Graphics:
8.4
Gameplay:
8.8
Sound:
9.7
Control:
9.0
Replay Value:
9.0
Online Gameplay:
9.0
Overall Rating:
8.9
Publisher:
Activision
Developer:
Infinity Ward
Number Of Players:
1-2 (18 Online)
Genre:
FPS


Read this before you post comments: So you see yet another dreaded 8.9, and convince yourself that it's a bad score. You will likely jump down my throat, call me a whole bunch of names, and vow to never read my work again. And that's all good, if you're a 13-year old who doesn't wish to read and understand the opinion of one game critic, who strongly believes that even though Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a great game, it doesn't offer nearly enough groundbreaking material to warrant a 9.0. And in fact, at times, the game feels like it's taken a few steps backward in some instances. And before the alarmists and conspiracy-theorists come to claim I'm doing this to get attention, don't even waste your time. If I was, indeed trying to whore in the attention, I'd have given Modern Warfare 2 a score much lower than an 8.9. Moreover, I'd probably choose a massive 1st party game, say, like Uncharted 2, instead of a multi-platform title. Again, it's important to keep your cool and read through the whole review to see where I'm coming from.

Modern Warfare 2 picks up from where the last game left off. The gameplay is very much like the first game, except in this sequel, gameplay allows you to carry two primary/large weapons, as opposed to a handgun and primary/large weapon. Likewise, you can also carry two handguns simultaneously, or dual-wield a pair of secondary guns akimbo-style. Certain weapons have secondary actions, such as shotgun blasts from a standard rifle, or grenade launching out of an automatic. Shooting is superbly precise, and enemies go down like they should, so you won't spend time unloading hordes of bullets into an enemy until he dies.

And that's one of the many aspects I really love about the Modern Warfare games, is that their shooting is absolutely satisfying, the mechanics are practically perfect, and the amount of recoil dialed in is just right. Bullets that hit anywhere in the upper part of the torso are almost always an instant death – as they should be – no matter how far away they came from. Shooting in the legs will render an enemy badly injured, but not completely out of action, as they will continue to shoot from the ground. I've even encountered the enemy A.I. playing dead after shooting him in the stomach, only to see him lift his arm and shoot at me again. Furthermore, the A.I. acts like this no matter what difficulty setting you have chosen, so be prepared.

Differences in difficulty seemed to largely change the accuracy of the A.I., and not so much their brains. The enemy A.I. retains their patterns of running, gunning, and covering, and these patterns are quite intricate, actually. You may see an enemy in one location, but if you don't act quick, he'll make his way closer to you, using the objects in between as cover, all the while taking a few shots at you. That said, prepare to die a lot, no matter what difficulty you choose, as the game environments are laden with baddies everywhere you look…and that brings me to my first problem with the game…

Unlike the first Modern Warfare, the sequel has lost its focus and is now way too run-and-gun happy. The first game had a problem with infinitely respawning enemies, and the sequel has a similar problem of way too many enemies appearing simultaneous. This becomes an issue because if you're in a more linear level like the ones in Rio, you think to yourself "oh, I cleared the group of enemies, so no one should come from behind me", but you'd be wrong. In fact, despite clearing enemies out and advancing, you are never safe, and your A.I. teammates often don't do a good enough job at helping kill an attacker coming from behind you. The game simply throws way too many enemies at you, and there isn't nearly enough support with you to do an adequate job of containing them properly, so you'll often find yourself encountering a cheap death.

The absurd amount of enemies may feel epic at first, reminiscent of games like Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, but it wears thin quickly down the campaign, as it simply starts to feel repetitive and redundant. And in that respect, the first Modern Warfare felt like it had more varied mission structure, mixing the speed with the stealth and the epicness with the tension. Furthermore, the campaign is still extremely short, once again measuring in at about 6 hours of total play, with a not-so-great ending. On top of that, the story is extremely boring, and you almost forget that there even is one – it's just very poorly executed. And while I full well realize that it's the online aspect of Modern Warfare 2 that many of you buy the game for, it doesn't mean that the game should get a free pass into a higher score range just because it has a bustling online world, but we'll get to that later.

Another issue I have is the annoying blood splats that fill up your screen when you're shot. Quite honestly, it's a pointless visual effect that is extremely distracting when you're playing, because it makes it nearly impossible to see the enemy that's shooting you when your screen is stained with red blood and becomes blurred. Now, the easy to solution to this would be to just run away and wait until the stains clear, right? Unfortunately, you'll run into problems doing so…literally. With your screen covered in blood and blurred, it's fairly hard to see where it is you're going, as objects outside of your view will prevent you from running any further, leaving you vulnerable to more hits, once again leading to a cheap death.

