Friday, November 27, 2009

Review: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 PC Three

Kill streaks are back again and this time there's some customization involved. Don't want to use that extra UAV upgrade? You don't have to. You can wait to get that Predator drone to really blow away some opponents. It's clear that Infinity Ward has listened to their vast community of players from the last game and given them a huge amount of content to unlock and enjoy while they run around the levels shooting people.

It would be more enjoyable for PC players if Infinity Ward had decided to stick to what works the platform. Of course we are talking about support for dedicated servers, higher player counts, mod tools and more. Instead, PC players are stuck with either a random quick match which throws you some into laggy games with players that can be ranked well ahead of your own character, or a private match where options to change rules are relatively limited compared to what can be done on a private dedicated server. Forget about traditional LAN play set-ups; if you don't have an Internet connection to set up a private match, it's not happening.

The PC version does use Steamworks to offer things like bringing in friends to your party and leaderboards, achievements and the Steam Cloud to save your progress on a remote server so you can play
Modern Warfare 2 from any PC you log into your Steam account on. All of these additions are welcome but they certainly don't make up for the game's lack of features that were a part of the first Modern Warfare game.

We do think there's a place for a quick match feature for average PC players who just want to jump in and enjoy the game quickly but as we mentioned in our open letter to Infinity Ward, we don't buy that the community would split as a result. Also, having an upper limit of 18 players in a match is silly when PCs could have more. We don't want to hear anything about what the levels are designed to support; that just plays into the mods issue and underscores how this is a console game at heart and the PC platform was kind of an afterthought.

Infinity Ward claims the changes for the PC version are to make the game better for the platform. In practice, however, that claim isn't really true. The PC version of
Modern Warfare 2 isn't better. With the possible exception of the Steamworks features, it's simply the same as the console versions. It takes away all the things that hardcore PC shooter fans love about our platform for the sake of making every version of the game homogeneous. That includes, by the way, the whopping $60 price tag, which is $10 more than games of the same (or better) caliber. Considering that there are no royalty fees for the PC nor any extra content or features to justify the cost, it's a blatant money grab, pure and simple.

Infinity Ward, after starting out as a pure PC developer with the original
Call of Dutygame, has clearly decided the console experience is best and have shoehorned that philosophy into the PC port of Modern Warfare 2 to the detriment of its many hardcore PC fans. There's a lot to like about the game, but its shallow single player experience, lack of PC specific features, and high price tag for the game keeps us from recommending it. If there's a sale sometime in the future, then consider picking it up. As it stands now, there are other PC games that give you a comparable or better PC gaming experience for $50 or less.

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