Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, (also referred to as simply Modern Warfare 2) is a first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Officially announced on February 11, 2009, the game was released worldwide on November 10, 2009. It is the sixth installment of the Call of Duty series and the direct sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, continuing along the same storyline. It was released in conjunction with two other Call of Duty games: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized for the Nintendo DS, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex, a port of Call of Duty 4 adapted by Treyarch for the Wii console. In addition, a comic book series based on one of the game’s characters will also be produced, entitled Modern Warfare 2: Ghost.
The game takes place five years after the previous installment, where a new counter-terrorist group, Task Force 141, must fight a Russian ultranationalist terrorist organisation and counter a Russian invasion of the United States. Several settings for the game include Afghanistan, Rio de Janeiro, Siberia, and Washington D.C.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 received highly positive reviews from various gaming websites and has received high praise for its in-depth multiplayer.
Similar to previous installments within the Call of Duty series, the player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story.
Each mission features a series of objectives that are displayed on the HUD, which marks the direction of and distance from said objectives. Tasks vary in their requirements, having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, eliminate enemies in a specified location, stand his/her ground to defend an objective, or plant explosive charges on an enemy installation. The player is accompanied by friendly troops who cannot be issued orders. Laptop computers that contain enemy intelligence appear throughout the campaign and may be collected to unlock several game bonuses.
Mission settings in the game include Afghanistan, Rio de Janeiro, Siberia, and Washington D.C.
Modern Warfare 2 is set five years after the conclusion of Call of Duty 4. Despite the efforts of the Marines and the SAS, the Ultranationalists seize control of Russia and declare Zakhaev a hero and martyr. Meanwhile, Vladimir Makarov, one of Zakhaev’s former lieutenants, begins a campaign against Europe by committing numerous acts of terrorism.
The game begins in Afghanistan, where U.S. Army Ranger Private Joseph Allen helps take an Afghan city from an army of militants. Impressed, General Shepherd recruits Allen to join his counter terrorist unit, Task Force 141. Meanwhile, two other members of the task force, Captain “Soap” MacTavish and Sergeant Gary “Roach” Sanderson infiltrate an airbase in Kazakhstan to recover a lost ACS module from a downed satellite. Shepherd then sends Allen on an undercover mission for the CIA in Russia in order to get close to Makarov. Allen, under the alias “Alexei Borodin,” joins Makarov in a brutal massacre of unarmed civilians waiting in a terminal at fictional Zakhaev International Airport in Moscow. Makarov, however, is apparently aware of Allen’s true identity. Before leaving, he kills Allen and exposes his identity as an American, so that the Russian police will believe he is responsible for the attack.
Angered by what they believe is an American-supported terrorist attack, Russia stages a massive surprise invasion of the United States. It turns out that the ACS module recovered earlier by Task Force 141 has already been cracked, which allows the Russian forces to advance without alerting the U.S. until they are very close. Private James Ramirez and his squad of U.S. Army Rangers, led by Sergeant Foley, are called upon to defend a suburb in northeastern Virginia from the Russian attack. They then proceed towards a war-torn Washington, D.C. where more U.S. forces are fighting a desperate battle against the Russians for control of the city.
Meanwhile, Task Force 141 work on tracking down Makarov. Intelligence from the airport attacks lead them to Rio de Janeiro to investigate leads on Makarov’s contacts, but the only intelligence they learn from the operation is that the most hated enemy of Makarov is locked up in a Russian gulag on the Kamchatka Peninsula. As a result, Soap decides to rescue the prisoner from the gulag to use him as a bait to draw Makarov out. With assistance from the Navy SEALs and U.S. Marines, Task Force 141 manages to free the prisoner, who is revealed to be Captain Price. Price agrees to help them track down Makarov, but knows they must go to extremes to end the war. He decides to go rogue, hijack a Russian nuclear submarine, and launch an SLBM towards Washington, D.C. However, he rigs the warhead to explode in the upper atmosphere, which destroys the International Space Station (viewed from an astronaut’s point of view), but spares Washington. The resulting electromagnetic pulse cripples the vehicles and electronic equipment of both the U.S. and Russian forces in the city. Later, Ramirez and his squad discover that the Air Force has assumed that D.C. has been lost after the nuclear explosion and plans to carpet bomb the city. The only way to abort the operation is to set off green flares on the roof of the White House, which is under Russian control. Ramirez and his squad fight their way to the roof the building and manage to set off their flares in the nick of time, while green flares on the roofs of other D.C. landmarks signify that the city remains firmly in American hands.
