Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

Call of Duty is not supposed to be good, so the idea goes, especially not Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The sixth Call of Duty has been described as a jingoistic mess, a Michael Bay-esque cacophony of nonsensical story bits, a mere shooter that couldn't — shouldn't — try to be anything more. "It's Call of Duty" has become its own insult. This is a mistake.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has been mischaracterised. Defamed. Maligned for far too long. It deserves better. I'm going to tell you why.

Before we get to Modern Warfare 2, however, we're going to need to establish some context.

If there's one thing any shooter fan has to accept, it's this: people think shooters are dumb. Shooters are games anyone can play — they don't rely on Byzantine rules or flawless controller skills. A broader range of players can pick up and enjoy a shooter than, say, a JRPG or a 4X game. It's like chess in that regard — the barrier to entry is almost non-existent, but the skill threshold is practically limitless.

Since just about anyone can play a shooter, you get a wide range of players, from the smart and skilled ones, to the dumb and clumsy ones. The latter colour perception of the game, so the most popular shooter at any given moment will always be seen as dumb entertainment. You had that with Doom; you had that with Counterstrike and its own brand of crazed stereotypes. After that it was Halo. In 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released, changing shooters forever. It became the new top dog, and, as a result, the new target.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

Up to this point, Call of Duty was respected. It was innovative. Fresh. It did its best to put players in the shoes of soldiers, or, at least, of the movie characters who played them. Playing the first two games and the Grey Matter-developed expansion, United Offensive, you might recognise set pieces from Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, or Enemy at the Gates. It's not really that surprising when you consider that Steven Spielberg, the director of Saving Private Ryan and producer of Band of Brothers, helped create Medal of Honour, from which most of the Call of Duty designers originated.

Call of Duty worked because it did the thing that first-person games are best at: placing the audience right in the middle of the game, letting them become part of the action. Developers use predetermined events, called "scripted sequences," to help sell the experience. Games have been doing this forever — Half-Life and its sequels were acclaimed for popularising the concept. Call of Duty took it further, delivering some of the most memorable levels in gaming history, like All Ghillied Up.

When Call of Duty eclipsed Halo, public perception towards the series changed. People loved Modern Warfare, sure, but its success meant that what came next would not fare as well. Shooters, after all, are supposed to be dumb. Now that it was the top dog, one of the most successful games in history, public perception of the game and its players was that it would be dumb.

This is what Modern Warfare 2 faced from the public. Things weren't going so well in private, either.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

Post-release interviews and legal documents show a troubled production, which went something like this: Infinity Ward made Call of Duty to establish themselves as a developer. Their second game was to be an entirely new creation, set in modern times — the game that would become Modern Warfare. Activision, the series' publisher, wasn't wild about that, attempting to prove to Infinity Ward that a Modern Warfare game would never sell.

The developer and publisher finally came to an agreement, setting up an arrangement where Infinity Ward would have to create a second Call of Duty set in World War II in order to make Modern Warfare. Not only that, but Modern Warfare would have to be a Call of Duty game, and Treyarch, the developer that had absorbed Grey Matter, would develop two Call of Duty games on their own, both set in World War II.

Modern Warfare was supposed to fail.

And then it became one of the most successful games of all time.

Activision decided it wanted another one. I've heard rumours that Infinity Ward had originally planned something called 'Future Warfare' for their third game. Activision, however, promised big bonuses to the developers, who reluctantly began work on a second instalment in the Modern Warfare branch of the Call of Duty tree. Modern Warfare 2 became the largest launch of any media product in entertainment history, bigger than any movie, bigger than any Grand Theft Auto game… bigger than anything. Unfortunately, things weren't going so well at home, which resulted in an ugly lawsuit that ripped Infinity Ward apart.

So, this is Modern Warfare 2, a game expected by its audience to be dumb, as shooters are often unfairly portrayed, and a game that went through a troubled development process from a publisher that appeared not to trust its developers. Reviewers called it a muddled mess, a jingoistic, Bay-esque explosion fest that glorified war, demonized foreigners, and generally didn't make a lot of sense. I've read hosts of articles detailing its apparent plot holes or troublesome subject matter. Heck, two of my favourite critics, Film Crit Hulk and Noah Caldwell-Gervais, think the game's pretty bad.

