reviews\ Nov 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - PC - Review

When a game like Modern Warfare receives the sequel treatment, few gasps of shock are heard. Consistently high sales records, backed by years of franchise history, have ensured that Call of Duty remains a household name – at least in the houses of gamers. As “Modern Warfare” takes place in a world similar to our own, Infinity Ward has taken the ostensibly safer route by using fictional conflicts to propel the narrative. The result is something that feels more like a Hollywood blockbuster than a Tom Clancy novel (or game, for that matter), and action lovers will find plenty of cause for rejoicing.

One thing often forgotten about Call of Duty - and this latest release in particular - is the fluidity of the controls. That such a fundamental aspect is overlooked is truly a testament to its success, however. First-person shooters are a dime a dozen, so although we quickly notice when one feels too “stiff” or “sluggish,” we take for granted those which work beautifully. The mechanics and gameplay are well-suited to console peripherals, but Modern Warfare 2 feels pretty dang good with a keyboard and mouse. Very rarely will players find themselves frustrated by the game’s ability to react to player commands; MW2 is slick, smooth, and extremely polished.

Speaking of polish, Modern Warfare 2 also advances upon the visuals of its predecessor. The convincing combination of motion-captured animation running at 60 frames per second creates an undeniably immersive world, one that may not always look real, but still “feels” real. Of course, having a fully-loaded PC will help things chug along more smoothly, as some scenarios are densely layered with all manner of impressive effects and detailed geometry. The audio is similarly bombastic, with trilling engines and fiery explosions aplenty. The aesthetic experience recalls big-budget, high-octane action films. Check the batteries in your pacemaker, because there is no shortage of excitement in this game.

While the story itself feels more like a Bond film than a serious work of fiction, it does take enough wild turns to keep the player at least partially engaged. Much of the presentation seems hurried in an effort to appease the impatient teen-age crowd, but there’s much more going on than simply the campaign. Online multiplayer is just as addictive as before, with an extension of the customization features that allow players to not only adjust their equipment, but their abilities. This allows each player to have their own unique way of approaching a situation, whether they prefer to run and gun or sneak around stealthily. The cumulative experience system grants a great deal of online persistence. While this will encourage people to spend more hours in the game, the extrinsic incentives may also bring out some unsavory behaviors from other players. That being said, there is still tremendous replayability to be found online, with veterans blasting away all through the night.

The addition of Spec Ops mode plays upon the popularity of online cooperative mechanics. There are stealthy escort missions which require close collaboration between players, as well as more conventional survival-style modes with waves of incoming bots. Spec Ops was clearly not tacked-on as some kind of afterthought, but thoroughly developed as a richly engrossing experience that probably would sell nicely even as a standalone. Packed to the gills with so many ways to play, Modern Warfare 2 is truly an action fantasy come true. By extending the popular elements of the previous game and adding plenty of new content, Infinity Ward is once again showing the world how first person shooters should be.

Review Scoring Details for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Gameplay: 9.5
Plenty to do, and never a dull moment. This is FPS at its finest.

Graphics: 9.3 
Even prettier than before, MW2 is an excellent way to push your PC to its limit. For maximum effect, try the campaign on a nice HD monitor.

Sound: 9.5
Modern Warfare 2 sings loud and proud if your setup is decent. Of course, having a score by Hans Zimmer always helps.

Difficulty: Medium
Generally approachable, the sense of controlled chaos often culminates in sheer insanity. The good kind, though.

Concept: 8.0 
Yes, it’s a sequel, and yes, the word “terrorist” might be used. Still, there’s no doubting an execution this brilliant.

Multiplayer: 9.4
The implementation of rewards for progress may cause some headaches, but the multiplayer modes are brimming with fun. You can easily spend your entire winter here.

Overall: 9.4
From the first campaign mission to the 50th deathmatch round, Modern Warfare 2 is one heck of a ride. Its flaws are miniscule whispers against a thundrous symphony of greatness, where all elements combine for a must-play experience.


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