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Customer Review

on November 13, 2009
I've divided the following review into sections, based on the type of gameplay from Modern Warfare 2:

Single-Player Campaign:
1) Action: The single-player campaign from Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most intense, white-knuckle, action-packed campaigns of any video game I have played EVER. The story is relatively good, and, except for one or two points (mentioned in cons), flows reasonably well. The missions themselves are adventures that will blow your mind. I don't want to spoil anything for prospective players, but as seen in the multiple trailers that preceded the game itself, snowmobiles, silenced snipers, heartbeat sensors, and steering television-guided missiles are among the many amazing things that come in this package. I have played the entire campaign through twice since the game's release midnight on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - the first time on regular difficulty and a second time on veteran difficulty - and it definitely did not get old in between. Imagine a blockbuster action cinematic - but you're the hero.

2) Challenge: The single-player campaign from Modern Warfare 2 is very challenging, more so than that from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Some might see this as a con, but I deem it otherwise. I would say that playing the campaign on regular is approximately equivalent to playing COD4's campaign on hardened. Regular to hardened represents a reasonable level of difficulty; veteran, however (and speaking from experience for the entire campaign) is, at some points, nigh impossible, and I'm NOT exaggerating. On two or three missions there were certain points where I died probably about two dozen times before managing to fight past the enemies or figure out a way to evade them. This, however frustrating, makes for all-the-greater amount of satisfaction when you beat the level, though.

1) Storyline: Although the storyline flows reasonably well for the most part, there are one or two crucial turning points in the campaign that, simply put, just don't make too much sense to me. This is kind of jarring to a player who places emphasis on believability and cohesiveness. However, the fun of the campaign is damaged only slightly by this.

Campaign Overall Rankings:
Story: 3.5 stars
Action: 5 stars
Variety: 5 stars
Challenge: 5 stars
Replay Value: 4 stars
Overall: 4.5 stars

Special Ops Missions:
Background Info:
The special ops missions are additional content missions that, for the most part, resemble campaign missions from either Modern Warfare 2's single-player campaign or, on occasion, from that of Call of Duty 4. You can play the missions solo or with a friend on split screen or over Xbox Live, etc. The ops are divided into 5 categories of difficulty, Alpha through Echo. You unlock the higher levels by earning certain amounts of "stars" in the spec-ops missions. For most missions, the number of stars you earn (1-3) depends on the difficulty of the mission that you set (Regular-Veteran). There are 69 possible stars total, which means there are 23 spec-ops missions. I have unlocked all levels through Delta so far, and each has 5 missions, which presumably means that Echo category has only 3, albeit they are surely very challenging.

1) Action: Spec-ops missions have several different determinants when determining how much action is in a given mission. Among these determinants are the mission type (more on that in just a second), difficulty, and playstyle. Some missions are definitely run-and-gun, others you will need to rely on stealth, and some the choice is really up to you. Personally, I like the ability to determine how to play a mission to some degree.

2) Variety: The Modern Warfare 2 Spec-ops missions have a lot to offer in terms of different playstyles and objectives. Each mission is categorized based on how it plays in general. Examples of categories include stealth, wave defense, race, assault, and timed assault. The environments also vary a lot, just like that in the campaign, which many of the environments are based off of. So, if you love sniping Ultranationalist dog patrols in the snow, there's something for you; same story if you want to run-and-gun through a marketplace in Rio de Janeiro defusing bombs before the clock runs out.

3) Challenge: Once again, Modern Warfare 2 comes up challenging, and once again I state this as a pro. Although there are slight variations based on the individual missions, the difficulty you set can make a huge difference. I have played through all of the Alpha and Bravo missions on veteran difficulty and the decisions a player makes, as well as how you work with your teammate in split-screen or online co-op, can make a huge difference. Players will also be forced to use good judgment, such as in the stealth missions when they decide whether they should engage or try to sneak past.

I really can't think of anything I would genuinely change about the Spec-ops mode. The only thing I can think of that frustrates me is that I definitely pay for my mistakes on the harder difficulties - but that's to be expected, right?

Special Ops Overall Rankings:
Story: N/A
Action: 5 stars
Variety: 5 stars
Challenge: 5 stars
Replay Value: 4 stars
Overall: 5 stars

1) Maps: For the most part, the maps in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer mode are very well-done. Most of them are larger than those in Call of Duty 4, although there are still some nice small ones like Rust that can be fun with as few as 2-6 people. The main thing I notice about the maps is the vast increase in dynamics. Nearly all the maps have many routes from point A to point B, whether that be across a street, along some back alleys, underneath in a tunnel, or over the rooftops. The environments themselves are quite interesting, and the graphics are, of course, exemplary. All the gametypes I have played (mainly Team Deathmatch, Sabotage, and Capture the Flag) work well in terms of where players start, where they spawn, and how they can approach the game.

