I caved in and rented “MW2” after my initial misgivings over a jacked-up price and some more dubious political undercurrents in the story telling. And? I liked it.
The political undercurrents of the story are just that – in the background and probably not of interest or note to 90% of the audience for the game. In actuality, this is a Michael Bay movie that you can play and has all of the wit and sophistication that this might imply to you.
It’s a smidgeon of “Red Dawn” (the dastardly Russians are invading the USA!), a pinch of post-“Bourne” spy-fi paranoia (the military/governmental complex will use you and then double-cross you without compunction) and even a direct sampling of Bay’s cinematic high-point, “The Rock” (there’s a shower room breach with SEAL teams pitched against mercs which is clearly a direct homage). It’s a playable action movie – and that’s enough for me, at this point.
As for the much-discussed (not least here) “No Russian” level – it’s very much out of place. Whilst I admire that Infinity Ward find it important to provoke a response from the content of this section (a terrorist atrocity which you are complicit in walking through or participating in, with the other, non-player controlled characters committing mass murder in a Moscow airport as you follow or assist them ), I found the eventual game play and the section’s place within the game somewhat at odds.
As I say, it is possible to walk through the section passively, letting the game play itself and watching an airport terminal full of passengers, security guards and staff be indiscriminately murdered (on-screen options allow to skip the section entirely and avoid content which you might regard as troubling). The very fact that you can skip this section surely robs it of a point in the game – if you can progress without playing it, and if you never have to see it, why is it there?
It’s certainly a provocative level, with something to say about how we as gamers can cheerfully plow through myriad shooters and untold digital carnage and not have it affect us in any major way. To play “No Russian”, with it’s horrifying violence, funeral Hans Zimmer score and terrorist themes is to be confronted with subject matters and experiences that few similar, AAA games would attempt. I just wish that Infinity Ward had enough confidence in their audience (or less input from Activision PR and Corporate) and made this section mandatory for the (mostly) adult gamers who should be the demographic for this title.
The story telling could be better – but the gameplay is fairly solid. If you’ve played “COD 4”, you’ll be comfortable but reasonably challenged, especially if you hop straight into ‘Hardened’ mode, which will up the ante considerably – translation? Your butt will be handed to you, but you’ll never be so frustrated that you’ll want to bail on the experience.
My own crucible in this regard was the Brazilian-set “Favela” level.
Think multiple enemies, on multiple pathways, shooting from every which direction, with better aim than you have, popping up out of nowhere, seemingly impervious to point-blank headshots from shotguns – think “Gaa-aahh-dd!” and other expecterations being emitteed from your humble correspondent every thirty seconds or so, until by the grace of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, I was permitted to trigger a checkpoint and get the hell out of dodge.
Difficult? I should coco.
Click below for multiplayer madness via the You Tubes…