Modern Warfare 2

Game Review

| Senior Sports Editor
Courtesy of Activision

Courtesy of Activision

Prepare to die…a lot. When you step into the world of “Modern Warfare 2,” death is but a few seconds away at any difficulty.

“Modern Warfare 2” is Infinity Ward’s follow-up to the widely successful “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.” This sequel brings back everything you loved about “Modern Warfare” and more. There’s no hope for running and gunning, especially with terrorists opening up from windows and doors.

The realistic difficulty, weapons and graphics make this a challenge that can’t be passed up. From the frozen Siberian airbase to the ruins of Washington, D.C., to the favelas in Brazil, to the house-to-house fighting in Afghanistan, you’ll see plenty of action in the relatively short campaign. Rooftop jumping, ice climbing and snowmobile driving are just a few of the cool things to do.

The tension of manning a machine gun while winding through a city filled with RPG-toting enemies is palpable. When the bullets start flying, players need to be ready to react or will end up with a bloody screen. Checkpoints and cover become your new best friends. Careful where you take cover, because bullets can chew through wood and walls.

The mechanics behind driving a snowmobile and guiding a motorboat were troublesome at best. Infinity Ward shouldn’t have tried to put in a racing component, as it strays from what “Modern Warfare 2” is all about: the shooting.

But most of the gameplay is well thought out. Breaching a room has never been more entertaining in a video game. Once the charge is set, the resulting explosive force slows time down and disorients terrorists. This allows shooters to neutralize terrorists without injuring hostages.

Infinity Ward does offer the unusual option of skipping one mission in which players are cast into the role of an undercover CIA operative among terrorists as they assault an airport and mow down innocents. The carnage is bloody, but it’s the players’ first encounter with the riot shield. It’s a satisfying feeling to knock down a row of enemies and shoot them when they’re exposed. Picking up a shield provides mobile cover and a devastating melee weapon.

The new Special Ops mode allows a player and a friend to take short challenges collected from various missions. In one level, the players must hold off waves of enemies, while in another they race snowmobiles in a time trial. One of my favorite levels includes assaulting a bridge as enemy troops rappel from hovering helicopters. The execution is impeccable, with both players enjoying great graphics and action. If one man is wounded, he has 90 seconds to be revived by a teammate.

The addictive multiplayer mode just got better. With the ability to unlock new weapons, classes, emblems and ranks, there’s almost no chance of getting bored. The system rewards people who just keep playing. Players can create classes of their own with weapons fit to personal specifications. I started trying out the multiplayer at 8 p.m. and was finally pulled away to write this review at 12:30 in the morning.

One of the most annoying ways to die is via a claymore, and online opponents are happy to oblige. Set one up and let someone walk into the zone of death. An even more satisfying way to kill someone is to sneak up and knife him.

Tired of a camper who you can’t find? If you’ve killed enough opponents, call in a UAV strike, follow their heat signature, and direct a missile right down their alley. Here’s one of the few flaws in “Modern Warfare 2.” These UAV strikes are ridiculously strong and are heavily abused. In one round of Domination (capturing and holding several territories), I was blown up four times in a row without being able to move, let alone fire my gun. Now there’s a new term for spawn camping: UAV camping.

The UAV strikes do play a key role in campaign missions, and it’s satisfying to hear confirmation of multiple enemy casualties from one missile strike while seeing and feeling a massive blast.

Ground war enables 12 to 18 players to compete in a match, which provides even greater action. The new maps include a high-rise, an aircraft bone yard, a quarry and more, with plenty of places to shoot from and get shot at. At higher levels, the hardcore mode enables players to get the most realistic experience ever.

“Modern Warfare 2” provides perks for the best and worst players. When you’re on a roll in multiplayer, the benefits just keep coming with UAV, supply drops and airstrikes unlocked. For those people who just can’t catch a break, they can steal the weapons and class of the last person who shot them or get temporary health boosts.

For those who like first-person shooters or just want to try one out, “Modern Warfare 2” is the game for you. Just be careful, and don’t get it during reading week, because who knows when you’ll be able to stop playing.