. In Call of Duty 2 the might not have mattered but in Modern Warfare 2 you don’t realise how much runs on electronics. Then we get to 25 kills, if you have it unlocked and equiped, you will get a tactical nuke. Yes a Nuke, the stories are true. It’s an easy Insta-win for your team and the end of the game in the bright flash of your once tranquil gaming environment becoming a radioactive wasteland. In Call of Duty 4 25 kills without dying was easily achievable for the above average players, however the maps have been redesigned so it’s even more difficult to get this. Granted with a party of similarly minded Schwarzenegger-induced gamers, seeing nuke after nuke win each round doesn’t become a total fantasy.

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Covert operations require a covert entry, might as well enjoy the moment though

Obviously the big thing for PC players is that Dedicated servers have been removed and now games are created via a IWNet Matchmaking system, similar to what console players have had most of the time. The result is that for half the time you sit around either waiting for players, or the system breaking. Not to mention in game obviously one of the players is the host, and if they have bad internet or just live in Hong Kong, everyone else has bad ping and bad lag. Another general occurrence is Host migration, in which the host leaves and so a new one must be found. This situation can be quite frustrating, like one instance when I’m just about to watch my rocket blow up this helicopter when Host Migration occurs, the game starts up again everyone still in their place, but where’s my rocket? Disappeared and I only had one, what a futile attempt. However minus all the problems that exist in the system it’s still got some positive notes. Running on steam means parties are easy to start so you can at least play with your friends on the same side, also it’s now all VAC secured rather than Punkbuster so it’s much more easy to use. Though running on steam means that the one instance in which Steam needed to update just as my internet broke resulted in being unable to play the game. No getting the disc out and playing, no you’re dependent on Steam.

The other big multiplayer thing is the perks for multiplayer, special abilities that are unlocked as you go up in ranks. The standard fast reload, more damage, Last Stand etc. as well as some new ones including unlimited sprint, resupplying from dead enemies, and even reductions in kills needed for killstreaks.

With the variety of different game types available in Multiplayer, the only problem becomes finding the people to play and hoping they don’t go around spamming machine pistols or Akimbo shotguns.

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Play in environments sporting familiar landmarks, if a bit dirtied up.

Although Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 has its faults, more prominent within the PC Multiplayer system, overall it’s a game as satisfying as the original Modern Warfare. The varying change in pace and scenery keeps you entertained, and the different unlocks, gameplay styles and scenarios will keep you coming back for more.

Worth a purchase.

Storyline – 4/5 (A deep storyline that is filled with twists and turns, perhaps too many to follow though.)
Gameplay – 4/5 (The change in pace was a breath of fresh air, but multiplayer still dissolves into spam when you actually manage to play.)
Presentation – 5/5 (Visually pleasing from start to end and everything in between. Each environment was stunning.)