The Call of Duty series has been one of consistent quality with every evolution it has taken, this makes it all the more shocking they have decided to distance the Modern Warfare series even more from its older brethren by losing the six that should be in its title. It should not cause any alarm however, because it has been distanced not because it is not up to the challenge of matching the other titles in its series but because it goes over and beyond them in almost every way possible.
Make no mistake this is Modern Warfare 1+1, there are no massive changes here that will stop you recognising the franchise from any single screen shot put before you or any demo you might play. Instead Infinity Ward has opted to add a whole bunch of improvements rather than any sort of redesign, which in all fairness is pretty much what a sequel is and cannot really be used to criticise the game.
The game is almost classical in its sequel-ness, its better looking with guns appearing more bulky and detailed than in Modern Warfare 1 and a general upgrade in detail to the environments, though they still retain the quintessential Call of Duty broken civilisation look. The streets are littered with debris, vehicles and craters just as you would expect. It is when your missions take you to more exotic locales that you can truly appreciate details that suck you in like a black hole, pulling you into a world of battle, fire and facial hair.
Few games have ever managed to fully kidnap a player from our humbly peaceful little world (in comparison) and ditch them into their own construction like the Pripyat operation in Modern Warfare 1 did. So those who have played that mission are the only ones who truly know the weight of my words here: there are bits in MW2 that excel even that piece of marvellous adrenaline fuelled drama. Infinity Ward have done a fantastic job of making you feel exactly how you should in the situation, mingling fear and excitement seems to be second nature to them and it fits the narrative beautifully.
The campaign compiles of 18 sections in 3 acts, where like in traditional Call of Duty style you inhabit the bodies of multiple beefcakes capable of bringing war to entire armies by themselves, certainly a large body count is not something MW2 shies away from. The constantly re-spawning enemies that could stagnate some of MW1's battlefields are wonderfully managed by some excellent level design which erodes some of the halting MW1 forced you to do when you encountered a wall of enemies, it is still unfortunately evident though.
Constant re-spawning of enemies appears to be used a lot less liberally this time around though, of course, do not harbour any fool hardy ideas of doing less re-spawning yourself, this is CoD so you will die faster than you ever possibly could in real life. That said with the right attitude, a compelling need to kill and at least some skill it is possible to rambo your way through the early parts of the game on regular, I suggest however that to truly embrace the feel of the game hardened difficulty is best with veteran merely being there to amuse sadists.
Whilst MW1 used realism loosely, in that it was a behind a slightly veiled curtain and simply referred to occasionally like s lightly embarrassing son, this iteration has gone for the full Hollywood approach in its appeal. The story embellishes this by having a suitably large plot twist and a series of unlikely and impossible circumstances your character and his (not being sexist, all the main characters are actually male) friends find themselves in that they then must survive rather than curl up and die like most humans would. The result is a breath-taking narrative that appeals to every emotion you have: the wish to kill lots of things and the wish to be the under dog whilst doing this so you do not feel guilty of depriving Russia of a generation or two. Yes it is the Russians again in this one too, Nazis do not exist any more. It really looks like they have just decided to go with the biggest country because it is the only one that can realistically take on America.
A few changes have been made to the perks too, many have been altered and all of them can be upgraded an extra level giving related upgrades such as the Stopping Power perk eventually upgrades to give additional vehicle damage too. They have also expanded your selection of equipment both for on and off your main weapon, theirs a heartbeat sensor that can be added to your weapon and throwing knives that can be supplemented for grenades as well as some blast shield thing which apparently lessens the damage of explosives but I have never had use of it since I learned how to dodge grenades on Wet Works in MW1.
MW2 then can be considered a must buy since it does not appear to go wrong anywhere unless you simply don't like the genre. It's arguable that if the Hollywood storyline does not push your buttons then Operation Flashpoint might be more tailored to your kind of humdrum taste of realism where soldiers are soldiers and not super-mutants burdened with the safety of the world and instant healing. For the majority of the human race that are not budding militants or pacifists MW2 fails to disappoint, its campaign is a pleasurable romp of, with the exception of one well known level, justified slaughter. Its multi-player will keep you engaged for months and its spec-ops will give you a reason to speak to people beyond the standard banter of: "No way", "Hacks!" and "Your mother makes lovely breakfast". I probably could recommend this more but I'm not being paid and the game cost me £50 so screw you Infinity Ward.
9 / 10