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Modern Warfare II Review | Bombs, Bandages, and Battle Passes


 

Image credits to Activision Blizzard and Infinity Ward


Developers: Activision Blizzard, Infinity Ward

Genre: Multiplayer FPS, Single-Player Campaign, Tactical Military Shooter.

Rating: A Solid Sequel; Fun gameplay bogged down by monetization and unnecessary features.


War crimes and betrayal get a sequel, retelling the fictional military events of the original Modern Warfare II as a reboot.


Whether you like the dark storytelling aspects of COD games or the multiplayer rush, both aspects find their place in MW2. I personally enjoy trying to get gold weapon skins and kitting out my guns, but to each their own likes and dislikes.

Many of my ideas about what makes a good COD game come from Black Ops 1 and 2 from earlier times in my life. If you find that MW2 is better or worse than what you see in this review, take into account the differences that COD players have had over the years.


Summary

A return to formula in many ways, Modern Warfare II carries over much of the success from the Modern Warfare 1 remake. Great gunplay and customization pair nicely with a toned-down movement system from previous titles. Unfortunately, the launch of the base game as well as Warzone was riddled with bugs and server issues, muddying the reputation of Activision Blizzard’s launches once again. The inclusion of a paid battle-pass in a $70 game is a major let-down, but is expected in the current gaming market. Let’s get into what MW2 does right and wrong.


Story

Building on the success of the previous Modern Warfare campaign, Modern Warfare II’s campaign is a lot of fun to play through. You get to play as some of the most iconic Call of Duty players in recent history, Captain Price, Ghost, and John “Soap” MacTavish. The campaign takes place in modern times and follows Task Force 141, a multinational unit that is tracking down an Iranian terrorist named Hassan Zyani. Hassan is in possession of ballistic missiles and preparing to launch them at the United States after the U.S. assassinates his Iranian general. There’s a total of 17 missions and it’ll take you 6-10 hours to complete the whole campaign. While being very fun for a majority of the missions, there are a few that play incredibly slow that probably could have gotten some tweaks to improve the pace. Nonetheless, if you’ve already picked up the multiplayer and haven’t played the campaign, it’s well worth a playthrough. Plus there’s plenty of multiplayer awards for those that want to carry their progression in the story over to their multiplayer account. It is satisfying to see that Call of Duty hasn’t given up on the single player experience just quite yet.


Multiplayer Gameplay

The community can decide for itself whether any COD multiplayer is balanced. Let’s stray away from balancing talks and get into what makes MW2 multiplayer fun. Gunplay is a major factor in how COD fans view the game, and MW2 certainly draws from MW1 (2019) in the overall feel of firefights. In a basic explanation, firefights have very low time to kill and movement is restricted (no wall running and double jumps). I believe this leads to more tactical gameplay, such as the heavy usage of tactical/lethal equipment when opponents are out of sight. You don’t want to run through open zones in the map if your sprint is down, so using a drill charge to kill a sniper behind a wall is a great example of requiring tactics over reflexes.

The gunsmith system also makes a return, allowing up to 5 attachments, making customized guns feel like your own creations. This is expanded by the tuning system, allowing further changes to be made to all of your attachments to better suit your playstyle. This includes changing one bonus of an attachment but decreasing another, such as increasing damage range on an ammo type but decreasing idle stability. The way to unlock guns and attachments in MW2 is a little bit strange, forcing you to use many specific guns to unlock other guns or attachments. The intent behind this was most likely to keep gun variety high, but I have seen complaints saying some people just want to stick to certain guns.

Moving to map design, most of the newer maps are fast-paced with many avenues of attack. Despite the three-lane focus, there are many windows, waterways, and underpasses to gank around. No real complaints about any of the maps except for the explosive cars on Border Crossing before they were changed. Game modes are completely subjective if you will like them, but many options are available to those that want fast-paced or big ground wars. They have even included a Tarkov-like game called DMZ for all the loot-minded individuals out there. Multiplayer has kept my interest every time I get back into it and holds up to the standards we have come to enjoy in Call of Duty games.


Graphics

Certainly on the higher end of graphical requirements, and Activision goes a little crazy on requiring so many shader optimization updates. Lower end gaming setups will have to play on very low settings to get the best experience. The guns look sleek and the bullet/explosion effects have weight to them. Sound design is great, allowing differences in equipment to be heard as well as seen from distances. One thing I have noticed is many visual glitches, such as outfits clipping through guns, or being unnaturally suspended in the air. The environments look stellar, having ample weather effects and building variety to keep things fresh.


Is It Fun?

You will stay entertained by many of the ways to play in MW2, especially if you can get a lobby of friends together for some fast-paced action. Just remember that it is Call of Duty, so make sure you can take a verbal beating if you want to keep your mic on in public lobbies. I will say that I certainly had fun playing multiplayer and the campaign, but it was definitely weighed down by small issues here and there.


Should You Buy It?

For die-hard Call of Duty fans, Modern Warfare II has some quality gameplay that will most likely keep you playing. The new $70 dollar tagline however, is a bit much when you include some of the game-breaking bugs and general rough edges at the game’s initial release. Some of these have been fixed at this point, but many new ones have stuck around. The inclusion of a battle pass really does feel bad in a fully-priced game, driving home some of the worst monetization schemes in the last decade. Taking all these into consideration, I would definitely wait for a sale to get MW2 at a lower cost or just play the Warzone mode for free.

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