Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Review: Overpriced, Unpolished, Yet Fun!

Gaming

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — released on October 28 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X — is a spiritual successor to its namesake from 2009. The game campaign sees the return of the iconic Task Force 141 with revered characters like Captain Price, John “Soap” MacTavish, Sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, and the cult-hero Ghost. Although following similar story beats to that of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009), this campaign is able to take you for a thrilling ride with new twists and turns keeping things interesting throughout. It also comes with signature multiplayer game modes — Domination, Kill Confirmed, Hard Point, Search and Destroy — along with new ones for the franchise like Invasion, Knockout, and Prisoner Rescue.

There is plenty here for seasoned veterans and new players alike to try out and I am looking forward to sinking hundreds of hours into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The first Battle Pass is coming to the game on November 16 as well, with new weapons, operators, and more. So, there should be enough to keep players engaged for a long time.

The game also runs smoothly and does not require a beastly build to handle it on high graphics settings. My humble AMD Radeon RX570 8GB is able to handle Modern Warfare 2 on the highest Extreme graphics and constantly offers over 65fps with FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 1.0 turned on. The game undeniably looks great, but it is nowhere near as visually stunning as other AAA releases — especially since the advent of next-gen consoles. The visuals do feel a bit disappointing considering that Activision is charging a premium price for this game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Sales Pass $1 Billion Within First 10 Days

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Modern Warfare 2 also crashes a lot! I have experienced at least one or more crashes almost every time I booted up the game. Notably, it occurs more frequently while playing the campaign than multiplayer. Recent updates have seemed to improve the situation, however, the crashes are still frequent.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 review: Campaign

The “globe-trotting” single-player adventure starts off on shaky legs. It tries to establish the characters with introductory missions that barely last minutes and offer the stale Call of Duty formula of following an NPC and clearing enemy waves. During the first few hours of Modern Warfare 2’s campaign — which took me about 8 hours to complete — I was extremely bored. I just felt like a lackey in these parts, watching NPCs doing exciting stuff like enemy takedowns, riding dirt bikes, and so on. Being stuck behind NPCs in narrow corridors or pushing them through doors to get to the checkpoint marred the early hours of my playthrough.

There was also a mission that puts players in control of an aircraft bomber to assist the squad on the ground. It is one of the first longer missions of the game and I would have much rather been part of the action with the squad. Such missions nearly made me completely give up on the campaign. However, halfway through it NPCs finally took the backseat and gave me the freedom to approach levels as I pleased. The levels also included different paths for stealth and assault. Furthermore, the emphasis on stealth in some missions was refreshing to see. There is a thrilling stealth-focused mission in the latter half of the game that elevated the whole campaign in my opinion.

At this point, most gamers should be familiar with the events of the previous Modern Warfare 2 that earned it a cult status in the gaming sphere. Infinity Ward plays on that nostalgia with a campaign that loosely follows the same events. It builds on the legends of characters like Captain Price and Soap that rekindled my childhood reverence for them. The game also gives us the option to interact with them through RPG-like conversations during some missions. This led to some top-notch banter between Soap and Ghost that had me in splits every time! As a fan of the classic Modern Warfare trilogy, Ghost being a central figure of the campaign — dare I say even more than Captain Price — made me giddy like my high school self. Overall, the campaign finished on a strong note and set up an exciting sequel with a familiar adversary!

November Games on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 review: Multiplayer

Multiplayer is where Modern Warfare 2 allows us to experience the game’s fantastic gunplay to its fullest. It packs an impressive arsenal of pistols, assault rifles, battle rifles, marksman rifles, snipers, rocket launchers, and all kinds of utilities. There are just tons of attachments available for each weapon that completely alter the way it functions. Players can also customise weapons mid-game, which might come in handy if you find yourself in a map or game mode that might require a different scope or suppressor on the weapon of your choice. These attachments and skins are unlocked by completing in-game achievements that will take players a considerable time. However, I am all for the grind in multiplayer games, especially if it feels as rewarding as it does in Modern Warfare 2.

Most guns feel balanced with their specific benefits and drawbacks. Yet, there are some infuriatingly unbalanced weapons in the game. The Battle Knife is one such option that with its bonus to movement speed becomes a one-hit killing machine that can go on an absolute tear in close quarters. This combination is especially deadly in modes like Domination, Headquarters, or Hard Point where players have to occupy a small area to score points. Another such evil concoction is the SP-R 208 marksman rifle that can be a one-shot kill to the torso at most ranges. Slap on a few attachments to reduce its scope-in time and you get a quick scoping nightmare akin to the Intervention sniper rifle from the old Modern Warfare 2. I found most console players — the multiplayer allows cross-play across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox — using the SP-R 208 and taking unfair advantage of the aim assist and the insane stopping power of this rifle. Unsurprisingly, most lobbies were dominated by console players using this weapon in my experience.