There's no way this could be good, right?

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

It's good. And It actually makes sense.

Most people I know who think the story is dumb went in expecting it to be dumb. They didn't pay attention to the cutscenes, or the subtle details. As a result, I think quite a few people missed the point. If you Google "Modern Warfare 2 story," autocomplete resorts to "makes no sense" or "explanation."

Nearly every objection I've seen to the game's narrative is explained in the game's own cutscenes. Consider, for instance, the common objection that "Russia would never invade the US in the real world, so the plot makes no sense." Well, the opening cutscene in the game explains that this is not our Russia. It's much more modern, better off, and run by ultranationalists who hate America. In Modern Warfare's universe, Russia is a bigger economic and military entity than the United States. This is key to understanding the story: America is not the big dog, and this is not the real world. There's a reason for this role reversal — in fact, it's the entire point of the game, and we'll discover this as the story evolves.

Here's the plot: After the initial training levels, a group of British SAS retrieve an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponder from a downed American satellite. The Russians who have it aren't keen to let it go; the implication is that they're trying to crack the transponder, and they may have downed the satellite intentionally.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

An undercover American operative engages in an act of terrorism at the behest of Makarov, an ultranationalist. The American is killed, his body recovered by the Russians and identified. This spurs the Russians to invade the United States of America. If you think this motive for invading another country is ridiculous, well, read on.

The rest of the game involves the discovery that Price, who was believed to have died at the end of Modern Warfare, was still alive. His group, Task Force 141, hunts down the 'real terrorists' but fail to apprehend Makarov. Then, surprise, surprise, the American General who sent the undercover operative to the terrorists in the first place turns out to be evil, having tried to spark a war because he felt the military-industrial complex was losing power and needed a reason to continue.

The game ends with you hunting the General in Afghanistan.

If you're thinking it all sounds kind of crazy, you'd be right. I'm sitting here thinking it sounds kinda crazy. After all, what large nation would ever invade another country in response to an act of terrorism? What kind of person would perpetuate the military-industrial complex when it's not needed? What…

...oh.

Right.

America.

America would do those things. America has done those things.

If there's one thing you need to understand about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it's this: this is a game condemning America's political behaviour for the past several decades, and it's doing it by putting its audience in the shoes of everyone involved in the conflict.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

It's a shooter about empathy...

One of Call of Duty's big draws is variety — the developers take you from location to location, creating a wonderfully diverse combat experience. It wouldn't make much sense for one soldier to fight from Normandy to Stalingrad to Norway, of course, so Call of Duty switches character narratives to make things interesting. Modern Warfare let us play as Sergeant McTavish during some missions, Sergeant Jackson during others, and Captain Price. This leads to some great storytelling moments, like dying as Jackson after the nuclear explosion mid-way through the game.

Modern Warfare 2 does the same thing in a more interesting way. By placing players inside a character's head, these games allow the audience to see multiple perspectives on the same series of events.

For example, when a nuclear missile is put into play, you play first as someone watching it launch, then as an astronaut watching it detonate in space, and finally as a soldier on the ground in the eerie silence after the missile's electromagnetic pulse has disabled all electronics in the area.

This isn't just about taking you to cool locales or switching characters in a 24-esque approach to dramatic pacing. It's about putting you in a number of roles surrounding real-world events. You are the equivalent of a 9/11 terrorist one moment. You are the victim of an invaded country the next. Even Task Force 141's characters have a role to play.

You think a final level set in Afghanistan, hunting down American soldiers was just a random decision? It's not. It underscores the entire narrative. You've been a victim of human horrors, and you've perpetrated them as well. Modern Warfare 2 tells stories in a way no other media can: by putting you in the shoes of the people playing the game and then asking you how you feel.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

"This is not right," it says of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Modern Warfare 2 is denouncing America, not Russia. The reason you're an American is because it's a game intended for American audiences. Someone invades America so that you, the audience, can experience some semblance of what it's like to have your home turned upside down. Modern Warfare 2 conjures up and destroys familiar sights in order to hammer this home: this isn't right. Invading another country as a reaction to the choices of a few is never justifiable.

