Each year we observe the seasons change around September/October. In the Northern Hemisphere, the temperatures start to cool, while in the South we see it heat up. Like clockwork to this change, we almost always expect the next title within the Call of Duty franchise. 2022 is no different, this time with the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
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Where Does Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Fit in the Series?
Not being too familiar with the COD franchise, which now spans some 19 main titles in the franchise and 47 across all releases, having played only a few of the games previously, I wasn’t able to determine where or how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fits into the series. After a few hours of play, I decided to do some additional research on the series, knowing my review would soon follow.
To my surprise, and some confusion, the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game forms part of the rebooted series, which relaunched in 2019. The original MWII game was released back in 2009. Also, it’s not to be confused with another reboot, which saw the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Campaign Remastered in 2020.
I can’t explain why, but here we are today, playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 2022, to avoid any confusion.
Storyline and Campaign
As with many of the Call of Duty games in recent years, there are two aspects to the Modern Warfare 2 title. The first of these is the campaign mode for single-player, with the multiplayer mode being the second. One of the great aspects of the campaign is the addition of some high-profile actors into the NPC roles during the many cutscenes.
The story in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 picks up after the events of the 2019 reboot. That being said, it’s not a direct transition, with some years having passed between the events, just as it is in the real world, some three years later.
The Task Force 141 team return to the fray, being brought in to resolve a multi-national threat. The Task Force is called in by SAS Captain John Price (Barry Sloane), where the three main task force members will then be assisted by a number of allies from different countries. The story itself isn’t that deep in the end but is just a means to an end really. It’s a much smaller level of combat we’ve seen since the reboot, switching from the more chaotic large-scale war we’ve seen in a few of the other titles.
Focusing on a smaller group of characters, you’re called in to complete many stealth missions with a simple in-and-out premise. As such, you’re often left to complete very basic tasks, such as protocols for clearing rooms within a house, one at a time, until you’ve secured the area. It may be more realistic for it but doesn’t really grip in the way of entertainment.
The one aspect of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 I didn’t much have an appetite for is the ever-present bad-guy trope. In this case, we have the trifecta all in one, with an Iraqi warlord – Major Hassan Zyani (Ibrahim Renno) – partnering with a Russian agent and Mexican cartel. It feels too much of a play on all the stereotypes wrapped up in one propaganda-based campaign story.
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Switching to Multiplayer
In total, the main campaign in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 lasts some six to seven hours. That’s not much in the way of a storyline to play through. In all honesty, it feels more like a tutorial. As you’re getting familiar with the characters, the gameplay and the host of weapons at your disposal, it abruptly ends. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable in some respects, but it ends way too early to really feel meaningful. It’s clear to see the focus of the game’s release is the new multiplayer features.
There are various missions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to choose from when playing multiplayer, whether it be as a two-team group in Spec Ops mode or larger-scaled battles in Free-For-All modes or team vs team. Other missions include Search and Destroy, Prisoner Rescue, Groundwar and Invasion. There’s a fair amount to choose from, which will keep you entertained and coming back quite often.
While there are many options to choose from while playing online, the one I gravitated to the most was Invasion, where you will join 19 other players on one team in a 20v20 deathmatch. Here, you will have various maps to play through as you battle against the opposition. A small twist in the plot is that there are some AI soldiers thrown in from time to time that both sides need to eliminate to score points. However, AI is terribly bad and is almost just target practice. You score a single point for killing AI and five for enemy players. At the end of the day, the team with the highest score wins the round.
All the maps are quite beautifully crafted and engaging. You can gather resources, bunker down or traverse to gain a foothold in enemy territory. It’s well-crafted for various styles of gameplay, so players and teams can play to their strengths. It works quite well overall.
In the end, the multiplayer modes in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are quite good. Yes, there are some dynamics scattered in between that add to some mundane experiences but, overall, it works quite seamlessly as you battle in various types of combat modes.
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If there’s one aspect of the game without question, it’s the graphical capabilities. It’s second to none. Visually, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 feels like so much more engaging largely thanks to its realism.
In fact, many of the locations and environments chosen for the campaign are simply an ode to this. For one, there’s almost no reason the Task Force needed to make its way for a simple 5-minute mission to the Netherlands, other than to showcase the reproduction of the scenery, as well as the water effects within the game. It looks brilliant from this aspect, even as you emerge from the depths to sneak up behind an enemy, stabbing them in the back as the water drips from your HUD. It feels like such a trivial discussion to talk about reflections of light and objects off the water but at the same time, if you’ve experienced it, you’d know exactly what I’m on about.
Switching from that to the dry environment of the Mexican desert, with rocky terrain and plenty of dust, is quite the contrast. It makes a lot more sense, then, why the stopover in The Netherlands was necessary, as there would be an injustice to the game engine’s graphical capabilities without it.
Another of the vastly improved aspects of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the weaponry and weapon handling. For starters, each weapon handles quite differently and is unique to your playing style, too. Additionally, you can customise each weapon through the Gunsmith feature. Its new Platform system allows you to customise almost every aspect of your weapon through simple iterations. Over time, you can max out the weapon’s performance as a result. This allows for better control, less recoil and more.
However, the is a huge negative aspect to the new Platform system. Instead of upgrading your weapon as you gather resources as you level up, you’re required to unlock various aspects of your weapon through various other upgrades and weapons skills. Oftentimes, you’re left having to acquire and upgrade skills in one aspect of your weapon skills to further improve another weapon. It’s unnecessarily time-consuming and feels more complicated than it should be.
Once you’ve upgraded a weapon to its maximum capabilities, you can then be able to start fine-tuning it to your liking. You get to customise every element of the gun. This allows you to tune it to your unique style of play. There is, however, a caveat. Improvement in one aspect could mean a negative in another. Additionally, if you’re not going to engage in this level of intricacy, it feels more of a burden than the time spent doing so.
The level of realism in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is quite brilliant at times but when it comes to weaponry, can bog down your overall experience. You can just pick up and play as you see fit but run the risk of losing those close battles where that upgraded weapon could make all the difference.
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At the end of the day, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a mixed bag but largely positive experience. If you’re in it for the single-player mode, you’ll be found wanting. Lasting only six hours or so, you’re not going to be spending many hours completing it and having spent your hard-earned money on the game, it wouldn’t make sense.
The campaign mode should really be seen as somewhat of a tutorial for players. Its main aim is to get you geared up and prepped for the more demanding multiplayer mode. Learning how to traverse the environment, handle your weapons and master gameplay is key to surviving in the world of online play.
With magnificent graphics, engaging sound and realistic weapon handling, you’re set for an engaging title, irrespective of its shortcomings in various aspects.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Benchmark graphics
- Amazing gameplay
- Beautifully crafted maps for multiplayer
- Very short campaign mode
- Some new features don’t hit the mark
Sound and Music