Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of gamers have put a lot of blind faith into Infinite Ward, being happy to place down money on pre-orders going solely on some hype-packed previews. Just imagine how funny it would have been if Infinite Ward had spend the last two years making twiddling their thumbs before churning out something akin to the trashy Army Men games. Activision would probably end up with countless people outside their offices carrying burning Guitar Hero guitars and lobbing DJ Hero decks covered in poo through their window. Hilarous.


The truth though is this: Modern Warfare 2 is genuinely worthy of the hype. It’s brilliant, and the brilliant thing about it is that it’s constantly brilliant – from start to end there isn’t a single dull moment. Levels are a lot bigger than before but no less detailed – the attention to detail is scarily realistic, not just on the environments but also on the character models and weapons. Enemies no longer respawn and are more intelligent – they even jump across roofs to get a clearer shot – and the animation is also close to faultless. Even the sound is worthy of praise, with your allies shouting out enemy locations and passing comment on any skilled shots with a sniper rifle.

Perhaps the most pleasing thing though is that there’s no sign of it being a rush job – it’s polished enough to be classed as one of the best looking games on Xbox 360. And also one of the most controversial – there’s a twist near the start of the game that’s a bit grim, although you do get a warning message when first starting the game and the choice to skip past if you’re easily offended.

The single player mode takes around 9 hours to finish on one of the easier difficulty levels, and around 12 on one of the harder ones. There are some tough bits, such as having to fight against troops with riot shields and fight through a shanty town where enemies appear from all directions, but checkpoints are never more than a few minutes apart.

Once single player has been licked there’s Special Ops mode to play through – a series of checkpoint-free challenges that you can attempt either alone or with a friend. The harder the difficulty attempted the more stars you’re awarded. These challenges start off easy and get progressively tougher with objectives like having to the end of a snow covered forest packed full of soldiers using only a sniper rifle and your wits.

Of course, it’s the online mode that’ll keep the dust at bay. The presentation isn’t massively different from before but now there’s new perks and bonuses. At the start only a few weapons and character classes are available but fortunately it doesn’t take long to rise up the ranks to be able to kit your character out with better items and upgrades. The balancing is cleverly done – even poor players are given a fighting chance by being given pain killers as temporary health boosts or the ability to clone the opposition’s character class. The only real downer to playing online is that there aren’t any achievements to unlock for gaining promotions and such. It’s no less addictive though. Heck, people are still playing Call of Duty 4 online some two years after release.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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  • I had a friend over last night and we played the split-screen two-player only Spec Ops challenges. You can’t play these online – only with a friend by your side.

    Awesome fun – on one mission I had to leg it to an evac point while my friend controlled a mini-gun from a helicopter and helped mow down enemies to clear a path. In another mission I had control of a helicopter and night vision weapons and had to help him get to an evac point.


  • I found myself picking this up, purely because of the hype – I have no real interest in the Call of Duty games. It’s not terrible, but really? It’s so similar to every other CoD game. The series has barely moved on in six years. There are more cinematic set-pieces now, but the gameplay really is completely typical FPS stuff, and the graphics don’t even seem to have improved much.

    Bit disappointed with the brief single player campaign too, it took less than 6 hours in total. I literally started it last night and completed it tonight, thinking I was less than halfway through but then suddenly completing it.

    I’m sure the online multiplayer is the focus though, so I don’t want to judge it too harshly…

    It’s a shame Uncharted 2 isn’t on the 360, I have a feeling some people don’t know what they’re missing, as it really has set the bar for cinematic adventure/shooters and makes CoD feel quite smelly and old in comparison.

  • The single player took me 9 hours to finish. I didn’t die that many times. Perhaps I play it like a coward, taking cover behind anything that looks like it can withstand bullets.

  • Yeah I read about the javalin glitch. Apparently Sony don’t care about it but MS are banning cheaters.

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