At the same time, it's condemning the Military-Industrial Complex: as an individual human being, General Shepherd's goals make little sense. Shepherd isn't a person, though. He's the manifestation of an idea. A symbol. He is physical manifestation of the philosophy that says "yeah, let's keep wars going, let's spend as much as we can on the military, let's sell as many American flags as possible." He peddles death and disguises it as patriotism.

For a game supposedly all about jingoism, Modern Warfare 2 often condemns it. As with previous Call of Duty games, a quote pops up on screen every time you die. Modern Warfare 2's quotes are thematically coherent, railing against the insanity of nationalism disguised as patriotism, and sometimes even condemning patriotism itself.

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it," says Mark Twain. A quote from Goethe proclaims "Patriotism ruins history." George Bernard Shaw's quote reads "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it."

This is not a simplistic techno-thriller with confusing motives: Price wants Makarov. Shepherd wants a fully-funded, excessively-manned military, with no consideration for human lives. Task Force 141 wants to clear their name. Makarov and the ultranationalist government want the same thing: the elimination of other nations in a world where national warfare makes little sense.

Modern Warfare 2's most frequently-cited "mistake" isn't a mistake at all. Russia invades the US because the audience, largely Americans, are supposed to see what it's like to have their homes destroyed by a bigger, meaner power. The breathtaking destruction of Washington is designed to evoke a sense of panic as America's biggest landmarks are torn to pieces. The choices behind Modern Warfare 2 are deliberate and purposeful.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

...mixed with some Michael Bay.

People often compare the Call of Duty series and games like it to Michael Bay's films because of tone and style: it's got a lot of American military imagery, flag waving, and explosions. That's all well and good, but Modern Warfare 2 took it a step further, deliberately referencing Michael Bay's best movie, The Rock.

Early on in Modern Warfare 2, prior to the rescue of Price, players use little underwater scooters to attack an oil rig. These scooters are similar to the ones used by Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, and the rescue team in The Rock, but it doesn't end there. The prison Price is being held in has a set of showers virtually identical to those in The Rock. Finally, remember the climactic moment atop the White House? The one with the green flares? Yeah, that came from The Rock too.

Call of Duty isn't just relying on Bay for stylistic decisions. It's homaging his finest work. Modern Warfare 2 is unashamed of its connection to Bay, and I can't help but admire that brash admission of enjoyment.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

It sure isn't perfect...

For a while, one story detail bugged me: Makarov and the ultranationalist government are on the same side. The opening narration and later story details confirm as much: everyone there reveres Imran Zakhaev, the Russian terrorist responsible for the events of the first Modern Warfare. The airport that Makarov attacks is literally named after him. So why did Makarov attack it? Why attack his homeland?

The story's got a bit of a Truther narrative going on. Remember, prior to the attack, the Russian government obtains IFF codes that it later uses to invade the United States. They had the means to invade the United States in Modern Warfare 2, but not the motive. Makarov provided that. It seems as if Makarov provided the excuse for them to invade — they were already planning the attack. Unfortunately, because of this, the story rings a bit of the "9/11 was an inside job to justify America's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan" elements.

Russia's invasion of America needs to happen for Modern Warfare 2 to achieve its goals of putting Americans in Iraqi/Afghani shoes, so it has got to happen somehow, and a conspiracy thriller makes sense; it's even better because Modern Warfare 2 is so clearly drawing parallels between Shephard and Makarov. They may hate each other, but they're also two sides of the same coin, the manifestation of an ideology that attacks the country it professes to love.

So, if it's a Truther narrative, trying to argue that America attacked itself in 9/11, well, that's just in poor taste. It's commonly accepted that this did not happen, and Truthers are widely (and rightfully) regarded as conspiracy nuts. There are plenty of story reasons for this conspiracy to happen, and most revolve around getting to the main point in a simple and exciting way.

