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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Developer: Infinity Ward
Style(s): First-Person Shooter
Synopsis: In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, developer Infinity Ward aims to ratchet up the intense first-person gunplay, graphical verisimilitude, and deep multiplayer experience that won the original title wide acclaim from critics and consumers alike, while at the same time adding to the overall package with the new, fast-paced "SpecOps" mode. The single-player campaign picks up where Call of Duty 4 ended, with gamers once again descending into the shadowy world of terrorists, arms dealers, and nationless armies. Players take on the role of Sergeant Gary "Roach" Anderson, an elite member of the multinational Task Force 141 and subordinate of one of Call of Duty 4's protagonists, John "Soup" MacTavish. Task Force 141 is on the trail of Vladimir Makarov, a maniacal disciple of Imran Zakhaev, who has used the death of his mentor as a means of expanding his own base of power. Missions find gamers working off sketchy intelligence as they battle whiteout conditions in the jagged mountains of Russia and Kazakstan, shuffle though expansive desert and cave environments in Afghanistan, and weave between City of God-like Brazilian slums, where misfires result in dead civilians and a failed mission. As was the case in Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 supplies players with the most technologically advanced weapons, vehicles, and accoutrements available, including SCAR-H rifles, snowmobiles, and heartbeat sensors. The new "SpecialOps" mode brings gamers more than 20 fast-paced missions inspired by the frenzied mid-fuselage gunfight at the end of Call of Duty 4. Players find themselves racing snowmobiles, battling a huge number of enemies at once, or simply attempting to get in and out of a building without dying, and missions can be played solo, in local split-screen co-op, or online with a friend. Those looking for more online action can also take on the "Free-for-All," "Demolition," "Domination," "Search & Destroy," "Capture the Flag," and "Team Deathmatch" multiplayer modes. The much-lauded RPG-like system of doling out experience points and unlockable rewards returns in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer modes, but Infinity Ward has also included a number of new wrinkles to spice up the action. Maps are designed to be both more expansive and more vertical; weapons feature a variety of new attachments; new "Pro Perks" let players gain more stopping power, greater speed, or automatic health boosts; and gamers who manage to string together a number of kills gain access to the new "killstreaks" system, which lets them call for seven different kinds of heavy-duty support, including supply drops, helicopter gun attacks, and unmanned aerial vehicle strikes. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 12-page Instruction Manual
The pamphlet-like instruction manual glosses over several important details. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Well-detailed soldiers battle each other in strikingly beautiful (but confining) snow, desert, and other environments. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a revitalizing change to the World War II-centric series, offering a new setting, a slew of advanced weapons, and an addictive multiplayer component that introduced a role-playing-like leveling system. While the game's chief complaint was its relatively short single-player mode, the stellar presentation and movie-style action sequences provided more memorable moments in one hour than most shooters could deliver in their entire campaign. Though the Call of Duty series has always emphasized highly cinematic encounters, Modern Warfare 2 takes its inspiration from Bourne and Bond by featuring some ridiculously over-the-top heroics. Sequences on a snowmobile? A climactic chase on a boat? More explosions than in your average Michael Bay film? They're all here, but with a storyline that's decidedly less plausible than your typical Hollywood blockbuster. Modern Warfare 2 treats the real world like the film 300 treats the Battle of Thermopylae. All that's missing are a few armored rhinos. The environments feel more confining this time around, and you never get a sense that you are involved in an actual war -- just short, linear battles with action resembling an on-rails shooter. A better campaign would have focused on one or two locales, but the writers of Modern Warfare 2 clearly think their audience has ADD. That's the only way to justify having such a disjointed story, which yanks you from one locale around the world to another so quickly that you have little time to process what exactly is happening. As you play, you can picture members of the design team saying "this is so freaking sweet," like Napoleon Dynamite as he draws one of his sketches or Beavis and Butt-head as they watch a Gwar video. But after experiencing countless near-death experiences, spending minutes staring at the screen wondering if you are supposed to be controlling the action or watching it, and enduring needlessly drawn out sequences that interrupt the game's flow, you can't help but feel the campaign is self-indulgent mess. It's also one of the shortest in the series, clocking in at roughly five hours. Yet Modern Warfare 2's success isn't dependent on its single-player experience. Considering the original Modern Warfare's dominance on the play charts years after its debut, the multiplayer component has become the franchise's greatest strength. Modern Warfare 2 expands on the ideas introduced in its predecessor, but doesn't radically alter its structure. It still is an aggressive, blistering fast-playing game where shooting unsuspecting people in the back is more common than direct confrontations. What makes you return again and again is that no matter which game mode you play, you are constantly being rewarded for your efforts. Whether you're killing with specific weapons or simply crouching in a corner, the game notes your successes, however small, and awards you experience points that can be used to unlock new weapons and nifty gadgets such as a heartbeat sensor or a throwing knife. Only now there's even more customization options, allowing you to level up special abilities called perks instead of merely selecting them, choose your rewards for going on uninterrupted kill streaks, and show the world how deadly (or inept) you are with various titles and badges. The well-designed multiplayer maps, ranging from an airport terminal to woodland estate, are filled with more nooks and crannies than a certain English muffin, and offer a nice amount of vertical space to account for while stalking your prey. Modern Warfare 2 also includes a new Spec Ops mode that features solo and two-player cooperative action in 23 progressively challenging scenarios. While there are some questionable inclusions (like the timed snowmobile races), it is a welcome addition that will hopefully be expanded on in future downloadable content packs. Despite its severely disappointing single-player campaign, Modern Warfare 2 ranks as one of the best multiplayer shooters on the system thanks to its thoughtful experience system, soldier customization, and variety of game types. The rapid run-and-gun style of play isn't for everyone, but broadband-enabled adrenaline junkies will be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying daily fix. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Modern Warfare 2 offers one of the best multiplayer progression systems yet seen in a console title, and adds a fun co-op mode that's separate from the main campaign. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Actor Lance Henriksen stands out as the voice of General Shepherd, and you'll be treated to a rousing score by Hans Zimmer. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The short, linear single-player campaign is a huge disappointment, but a refined multiplayer system easily makes up for it. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.