All is fair in ‘Duty’ and ‘Warfare’

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By Phillip Levin / Asst. Inscape Editor

( Games Press)

By Phillip Levin / Asst. Inscape Editor

What does “Call of Duty” developer Infinity Ward do in the face of high expectations? It laughs, and then it surpasses them.

Indeed, the expectations for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” have been high, but amazingly, the game is every bit as good as you’d hoped for.

There’s no skipping around the fact that the main attraction of “Modern Warfare 2” is its competitive multiplayer mode, but the game does feature a single-player campaign mode, and it’s awesome. The mode feels like an action movie realized in video game form.

The game’s impressive visual and audio design tie together to create a remarkably cinematic, immersive experience. The locales are varied, taking you all over the globe.

What’s more, you’ll encounter well-placed game play segments that break up the running and gunning. For example, you’ll drive a snowmobile and climb an icy cliff using ice picks. The campaign is just straight-up fun.

Unfortunately, as brilliant as “Modern Warfare 2” is overall, it is marred by some shortcomings – most of which have to do with the campaign.

As engaging as the campaign is, it suffers from some problems that could have been avoided. The biggest of these is the storytelling. It’s just lacking, and it makes it difficult to follow along at times.

The game’s developer, Infinity Ward, doesn’t do a particularly good job of developing characters, nor explaining what’s going on. The script moves fast, and it’s easy to get lost, especially if you aren’t familiar with the “Call of Duty” series and its characters.

The artificial intelligence of your squad mate’s is also problematic. It’s common for your fellow soldiers to step foot in front of you when you’re firing, which just becomes annoying.

Also, the single-player mode is pretty short, clocking in at just under six hours.

It’s easy to forgive Infinity Ward for these quibbles, though. The campaign feels like a blockbuster movie at times, and it even pushes the envelope with some shocking, controversial twists and turns.

Sadly, the campaign mode does not support co-operative play, which is just puzzling. This game needs co-op. Instead, the game has a Spec-Ops mode, which features challenge-based missions that you can tackle solo or with the help of a friend via co-op.

The mode is surprisingly entertaining – especially if you’re playing in co-op, which you can tell the mode was really designed for.

Between the campaign and Spec-Ops aspects of “Modern Warfare 2,” you have a considerably polished and entertaining video game. But there’s more – the best part of the game, the star of the show: its online multiplayer. Indeed, “Modern Warfare 2” is the best multiplayer game of the year.

As far as multiplayer goes, there’s nothing significantly different about what’s here versus the original “Modern Warfare’s” multiplayer.

Rather, there’s just more of it. There are new weapons, maps, classes and the addition of customizable killstreaks. The multiplayer is every bit as addictive and satisfying as its predecessor’s.

It’s easy to pick up if you’re new to the series, but it offers the depth and room for improvement that’s necessary for a competitive game to have a high level of lasting appeal.

It’s also got that absorbing quality to it – that “one more match” enchanting power about it. You’ll definitely find yourself playing it late into the night.

This has been somewhat of an off-year for the video game industry, with fewer high-quality releases and more time in between them.

Thankfully, you’ll now have something to keep you entertained for a long, long time. If it wasn’t clear just how talented of a developer Infinity Ward was after its previous “Call of Duty” releases, that truth has now become obviously clear.

“Modern Warfare 2” is truly on the level of “Half-Life,” “Halo” and other top-notch shooters.
This is an absolute must-purchase for all Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 others. You won’t be disappointed. 

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