Home > 1 > Update: My Late Take on Modern Warfare 2 and Games I’m Waiting For

Update: My Late Take on Modern Warfare 2 and Games I’m Waiting For

Okay now for a little update on what I’m playing now and which upcoming games I can’t wait to release.

I know I’m a little late to the party but in early December I purchased Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare 2.  I’ve played the previous game but never went online with it.  When MW2 was released I was astounded by the anticipation of my fellow gamers along with the 4.7 million units that were sold worldwide in the first day or two.  I mean sure, the last game had a spectacular one player campaign but was the multiplayer really so good that 4.7 million people had to have the next installment from day one?  

The answer is:  sort of.  Like the original Modern Warfare (aka COD4), MW2 has yet another brilliant campaign mode.  It didn’t blow me away as much as the previous game but in fairness I wasn’t able to be taken by surprise with what I knew from the last installment.  Pound for pound they’re both equally great.  You can’t expect much more  from a campaign in a FPS and there are moments where it really does feel like you’re in an interactive movie.  So far so good.  Now all I had to do was figure out what else made this game so special in so many people’s eyes.

Aside from multiplayer modes there is a new mode called Spec Ops.  Long story short, this mode gives you 20-25 challenges to complete.  Some have you stealthily evading enemy patrols, holding off surging enemy squads with only a sniper rifle and a laptop, diffusing bombs, picking your way across a suspension bridge packed with opposing soldiers, and more.  A nice touch was also adding a handful of missions where two players are required.  You can play any mission with two players (in some it’s almost a necessity) but these require specific teamwork.  For example, one mission takes place at night and has a player flying overhead as the gunner in a military helicopter while his partner sneaks around the enemy base painting targets with a laser sight.  It’s nice because while many missions are much easier with two players, these ones offer a co-op dynamic made specifically for exactly two people.  Each mission also has 3 levels of difficulty, and you’ll have to complete them on the hardest level to get the highest marks for each.

So what about the multiplayer?  I’m pleased to say that from a newbie’s perspective the online portion of the game delivers, perhaps as much as any other shooter in console history.  Now that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but it’s just about as good and as addicting as my favorite console shooter of all time, Halo 2.  There are obvious differences but the game delivers where it counts.  

As with any online shooter you’ll have to spend a couple weeks just learning the ropes and honing your twitch skills.  I and most others recommend playing through the campaign first as well.  You’ll be rewarded though.  Just when you start coming to grips with the fact that you’re just not that good, you start racking up kills and your kill/death ratios spikes dramatically upward.  As opposed to what I found to be a more gradual learning curve in the Halo series, things all of a sudden seem to click in MW2.  Once you learn to watch your corners, get comfortable with the radar and discern when to run and when to proceed with caution the game is very fun.

Adding to the experience is the leveling system and unlockables.  Your level doesn’t power up your character in any way during actual play, but it does correspond to what weapons and gear you’ve unlocked and have access to.  You start at level 1 with a few primary guns to choose from and a standard pump shotgun as your secondary weapon.  As you progress you’ll have dozens of options:  More assault rifles, more shotguns, but also sniper rifles, light machine guns, submachine guns, pistols, revolvers, and rockets.  You’ll also have more options for your other gear:  Different grenades, mines, C4 explosives, and attachments for every single firearm:  silencers, sights, foregrips, grenade/shotgun add-ons, and various camouflage options.  

Lending even more to customization are the “perks” you assign to each of your equipment setups.  You get three total, and they range from increased melee distance, faster reload, and the ability to sprint infinitely, up and beyond the ability to not be seen on radar or fall down in “last stand” mode, firing your pistol before you actually die.

The customization is really endless and the greatest part about it is that you’re not confined to one setup and having to make changes constantly.  The game allows you to have ten different setups you can switch to depending on the map or situation (doing this in-game won’t take effect until you respawn).  Everyone probably has their own standard assault and sniper setups, but you can also tweak those into something different to spice things up or to give you the edge you’re looking for.  There’s also always a constant desire to try new guns, but you’ll find yourself resisting this since you’re basically going back to square one and playing with inferior equipment.  It’s a neat little dynamic and hard to surmise the right answer.

My only complain with the online component of MW2 would be that I’ve played the game in moderation for the past month or so, probably averaging 10-15 matches a day 4 days a week.  Factor in the holidays and I haven’t played just a bit less than I would’ve liked.  The thing is I never really minded.  Sure I had a couple days where I yearned to jump on, but I rarely felt that addicting force that kept me coming back for more.  Granted I have to at least play as much as the schedule above describes, but I don’t mind if I don’t have a chance to play any more than that.  The maps are detailed, large and sufficient in number but even after playing the game sparingly for days on end I still think they’re getting just a bit stale.  Not a lot, but a little.  Supposedly DLC isn’t coming until the spring, which is understandable but if I had to predict I would say my play time will fluctuate as we get closer to whenever that is.  