And would you believe that I also have a problem with the online gameplay? I mean, yes, online is fantastic fun, largely thanks to the superb game mechanics still present, such as the experience points. And it's a great way to collect tons of items/perks and upgrade your character, giving it an almost RPG-like element, which makes the online gameplay so endearing. But 18 players? Really? I mean, I've been refraining from making any sort of comparisons to other FPS games, but we have games offering 32, 40, 60, and soon, 256 player online matches…and Modern Warfare 2 still offers 18? It's just odd to me that a game with such a massive budget, so much hype, with such a talented team doesn't, at least, offer an extra eight players or so two years later. To me, this industry is all about progress, and in many ways, I feel like Modern Warfare 2 doesn't make very much of it over the original.

The assortment of multiplayer modes is great fun, though, and if you're fine with the 18-player limit, then you'll still find a lot to love. Free-For-All, Search & Destroy, Demolition, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag should be all self-explanatory, but with these new modes also come a host of new features. First, and foremost, no longer will matches get dropped if the host leaves – instead the game pauses and a new host is selected, which allows the game to resume from the moment it stopped at. Next up, are the kill streak rewards which there are 15 of. Kill streaks are achieved when you accomplish an uninterrupted streak of kills, as a reward for achieving a streak kill, you will be given a reward to use during the match. One such reward is summoning an assault gunship to rain hell on your enemies from the sky. Another is gaining the ability to use a remote missile strike and controlling the missile yourself. Of course, some of these rewards are harder to achieve than others, and they are not random, as a 25 streak earns one thing, and a four streak earns a whole other.

Visually, from the moment I booted up Modern Warfare 2, I was met with disappointment. First, the game still runs at a sub-720p resolution, so if it's not looking as sharp as you'd like on your HD screen, you know why. Second, the textures leave a whole lot to be desired, as you're going to see one low-quality texture after another almost everywhere you look. And while it's normal for a game to have even a few low-res textures (Uncharted 2 had a few), Modern Warfare 2 might have a bit too many. Once again, all of this is met with disappointment, because I had assumed that two years later, we'd be looking at a powerhouse of a game. And while the lighting in the game is superb, the animation practically flawless, and the environments/locales nice to look, your eyes may still focus on those textures, and your lungs will let out a sigh. Also, the smoke effects have an awkward and flat look to them, reminiscent of stuff I've seen in PC games many years ago, at the start of the decade. But, despite that, Modern Warfare 2 does run super smoothly, as the game is V-locked, so that means no screen tearing, and the framerate hovers between the 40-60 mark, which makes for a smooth experience.

Audio is still as good as it was years ago, but with even more ambient screams, chants, cries, explosions, and just general chaos. You'd be doing this game, and yourself, a disservice if you didn't have your PS3 paired to a sound system. And I know that I'm always going on about audio setups, but you simply have to understand just how important it is in a game like this, where audio is an extremely immersive gameplay tool. There is a solid amount of voice acting here, both during missions and in between them when you are being briefed. Voice work is very well done, as you'd expect, and you likely won't find any complaints here.

Once again, it needs to be stressed that this 8.9 is not a bad score, and if you'd like to discuss or argue it in the comments, I can only welcome calm and professional responses . My basis for the score is one that boils down to a number of issues, one of which is Killzone 2, which I felt offered more as an overall package. Now, it was only a matter time before I made a Killzone 2 mention, and I figured it'd best be done during the conclusion. As is normal in any industry, there are benchmarks, and it is only fair that those benchmarks are constantly tested and compared to. I believe that Sony had set a certain bar by offering a game that looked astonishingly good, boasted 32 player online matches, a great story, a lengthy and very enjoyable campaign, and sounded absolutely insane. I expected Infinity Ward to do all of that and then some, but ultimately their game falls when it comes down to the campaign, online limitations, story and visuals. It does have an online core that does provide more depth as far as rewards and extras go, and the co-op gameplay is great too (even if it isn't campaign based), but it's not quite enough to overcome the rest of Modern Warfare 2's shortcomings.

