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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Infinity Ward

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 10, 2009

 

 

- Awesome production values

- It's like being dropped into a "realistic" Moore/Dalton- era James Bond flick

- Multiplayer is fun so far

- Special Ops missions can be a lot of fun

 

 

- The short campaign swings from serious to ridiculous in a heartbeat

- Unable to connect with random people to tackle the Special Ops

- Multiplayer will kick you in the teeth

 

 

Review: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360)

Review: Borderlands (360)

Review: Wolfenstein (360)

 

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Modern Warfare 2

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

If you imagine a game where you have the starring role in a "realistic" Roger Moore/Timothy Dalton-era James Bond flick, with more emphasis on shooting things that move and less on scoring with sultry women, then you have a pretty solid idea of what Modern Warfare 2 is all about.

 

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A confusing story, told mostly through gruff voiceovers, tangles itself with a Russian invasion of America, a nuclear launch, a chase through a Rio de Janeiro slum, and a running battle through the streets of Washington, DC, which culminates in a pointed conclusion and a setup for the next instalment. The action moves from serious to ridiculous in a heartbeat and developer Infinity Ward appears

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- Xbox 360 Game Reviews

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comfortable enough with that arrangement to include a stage where the player walks slowly through an airport terminal slaughtering unarmed civilians then follows that up with a snowmobile chase which ends with a long jump over a chasm. (It's worth nothing that the airport terminal level is optional; the game actually gives players an "out" two times. And I

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would suggest everyone just skip this abhorrent sequence.)

 

It's all over pretty quick, which, in my mind, kind of explains why the story feels a little discombobulated. A 6 - 7 hour game is just fine since I like games I can actually finish, but because of the compressed time it feels like some of the story was cleaved to make it all fit. Some of the parts that were cut off seem to have been put into a separate mode: Special Ops.

 

Much of Special Ops can be played alone but the real draw is playing with a partner, either via splitscreen or over Xbox Live. Some of the missions even require a second player; it's just too bad there's no way to connect with a random person to tackle a challenge. Inviting a friend to play is easy enough but if a friend isn't online, it's annoying to have to put the two-player challenges on hold.

 

There are original levels here including one taking place on a Golden Gate bridge look-a-like (watch for the blimp), but most of them are very slightly re-worked stages from the single-player campaign.

 

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Much of what I've seen of the multiplayer has lot of depth and (occasional) teamwork involved, like say, with Team Deathmatch.  Earning experience points, kill streak bonuses, and basically doing well to unlock more rewards really gives the upper hand to those that are committed to learning each level and upping their kill proficiency since the better you do, the more unstoppable you become.  It makes dropping into a server a little like punching a hornet nest though.  You will be stung repeatedly -- shot dead repeatedly to the point of frustration, which is probably why I've stuck with the team-based modes. There's always a chance the team can carry my sorry butt to victory.

 

What I'm finding with the multiplayer so far is that I feel a little overwhelmed with all the options available. You're always gaining experience points and unlocking new weapons, badges, and even modes of play.  What's going on from moment-to-moment is also plagued with constant (and large) updates from the battle field.  For example, when you level-up mid-game a rock riff kicks in and your new rank flashes up on the screen. Every single damn time this has happened I've died instantly because the new rank has obscured my view and I've been taken out by a rooftop sniper. There's so much going on at any one time that these events were more of a pain in the ass than a reward.

 

In the end it's clear that Infinity Ward has positioned Modern Warfare 2 as a multiplayer title that will require a re-review in the coming weeks with an action-packed single-player campaign tacked on, it's a great shooting experience and it will no doubt be in heavy rotation on a lot of playlists for months to come.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(November 16, 2009)

 

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