Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Review

There's a very short list of game developers that can continually and consistently impress gamers with each new release and Infinity Ward is near the top of that list. Each new Call of Duty game somehow manages to top its predecessor, and the games' campaigns and multiplayer action maintain their level of intensity from one release to the next. Modern Warfare 2 continues this Call of Duty legacy and does it proud. It's not perfect, but it is one of the best shooters available and every gamer with at least a passing interest in first-person shooters should have this game in their collections.

First off, let's have a look at the campaign. In general, Modern Warfare 2 follows the style of Modern Warfare's campaign in that you're not a single person throughout the campaign but take on the role of several different Special Forces operatives and soldiers. The campaign does a phenomenal job of creating one intense level after another with a wide variety of gameplay – well, on a basic level it's all FPS action, but that action takes place in snow-driven mountains, the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and even in suburban Virginia. Missions include just about every type of mission you'd expect from Special Forces, as well as those that fall under the domain of regular army from your obligatory battle against insurgents in a Middle Eastern city to an all-out clash between US and Russian forces. On an individual basis the missions make for some great gaming with an intensity that both provides challenge and leaves you with a feeling of real accomplishment once you complete each one. Together, well, the story tying everything together is not altogether congruent and is rather unbelievable – but that's OK, don't pay too much attention to what's going on during the mission load screens and treat each mission as a self-contained battle and you'll be having too much fun to notice.

While on the topic of the game's missions, you may have heard about the controversy surrounding some of the missions – and especially one in particular. The game does give you the option of blocking these missions, asking to be prompted before the missions, or to just let you play through everything without further warning, so anyone who's afraid that they may be affected by them doesn't have to play them. Are they necessary to the story? Sort of, but the story's jumbled anyway and even then it would have been easy enough for the developers to convey the events without having the player control the action. In fact, it seems that their inclusion was at least partially driven by the knowledge that they would create some controversy, and controversy means free publicity. Personally, I feel that if you're the squeamish sort then you shouldn't be playing an M-rated shooter in the first place, and besides, it's only a game after all.

The missions in the game are all heavily scripted, meaning that the major events of each one is predetermined and will take place each time you play. However, between those events there is definitely some leeway in how you pursue your objectives. The environments are just open enough to give you options for getting from Point A to Point B and you can certainly vary your approach to make subsequent playthroughs as enjoyable as the first. The environments in which the missions take place are all well-designed and it's obvious that the level designers paid a lot of attention to little details. For example, the cars in the game are modeled on real-world cars and although they're not licensed to display manufacturers' logos, if you're familiar with the car you'll see that every detail has been captured down to the positions of the dials and knobs on the dashboard. It's just a part of the equation that makes Modern Warfare 2 such an engrossing and immersive game.