Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A well past due Modern Warfare 2 review

Above: Much rushin'.

My review of Modern Warfare 2 is up now at thephoenix.com. After playing long enough not to totally embarrass myself in multiplayer (harder to do than you'd realize), I settled in on liking it, but not loving it. The multiplayer is fully featured and robust, if the single-player is much less effective than that of Call of Duty 4. So it's good, not great.

I find myself asking the same question I always ask when a game is this commercially successful: Why this game? Why Modern Warfare 2 and not, say, Killzone 2? I'd put those games about on par in terms of quality. They both have splashy, unsatisfying campaigns, and deep multiplayer modes with tons of character progression and unlocks (excessively so, in the latter case). Yet Killzone is already forgotten, while MW2 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time. It's strange.

That said, it's certainly not a negative review, and I'm glad to have had a chance to play the game. I hope that Infinity Ward shows a little more restraint the next time out as far as the campaign goes, but they have a solid multiplayer foundation that's obviously working for a lot of people. What can you do but tip your cap to them?

6 comments:

Gary A. Lucero said...

it seems to me that games as popular as mw2 and l4d2 should be less niche. for me, a tourist of shooters, they are no very approachable. all i want is a good single player campaign.

rob said...

Is it just about awareness? Down here MW2 made front pages of mainstream newspapers over the whole "omg you're a terrorist" thing.

Gaz Deaves said...

I'm not sure it's just awareness or established brand (Halo had a huge pre-launch buildup). Two main reasons for me:

1. It's the only AAA shooter that is multi-platform. For something to go fully mass-market like this it needs to have maximum reach so the launch becomes a social event as well as a gaming event. Killzone/Halo maybe never hit critical mass.

2. The setting. I suspect the sci-fi heavy settings of recent big shooters (Halo/Gears/Killzone) may have unwittingly turned off some of the less geeky audience out there who are more comfortable in a present day setting (I'm reluctant to use the word 'realistic' because of that silly bit with the nuke).

Sean Beanland said...

Killzone 2 doesn't have the constant barrage of rewards that MW2 has, and it takes quite a while to unlock all of the classes. MW2 really does much more to keep you coming back. You're leveling your character and unlocking weapons, building your perfect personal class, and there are the tons of challenges to complete for the weapons, perks, game types, and others. It really does feel like an MMO version of a multiplayer shooter

Mitch Krpata said...

Yeah, Killzone was ridiculous in that respect. I remember calculating that it would have taken something like 20 hours to get the sniper rifle, which is just like... really?

Ben Abraham said...

Hey, didn't you know? Marketing spend influences game revenue three times more than critical reception. That's terribly depressing, but kind of answerers your question right there.