2009 Reviews

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

  • Review Date: 2014-03
  • Release Date: 2009-11
  • Developer: Infinity Ward
  • Rating: 8.5

After the disappointment of World At War, The COD franchise bounces back with a game that clearly had a lot more effort put into it. Even as good as 2007's Modern Warfare was, the sequel has come a long way.

In particular, the visuals and engine were where I was really blown away. You can tell this was once the IDTtech4 engine because the lighting is so damn good, better than anything else I can think of in 2009. The best example is in Washington around a destroyed White House at night. An EMC has taken out all electronics and lighting, so the only light comes from the sky and fires burning everywhere. It looks fantastic.

Besides the lighting, the levels often feature some epic scenic backdrops. From the detailed mountain ranges, the beautiful backdrops during the Favela Rio levels, to huge war torn cityscapes. MW2 looks fantastic, in fact just as good as Crysis.

Some of these visuals are made more impressive by on-rails levels the way they SHOULD be done. Which is in short spurts that focus on visuals, not ramping up the challenge and difficulty. Jetting down the snowy slopes at ridiculous speeds, a high speed river raft ride - nothing too serious but just fun.

The gameplay has also improved. I thought they'd never do it, but COD has finally done away with those goddamn infinite spawning enemies unless you move forward. In a few levels it even became apparent that just hold back for a while and waiting for the team-mates to clear things out, made things a bit easier. You're not forced to run into heavy fire even when you've just sat there clearing the area out from hundreds of enemies.

In other respects, the gameplay is all exactly the same as all the previous games. Some of the weapons are pretty fun, but I just used whatever I was given. Forget about upgrades, forget about unique boss battles. It's just human enemies over and over.

Now it's not all rose petals, MW2 has issues. First of all, Hans Zimmer could have at least written a unique score instead of remixing his own fucking Dark Knight score. How many times is he going to rehash this theme?

The story isn't very well told. It's actually a decent story, but I didn't really know it until I read what was going on, on Wikipedia. Average between level Flash-style animations are all we get, barely an improvement over World At War. The characters you'll barely remember apart from their nickname. Instead it just felt like I was bouncing from one person to the other, which would end with the player somehow getting blown up, losing consciousness or somehow losing in just about every single level, only to miraculously survive by the time you return.

But those two aren't big issues, the big issue is MW2 is only five to six hours long. I played in a single sitting, definitely under six hours. When I've just come off playing games like Darksiders at 20 hours, Borderlands at 30 hours, Dragon Age at 50 hours, to get a similar priced title which most critics claim to be game of the year, yet it barely gets past five hours gameplay. What on earth is going on? It's like going to a movie theatre, watching a 10 minute movie and claiming it's movie of the year. I suppose multiplayer has to sink heavily into some of the 10/10 reviews, because for single player there just isn't enough game here.

Overall, if you can accept a short playtime and don't need any innovations, then MW2 is a great game.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2