If Activision are reading this, here’s an idea for the tagline for Modern Warfare 3. Ready? Hem-hem;
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Officially the biggest thing ever in the history of man. EVER.
Modern Warfare 2 isn’t quite on this same level yet, but it’s pretty bloody close. What is it, $500 million dollars made in the first week of release? Christ knows how many hours of multiplayer have been racked up across all three platforms so far, but it’s been getting love from every review, youtube loser and noob under the sun. Is it worthy? Yeah, pretty much, but you didn’t come here to read everyone else’s thoughts, did you? Let’s rip this bad boy open.
Throughout the campaign, it’s clear that developers Infinity Ward never really felt they were going to get the chance to make MW2, such is the way it haphazardly continues the story from Modern Warfare. Characters that you saw on death’s door by the end of the first game make miraculous recoveries and form a huge part of MW2’s cast, which definitely points towards a bit of laziness in the character-creating department. Having Gaz (under the handle of ‘Ghost’ and wearing a mask) , Captain Price and Soap back isn’t a problem whatsoever, it just feels a tad lazy.
But it just adds to this idea that the campaign has been ramped up to a bombastic, self-important Hollywood production. It’s got this attitude where continuity and a traceable narrative just seem to vanish. It insrinsically bleeds into the gameplay too; I’m not joking, you will fake-die so many times during set-pieces it almost gets frustrating as opposed to the intended shock you’re meant to feel. Coupled with the fact that quite a few key plot points simply happen without any explanation or reasoning, you can’t help but feel like this is a step back from the first game, at least in terms of story. Of course, it’s still an enthralling, intruiging and intense experience, it’s just not as good as it could be. It clocks in at just around 5 hours too, which is frustratingly short.
Any discussion of MW2’s campaign wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that most controversial of levels, No Russian. In case you’ve missed it, this is the level that has you assuming the role of an undercover agent posing as a terrorist, assisting in the mass murder of civilians in a Russian airport. When playing through it for the first time, the level of violence will definitely stun you; it’s certainly more brutal and horrific than anything else the series has seen in the past, but within the context of the story, it works well and doesn’t seem to have been included purely for shock value. As far as the content itself, it’s fantastic to see a game tackle such a controversial subject such as terrorism in an adult fashion. Gaming is a very interactive entertainment medium, far more involving than film and television so why shouldn’t it visit the same controversial subjects seen on our small and big screens and produce mature, adult stories aswell? Considering MW2 is poised to become the biggest entertainment product of all time, its developers should surely be allowed to tackle difficult issues in whatever way they see fit.
Away from controversies, and back to the game at hand. The introduction of Special Opps is certainly welcome as a way of fleshing out some levels from the campaign and adding some extra challenges. They’re a lot of fun, ranging from killstreak-centric survivalism, Snowmobile races and air support, suitably amping-up in difficultly the more you complete. Considering how much of MW2 is online, Special Opps certainly helps flesh out the offline experience and can be enjoyed with the handy addition of local co-op. Considering Infinity Ward consistently shoot down the idea of campaign co-op, Special Opps is definitely welcome.
Of course, the real selling point of MW2 is the multiplayer. Simply put, as soon as you finish your first match, you’ll be lost to your loved ones for a good while. Everything is improved upon; killstreaks, match-making, the addition of deathstreaks for the noobs amongst us, new game modes….it all feels new and exciting whilst maintaining that addictive accessibility that made the last game’s multiplayer such a fantastic time waster. It claimed a ton of social lives two years ago, and now, the most annoyingly engrossing competitive online game is even better. Be prepared to let it own you for a good few months.
Does MW2 live up to the hype, then? In a way, yes. It’ll please gamers and reviewers everywhere as its essentially more of the same fantastic product, but in a sense, you do worry that the series itself might be becoming a little too big for its boots. It’s such a massively successful franchise that you cant blame Activision for beaming with pride every time a new press release comes along updating us on the how well the game has sold and how much money it’s made. The problem is that there are signs creeping in of the success of the Modern Warfare franchise beginning to dilute the experience of its product a little, even if it is only the campaign. When MW3 inevitably arrives in 2011, with this success in mind, it does make you wonder how much of it will go to Infinity Ward’s head.
So, in short, fantastic game with massive story-telling faults. It’s not the best game of all time despite the sales, but if any game is going make this much cash and cause this much of a stir, it might as well be one as good as this.