Review COD: Modern Warefare 2 for Xbox 360

Too Typical, Too Many Deaths – My Review COD: Modern Warfare 2

Here is my biased review of Modern warfare 2…maybe with a few minor spoilers. Since there are a million reviews of this game and boatloads of details…I’m going to skip that stuff.

First off – this game is TYPICAL COD…and how. Some levels are far better than others. I mean to say…
Although they are still overly ‘videogamey’ – they are not bad (first level ok, but I died right off…which set an early precedent, BTW). And that was dying and NOT KNOWING WHY OR HOW. But hey – it’s COD, and I am used to that crap.

It beats that fricking pattern to death, the poor freaking horse just prays to god it will SOMEDAY PLEASE end. Other than that, it started off ok, traveling along in a city and getting attacked by whoever (insert: faceless demonized enemy of today = terrorist), and having to abandon vehicles after getting ambushed and shot through the walls, and the guy on the stairway…which of course is ALL designed to set up the ‘massive action’ feel. Oh brother.

The problem:
One thing I hate (and many others do too) about some videogames is a lack of choices – and being forced to experience something the WAY someone decides I need to. At that point it becomes a rail car trip, and developers can talk “choices” and “sandbox” and anything else – but you know everything is predefined and you will be seriously punished for going outside the Iron curtain. COD: MW2 is THAT game.

I mean to say: Any game is hardly a real GAME if the rules are enforced by a ‘dungeonmaster’ that seems intent on changing them on a whim like a child.

So. The music is just one example – no option to turn it off. It might add something as an action movie feel – but REAL life has no soundtrack. It’s exactly like the sound in movies of the spaceship in space. There is no atmosphere… so…how is it making sound again???

call-of-duty-modern-warfare2COD: Modern Warfare 2 does this sort of thing a lot, and always has (all COD’s) – it’s irritating, and as long as you remember you are on rails and its all running down the predefined no exit corridor for the mouse cheese, you will be fine. That and a healthy dose of cheating bots that spawn and assault you from every angle to ‘keep up the intensity’. Did I forget spawning grenades if you stand in one spot for 2 seconds?

Endlessly dying because developers are OBVIOUSLY cheating is NOT fun. In fact, it makes you want to throw the disc against the wall, over and over and over and over. Maybe a few kicks to the nuts of the person responsible for that dumb-ass idea would be exciting too. At least it would be for me. Now where did I put that genie and that lamp…?

At some point, it was onto a snow level where it was a bit novel for awhile…climbing up the side of the ice flow and then of course, the typical videogame leap where you ALWAYS MISS and the other guy MUST help you up. They beat that drum to death too, many times. Darn near broke it.

So, then a sneaky silent infiltrate mission… and that was cool, had a heartbeat monitor (ripped off from ‘Aliens’, BTW…a cliche. What a shock.) and shot bad guys thru the blinding snow. Eventually – major firefight, and a snowmobile chase, which was also very videogamey (and SO ripped off from TWINE and NOLF).

Then a typical ‘chase the guy’ level through some crappy town…so LAME! It was so empty and boring – it is quite OBVIOUS that they just tuna can crammed it full of enemies because it was so freaking dull and generic. Yet, playable in spec-ops co-op. Wow, lame 2x! But, they did that several times this game. Guess they are running out of ideas. *cough*

Eventually, there were other levels that are were far more interesting…lets say the story is WAY better than the gameplay. Assault on a oil rig was done last game, (again here) and then (SPOILER!!!) the USA was attacked by the Russians….which changed the story quite a bit …but, the game was still ‘push to point x or bots keep respawning’ and ‘bot onslaught’. VERY COD. (What, no zombies? Got the lame AI for it!)

I am not saying it is not fun, and many moments are not good – they are. But many REALLY pissed me off because they felt like such %#$@ [email protected]!!!! cheats. I finished a firefight in the capitol building…. which felt very typical to me except for surroundings. The prison battle was decent too… but basically the same fight… but…well, I already said that. There have also been some moments from last game…sorta. Like a laptop predator controller (overhead missile drop). And a Stryker (a mobile gun platform that you follow and direct) and, don’t bother using your own gun. Reminds me of that C-41 gunship…

It has its moments..but developers have screwed some things up while improving others. Like the ‘health hud’ is gone – it’s all blood splatter on your faceplate/helmet.

So. lets review:

Good: no big cluttered screen blocking I-can’t-see-a-crap-thing HUD.
Bad: it gets harder to see as things get worse, so your chances of surviving keep dropping. The blood spatter feels like a %$#@ cheat. But, this is COD.

This is an action movie/game – which has a very “our script/movie OD’d on meth, and we put meth in yer popcorn’ vibe. And, it’s very ‘transformers’…in the sense that even breakfast toast, apples, cups, plates, cats, ice cream, etc. explode, (well, except for chickens) according to the script. Maybe I exaggerate.

There are several levels where they ask you about the violence…and one – is is WAY over the top… I am surprised it made it in. Basically, you are playing as one of a terrorists – (SPOILER!!) and walking through an airport mercilessly killing everyone – and and they are helpless. For a game…it is a bit stunning…and although no one is real…I really didn’t want to participate – but you are forced at some point. It was a bit TOO real for my tastes. I am not sure how I feel even now. Repulsed. Shocked. Not massively…it’s a game. But…disturbed for sure.

As stories go – they got this one right, even though this is a continuation from the last game (part 2 of the story). It feels like a good book. It’s very engaging, and sucks you in right away. They still need to refine the gameplay though…I am sure it will stay ‘bot onslaught/we have no real AI’ pablum for a long time.

Well – that’s the bad stuff. If developers could manage to get their head out of their keisters and dump that lameness – it would be an awesome game. But – we all know 85% of game budget is ONLY for advertising and BS hype – and just a microscopically miniscule portion is actually spent on making the game.