Which brings us to another problem.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

...and it tries to critique war even while still being "fun."

Shooters are seen as 'power fantasies.' Video games are generally expected to be 'fun.' As it follows, Modern Warfare 2 is a load of fun, because it is a first-person shooter video game. It's a roller coaster of emotions. Some moments are wonderfully tense and others are horrifyingly brutal. It's a thrill-ride to end all thrill rides. This is great, except for the part where every single component of the narrative is about how war is bad and horrible and awful.

On one hand, you've got this game that's trying as hard as it can to be the most thrilling, exciting game it can be, and then it's got a story that's using the first-person perspective to let you be all these people dealing with a horrible thing. The places it takes you to, the people it lets you be… they're all there for a purpose. This isn't just about shock and awe for the players. It's about empathy.

It's kinda hard to provide an empathetic experience when you're telling a story in a medium so heavily coded towards "wow, player, you're so great! You're the best! You saved the day! You're so awesome!" Modern Warfare 2's fun is at odds with its narrative.

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

I think this is the heart of Modern Warfare 2's critical reception, and a problem with the way we look at video games. We don't expect Call of Duty to be anything more than big, dumb fun. Why read between the lines? Why look for meaning where we don't expect it? It's one thing for an audience to expect a game to be dumb. It's another thing to prove them half-right through an excess of fun, which brings up the question that a game such as Modern Warfare 2 implicitly poses: should games be fun? If we look at the questionfrom a purely literal level, yes, absolutely. Games should be fun because 'games' are a form of play, and play is a non-serious activity often done for its own enjoyment. It is 'fun.'

But, well… "video games" made sense in the 1980s, when that's all they were: games on your television. It wasn't possible to make a game that set its audience in a fully 3D world where people could walk in another's shoes. The name has stuck — there's no changing it — but if we resort to formalism, strenuously adhering to the name of the medium rather than exploring what it can really do, we're going to be stuck with games like Modern Warfare 2: smart ideas that get ignored because they're expected to be dumb instead.

Credit to them for trying something bold.

I get it. Some games are dumb. Some are poorly written. Some genres never seem to produce anything good. Modern Warfare 2 was primed to be one of those games, and because it tried to be fun, it sure seemed like that was the case. You've heard the phrase "yeah, it's fun if you turn your brain off"? I get the sinking suspicion that a fair few of Modern Warfare 2's players turned their brain off while playing, not bothering to watch the cutscenes, listen to the story, or read between the lines when they should have. It wasn't supposed to be good, so why give it the chance?

I totally understand why people would call it dumb. But y'know what? It tried for something greater. Infinity Ward looked at the world around them and made a game that tackled that world head on. Modern Warfare 2 may have fallen short, but I can't say amidst my hours of Orc-charming, Templar-slaying, Pantheon-felling video games, I've played many games that got as far as Modern Warfare 2 ever did.

GB Burford is a freelance journalist and indie game developer who just can't get enough of exploring why games work. You can reach him on Twitter at@ForgetAmnesia or on hisblog. You can support him and even suggest games to write about over at his Patreon.


Comments

    I found the story-mode of MW2 enjoyable. It felt like they put some actual effort into it as opposed to it just being padding for the multiplayer experience.

    Which, ironically enough, was what killed MW2 for me. As a PC Gamer, the online was a massive step down from the original Modern Warfare. We went from having a proper lobby and all the standard trimmings you expect to having this horrible console-equivalent of a multiplayer experience. It was truly dreadful.

      I played through the SP a couple of times too and enjoyed it. It was certainly better than the multiplayer!

    Wrong, it sucked, it was the continuation of the beginning of the end.
    The last not awful call of duty was number 2, or MAYBE at a stretch, the first modern warfare.

      Really? I'm not a COD person but the people I know who are all really love MW. I played it at least and whilst not my thing, I can see why military nuts loved it. It really had everything in there.

    Modern Warfare 2 was crap because multiplayer didn't have dedicated servers. Game set and match.

    Modern warfare was the 3rd best FPS ever, and 2 would have been up there if it had dedicated MP servers, that was its only downside.

