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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Life + Arts

Dramatic, realistic war game sequel stuns gamers

A mere two years after releasing the critically acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the developers at Infinity Ward have done it again.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 takes what its predecessor did and outdoes everything nearly tenfold.

MW was hailed for its intense, albeit brief, single-player campaign and its robust and tremendously satisfying online multiplayer mode. While MW2‘s campaign is a bit over-the-top, Infinity Ward found a way to improve on the already stellar multiplayer system, which is worth the game’s price alone. Add in the new challenging Special Ops mode and MW2 is one of the most engaging games ever.

In its single-player campaign, MW told a story filled with mind-blowing events, such as calling in a attack chopper on a building, manning the guns of an AC-130 gunship and a climactic ending chase scene and shootout. It also contained the most eye-opening event in the’ Call of Duty franchise, and possibly gaming, history ? being caught in a nuclear explosion and its aftermath.

These memorable events and the way they were executed made MW one of the freshest and most original video games in the past decade. MW2 takes this approach and puts it into overdrive, which is a good thing and at the same time a bad one.

MW2 picks up five years after the events of MW. Gamers play as multiple characters throughout the game, but to understand MW2‘s story, playing MW is almost required because it ties in heavily near the end. In a sense, it brings back some familiarity, but it begs the question of why they couldn’t do something more original, even for a sequel.

Players will find themselves fighting in battles that range from thrilling to overly dramatic. It’s as if MW2 simply tried too hard to outdo MW.

The plot twists and drama make the campaign a bloated action movie too macho for its own good. Some parts are genuinely satisfying, but many parts of the game dip into action movies one too many times, with distinct similarities to The Rock and The Dark Knight.

Thankfully, the multiplayer mode doesn’t reek too much of a Michael Bay movie. What was already a deep and highly customizable multiplayer mode is improved upon with new weapons and more customization options.

As players accumulate points for kills and complete challenges, they are promoted and gain access to new weapons and perks. Being a higher rank doesn’t mean you’ll be a better player; entry-level players can just as easily mow over the competition.

New to MW2 is the Special Ops mode, which revolves around completing challenges based on difficulty. Players can also team up online for cooperative missions and invite a friend to play along.

It’s amazingly deep and requires lots of strategy for the higher difficulties. Similar to the multiplayer mode, Special Ops could have been a game on its own and only adds to the total package of MW2.

MW looked and sounded impressive, but MW2 managed to improve on that as well.

Rio de Janeiro looks vibrant, while a set of levels using a bright red sky set the tone for intense urban combat. Characters look amazing, too. Simply put, MW2 looks better than its predecessor even though it’s only two years removed.

Guns give a realistic pop and the explosions are sure to rock your speakers. The voice acting is also superb. The music sounds great too, but while appropriate for MW2‘s action movie direction, it tends to be over-dramatic.

Some gripes about the game include its increased difficulty. Even on the lowest difficulty, you can easily be blown up or ambushed.

PC owners might also have issues with simplified controls catered to console users and the new multiplayer match making system, but neither affects gameplay.

There is controversy surrounding MW2 revolving around a segment of the game in which players actively participate in a terrorist attack on civilians at an airport. Although this segment acts as a catalyst to the game’s story, players have the option of skipping it.

When it’s all said and done, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a great game. Its single-player campaign may be too over-the-top, but the improvements and additions to the multiplayer mode, as well as the new Special Ops mode, are worth the price.

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