Friday, November 27, 2009

Review: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 PC

All right. It's time to separate the men from the geeks. You may have read a bunch of reviews of how great Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is but we bet that most of them have concentrated on the console versions. After all of the hubbub about no dedicated servers, no mod tools and only 18 players allowed online, can Infinity Ward's latest first-person shooter be any good on the PC?

Actually, there's quite a bit to like about the game as it turns out... but many of our concerns regarding the PC port of Modern Warfare 2 also proved to be true.

Let's start with the game's very short (inside of six hours on normal) single player campaign. Although it's incredibly brief, playing through the campaign is much like experiencing a Hollywood summer action flick. That's also a bad thing because, while it's thrilling during your playtime it also means that you will likely forget about the whole experience once you finish the campaign and it's also unlikely that you'll want to go back and replay any of it.

There are lots of huge levels to play through in single player. The game itself is truly global as you travel to four different continents, and there's even a brief non-playable sequence in orbit. From raiding a Russian military base to running through the slums of Rio to fighting in the Oval Office itself, Infinity Ward knows how to craft a single player experience that will keep you on your trigger and your toes. AI for the enemies is fairly solid. They will run toward you but also try to duck and flank your position at times so it's not entirely scripted.

In all of that fun if mindless shooting, however, comes THAT SCENE. By now you likely know that (BIG SPOILER WARNING) there is an early sequence in Modern Warfare 2 where your good guy character has been recruited by the CIA to infiltrate a terrorist organization. The sequence centers on the group massacring unarmed civilians in a Moscow airport via a hail of bullets. (SPOILER WARNING ENDS). As has been pointed out the game does allow you to bypass playing in the sequence itself with no penalty and even if you do decide to play in the scene you can choose not to participate in the grisly part.

We are no prudes here. We think that games can offer up morally dark sequences like the above just like any other form of art, but frankly it's way out of place in Modern Warfare 2. Most of the game is handled like a Michael Bay-on-steroids movie. In other words you are supposed to have fun. Throwing in such a dark and brutal scene in the single player campaign just puts you out of the feeling that we are playing something that really should be for entertainment. We question why Infinity Ward would put such a sequence in the campaign. We are guessing they just wanted to be talked about on Fox News. If that was their intent , then mission accomplished. For us, it was way too jarring.

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