Overall MW2 is a game that, as a total package, I would put in the “great” category.  There’s a lot to do and all game modes range from good to excellent.  For me the multiplayer is very, very good and after the 1-2 week adjustment period most players will have it’s great fun.  It’s just not “the shooter every other shooter wishes it were” like many people will claim.  Is it better than 99% of the shooters I’ve played?  I think so, just don’t assume you’re in for something you haven’t seen before.

Whew.  Sorry, that was longer than I thought.  Let’s move on to……

GAMES I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

BIOSHOCK 2 (February 2nd, 2010)

I commented recently to a friend that the original BioShock was easily in my top 5 games of the last few gaming generations (we’ll call it from PS1 to present).  That’s probably a safe ranking and depending on what day you ask me I’d probably put BioShock as high as #2.  Anyways I was a little scared when I heard they decided to let you play as one of the Big Daddies this time around but I’ve been assured by hardcore geeks and press releases that all is well and the game looks great.  There’s not much time in between installments here, but I just have a feeling we’re going to get yet another great and unique FPS title with something that seems to elude most games on the market today:  a really intriguing story.

SPLINTER CELL:  CONVICTION (February 23, 2010)

Unless time in front of my Xbox 360 is the issue (or I guess money), all Splinter Cell games are automatic purchases for me.  I’ve always taken my time when playing games that allowed it, so the top notch stealth game play this series provides is right up my alley.  To be honest for all I care they could have never made any sequels and simply made expansions for the original every few months.  That’s how much I like the gameplay.  Regardless this is yet another installment that adds a new co-op mode, which looked very promising in preliminary videos and interviews.

FINAL FANTASY XIII (March 9th, 2010)

Over the last year I’ve been making a lot of comments about how I’m kind of torn between games of today that are all about big production and the simple, effective formulas of retro gaming.  Enter Square Enix’s latest entry into the Final Fantasy series.  What a great way to get back to my roots and also enjoy what the latest technology has to offer?  I haven’t played an FF game since FFVII so when I heard this was coming to Xbox 360 I was floored.  I ate up the trailers (which are jaw-dropping in HD) and was pleased to see that while what I was watching was certainly new, it still had that cool mix of sci-fi, steampunk and fantasy that Square Enix so brilliantly pulls off.

Honorable mentions I probably won’t get to play:  

Bayonetta:  Okay so this game is already out, but all signs pointed to it being a dead ringer for a Devil May Cry knockoff, which I have no problem with.  Reviews I’ve seen indicate it’s a hit.

Dark Void (01/19/10):  Still not sure about this one, but it caught my eyes because it’s a 3rd person action game where you can fly around like the Rocketman and it looks gorgeous.  Most importantly, it’s made by Capcom.  To be honest some videos made the game look kind of repetitive but we’ll see.  Worth putting on your radar.

Alpha Protocol (Spring 2010):  I’ve been intrigued by this one for awhile now after reading about it in Game Informer a long time ago.  They’re notorious for having huge articles about games that are years away (I read about Borderlands at least a year and a half ago I kid you not).  Being an action-RPF with interesting characters, this has the potential to be a winner.  The producers also have a great pedigree (old school Fallout, Star Wars:  Knights of the Old Republic).

Over six months away:

Alan Wake (06/30/10):  Okay so every Microsoft fanboy is hyping this game to the ends of the earth but the problem is no one’s played it or seen actual footage other than cinematics (which amounts to zero in my book).  Still, something must have piqued everyone’s interest.  Let’s just hope it’s worth it.

Dead Rising 2 (09/30/10):  This is an automatic purchase for me even though I had a love/hate relationship with the original.  If they work out all the mystifying shortcomings of that game this is going to be a helluva lot of fun.  Crazy, off the wall four player modes are going to be a blast if pulled off correctly.

Fallout:  New Vegas (12/31/10):  Okay so I’m reaching a bit here what with the release date and all but if you loved Fallout 3 as much as my friend and I did you need to know when this game is coming out and everything else about it.  Supposedly it’s not a direct sequel but the gameplay will be the same.  I’m sold, which is a short way of saying I can’t freakin wait for the Fallout franchise to take over my life again.

