The first and most obvious problem that anybody is going to have with Modern Warfare 2’s singplayer component is the fact that the campaign is as linear as a rollercoaster – that the player is always funnelled to the next checkpoint and that it’s almost impossible to step off the rails at any point.
The second problem that jaded, cynical players are going to have is the fact that the game is still built very much with the same tropes and techniques as the earlier Call of Duty games. Respawning enemies, allies who rely on you to accomplish all the important objectives and a health system that lets you recover from headshots by hiding behind a barrel for a few seconds – those things are all still huge parts of the game.
Really though, none of these elements really feel like they matter too much when you’re playing Modern Warfare 2 for two very simple reasons. Firstly, they're still a huge part of making the game fun, and secondly, the game rarely gives you a chance to calm down enough to recognise them as problems. You’re constantly kept busy with a stream of new challenges and activities, whether it’s as simple as a weapon you’ve not seen before or as complex as learning how to climb up a glacier wall. It helps keep the action feeling fresh and interesting despite the fact it is relying on old tactics.
You're not allowed in the clubhouse
The constant onslaught of new gameplay variations is nicely complemented by a selection of new weapons and abilities that are given to players, sometimes with specific missions based around them. Our favourite is still the second level in the game, which sees you sneaking through a mountain base in the middle of a blizzard and relying on your weapon-mounted heartbeat sensor to track enemies, but there are plenty of highlights in addition to this.
Everything from thermal imaging and riot shields to smoke grenades which actually work and remote-control missiles are at your disposal. Even better, many of these elements show up in the multiplayer portion of the game too – though more on that in a moment.
The variety of different gameplay types that are built into the game, from rooftop escapes to civilian mass-murder, is a huge reason to recommend Modern Warfare 2 and illustrates perfectly how all the best FPS games are ones which aren’t afraid to explore the limits of the genre. It’s an approach we’ve previously only ever seen so fully realised in the No One Lives Forever series.
He's Kane, you're Lynch - got it?
That’s not to say that the game is without issues. There’s still plenty of stuff to get annoyed about, such as the checkpoint saving system which is still in place and which means you can spend far too long trying to storm a particularly well defended building, but the flaws are in minority. Frankly, what’s good about Modern Warfare 2 is so good that it’s impossible to focus on the problems.
it’s worth clarifying just how fantastic Modern Warfare 2 looks as well – because it’s utterly jaw dropping. We were able to run the game at a solid 60fps at 1920x1080 and with all settings on maximum with a Core 2 X6800 (3.93 GHz), 3.25 GB accessible RAM and a Nvidia GeForce 280 GTX and the game looked astounding. You can read the full system requirements for Modern Warfare 2 here, but suffice it to say that the game isn’t hugely demanding in terms of hardware and even modest rigs can get a lot out of the engine. That’s convenient too, because MW2 has a lot to give.