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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

          Well, October is out of the way and unfortunately I didn't get as many posts out that month as I planned but now it's time to get caught back up with my promo reviews and to start out this month I thought I may as well do a review of the predecessor of the most anticipated game of the year. This is The Illusive One's Review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
          Considered by many to be the greatest first person shooter franchises ever, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the first pure first person shooter to successfully break out of the cliché that all first person shooters had to take place in WWII. To break free of this, the developers at Infinity Ward instead gave it a 24 type feel to it, with its espionage and black ops type story that dealt with international terrorists planning terrible thing for America. The end result was the best first person shooter of its time and was the bestselling video game of all time.
          That was until Modern Warfare 2 came along and broke its predecessor’s records becoming the bestselling video game of all time and met with universal praise from every video game reviewing outlet in existence. So was the game as good as it's been made out to be? Well let’s find out.

The Plot

          Now, to be honest, not too many people are going to care about the plot of a game like this, but I still feel I have to address it. The game takes place in a modern setting, (although I have heard it takes place in 2016 but I'm not sure if that's true), where America is still locked in a war in Afghanistan while international terrorist and protégé of Zakhev, (the villain of the first game), Vladimir Makarov, plans to bring about the next great global conflict. The first half of the game focuses on the CIA and SAS members trying to take Makarov down while the second half focuses on the U.S. Army trying to defend the D.C. area and northern Virginia against a Russian invasion while the CIA and SAS do their part in the war as well as hunt for Makarov.
          Now I have to say, the plot was very well written in the first half and was very much like the first game in how it played and there were quite a few jaw dropping twists that occurred.
          However that's where my praise of the plot ends as there are so many plot holes and unoriginal concepts it's not even funny. For starters the whole “Russia Invading America” concept is one that was incredibly overused throughout 2000s and was already old by the time this game came out. Whereas the first game felt more like a more over the top season of 24, the plot of this game just seemed like another garden variety WWIII shooter.
          For as many twists that occur, none of them are really given any explanation. In total, I think there are about five major twists, all of which come out of nowhere and you’re never given a satisfying explanation as to why they happen. It's just irritating.
          In conclusion the writing for the plot sucks. No other way to say it. The individual levels and characters are another matter entirely but the writing for it just sucks. But like I said, this isn't something gamers are going to be concerned about when they play this game so let’s move on.

The Gameplay

            This is what people will always remember the Call of Duty games for and is where they've always shined and this one is no acceptation. For starters, you have the campaign missions. While the plot of this game was a convoluted mess, the individual missions were executed perfectly in graphics, combat, and writing. Each of the missions is nail bitingly intense and keep you on the edge of you seat from beginning to end. Even though it was terribly clichéd to have a foreign power invade the U.S., I have to admit it was pretty cool to be able to fight in the streets of Washington and trying to drive Russians out of The White House. There is also another mission where you help terrorists slaughter an entire airport full of people. Granted this mission opens up the biggest plot hole of the game but it was actually pretty cool to be able to do something so sick and demented. It also allowed you to do familiar things, such as operating guns in choppers and introduced new things such as being able to drive snow mobiles and motorboats. Thankfully it more or less eliminated enemy respawns which were a major pain in my ass in previous games.
The game also gives the player a healthy variety of weapons that include all the weapons seen in the first game as well as a few new weapons and found a good balance of real modern weapons as well as not so distant future tech weapons. Some of these weapons include garden variety AK-47s to motion detecting turrets which all made the gameplay that much cooler
          Then we have the multiplayer, which built on what the previous game had already done and made improvements to it. It has the usual multiplayer modes but includes abilities to call in attack dogs, air strikes, chopper attacks and others that I can't think of after the player has achieved a certain number of kill streaks, (number of people you kill before you get killed yourself). While similar things were available in Call of Duty: World at War this was the game that perfected it and brought system to its current popularity.
          The only downsides to the gameplay was that there were a few elements missing from the campaign that were available in Modern Warfare, such as being able to operate one of the gun ships that you call in. And if first person shooters aren’t your kind of game, then this isn't the one for you. Speaking of which, you don't like first person shooters, then why the fuck are you reading this?

The Characters

           Now, for the most part, the characters in this game are incredibly well written, very compelling, and have great voice actors to tie it all together, (even if some of their actions were questionable). General Shepherd was a great general character, Soap and Captain Price were compelling protagonists, Nikolai was as interesting as ever, and Makarov was a very compelling and evil antagonist. There is also another character named Ghost who doesn’t really add much to the game but has somehow gained a cult following. I'm not entirely sure why, but hey! Whatever works for ya!
          The only downside to the characters is that some of their actions are questionable. I don't want to give too much away but it ties in with the plot and it'll have you scratching your head.
          All around, the characters in this game had great voice acting, great dialog, and were very compelling. Up until this point it was a rare thing to find a cast of characters in a first person shooter that the player could actually be emotionally invested in and this game really hit the mark in this department.

The Verdict

           All around, this was a really great game. It did have its flaws in the plot but again, you really don't play these kinds of games for their stories. Hell, even if the plot was all over the place it was executed so well in the missions that you really didn't even give a crap. You were too busy having a great time to care. The general gameplay from the story missions to the multiplayer was all great and the characters were surprisingly interesting and well written. It does have its faults that keep it from being a perfect ten, but was, for the most part, just as good as everyone says.

All Around

           So what's next for the franchise? Why Modern Warfare 3. What else? Now, I honestly haven't been following up on what is going on with this game's development, but from what I gather the drama between Activison and Infinity Ward has affected the game's development and the multiplayer has suffered as a result. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, look it up for the specifics but it should suffice to say that Activison has become something of an evil, tyrannical gaming company and more than a third of Infinity Ward's employees left as a result.
          But anyway, apparently this game is going to wrap up the Modern Warfare storyline, (although God knows we've heard that one before with every game franchise out their), but I'm honestly not expecting too much out it. I'm just expecting another Modern Warfare game and not the best first person shooter ever. If you like the franchise odds are you probably already have your collector’s edition per-ordered so take from this what you will. If you haven't already played these games check them out because they are fun. They may just be a fad within the gaming community but they're still fun and worth any gamers time.

          So until next time this is The Illusive One saying It doesn’t take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict......

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