The good stuff:
That all said – it’s not a bad game, and I would give it high marks (like a 10!) if not for the damn cheating bots and spawning grenades. The rest of the game is actually very good, with novelty (and some cliche’s and near cliche’s). Action moments are exciting, and the story is PROBABLY the BEST I have ever seen in a videogame.

So. I would give the game a 7…but that is only because the bad stuff drags down an awesome story. Had it not been for the suck, it would get a 10 easy. Previous COD: Modern Warfare seemed ok, but it (game and story) lacked a bit of focus…the gameplay wasn’t bad…and the story was good…but it didn’t make me stand up and go “wow”. This one had a story that did…I am impressed, and that is tough to do. And the gameplay wasn’t as crappy as previous COD’s anyway. Close, but a distant 3rd.

I am not saying there are not a lot of cliche’s in the story too. There are. But – I have yet to see much original stuff anymore.

So far – I have been speaking of singleplayer…and nothing else.

Add 2 player co-op.
Co-op is comprised of “special ops” translating to various short missions that are ALL TIMED (another thing I hate) and gives you stars if you finish within a certain amount of time – 3 stars and you open another set of missions up. Some are from single player missions in this game, some are from the previous one (“ghillies in the mist” – example) and many are just the same old assault of the massive spawning bots with spawning grenades. Some are actually fun….I played several. Whether snowmobile racing or trying to get across a bridge – many are fun. Guarding your teammate from the sky is fun….but the fact that you ALWAYS have a deadline on your neck is not. What? The guy in the helicopter can’t spare another 3 seconds for me to make it to the ladder? Or maybe developers need to spawn more bots on the roof that clearly WERE NOT there….but it “adds to the excitement’…and the “challenge” and more lame crap like that. Where is the manager? I want to give him a piece of his mind.

Well! Action just like in real life!!! Or maybe just mediocre arcade.


Multiplayer – The rest:
I left that to someone else to review, as I no longer care for the workout in deathmatch that every game seems to requires… so, a friend of mine has left with a few tidbits of deathmatch info, opinion and review

I’ve been playing team death-match of COD Modern Warfare 2, and the more I play it the more I see it’s just Modern Warfare 1 with a little virtual ‘paint’ slapped on.

Summary of Review COD: Modern Warfare 2 – The Good:
* Graphics are bar none the best I’ve seen in an on-line shooter.
* Sound effects are great. Weapons and explosions are beefy and realistic.
* Character movements are impressive and realistic, you can sprint, crouch, go prone, and climb up and over most obstacles and going up a ladder doesn’t take a
separate button push, just tilt the controller stick up.
* Special effects are very impressive! Smoke, explosions, motion/vision blur, and being blinded with flash-bangs appear real.
* Physics are impressive, but limited as body ‘rag-doll’ physics are realistic, and some items move and are destructible, however compared to Bad Company’s
walls that blow up COD physics is becoming dated.
* The weapons class setup and ‘perks’ is all very nice, especially allowing fallen weapons to be picked up and choices of different weapons during a match before re-spawn.
* I really enjoyed quick notes during the match that informed me that I just earned an award or if I got a ‘payback’ for someone who killed me before, and after a kill streak that I now had ability to start UAV, or other team perks.
* It’s nice to have a small on-screen map to show an overview of streets/routes teammates and enemy (when UAV is on-line).
* Sniper rifle zoom is impressive, and sway is not too bad since you can steady aim with pushing down the controller stick.
* Multiplayer maps are well thought out, with plenty of vulnerabilities and angles balanced for all players, without allowing any spots that allow too much control over the map.

Summary of Review COD: Modern Warfare 2 – The bad:
* My #1 complaint of COD’s on-line play is no way to tell your connection speed or to filter so you only join games with good ‘ping’.
* On-line games have disconnected me and I experience major ‘lag’ (screen images jerky, out of sync, dropping frames) in some matches every time I’ve played.
Fix the net code and upgrade the servers and end the suffering!
* COD rewards players by giving them weapon upgrades and ‘perks’ so this sort of makes it unfair for players in the same on-line game if they don’t have the same upgrades (not a level playing field). (Ed.: actually, there are rewards for those folks that do poorly)
* Why, or why can’t the COD character lean out from behind cover??? What solider puts his entire body out of cover to shoot at enemy? This is really annoying to me.
* Some in-game items can be climbed upon and others the same height can’t. This has got me killed several times trying to guess what crate I can climb up on and which one I can’t (picture a solider jumping and jumping in front of a crate before you shoot him).
* HUD you can not turn off! There is nothing more annoying that to have a floating whatever block your view of an enemy, who kills you because your teammates name blocked your view. I would love to have the option to tap a button to make the HUD appear and disappear, or at least make it more opaque, or better yet, have the developers come up with some other way to tell teammates and enemy apart (reticule color change works well) without a floating name.
* Idiot teammates who yack and squawk all through a game and you can’t turn them off.
* Spawning too close to enemy. WTF?? Nothing like being killed, then re-spawning right in front of someone to make you feel cheated.
* Sniper rifle breath hold is too short. Unless the player has been running, there is no reason they could only hold breath for five seconds, yet this is what you get in COD. The sniper rifle already has limitations over other guns, so this breath holding gets annoying fast.
* Old maps in a new game. When I buy a new game I expect new multiplayer maps, yet COD keeps giving players the same maps, only they are slightly altered. This is an advantage to the long-time multiplayer, but for the new player they are at a disadvantage. One or two ‘old’ classic/favorite maps that have been ‘revamped’ is fine, but when most of the maps are ‘same ol’, same ol’ I feel ripped off for the price of a new game.

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