In my game breakdowns I typically try and focus on the overall product and what makes it tick as a game. Having just finished Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) I am struggling to break down the experience because…it is a highly polished shooter which doesn’t leave much to describe in mechanics. The base mechanics are fairly clean and executed extremely well so instead I am going to focus on what I think Infinity Ward’s strengths and weaknesses were for me in the play experience.
The Modern Warfare series does a spectacular job of capturing memorable moments in game play. What do I mean by this? When reflecting on other shooters that I have played I usually don’t remember the fighting or moments in the game, I typically remember plot points or movies. The MW games bring you right into those moments and let you live them. I typically summarize the original MW as “fight, nuke crawl, fight, air bombardment, fight, sniper mission, fight” and I found the pacing of these events to be far enough apart that it captured a great game play pace. Do I remember the plot? No, but I can remember my “OMG” moment as a player at the end of the nuke crawl and the sense of awesome power raining down fire from above. I think that capturing the current situation in a game to be more important than story when done right.
If I was summarizing my emotional experience out of MW2 it would be understanding how people felt during the cold war. I think the first half of the game is better than COD4 and to be honest…I think the last half was only mediocre. The following discussion will obviously have spoilers so please don’t continue if you are worried about that kind of thing. If I could summarize the play experience form MW and remember it 2 years later, what do I recall from MW2 right after playing it? Black hawk down, Snow mobile rampage, Residential American fighting, Prison break, EMP, DC, Hunt dude down, betrayal. For me the only part that mattered was the first half. Jumping from foreign war torn streets to local suburbia in the same state in only one hour of game play really hit home at an emotional level for me. The game after that was more “plot focused” and I honestly can’t keep the players straight in my mind. There were a few good moments of story telling and struggle after but the main greatness was exhausted in the first half for me. I found MW2 to be better in some areas and worse in others but on the whole I think it compared equally to MW’s single player campaign which was amazing.
I think CoD4: Modern Warfare (COD:MW) was probably one of the best “shooter experiences” that I have played so MW2 had a lot to live up to. I clocked in at just over six hours to finish the regular campaign.
I have barely scratched the surface of Multiplayer and Special ops but I can see plenty of things to like already. For me this is the closest experience to counter strike that I have played (which is a good thing). I also haven’t seen a game that is so blatant in it’s kindergarten sticker giving. What I mean is that it seems like there are hundreds, if not thousands, or unlock-able achievemnts and logos. I predict a lot of fun in the MP future.
I found the plot overly complicated and “twisted” to be clear for the level of experience the game provides. Usually I like a story with some twists and involvement but I didn’t really find the character names memorable around me so I never really bought into the actual plot. I thought the single player experience was also a little short as I was hoping for about 8 hours of play for my money on the single player side of things.
The only small complaint I have about MP is that I didn’t find that the new features were described well enough. I find that I just want to get in and play so I’m not using many of the features that I have unlocked yet. I think this has more to do with me being a nube rather than the game itself.
I think this is one of the best selling games for a reason. For my own tastes I found this serving of Modern Warfare enough to keep me for a couple of years I think. I will have to spend some more time with the multiplayer but I am not drawn to double dip in the singleplayer.