Call of Duty is a name that resonates with most FPS shooter fans. The franchise has always been one of the most popular titles in the genre, and the original Modern Warfare (MW) one and two are revered as legendary games in the franchise.
Activision delved back into the MW series in 2019, and has recently released a sequel, Modern Warfare 2, on 28 October. Modern Warfare 2 received more community excitement than any other previous COD releases in recent memory. Fans were hoping for a successful franchise reinvention with this title.
So does the new game meet fan expectations? The answer is a yes and no.
The Modern Warfare 2 campaign makes a good first impression. The story leads you through a number of adrenaline fueled, fast paced set pieces. The feeling of being part of a squad doing what soldiers do best feels exhilarating.
Developer Infinity Ward has tweaked the complexity in a few areas of the game, but it does not have a steep learning curve either.
Modern Warfare 2 lacks gimmicks, and that is perhaps its greatest strength. The game succeeds in being a fantastic shooter, which is all it needs to be. The Call of Duty experience has been dissected, reexamined, and relentlessly improved upon over the course of 15 years. Infinity Ward has achieved complete mastery. The thrill of aiming down a sight and eliminating targets is at its finest.
The multiplayer is more challenging than ever, but at the time of writing this review, the game is still riddled with bugs and does not include a lot of content. There is a good chance that in six months or so this new Modern Warfare 2 will be in its prime; bugs will get ironed out and the developers will release additional content, but it is still not without flaws.
The redesigned progression system, a confusing user interface, and a lack of fundamental functions like stat monitoring is a big nuisance.
All you really want from a decent COD campaign is a corny plot, which does not necessarily have to hold up under close examination, that keeps the action moving forward and manages to feel pretty realistic in the heat of the moment.
You play as a variety of characters including series regulars like Soap and Gaz, and brand-new members of the Mexican Special Forces, all of whom are joined by legends like Captain Price and Ghost.
The chemistry between the characters, particularly the banter between team members, goes to show how uninspired the script was for last year's COD Vanguard.
As expected, the action is cranked up to 11. The game starts with infantry missions that make you feel like you are part of an elite force. Long chase sequences, stealth segments that incorporate crafting, and sniping galleries that quickly turn into shootouts, are all used to fuel the tension and bring the story to life.
However, the abundance of foes donning body armor and helmets, which require ludicrous amounts of ammunition to kill, can get tedious at times. They serve mini-bosses, but them showing up in every encounter can become quite tiresome and aggravating.
There are a couple of awkward difficulty spikes, a lengthy boss battle late in the plot just might give you the impression that you unintentionally chose to play the game in veteran difficulty.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer features great gunplay. This time around the game slows down your rate of movement, creating a calibrated experience that rewards quickness but prevents you from turning into a superhuman.
The game's multiplayer is a polished improvement over what has come before, but the method for unlocking guns is cumbersome and overly complicated.
You can now throw yourself into the fray with a new dolphin-dive action, although doing so pauses you from using your weapon; putting you in a vulnerable position. The degree of absurd movement you see while playing has been toned down. The introduction of a new ledge-hang feature seems utterly superfluous. But all of these mechanics force you to take a slower, more methodical approach, especially in modes without respawns. The game manages to resurrect some of the intensity of Modern Warfare 2019.