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  1. January 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    MW2 suxznors. Alan Wake is pwnage 1337sauce, it is the best game of all time. How can you say otherwise, did you see the cinematic? If you saw the cinematic, then you would be saying it is game of the year and pretty much best of all time. STFU NOOB!!!1111 ur reviw is teh lame

    Seriously, I can not wait for FF 13. It looks good, as all FF games do, and it seems to be featuring some aspects of play style that I will enjoy. Fallout: New Vegas is now on my radar, I dont care if it was to be released in 2015, it would still be high on my radar. I love every ounce of Fallout 3, the score, the graphics, the story (for the most part), the gameplay (VATS system gets a little old, but who cares when you are listening to THREE DOG, OW-OW!), etc.

    Yes I am excited for Alan Wake because it is something out of the ordinary and has a creepy feel to it. Will I need to get it day 1, no, but I will surely be interested in trying it within the first week or so of launch. I would just be happy with more videos or info on the game for now.

    I have a feeling that Bioshock 2 may not live up to all the expectations. That is all I am gonna say. I know that is a cheap shot – but let me back it up with this – the first one was insanely good and #2 is supposed to be better (so say the game devs) but that will be something that game devs and designers cant predict, that just naturally happens when users play the game. I typically think that when game devs are saying that it is going to be “so awesome” and better than the earlier iteration of the game that they are just trying to hype the game for unwarranted reasons — there are SOOO many people on the internet that take devs comments as gospel. They wouldn’t need to pimp the game so hard if it was gonna be better than the first on its own — but that is just how I picture that scenario. It will be a good game no matter what.

    I have spent way too many hours discussing MW2 to say anything more about it here. Just wanted to note that so someone wasn’t like “Did he miss the first half the post?”. Nope, I read it, still not impressed enough to buy it.

    • January 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm

      Your first paragraph was pure gold. I think the thing with BioShock is the story will have to be as pretty close to the last one in quality and the gameplay will have to be familiar yet with enough tweaks to not feel the same. I think it’s definitely possible, but like I said the only slight bother is that it’s only been a year since the last game.

      There are way too many disappointing games that have come out to go by what developers and gaming news sites say. Too Human, Kane & Lynch, Mirror’s Edge, Army of Two, the list goes on. Now from what I hear those games weren’t “bad”, but they weren’t the blockbusters or automatic purchases we talk about.

  2. January 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with the games we call “bad”. I am going to touch on why I think ultra-hyping a game should not happen and actually is not that beneficial to any game.

    First off basically what you said was that games get a ton of hype, the game is released and the game fails to live up to the hype. The game is instantly labeled as “bad” (like you said) but in actuality, the game is not bad, just not as good as the hype let on.

    But the problem lies in that the games that get a ton of hype but fail to meet that hype in the hands of the consumer are labeled ‘bad’. For most people, that is all they hear and they move on as there are soooo many games out there, one does not have time to spend on a game that everyone is calling bad. I know this doesn’t hold true for everyone, but most people, most of the time, when they here a game is bad, they don’t look into it anymore. However, if one of these so called ‘bad’ games was not hyped, or just hyped far less, I feel they would not be called ‘bad’ games and may actually be more successful releases. It is that most people expect so much from these very hyped games and there just are not that many games that can match the hype. Thus, lets all stop hyping every half way decent game that comes out, as it only keeps us, the consumer, from getting to play games that are labeled ‘bad’ that really are not that ‘bad’, they just are not the greatest game in the world.

    So what about the games that live up to the hype, why shouldn’t those games still be hyped? Several reasons… First off there is no set in stone formula for creating a mega hit game so most of the time you can not predict which games could possibly live up to ultra-hype. The second reason is very simple; if a game is a blockbuster, it will generate its own hype when it gets into the hands of the consumer and still sell very well.

    This end to giving games insane hype will never end – game publishers want to hit those first day, first weekend, first week sales points and ultra hype drives that. Also, it does drive sales to a higher point for games that actually are bad – we all know what these games were in the past.

    Also, and this is just my personal spin and opinion on the whole thing — I instantly feel that a game is not the greatest in the world when it is not a sequel of something else and people are calling the game that best of the year or one of the best of all time before the game is even released. This just can not happen people. I just this week read 2 different threads on forums were I saw a couple people predicting that Alan Wake will be one of the best games of all time, probably in the top 3 of all time and I saw 2 posts saying the Bioshock 2 will easily be the game of the year.

    Ok, Alan Wake, top 3 of all time? Hmm, I am gonna ask Mario, Link, and Sonic for their opinion on that…Yea, not a effing chance. And yes, Bioshock 2 does have a great predecessor but this does not give the game the crown for game of the year. We don’t even know what all will be releaesd. Final Fantasy 13, Starcraft 2, WoW expansion, maybe (probably not) Diablo 3 — that is some stiff competition; you better bring a TON more than just being able to play as a big daddy, or you are gonna get beat badly (for game of the year). 🙂

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