Modern Warfare 2 Review

I know it’s been a year since this game came out, I’m only posting this because I also wrote this as a product review on Amazon. I also know that I’ve written a few things about it when it first came out, but now that I’ve put in over 700+ hours into the multiplayer alone, I think it’s fair to say I’m familiar with the game now. So here’s the review:

FPS games were made for the PC. If you go on any reputable gaming site and find a top 10 list of FPS games of all time, I guarantee the majority of the games will be made for PC. There is a reason for this – they have features in them that have been perfected over the years since the original Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. Over these years the FPS genre has evolved and standards have been set. These are like “unwritten rules” for FPS development. I can understand wanting change, after all, change can be good. For this reason, I must give IW (Infinity Ward, the developers of this game) some credit.

You see, they decided to experiment with Modern Warfare 2 and try to make it more like a console game. Before the game was released, many PC gamers rejected it because of lack of dedicated servers. Dedicated servers have been in FPS games forever and until home users can buy epically fast Internet connections there’s no reason to have games hosted on individual player’s computers/systems. This is why every FPS game has dedicated servers. Many PC gamers, via Twitter, forums etc tried to tell Infinity Ward this, but unfortunately they didn’t listen. As a result, 4 out of 5 games you get into whilst playing the multiplayer for this game, you will either experience lag or hackers or even both. If this game had dedicated servers, lag would significantly be reduced, servers admins would be able to ban cheaters. It’s also worth noting that this game uses VAC instead of PunkBuster. PunkBuster is a much better anti-cheat system when implemented properly. So thank you to Infinity Ward for reminding us that dedicated servers are better than peer to peer hosting. I hope other game developers learn from this.

If you do end up playing the multiplayer, the best way to get kills is to be as lame as possible. For example, the tubes. I wouldn’t mind tubes if the damage they did was reduced. It’s too easy too use them, hence why they are nicknamed “n00b tubes”. All you do is simply point in the direction of your enemy and click. You don’t need skill to use them. You don’t need skill to knife either. In many FPS games, the knife or similar melee attack is a backup weapon, for when you are in a pinch, can’t reload or have no ammo left. In Modern Warfare 2, it’s role is a primary weapon, which isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Why spend time aiming for someone’s head, when you can just press one button and get an instant kill? This game does NOT reward skill at all!

The game is also somewhat schizophrenic in that it can’t decided if it wants to be a realistic military shooter or an arcade game. I realize it can be hard to strike a balance between realism and fun, but MW2 tries to mix two extremes together and fails. For example, for realism you’d hold your breath to steady your scope. This is fine, especially if the game was slower paced, but then it turns around and includes things like “perks”. Perks are similar to power ups, some enhance your weapons and others make you sprint for longer etc. Power ups belong in games like Quake 3, Unreal Tournament etc, not a realistic shooter.

Movement is also an essential part of the game. The movement feels clunky and it takes too long to do things. For example, if you swing your knife and then try to shoot, it takes forever to finally pull your gun back out and shoot. If you are new to FPS games, you probably won’t notice the delay, but it’s incredibly frustrating and pointless. It’s not real, it’s a game and it should feel like one. Another reason to believe this was made for console/casual gamers is that you have to climb over a wall. 99% of FPS gamers, unless they are severely disabled or are using a gamepad know how to crouch jump. I don’t need the game to tell me to press space, then put my gun away for two seconds whilst I have no control over my character as he climbs over a wall. I can jump myself!

There are so many things wrong with the multiplayer it would be too long to list them all here. There are (if only a few) good things about this game. The XP and leveling system is great. It rewards you trying out different weapons and items and this makes for a great way to learn your favorites. The weapons are also good too, each one has a different feel to them and they all have their own characteristics that make them unique. They also have many attachments which guarantee that you’ll find some combination’s you’ll like.

The singleplayer isn’t that great either. The singleplayer involves you getting from point A to B whilst the game spawns waves and waves and waves of enemies at you. The only way to stop this, is to find a break in the action, move up to the next point where, once again, the game will spawn more waves and waves and waves of enemies. This is mind numbingly repetitive and designed to impress little console kiddies with too much Kool-Aid in their system.

The Co-Op however is a slightly different story. It’s actually a lot of fun to go through it with a friend and is probably the better part of the game. It’s a shame there aren’t many more levels for this. Speaking of which, the add-on content isn’t great either. I don’t just mean the DLC (which you have to pay for, not worth it). I’m also referring to the lack of MOD support. It’s been almost a year since MW2 came out and already it’s going to be replaced by many (that can afford to, of course) by the next game in the series, Black Ops. Why will MW2 be boring and outdated in about a month’s time? Black Ops? New Medal of Honor? No. The reason is lack of MOD support or map making tools. This is one of the reasons games like Half Life, Counter Strike, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament last longer than a year. These games are platforms for bedroom nerds and small game studios to experiment and bring something meaningful to the community. Instead, IW and Activision opted for a cash cow.

Considering everything I just said, if you are considering buying this game, my advice to you is don’t. There are much better games coming out soon and this game will soon be forgotten or regarded as “just another FPS”. You will NEVER see this game in a top 10 FPS games of all time list on ANY gaming site. Even as a fan of this genre, I’d have to give this game a 6.5/10.

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