    1. Counter Strike
    2. Battle field 1942
    3. COD: MW

      I thought Goldeneye 007 was the best FPS ever

    As an Australian I didn't get the whole "America is under attack" thing. I just saw the burning landmarks and moved on.
    Not their fault I'm not American, but I can't think of another game where the big GOTCHA moment is dependent on nationality.

    The big plot hole I can't forgive is Capt Price. Why bring him back? if you're going to bring him back don't go from: dying on bridge with friendly forces -> presumed dead -> HE WAS IN A GULAG THE WHOLE TIME!

    Also it seems like you are selectively ignoring something pretty big with your final two points.
    MODERN WARFARE ALREADY DID IT AND DID IT BETTER.
    (And just saying Modern Warfare's GOTCHA moment/s were amazing, they resonated very strongly with me even when I was an Australian playing an American compared to MW2's GOTCHA moments.)

      Why was it dependant on nationality? As an Australian you couldn't understand the significance of a fully fledged attack/invasion taking place on US soil? That the White House got the shit bombed out of it? Really? None of that was at all significant?

      Captain Price being alive was a "plot hole"? A plot hole is how a Capatain in the SAS who's spent 5 years in a gulag knew how to launch and direct a nuclear warhead. Him being alive is just an unexpected twist that the story doesn't bother to take time to fully explain.

      MW1 was better than MW2, and the conclusion of the story in MW3 was a letdown but I don't really get your criticisms of MW2 in and of itself.

        America has made me watch US invasions again and again over the years through Hollywood and games to the point I'm pretty much desensitised.

        For me a destroyed American environment is basically a destroyed "insert nation here" environment. The nuke scene in MW made me go "oh no, oh fuck, oh god. they didn't did they? they did... Damn". In contrast the destroyed American landmarks was just "oh look it's on fire, moving on". (side note but my memory says the levels in America were really annoying because I didn't like the level design and I'm pretty sure they involved infinite bad guys or at least clown cars of bad guys).

        From memory Capt Price was there to stop a nuclear missile launch, so with the presumed pre-mission briefing I don't think it's a leap of logic to imagine maybe they also briefed him on how a missile is launched.

        But I'm sorry, Capt Price is alive is a "unexpected twist that the story doesn't bother to take time to fully explain." is bullshit.

        He all but died on that bridge surrounded by friendly forces that got your character back home.
        So even if he didn't die and that one guy trying to revive Price is incompetent, that means that Prices body was stolen from the "good guys" and taken to a Gulag without anyone knowing that even his body was gone, let alone he survived.

          So what? They were in hostile territory, it's not conceivable that at some point Price and Soap were separated during Price's extensive recovery after near fatal wounds and Price wound up in a prison somewhere? He was pretty much number one on Makarov's hitlist after Zakhaev went down.

          Price's mission was to capture the sub before the launch. He chose, of his own volition, to launch a nuke to blackout DC instead. But you're right, he could have been giving a crash course in ICBM navigation systems and decided to nuke America.

            I want to say that last anyone knew of Price was him "dead" on the bridge, but I honestly can't remember if the location of his "dead" body was ever addressed. My first thought was that they brought the bodies home. But MAYBE they just abandoned the bridge after rescuing Soap, but even then the investigations/clean-up afterward should have revealed a missing body.

              I assume that they were transported to medical facilities. Soap probably managed to go home sooner. Price may even have been presumed dead or secreted away under those circumstances. We shouldn't assume it doesn't make sense just because it wasn't explained, because it can be, reasonably, without subverting the "rules" of the setting.

    I think as far as 'war is bad' goes Spec Ops: The Line wins it hands down.

      I'm not sure MW2 even enters the conversation if you go there.

    Bring CoD back to WW2 and I might care again.

    The reason I ended up hating it was because there was simply nothing new about each 'new' game that they brought out, think I gave up after MW1 when each one that was being brought out just looked like the previous with a new skin. Seemed like they just stopped caring about making good games, and started caring about making good money.

    Best Call of Duty hands down! COD Modern Warfare was awesome, but Modern Warefare 2 was the best IMO.

