Up until this point Infinity Ward has been very hush-hush about the multiplayer component of their upcoming blockbuster sequel Modern Warfare 2. But on Tuesday night that curtain was finally lifted as Activision and Infinity Ward invited massive amounts of gaming press, spanning the entire globe, to finally give Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer a run for its money. And it should be no surprise we came away quite fulfill.
Now before we got our hands on the actual game we were given a short speech from some of the gentlemen at Infinity Ward and Activision who stressed what a new experience Modern Warfare 2 was in comparison to the first game, claiming that MW2 was built from the ground up, scrapping pretty much the entire code of the first game to start fresh for the sequel. But that doesn’t seem entirely true, as from a game-play standpoint, Modern Warfare 2 feels identical to the first game. No joke, there were players in attendance that within seconds of sitting down were barking out orders to each other as if they had been playing these three new maps (Afghan, Favela, High-Rise) for months prior to this unveiling.
But don’t let that scare you, Modern Warfare 2 still separates itself from the original title by taking that already outstanding formula and adding a number of new additions and innovations, helping make this the definitive FPS experience.
Firstly, Infinity Ward has upgraded the party system for Modern Warfare 2. You will still be able to join up with friends pre-game and enter a match together, but once in-game you will also now be able to keep tabs on all your squad-mates with their names displayed in blue text, as well as having blue indicators on your mini-map. This makes it a whole lot easier to coordinate attack and defense plans if you can see where your entire squad is holed up at all times.
Infinity Ward has also beefed up the customization options for players in MW2, substantially. Now pretty much every facet of your inventory is customizable down to even the kill-streaks you choose to use. While Infinity Ward wouldn’t spill the beans on all the different kill-streaks possible in Modern Warfare 2 (we do know there are 15 different ones), they did detail a few that players can unlock.
Just like in the first Modern Warfare, players who reach a kill-streak of three can elect to use a UAV to display the positions of your enemies on the mini-map for all your teammates to see. At four kills you unlock the “Care Package,” new to Modern Warfare 2, that lets the player toss a smoke grenade that signals a helicopter to drop a crate of supplies at that location that contains ammo or, if you’re lucky, another kill-streak. These care packages are also contestable, so if a teammate moronically tosses the signal grenade into enemy territory, they can reap the crate’s benefits. So don’t do that.
Also new to Modern Warfare 2 is the Predator Missile, opened up with a kill-streak of five. This most satisfying device has the player whip out a mini laptop and then take control of a rocket heading straight down towards the ground. The player will see enemies outlined in red squares on the screen and can direct the missile toward them, making it possible to rack up a fairly large death toll if you catch them all gathered together.
And the final one detailed for us was the already announced AC-130 gunship, unlockable with a kill-streak of eleven. Now as mentioned before, there are fifteen total kill-streak rewards, God knows what could be more intense and powerful than the AC-130, but we would be lying if we weren’t salivating at the possibilities (fingers crossed for skydiving attack dogs).
The perks of Modern Warfare 2 have also seen a massive overhaul to make a more complete, balanced experience with MW2. While we weren’t good enough to unlock some of the cooler ones, like the riot shield and duel-wielding, we can say they look and perform amazingly from watching more skilled players use them. In fact, the riot shield is definitely a game changer because even if you can’t shoot while using it, the amount of cover it gives you to slowly shimmy your way towards an enemy stronghold is invaluable. Players can also unlock throwing knives to replace grenades in their pre-sets if they so choose. While they might be harder to aim and lack a destructive blast radius, there is no denying the joy you will get from pegging someone in the face with a knife for afar.
Now a hot topic amongst a lot of hardcore Modern Warfare players feverishly anticipating Modern Warfare 2 is what has happened to the “Last Stand” and “Martyrdom” perks. For anyone not in the know, Last Stand let players get one last crack-shot at their killer before dying by dropping to the ground with their secondary weapon (a pistol) and firing off a few shots before keeling over. Martyrdom on the other hand allowed players to drop a live grenade when they died, killing anyone within the blast radius. Both of those perks saw a massive negative outcry from the gaming community and no mention has been made if we should expect their return in Modern Warfare 2.
When asked, Infinity Ward danced around the question but they did say all the perks from the first game that performed less than favorably amongst fans have been addressed here in Modern Warfare 2. While one of the Infinity Ward reps was quick to point out the updated Last Stand, now called “Final Stand,” allowing players to use their primary weapon and crawl around before dying, no one was keen to talk about the fate of Martyrdom. With the way the reps from Infinity Ward dodged this question, players should expect either a drastic charge to the perk or its complete removal, if we had to guess.
Finally, something we’ve yet to discuss are Modern Warfare 2′s graphics. There is no denying that the first Modern Warfare was an already great looking game, but Modern Warfare 2 raises the bar once again. The gun models look incredible, and the environments look even better than they did in the first game, which is saying a lot. The particle effects are also fantastic as the level called “Afghan” featured heavy winds kicking up dust constantly, all the while explosions and rockets tore the sand apart right under your feet. Modern Warfare 2 is a serious contender for best looking game on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The screens and trailers that have been released do not do this game’s beauty justice.
Overall, the one word that sums up what Infinity Ward strived for with Modern Warfare 2 is “customization,” and they succeeded in spades, going above and beyond the call of duty (pun intended) to give gamers the tools to tweak every facet of Modern Warfare 2 to cater to all distinct play-styles. So while the game doesn’t play any differently compared to the first Modern Warfare, the sheer amount of options available to players in Modern Warfare 2 showcases Infinity Ward’s commitment to making this game feel brand new, not some money-grabbing retread.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 hits retail shelves on November 11.