Narrowing down Makarov’s hiding place to two separate locations, Task Force 141 decides to split up. Price and Soap go to the aircraft boneyards in Afghanistan, while Roach and Ghost raid Makarov’s safehouse in the Caucasus Mountains. The latter obtain vital intelligence that implicates Makarov in the massacre at Zakhaev International Airport. However, General Shepherd betrays them and kills both Ghost and Roach, taking the intelligence with him. Price and Soap quickly learn of Roach and Ghost’s death and manage to escape Shepherd’s ambush with the help of Nikolai. After learning the location of Shepherd’s secret base in Afghanistan from Makarov, they decide to take revenge on him in one final, bloody suicide mission. However, during the infiltration, Shepherd tries to escape and a long boat pursuit ensues.
Shepherd appears to escape when he drives his boat into the back of a hovering MH-53 helicopter. However, Price manages to shoot down the helicopter just before their boat tumbles over a waterfall. After recovering from the fall, an injured Soap staggers Shepherd and attempts to kill him with his knife, but Shepherd blocks the attack and stabs him with his own knife. As Soap lies on the ground, Shepherd prepares to execute him with his revolver, but before he can, Price attacks him and knocks the pistol away. Price and Shepherd then engage in an extended fist fight. Soap manages to pull the knife out of his own chest and throws it at Shepherd, striking him in the eye and killing him. Price attends to Soap’s wounds as Nikolai arrives in a helicopter to extract them. Price warns Nikolai that “they” will be looking for them, causing Nikolai to tell them of a hiding place he knows.
Modern Warfare 2 features a cooperative mode entitled Special Ops, which consists of independent missions similar in design to the “Mile High Club” epilogue mission from Call of Duty 4. These missions will take place in a variety of locations from the campaign mode, but are not related to story of the campaign itself. Most of the Special Ops missions may be played alone, but supports two player cooperative play, in which two players can play together locally or online. Such mode includes scenarios such as a snowmobile race between the two players, one player providing air support from an AC-130 with the other player conducting operations on the ground, capturing an enemy compound, and searching areas for and eliminating 40 or more enemies at a time.
Special Ops is divided into five separate groups of missions: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Each mission may be played at three difficulty levels: regular, hardened, or veteran. Successfully completing a mission earns the players stars; there are up to three stars available for each mission: one star for completing the mission on regular difficulty, two for hardened, and three for veteran. Once enough stars are earned, more missions can be unlocked. There are a total of 23 missions, and 69 stars available for unlock. At the end of each mission, a statistics screen displays how long the player(s) took in order to complete the level and how many kills were scored, among other stats.
The online multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 2 retains the same experience points and unlockable reward system as that of Call of Duty 4, with game modes that include Free-For-All, Search & Destroy, Demolition, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag. However, Modern Warfare 2 introduces several new features. Aside from new weapons, equipment, and perks that are now able to be upgraded to “pro versions”, 15 different kill streak rewards can be unlocked and selected by the player. Among these is the ability to receive a supply drop after achieving four kills in a row, order a Predator missile strike after five kills, and call in an AC-130 gunship to strike from the sky after 11 kills. Another new feature is the in-game host migration. If a match host leaves the game, the current game no longer ends (as in Call of Duty 4), as a ‘host migration delay’ allows a new host to be selected and the game to continue on. There is also the addition of an optional third person mode which can be used in certain game types for multiplayer.
In the Xbox 360 version of the game, the party chat system is disabled while the player is playing online in certain playlist types.
The offline (splitscreen and LAN) multiplayer mode still retains the experience and rewards system found online, a first for the series since the system was introduced. However, the rewards are separate from those earned while playing online.
For the PC version, Infinity Ward has decided to implement a new matchmaking service: IWNET working through Steam. This system is nearly identical to the console version of IWNET. Dedicated server support is removed, eliminating the ability for mods or user-created maps to be incorporated. Because the multiplayer aspect runs within Steamworks, the PunkBuster anti-cheat system utilized in previous titles has been replaced by VAC. In addition, the PC version shares the same 18-player cap as the console versions (max. 9 vs. 9 matches). Such decisions have created some controversy amongst the PC community.