    From there on it turned into a futuristic arcade looking fps.

    I predict the one of the next COD's to be based on mars and your killing mutated humanoids :S

    oh i miss the days of danger close pro and scavenger restocking 40mm under barrel grenade launchers :(

    See I finished Call of Duty Advanced Kevin the other week and I thoughtthatstory was really good!

    Man. I must have shit taste. I thought MW2 was the last acceptably good one. Everything since then (to me) hasn't even blipped on my radar.

    Its not that the COD storyline didn't make sense (lets face it, FPS storylines have NEVER made much sense). It is that the game has a severe disconnect between gameplay and narrative, as in, the story is fed to you in cinematic of no consequence, and the game play is a, by that point, stock standard military shooter. The game was a power fantasy and a cinematic experience which, though you argued as trying for something bold, took a step back in the development of gaming by completely separating story and gameplay. Individually they were okay (it was a average movie coupled with an average game).

    Is it a bad game? absolutely yes. Anyone who says otherwise is not being critical enough of the gaming industry. Is the game fun? For many people, yes. I, myself, had a blast playing all of the MW series games. But to say that games are supposed to be fun, and thus, MW2 should be given more credit as a GOOD game is a disservice to the development of gaming. People need to learn that you can have great fun with a bad, campy, waste of time game like MW2 but still give it a critical analysis of being a bad, unimaginative game with jarring narrative and problems with pacing.

    PS: as for the depth of the story, It wasn't too bad a story. It had individual moments that were great. Though as a whole they story wasn't what you call, great either.

      Your level of certainty is dangerously high for how generalised your perspective seems to be. A critical analysis does not yield the same results for everyone, you think your being critical but by telling everyone they need to understand the game the way you understand it is being incredibly, astonishingly ignorant. Someone could be just as good a critical thinker as you, or better (like the author of this article) and come to an entirely different conclusion, just as valid.

      Last edited 29/05/15 2:53 pm

    The hate and vitriol around COD is something that has long fascinated me. For me, around the time of the release of COD MW2 is when the gaming community started to fracture and become a horrendously toxic space.

    The people who jumped on the "COD stinks" bandwagon I personally feel fall into two categories, people who A) genuinely don't like the way COD plays and its linear structure etc, or B) believe that games are something more than just dumb fun, are very artistic and are seeking mainstream approval of this from society.

    Neither one of these is wrong, and I can see and understand both arguments. I personally feel that former is the less vocal on the subject matter, while the latter are the ones who run around screaming about the awfulness of COD and how all who play it are the embodiment of every negative gamer stereo type and are ruining it for the rest of the community. I feel that COD was an easy cause for those people to rally behind, and push the agenda of 'games can be more' but when society showed it still wasn't particularly interested in that concept yet, the hatred towards COD intensified as the annoyance those people have with society was far more easily vented towards a game and its players.

    I feel that this has only gotten more out of control in the years since, to the point where I think that the community is probably the most toxic it has ever been. I could be wrong - I am only 22, however for the last 10 years I feel I have seen the slow decline of positivity in the comments sections of the websites I frequent to the rabid negativity that now dominates the majority of gaming comments. Luckily there are still some bastions of the healthy community still thriving - Kotaku AU for example.

    Just my two sense on the whole COD fiasco - hope its not too off topic.

    Basically... no. Just no. There is basically nothing redeeming at all about MW2's story. The whole premise is ridiculous and the gameplay is repetitive and mediocre.

    Pretty much every mission has the game pretending that the player is dead, or killing off one of the characters the player is playing as. The game switches point of view pretty much every scene and is a convoluted, unintelligible mess and you care about none of the characters.

    Then the game jumps the shark and has an enormous Russian airforce flying OVER EUROPE (which someone NONE of those countries noticed? Only the US systems were breached, not everyone in Europe) and when they arrive the Russians attack.... surburbia. Something with absolutely zero strategic or logistical value.

    The story, plot, characters and gameplay are all dumb, and it is possibly the worst Modern Warfare, and one of the worst Call of Duty games.