2) Equipment: The sheer amount of STUFF you can acquire in Modern Warfare 2's leveling-up system will blow your mind. While the number of weapons is increased about a third to a half again that of Call of Duty 4 - with additions of new firearms, some of which replace others that have been removed, as well as a number of new equipment and sidearm options - the number of ways to customize said weapons has at least doubled. Whereas in COD4 one could only put one of three equipment attachments on a given weapon (four if you count the grenade launcher, the others being silencer, red-dot sight, and ACOG scope), there are at least 6 for pretty much every gun in Modern Warfare 2. Examples of new attachments include the heartbeat sensor, extended magazines, full-metal jacketed bullets, underslung shotgun, and holographic sight. This variety provides tons of fun when unlocking new attachments by completing challenges and experimenting with different customizations. On top of this, with the bling perk, one can put two attachments on the same weapon, allowing even greater possibilities when building your loadout with the class customization tool.

3) Other Variety: Some other aspects of multiplayer have also been expanded on in Modern Warfare 2 from Call of Duty 4. Some that bear particular mention include the killstreak bonuses, perks, and game modes.

A) Killstreaks: Whereas in COD4 there were three killstreak bonuses (UAV radar, Airstrike, and Attack Helicopter, given at 3, 5, and 7 kill streaks respectively), there are 15 in Modern Warfare 2. Some examples of new ones are predator missile strike, stealth bomber run, AC130, EMP, and (the one that scares me the most) Tactical Nuke, the description for which simply says "End the game with a bang." However, you don't gain them all at once (that would turn games into ridiculous streak-fests). Instead, at certain levels you are able to unlock another killstreak bonus, having started out with UAV, a new bonus called Care Package, and Predator Missile strike. Once a player has more than three bonuses unlocked, the player can choose, at any time prior to any game, which three to have active.

B) Perks: Perks, for those not familiar, are selected bonuses or abilities that a player selects as part of their class when playing multiplayer. There are several new perks in the game that confer interesting and useful, but not overpowered, abilities. Additionally, prolonged use of a perk now eventually allows the achievement and use of a "pro" version of the perk, that gives an additional bonus. A few examples of this are the Bling and Stopping Power perks. Bling "Pro" allows a player to extend the bonus of Bling (two attachments on primary weapon) to the player's secondary weapon or sidearm. Stopping Power "Pro" gives the player an additional damage bonus against vehicles.

C) Game Modes: I am very happy that there are a few new game modes in Modern Warfare 2, particularly with the inclusion of an all-time favorite, Capture the Flag. Other new additions include a gametype called demolition and several traditional game types that are played in third-person mode, similar to Gears of War.

4) Volume: Whereas Call of Duty 4 had 55 levels in any given progression, Modern Warfare 2 has 70. Add that to 14 different online playlists and 16 starting maps (and Activision has announced at least 2 DLC map packs will be on the way), there is a great deal of replay value in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer.

1) Party Chat: It's in practically every review, I know, but I should include it anyways: most playlists in Modern Warfare 2 (all except Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All, Ground War, 3rd Person Teams, and 3rd Person Cage Match) require you to be in game chat mode - no talking to friends who aren't in the game over a separate party. This isn't an extremely big problem in my opinion, but it can be slightly annoying, especially if there is someone else in the game who is being annoying. However, you always have the option of muting particular players. If you really wanted to, you could just mute everyone in the playlist except your friends, unless they're not playing with you.

2) Particular Maps: This is a purely subjective con, but I'll throw it in here anyway. One or two (and only one or two) of the multiplayer maps are not very well built for gameplay, in my opinion. If you buy the game, I personally would advise trying to avoid Wasteland, but maybe that's just me. For the most part, nearly all the maps are quite fun.

Neutral Comments:
This is a section where I'll mention just a few of the differences between Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 that don't fall into pro or con in my opinion.

1) Death: Simply put, you die easier in Modern Warfare 2. Whether this is a move to reflect realism, a "consequence" of more advanced firearms, or just a change Infinity Ward happened to make, it is a reality. It took me an hour or so to get used to it, but it's just part of the game, and it's the same for everybody playing. I don't think this is a positive or negative change.

Multiplayer Overall Rankings:
Story: N/A
Action: 4.5 stars
Variety: 5 stars
Challenge: N/A (depends on other players)
Replay Value: 5 stars
Overall: 5 stars

Total Game Overall Rankings:
Story: 3.5 stars
Action: 4.8 stars
Variety: 5 stars
Challenge: 5 stars
Replay Value: 4.3 stars
Overall: 4.8 stars

Would I recommend this game to a friend?: YES
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