As usual, there are several perks and kill streaks at our disposal that are not game-breaking like they used to be. Modern Warfare 2 includes unlockable operator skins too. However, the two faction sets currently available — SPECGRU and KORTAC — are almost indistinguishable while playing. The game places a blue or red marker above players to separate them as friendly or hostile, respectively. That said, the markers are not helpful when enemies and teammates get lined up or during really close-quarter encounters. The character models do not have distinguishing features that make it easy for the player to tell the difference with the naked eye.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Will Receive Premium Expansion in Late 2023: Report

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The main game mode this time around seems to be Ground War, which is played on large maps with teams of up to 32 players. The developer has tried to give its own spin to the Battlefield formula and has almost hit a home run. However, the addition of vehicles seems haphazard. With absolutely no destructible environments, tanks can get stuck against the smallest pieces of debris. Moreover, other vehicles too, including the helicopter, just feel sluggish and don’t offer a serious advantage. Out of the remaining modes, I found Domination and Hard Point the most enjoyable. These modes allowed players to take full advantage of the game’s smooth movement and refined gunplay. Furthermore, the maps are diverse enough to accommodate all kinds of playstyles and not give an advantage to just run-and-gun players. It also has competitive modes like the classic Search and Destroy and the new Prisoner Rescue. However, the absence of ranked play prevents me from playing them more regularly.

Modern Warfare 2 has instead gone for skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) to balance the online experience. However, it is seemingly too quick to affect changes in skill levels instead of gradual alterations. After a couple of good games, I have found myself in lobbies with players having Gold camo weapons and insane K/D ratios. As it currently stands, the SBMM system offers insane peaks and lows when it comes to player skill, that at times make for infuriating games. Furthermore, a side effect of this system is that multiplayer lobbies get reset after every match. It might not seem much of a hindrance to players that roll with a squad. On the other hand, solo players might have a tough time finding others to team up with. Sometimes, it is just fun to play for hours in lobbies with the same players, that is unfortunately not possible in Modern Warfare 2. Another gripe that I have with the multiplayer is the absence of an option to select maps. I think it’s one of those fundamental features that should be available in all multiplayer games.

There is a third-person mode, which I just couldn’t care about. It should work in battle royale modes like the upcoming Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, but it felt a bit out of place here. Modern Warfare 2 also includes Special Ops, which are narrative-driven co-op missions. My solo queuing experience was abysmal in this mode with the other player dying and leaving even before I land on the map. However, it should be a fun time with a mate.

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 review: Final verdict

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has a lot of things going in its favour. The gunplay is some of the best in recent times, the maps are balanced, and the multiplayer progression feels gratifying. Its single-player campaign is able to re-ignite the love that I had for the classic trio of Captain Price, Soap, and Ghost. In addition, the level of freedom offered in the campaign was refreshing. The game also looks great and runs smoothly most of the time.

On the flip side, the SBMM system feels unrefined and makes for infuriating games at times. The absence of ranked play diminishes the excitement of competitive modes like Search and Destroy. It also has a tendency of crashing randomly and the graphics appear moderately impressive for a AAA title. The single-player campaign also had such a dreary first half that it almost made me quit.

As I have said earlier, I am looking forward to sinking hours into the multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2 despite its nagging issues. Yet I can’t recommend it to casual gamers largely owing to its price. Activision is also notorious for never putting Call of Duty games on discounted sales. So, only go for this game if you are the type of player who craves the challenge of online gaming. Despite ending on a strong note, the campaign is not enough to justify paying its premium cost.

Pros:

  • Fantastic gunplay
  • Low system requirements
  • Variety of multiplayer modes
  • Great character moments
  • Expansive arsenal
  • Rewarding multiplayer progression

Cons:

  • Constant game crashes
  • Boring first half of the campaign
  • No ranked in multiplayer
  • Lobbies reset after every match
  • SBMM not properly optimised
  • Difficult to differentiate enemies

Rating (out of 10): 7

We played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on a PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7GHz, AMD Radeon RX570 8GB, and 16GB RAM.​

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 released on October 28 on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series S/X, and Xbox One

Its pricing starts at Rs. 4,999 for PC via Steam. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also has cross-gen versions available for Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X, and PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 that also start at Rs. 4,999.


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