      None of these things are reasons anyone else should care about.

      "The game switches point of view pretty much every scene and is a convoluted, unintelligible mess and you care about none of the characters."

      So if someone (anyone) paid attention, understood it and the characters resulting in empathy for them, wouldn't you be totally wrong? I'm not a fan of the game but you're basically just saying everything is dumb from a very narrow perspective, ignoring any sort of critical or holistic thinking that would actually make your points matter to another human being.

      Last edited 29/05/15 2:50 pm

        I'm not sure you get how narrative works. Narrative is supposed to make the player care about the characters in the story. Yet MW2 gives its protagonists zero character whatsoever. "Look, he's got a skull for a face! How cool! This other guy has... well... uhh... yeah...". It's not about not understanding the plot or the characters - it's just that they're both so shallow and vapid that the only emotional attachment you could get to them is because of some painted on gimmick to make them sound appealing.

        The story doesn't give players any reason to CARE about who they're playing as, what they're doing, or why they care about what the game is making them do except "AMERICA! FK YEAH". It's just "go here, shoot gun. SURPRISE! You're dead. Okay, let's switch to the next character." It's a joke.

        Furthermore, the Russian invasion the US is patently idiotic. There is *no way* it would or could have happened , and the hand-wavy attempt of "oh, but they hacked the US radars" makes absolutely no sense and doesn't justify why none of the countries with the capability to detect such mobilisation said nothing. And if you could identify the strategic value of purpose of attacking *suburbia* which presents NO VALUE to an attacking army.

        Like the rest of the game, it's a moronic attempt to justify a set piece that someone came up with in their head and went "oh man, wouldn't it be awesome to be fighting through white picket fence houses and then end up fighting in a burger joint. MAN! THIS IS GONNA BE THE BEST GAME EVER!" The sorry excuse for a plot is a paper thin attempt to mash their set pieces together.

        The player dying (or thinking they're dying only to find they aren't actually dead) is repeated ad nauseum in a vain attempt to increase the emotional stakes of the game. The thing is, if players don't actually have time to care about the individuals or feel like they actually mean something, it's pointless and has NO impact. It's like a horror film with nothing but jump scares. After the dozenth time in as many scenes, you just don't care.

        I'm not coming at it from a narrow-minded view at all. I actually really liked the original MW, ridiculousness and all, but MW2 was just like a shoddy recycled hash of a sequel trying to mimic the "best bits" of the first game without actually understanding how or *why* they worked.

        You stated "everything you said is dumb" but you haven't actually been able to refute a single claim I made - which in itself is a demonstration that you don't have a leg to stand on.

    Played them all - Probably enjoyed the first Blackops the most but definitely reckon MW2 (Also Cod4) was a fantastic game for its time on the PS3.

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaand thats the excuse that people made, but its a poor joke of an excuse.

    originally anyone who was shit at the game or got pissed off about it:
    "too many kids.... urrrhh yeah thats the reason its shit! TOO MANY HAHA I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG! THATS IT! HOW COULD I BE SO BLIND! infact, all of the games are shit because of the kids.... i blame the kids... hmmm i better make a new excuse otherwise people like the man writing this comment will debunk me. they are all similar to the previous title in the series (fast paced shooters) there we go, everyone who hears about the reskin theory will be too mad to defend it, or too dumb to defend it."

    every single fucking comment about call of duty games since mw2.

    stop using the reskin argument, its a joke. a big fucking rooster sucking joke. and no, no matter how many times you tell yourself that it is relevant, it. is. not.

    let me start the next era of raging, assassins creed - reskins.

    I play and enjoy the Call of Duty games for their single-player.
    Short, but enjoyable.

    Given the focus on multiplayer, I haven't bothered picking up the single-player games at full-price, because I've seen movies that last longer than some of those campaigns, at a tenth of the price.

    Of course, their multiplayer popularity means the sticker price remains pretty fucking close to launch retail for the entire life of the product. So I haven't played the last few entries in the series.

    One day they'll deep discount, and on that day, I'll find out what happens in the rest of the stories.

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