The sixth entry in the long running Call of Duty franchise, and the fourth game produced by Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a direct sequel taking place five years after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, continuing with the same storyline, and some familiar faces.
Like it's predecessor and every other CoD game, Modern Warfare 2 jumps between playable characters, introducing a few new ones, and bringing back a few others.
Rather than running around all gung-ho with with British SAS, this time around the player is put in the shoes of a soldier from the multinational special operations unit Task Force 141, Gary 'Roach' Sanderson. Roach is the closest thing Modern Warfare 2 has to a STEADY protagonist, as he is the most played throughout the game, but the players also gets control of a few U.S. Army Rangers, and even the devilishly handsome John 'Soap' MacTavish from CoD4! The characters all retain their personalities from the previous game, and some of the new characters even show traits of the deceased.
Ladies, please put your panties back on.
The characters might be awesome and fun to interact with, like the last game, but the levels are nowhere near as memorable. CoD4 had a plethora of levels with awesome feats of badassitude, heroism, and even some that were blatantly unfair, but were still amazing and left an impression. Modern Warfare 2 had maybe three interesting levels, and out of 17 levels*, that's not a good ratio.
*: Not counting the level No Russian due to it being blocked in some countries, and being an outright skippable mission due to its content.
The gameplay is virtually unchanged from CoD4, the standard aim-and-shoot routine that is ever so present in shooters these days. Thankfully, Modern Warfare 2 tries to make it up to us by including some vehicle sections that really change the flow, and bring with it a whole flurry of awkward controls. It would be a lie to say that the vehicle controls are bad, but it wouldn't be a lie to say that they take a bit of getting used to.
Oh, and remember the infinitely spawning waves of baddies from CoD4 that made levels a pain because you had to constantly push forward towards enemy fire? Those are gone now. No more endless swarms. It's actually possible to just mow down enough bad guys that they'll outright stop coming at you. I don't know about you, but this was a godsend for me (then again, I've been playing the entire series on legendary... So...)
In addition to the campaign, Modern Warfare 2 includes two additional modes, Special ops and online multiplayer, which is improved from CoD4.
Starting with Special Ops, there are a series of 23 bonus missions that the player is tasked with completing, and each has a varying objective, such as wiping out 50 baddies, or destroying every vehicle on a bridge while baddies are trying to kill you... For some reason. Depending on the difficulty they are completed at (or the time they are completed in for two missions), the player will receive stars, which are effectively the same as saying 'good job', with a maximum of 3 per mission, and 69 total (please, behave).
Earning all of the stars isn't for anything other than bragging rights (and an achievement if you care about those as much as I do).
The online multiplayer is still surprisingly alive to this day, which is weird since the newer CoD games have done what this game did, but a hell of a lot better. This game doesn't have BAD multiplayer, it is just very odd and awkward. You start out with a set of pre-made classes that give you a feel for a few guns and perks, but upon getting enough kills to hit level 4, you get to create your own class, pick your own weapons and perks, and unlock new attachments and upgraded perks by being a bonified badass on the field.
What's sort of annoying is that there are more than a handful of gamemodes that require reaching a certain rank, meaning you're stuck in the stock gamemodes until you do well enough to play other game modes that aren't much different. Sounds like fun, right? Well at least it gives you time to get 30 kills while ADS with the ACOG scope so that you can unlock the Thermal Scope for your favourite gun.
In a nut-shell, Modern Warfare 2 is anything but a bad sequel, adding some new features and gamemodes, and even giving a plethora of challenges for the dedicated online gamers. It's just a shame that the story didn't live up to its predecessor.
However, the game does have solid controls, good characters, replayability, variety... As well as spammy enemies and team-mates that will sometime just cower behind cover while YOU do all of the work. If you want a game with a good story and memorable levels, CoD4 is worth your time before this one, but if you are all about the multiplayer, give this one a shot.