Had it not been for the existence of Killzone 2, this game would've easily scored in the nines, but the balance of things change when there is that one benchmark that is so well rounded in practically every aspect, that, to me, it'd almost feel like I'm lying to myself by saying Modern Warfare 2 is as good as the benchmark. As it stands, Modern Warfare 2 is a great game, there is no doubt about it , but its shortcomings make it feel as if the game has stagnated and doesn't feel evolved, at all. And in some ways, I actually think the first Modern Warfare was better. Shame, but that's just my opinion, as heartbreaking as it may be for some of you to read it.

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InBlackestNight
InBlackestNight
11 years ago

I think that's the first truly honest review I've seen for this game. Thank you!

armedkiller
armedkiller
11 years ago

I agree, this site has a knack for down-to-earth, honest-to-God, quality reviews. Keep up the good work!

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

Thanks Arnold, a perfect review… Killzone 2 – no doubt – still king… all hail exclusives… I ma tired of buying sub-par games… only the best on my shelf, even if that amounts to 10 games!

Q!

"i am home"

Kempy21
Kempy21
11 years ago

finally a honest review i didn't think I'd ever see one. really good review this is why i come to this website.

mastiffchild
mastiffchild
11 years ago

I'd have knocked a nmark off straight away for there being nop dedicated servers on any layform myself. PS3 owners are quite used tio the merits of them these days allowing many more people online than the paltry rip off offered by the apparently going backwards with multiplayer IW.

The story is also completely silly and a step vack from the excellent pacing of the first game. I haven't bought the game as I don't think IW/Acti deserve any of our money this time round and shafting the eU and PC gamer was pretty crappy, imo. However I've watched 90% of the campaign and loads of the spec ops and MP to knopw what the games about andd , to me, the "airport terrorit" level is done just for the press in generated and could have been handled better in a differnt way-say in a flashback during narative with a scarred, mentally demoralised former operative, no?

The nig one, though, is for the lack of dedicated servers which smacks to me of IW starting not to cre about the overall quality of their product. It was the most onvious move forwards for a ganme oft touted as the online game of the year and it isn't like they're strapped is it?

BTW, most of my mates would totally agree with your scoring Arnold. They average between 8.5-9/10. 9v9 doesn't cut it for me anymore-when a game as small, in comparison, as Warhawk can manage 16v16 lagdree on dedicated servers the fact this doesn't is a greedy, money grabbing disgrace and they should be ashamed at the mess they made.

Jut420
Jut420
11 years ago

That's why this is literally the only site whose opinion I consider when I'm on the fence about a purchase. They tell it like it is and always point out everything that's important. I realized it when I read a review for a game that I had already played and after reading all I could say was, "Wow, I couldn't have written this any better." You guys are great here at PSX!!

Danny007
Danny007
11 years ago

Totally correct. This game is so not perfect like other reviews say it is. Uncharted 2 is the only game that comes close to perfection. Uncharted 2 for game of the year!

psxmax
psxmax
11 years ago

It's nice to know that there still exist a true gaming site that does not follow the hype and gives real reviews. Keep up the good work.

Your nickname should be AK47 (Arnold Katayev 47) for shooting down the hype.

THEVERDIN
THEVERDIN
11 years ago

I agree with everything said and would also add that sometimes it's hard to get to your objectives, seems like I get lost or blocked out of areas.

armedkiller
armedkiller
11 years ago

Spot On! I like the game, it just seems to me that after two years the game should have made leaps and bounds, especially in the graphics department. I found the story to be lack-luster, but still worth playing.

Ultimately, the game falls short of the hype.


Last edited by armedkiller on 11/12/2009 11:40:47 PM

xxnova
xxnova
11 years ago

Very good, fellas.

WolfCrimson
WolfCrimson
11 years ago

Nice review, Arnold. As in : you didn't get influenced by peer pressure and hype. This is what I like about this site. The reviews just tell it as it is.

On a sidenote: Uncharted 2 has some low rez textures? Really? I didn't find any, but if you could, could you like point out where they are? I wanna see this for myself; this is like finding a sasquatch in an urban city!

ArnoldK PSXE
ArnoldK PSXE
11 years ago

Heh, there were a few to see, I won't lie. I don't recall exactly where, but they were in the game for sure. 😉

raztad
raztad
11 years ago

You can find them mostly on the floor (stones look pretty bad), exactly where nobody is looking at while playing :D. Pretty smart.

