Call of Duty: Vanguard was a controversial entry in the long-running series that fell short of many gamers’ expectations – as well as Activision. This slight bump in the road created an opportunity for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to put the franchise on a better path. Modern Warfare II succeeds in this regard and moves the series forward in several important ways through a campaign with some truly spectacular moments, a collection of clever multiplayer changes, and the return of meaningful co-op that doesn’t revolve around shooting zombies.
Although the series briefly and mistakenly moved past campaigns to a few years ago, they have been back in full since. Black Ops 4. Reentering the single player mode was a good choice and Modern Warfare II show why. It offers exactly the kind of terrific set pieces, Hollywood blockbuster action and inventive sequences that show that Call of Duty can always push the boundaries and be at the forefront of the AAA gaming space.
The stellar shooter ties it all together and it’s tighter and more satisfying than ever, especially with the PlayStation 5’s DualSense implementation which adds excellent tactile feel to the triggers to match the on-screen action. Rarely has clearing a house full of enemies been so satisfying in a COD campaign, but even the most basic gunfights are thrilling thanks to the decade-long finish the series has received. The game even gives players exactly the freedom they want during firefights with mechanics like the ability to drill through or slowly open doors, hang from ledges, or mount a nearby machine gun. There are almost always additional options that come with the smooth gunplay.
However, the times when COD decides to get weird and more experimental has always separated its campaigns from the many competitors and counterfeits. Some are best left as surprises and others have been pulled from outside sources, like the exciting tactics section that takes direct control of the player and the missile disarm mechanic that reminds Keep talking and nobody blows up.
Many of these moments are sprinkled throughout the campaign, but the best is found in an endgame mission that injures the protagonist and leaves them unarmed. Stealth is nothing new to Call of Duty but that sense of vulnerability is such a change from the macho power fantasies that tend to dominate shooter campaigns. This mission’s extensive crafting system adds to its ingenuity and forces the player to scavenge for everyday materials to create handcrafted tactical weapons in a desperate bid for survival. It’s one of the most exciting gameplays ever seen in a COD country.
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Since they work so well, these are the moments that highlight and elevate a campaign that lacks the most notable narrative or villain. The overall story is not so memorable, and the rebooted modern warfare The series is in a strange place as it repackages familiar characters and events, but the missions themselves beg to be replayed due to their sheer amount of variety. There’s also a solid dart at the end, which – aside from being a confusing reference to 2009’s Modern Warfare 2 – implements Modern Warfare III in an exciting way.
Call of DutyMultiplayer is an institution at this point and Modern Warfare II has most of the expected features. There’s a wide range of modes and mechanics, including fan favorites like Kill Confirmed, niches like third-person mode, and a great progression system that uses daily missions to encourage players to experiment with their styles. The biggest addition is the new Invasion mode, which is a massive 40-player team deathmatch variant that adds AI soldiers into the mix. This mix of AI and human enemies worked well in Titanfall and still works here as it’s chaotic and helps less experienced players succeed as they can contribute to the team by eliminating grunts.
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The cooperative mode completes its offer and has three distinct missions. These are considerably longer than the smaller 2009 missions modern warfare 2‘s Special Ops but are completely original and offer more variation. Best of the bunch is the stealth-centric operation, which shines in the way it encourages players to coordinate and strategize. There’s also a more action-packed mission and a wave-based mission that changes the tempo and seems made for those who prefer Zombies mode.
A complete package that excels in all areas, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sure to please fans of the series and anyone looking for a content-rich first-person shooter. Whether you want a thrilling campaign or some of the tightest multiplayer available, there’s a staggering amount of polished content here that will only increase with time. It’s yet another success for Infinity Ward, which has managed to stay on top Call of Duty studio despite the best efforts of Activision’s other top developers.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8.5 equals “Excellent”. While there are a few minor issues, this score means the art serves its purpose and leaves a memorable impact.
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