Monday, November 23, 2009




With the triumphant return of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2), many a woman, these days, must be feeling neglected. Gaming geeks rejoice and camp out on their sofas or in their mom's basement as they gorge themselves in the multiplayer experience of Infinity Ward's (IW) sophomore release.

MW2 brings back many of the classic moments and experiences that made the first Modern Warfare truly enjoyable. Many things have been tweaked, changed, or even removed. IW has smoothed out and upgraded the graphics engine on this installment as expected. Any competent game maker should have this well in hand, so I will not mention visual graphics any further.

MW2 offers a multitude of new maps for players to get lost in. Most are medium to large-scale maps. I'm told IW has plans for at least two multiplayer map packs to be offered as DLC.

If multiplayer isn't enough for you, IW has made the campaign longer than that in the first Modern Warfare and added the new "Spec Ops" mode for two to play online co-op.

Let's get to the meat of this beast: the guns.

MW2 offers an unprecedented amount of weaponry for you to choose from and customize via attachment upgrades. All weapons in each class have the same upgraded attachments as well as the same way to earn them. Assault rifle upgrades, for example, include the red dot aperture sight, grenade launcher, underside shotgun, holographic sight (upgraded red dot sight), thermal scope, ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gun sight) scope, FMJ (Full Metal Jacket bullets [FMJ's do deeper penetration through walls and don't suffer as much from the reduced damage of shooting through walls]), heart beat sensor, and extended magazines (extra ammo).

Here's a list of the Assault Rifles:


One thing I find interesting is that IW has decided to get rid of so many guns that were outdated, yet some new weapons in the roster aren't current in the spectrum of modern warfare at all. Fans of Die Hard will recognize this weapon as the one with which Karl hunted down John McClane all over the Nakatomi building.

So obviously, this weapon is +20 years old and from the European theatre of military operations. IW has taken note of this, and many guns that appear in MW2 are from the EU.

Machine guns aren't the only vintage weapon added, though. The model 1887 lever action shotgun will remind many movie goers of fan-favorite Arnold's signature one-hand, spin-cock-to-reload shotgun.

There are also sub-machine guns, light machine guns, launchers (rocket and grenade), grenades, claymores, shotguns, machine pistols, sniper rifles, throwing knives, and handguns to round out your arsenal. Also making its way into your potential inventory is the riot shield, a defensive shield that protects it's users from bullets (except your feet--you have to crouch) but not explosions.

Many things from CoD4 did not return. The AK-74u, G36c, M14, R700, Scorpion, M60, etc. did not find their way back onto Infinity Ward's final weapons roster. Weapons weren't the only thing excluded either. Perks such as the bandolier have been shoved aside for the scavenger perk which lets you re-supply off of dead enemies, but only if you have weapons or equipment that are common with theirs. The triple frag perk has been removed and so has the now notorious "Juggernaut" perk.

Every perk in MW2 now has a "Pro" version of it you have to unlock via challenge to reap its benefits. The challenges are simple in most cases: kill X amount of enemies with selected perk, and you unlock the Pro version. A fine example would be the much desired “Bling" perk which lets you put two weapons attachments on your primary weapon. The pro version allows for two attachments on your secondary weapon as well. Ahh-soo. Very cool. I loved this one instantly.

Another thing that's causing quite a buzz are the now customizable kill streaks. You start out with UAV, Care Package, and Predator Missile. But after certain level ups, you get to choose a kill streak to unlock, and you choose which one want to cause carnage with. Each of these have extremely good uses. Some are just more situational than others. Here's the break down, mediasaurs style:

3 kills–UAV (unmanned aircraft that circles the map showing enemy locations)

4 kills–Care Package (random kill streak reward or ammo resupply delivered via
airdrop anywhere on the map that you mark with a red smoke grenade)

4 kills–Counter UAV (jams enemy radar)

5 kills–Sentry Gun (remote operated gun delivered the same as a care package and you position by carrying it to where you want it)

5 kills–Predator Missile (laptop controlled missile that drops straight down onto the

6 kills–Precision Air Strike (sends in a wave of fighters to carpet bomb a section of the
map you select--works best with a UAV)

7 kills–Harrier Strike (sends in a small wave of Harriers to bomb a small section of the
map in the same way as a precision air strike, afterwards, one Harrier remains to
gun down enemies for a short while)

7 kills–Attack Helicopter (Helicopter roams the map gunning down enemies)

8 kills–Emergency Airdrop (4 random kill streak rewards delivered the same as a care
package--extremely useful)

9 kills–Pave Low (sends in an upgraded version of the attack helicopter with more
armor and more guns. Sikorsky MH-53)

9 kills–Stealth Bomber (precision air strike but with no warning given to the enemy
team--works great with UAV)

11 kills–Chopper Gunner (control an attack helicopters main gun via laptop)

11 kills–AC-130 Gunship (become the gunner of a AC-130 gunship's 3 primary
weapons: 15mm machine gun, 45mm cannons or 105mm howitzers—a player

15 kills–EMP (call in an Electro-Magnetic Pulse that disables all enemy electronics
including UAV's, thermal scopes, red dot sights, and even enemy air support
[they fall to the ground. Badass!!]. I'm told this will even counter the tactical
nuke, giving this the biggest possibility for tactical advantages.)

25 kills–Tactical Nuke (call in a nuke that kills everyone on the board and ends the
game outright regardless of previous score. The team that had the nuke called in wins instantly. Hiroshima baby!)

By the time you reach the maximum level (70), all kill streaks will be unlocked, and you now have tons of options available to you. Another plus in MW2 is that you now get points every time you shoot down enemy air support. UAVs are 50 pts. Attack Helos are 200 points, and Pave Lows and AC-130s are 400 points. AC-130s deploy flares every time you get a target lock with an anti-vehicle rocket launcher. Infinity Ward certainly doesn't want to make anything easy, so they find ways to counter just about any perk/weapon/kill streak to balance things out well.

Players can now view their earned accolades and how many times they've earned them total as well. Halo has a similar concept with medals. But MW2 has taken it one step further and rewarded players more points for faster level-ups every time they kill someone creatively, efficiently, or even brutally. Head shots, longshots, executions, double-kills, triple-kills, etc. are all in for bonuses. My only problem with this is it tends to clutter up the screen, and in the heat of a hectic battle, it can get a little distracting. A distracted soldier is a dead soldier (army wives' expression).

CoD4: Modern Warfare set new records in sales and won game of the year. I have no doubt Modern Warfare 2 will follow in its predecessor's footsteps and continue to convert the Halo fanboy into a fan of Modern Warfare.

A third-person point of view is now available with this installment to keep things fresh and interesting for those who may want a change from FPS point of view.