|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Infinity Ward||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-18||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
June 15, 2009 - If youre reading this article (which you obviously are), its almost certain that youve seen the Modern Warfare 2 gameplay demo trailer featured at Microsofts media event. We were fortunate to see a lengthier demonstration behind closed doors at the Activision booth during E3 2009.
If youre one of the few gamers out there that hasnt seen the demo, youll need to know that the level on display is that of an icy, Russian airfield located somewhere in Siberia likely north of the Arctic Circle. Players will take on the role of an FNG named Sgt. Gary Roach Sanderson, following the now grizzled Capt. Soap MacTavish the main player character from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. As members of Task Force 141 an international special operations conglomeration of SAS, USMC, Rangers, CIA, and Delta Force badasses youre tasked with recovering vital data from a downed satellite and sabotaging the Russian Ultranationalists recovery efforts.
The mission featured is that of a stealth level that placed a premium on cinematic elements. For example, the demo starts out with Roach and Soap scaling an ice-wall in order to reach the heavily fortified base. This climbing segment alone takes around 3-5 minutes to complete, and it features its own non-combat, white-knuckle moments. Also exemplifying the more cinematic approach are the frequent set-piece, mid-level story twists, i.e. getting surrounded by the Russian forces and making an improbable escape on snow mobiles (more on that later). This game will be loaded with movie-like conventions and varied environments that are made to bring players into the single-player campaign.
As such, whats immediately apparent from the level demonstration is that the single-player maps and the environments are heavily detailed in order to set a mood for the player. This arctic level really showed just how important a role weather effects and environmental conditions will play; players will likely find the setting within which they are battling every bit as challenging as the enemies they come up against. True also is the way players will have to strategically use the environments to their advantage. The dichotomy between the environments being both friend and foe should be an interesting gameplay element for players to negotiate.
For instance, the snowy airfield on display is experiencing white-out, blizzard conditions. While this makes visibility difficult, it also keeps you and your partner well cloaked. Moreover, your silenced, heartbeat-sensing weaponry not only guides you swiftly to your targets, its muffled rapport is entirely silenced by the conditions, allowing Roach and Soap to finish the first half of the level in complete stealth.
Naturally, the dozen or so dead bodies left behind are eventually discovered, and players will have to contend with a full-blown shootout and vehicle action sequence. Once the alarm has been sounded and your previously set explosive charges have gone off, players will have to work in concert with MacTavish to take out the initial, impromptu onslaught. While this seems to be fairly easily done, the next sequence really shakes things up.
Taking out the first few waves of snow mobile operators gives MacTavish an idea, and youll have to make the rest of the escape on motorized sleds rather than on foot. Dashing through the snow at ultra-high speed, firing your sidearm gangsta-style, looks like a lot of fun! That being said, it could also get monotonous if the sequence were drawn out, or if riding on snow mobiles was a recurring event. Thankfully, the devs at Infinity Ward have recognized this and promise that no single element in the game will be overused. In fact, they claim to have gone to great lengths to keep the single-player experience fresh and varied throughout.
Press as we might, Infinity Wards lips were sealed concerning the multiplayer options. What we do know is that players will be able to go through the campaign with a friend via co-op gameplay, and there will also be an extensive competitive online multiplayer component (duh!). What we dont know is what kinds of modes will be available, how many players will be able to play, and what kind of ranking / character progression system will be in place.
Though were loathe to report there is no official word concerning multiplayer, we were encouraged by the level of detail and polish the development team is putting into the campaign experience. From what we can gather, Modern Warfare 2s campaign will be about as long as the original game in other words, not particularly lengthy but enjoyable, nonetheless. Stay tuned to CheatCC in the coming months as were sure to get access to multiplayer Alpha and Beta play in the near future.
CCC Editor / News Director