Nice review BTW, with all those flaws a 8.5 would be more accurate 🙂

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I remember seeing a few too but they didn't stick out nearly as bad as the ones In MW2. Naughty Dog did an excellent job hiding them. I came across a majority of them while I was examining the environtments and scenery. They go completely unnoticed in normal game play.

TheCrazyMerc
TheCrazyMerc
11 years ago

the best reviews ive seen. They tell whether or not I would buy a game.

jerocarson
jerocarson
11 years ago

Nice. . .
But but How come games with perfect scores don't sell as much . .

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

They aren't multiplatform FPS.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Glad to see you found a few of the same faults I noticed with the game.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
11 years ago

You played the game? I would not have thought you would have played it, bought it or even rented it with previous posts you have made filled with disdain towards this game and any FPS for that matter. Thought you would have been too busy with Demon’s Souls, or Dragon Age.


Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 11/13/2009 12:37:50 AM

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

I didn't buy it, or rent it. I did however play it, took me a little over 5hrs to finish the game. I'm not one of those twerps that bashes a game without fulling experiencing it, that would just be ignorant.

My disdain for FPS? I love FPS, true FPS. I'm not a fan of console FPS or games like MW2 which go backwards instead of forward in terms of gameplay. In fact I've already preordered LFD2 and I'm buying BC2 on day one.

I'm currently enjoying my 2nd playthrough Demon's Souls and recently started TorchLight on my PC.

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

I am expecting a very high score for Bad Company 2… a day one buy for me too… that Frostbyte engine sings out allowed to me.

Q!

"i am home"

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
11 years ago

Torchlight is an addicting little game. Great warmup for Diablo 3 as well.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
11 years ago

Limited, so you made it all the way through Demon's Souls? I would like to play that game, I have heard it is very difficult. Might be too frustrating a purchase for me, but I also don't want to miss out on a fantastic game.


Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 11/13/2009 10:38:51 AM

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Demon's Souls can be VERY intimidating in the early going. But if you keep at it after a few hours of playing you will start to get the hang of things and it wont be as tough as you might think. VERY rewarding game and it totally sucks you into the environment. A MUST game for anyone remotely interested in RPGs or action.

Daedusian
Daedusian
11 years ago

Yes, very good honest review! Something in the 9's is TOO good for this game, which EVERYONE seems to be giving. Personally, I'd give it an 8. The story is lame and short and the MP is much the same as the first. However, I was never a BIG fan of the CoD franchise in the first place, but I do enjoy their games. If MoH kept their old-school formula, I'd be following them, but they have really sucked for the past X years..

Bagmup
Bagmup
11 years ago

Multiplayer is totally different imo.In fact, it felt quite foreign to me at first and i played CoD4 everyday until MW2's release.

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

Why did K sell his Craptivision shares? …because he knew the truth!

Q!

"i am home"

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

in my opinion, the matchmaking sucks. I was a level 1 and was set up against people who were 30+. before i even got a feel of the map i get bombarded with all these killstreak rewards. after that it was fine. But this game is unforgiving to lower level players.

Bagmup
Bagmup
11 years ago

SP is a little dissapointing, but i mainly bought it for the online and it's a 10/10 for me.

chucknasty
chucknasty
11 years ago

Is the game really only four hours long or is that coming from the same people who beat RE5 professional mode just using a knife and only died in Demon's Souls by choice to darken tendency?
I get that the online is the appeal for most but as I suck at FPS vs modes that is not a selling point for me.

Oxvial
Oxvial
11 years ago

my friend its pretty good on FPS but not godly to do those feats you are mentioning XD.

I see him beating the game he owned the sp in 5 hours I'd say if you suck perhaps you gonna need 7 or 8.

still sp story wasn't epic if you are not going to use the mp don't buy it.


Last edited by Oxvial on 11/13/2009 12:09:41 AM

chucknasty
chucknasty
11 years ago

Thanks! Good feedback.

godsman
godsman
11 years ago

Same here, I'm not interested in FPS. You just don't get the connection with the main character if you don't see him in action.

ebterp
ebterp
11 years ago

The reviews are so refreshing on this site. I appreciate the time you guys take to really discuss a game. My copy is coming tomorrow and I am very interested in the "feel" of the gameplay as the 1st Modern Warfare was just superb in that department. I would say I will play it this weekend but I am fully engaged in Uncharted 2.

chicko1983
chicko1983
11 years ago

meh, I dont buy a game unless it gets a 9 at least.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
11 years ago

So that means you're not getting Ratchet and Clank A Crack In Time?

