Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Modern Warfare 2.

Much ink has already been spilled on the biggest entertainment launch evar, and most of what I'd write is probably redundant. However, playing through 3/4s of the campaign (the game is currently living with a friend, what with my alabaster monolith off at Microsoft) netted a few interesting details.
  • Since Bushmaster has adopted a very videogame-like release schedule for the ACR ("When it's done"), MW2 offers about the closest anyone is likely to get to said rifle for a while. Or ever, given that the giggle switch is fully operational in this case.
  • Beyond the usual tacticool polymer goodies, the game includes some fun stuff like the Winchester 1887 (Terminatorized). In fact, the shotgun selection is the most varied and interesting in the game - no two handle the same, but all are useful. Finally a game seems to get shotguns. (Mostly - the SPAS12 is used in pump, and comes off the shoulder for each dramatic rack, but old habits die hard, I guess.)
  • Tom Clancy's in-game-radar applied phlebotinum gadget, the heartbeat sensor, is alive and well, and looks comfortingly like a motion tracker. (Now is this a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug-hunt? Closer to the former.)
  • At the beginning of the Brazil unit, there's a shout-out to a particular Michael Mann movie, or rather a particular scene that's quite popular with gunnies. I was giggling like a schoolgirl, which confused the hell out of the guy I was playing with, who hadn't seen said movie. (For shame!)
  • Wolverines! I rest my case.
  • Extrinsic rewards in multiplayer have finally broached the absurd in MW2 multiplayer. Consider - 30+ unlockable weapons; each with 8 attachments (each requiring a specific challenge to unlock, usually kill X number of people with prerequisite gadget A). You can expect to unlock something or other every time you play, since the game rains XP down on you regardless of performance. Whatever else the game may be, it takes "RPG elements" a bit too seriously - levelling up perks? Catchup perks? The good side is that there's enough variety for five FPS games. The various killstreak bonuses are varied and interesting. Nothing like a Hellfire missile to take out that pesky sniper. Or a tactical nuke...
  • Akimbo? Akimbo Winchester 1887s? This presumably isn't John Woo's Modern Warfare 2, unless the doves are very artfully hidden.
Other than a few minor nitpicks, MW2 is top-tier gorgeous, rarely so much as bobbles in the framerate department, controls like a dream, and presents a near-perfect difficulty curve (for me, on hardened). If you want the current apotheosis of the realistic-style FPS, look no further. If I didn't receive it as an early birthday gift, it'd be money well spent.

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