Random_Steve
Random_Steve
11 years ago

outrage! lol, but really get it, tis worth it

chicko1983
chicko1983
11 years ago

sorry, was being sarcastic – doesn't get picked up on the interwebs well.

My point is, if you worry about a review score because it determines whether or not you will buy it is complete nonsense.

People are saying well done to Arnold for sticking to his principles and not bowing to hype when reviewing games (and I also commend him for it), but the fact that he has to preface the review with a disclaimer is sad reflection of the sate gaming reviewing is in at the moment.

I sure most FPS fans will like this game but it doesn't interest me, and neither does Ratchet, but each his own and that is what you have to remember when reading reviews as well.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I agree fully with this review

Saw this game way before it came out on a modded 360 and didn't look that impressive (gameplay wise and graphics wise)

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
11 years ago

Modded 360? Does that mean that Microsoft shut that 360 down this week because it was modified? Interesting to see how many people buy a new 360 because of the ban, or will they jump ship and by a PS3. Depends if they have a lot invested in games I suppose. (ones that they legally purchased)


Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 11/13/2009 12:41:26 AM

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

If you are going to buy a 360 to mod it; don't play online; simple as that. Then you will have no issues… I don't have one and don't intent to get one… stick with my black beauty!

Q!

"i am home"

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I never said the modded 360 was mine

I "SAW IT" on a modded 360 (someone else's obviously)

I'd never buy junk with such a failure rate

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

No probs Scare, was talking generally… as is, "if one were to buy a modded 360… bla bla"… just to clarify!

Q!

"i am home"

BTNwarrior
BTNwarrior
11 years ago

yeah the single player game seemed more like a gimmick. I was really dissapointed in the stealth/sniper mission, because after the epic stealth mission from the first game this one seemed like it was just tacked on.

multiplayer is still epic though, and this time around the best weapons get unlocked first and the worst ones last so you don't get raped by high level players. (I do miss my bolt action snipers though)

MadKatBebop
MadKatBebop
11 years ago

I really like this game, but this review speaks the truth 100%. Strange that this game was like this though, you never expect a COD game not to deliver its best!.

Arvis
Arvis
11 years ago

Really? The first Modern Warfare was lightning in a bottle, but other than that, EVERY Call of Duty game was quite flawed.

But I thought the first MW was really freaking boring, anyways.

-Arvis

AshT
AshT
11 years ago

Loved the review Arnold, this is probably the first honest review i've read for MW2, good job.

OriginalSin
OriginalSin
11 years ago

I don't see why people will complain if it scored in the (High) 8's… Unless they are completely blinded and follow the masses like sheep. I mean I rate any game above 8.5 as a great game. I fully understand that that different people have different preferences and like different things within games especially.

And I come to PSX because of the honest and in depth reviews you guys give. And any game that you rated above 8.5 has been awesome in my eyes. You guys made me do a lot of good buys and no impulse buys at all. Therefor giving me a game collection I can be proud of and saving me a heap of cash.

Anyway I think this was a great review and I will at some point definitely give MW2 a go. And i actually applaud you for giving your honest opinion and review and for not following the "Sheep". Keep it up that why I come to PSX.

On a side note…After playing Killzone 2 even thou it wasn't 100% perfect it game damn close in my books. And after my first play through I already knew that they have set the bar really high and from that point on FPS really had to step things up just to compare to Killzone 2 never mind surpass it.

And I'm not a biased fanboy… If Killzone 2 was an Xbox exclusive and it was the same quality than what it is now I would still say the same thing.

Multiplayer and online is not such a big thing for me. For me the story mode/campaign is still the most important element for me and if that is the focus or at the very least 100% on par with the multiplayer I tend to pay less attention to it no matter how big the hype.

In the end it doesn't matter if MW got a 8.9/ 9.9 or a 6.9 it is still one of the biggest and fastest selling games ever so it doesn't matter who scores it what… It already won.

Just nice to get an honest review and not one according to hype.

godsman
godsman
11 years ago

How do critics give the final score? That is one thing I always want to know. Everyone claims that the final score is not an average of graphics, gameplay etc. Is it something you feel the overall is worth, without having direct relation with the weights of each category scores?

BTW, I respect Ben for giving an honest score. Many critics are hyping games too often, and scores usually are a lot higher than they are worth. If a game is close to 10.0, that means theres no room for improvements.


Last edited by godsman on 11/13/2009 12:58:38 AM

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