World War III almost broke out in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Russian ultranationalists and others with enormous resources and a sinister agenda regarded America as a thorn in their side and joined forces. With a little help from us, the players, this disaster could be avoided in the very last minute. Albeit with a decent amount of destruction added for good measure.
But five years later the Russians are just as strong, and Zakhaev the villain you hunted down in the original is now a martyr. A new leader, Makarov (not to be confused with the legendary ice hockey player), has risen from the ranks. He is meaner and even more ambitious than his predecessor and he wants to strike out at both the United Kingdom and America to once and for all break their influence on the world. While Zakhaev is hailed by the masses as a war hero, the support among the Russian people grows. Weary of seeing the once great Russian bear bowing down to foreign powers and longing for the good old days of communist rule.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 kicks off at a rabid pace with war in the Middle East, before you take off to Russia, clean up a Brazilian favela (slum), as well as an international airport and an oil rig. And that's just a taste of what you can expect. The story is tied together with dialogues that run during the loading much like the predecessor, and slowly but surely you will witness how the world we know and love is coming to a flaming end.
Speaking of the international airport. This is a good example of how Infinity Ward use non-typical gameplay to immerse the player into the very core of the conflict. You are warned twice before even starting the game about this mission as it will see you going undercover as terrorists strike at the airport. You can choose to actively help the terrorists wreak havoc among civilians, passively go along with everything or perhaps putting an extra bullet in the fatally injured in an act of mercy. It's a provocative move, especially in a best selling franchise such as Call of Duty, but it is also an indication of how the traditional shooter benefits from mixing up the action and gameplay.
Unfortunately the campaign is over much quicker than I would have wished and after only just under six hours on hardened (second hardest difficulty) the credits roll. But you will by no means be finished with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when you've finished the campaign. There is plenty more to with Spec Ops and multiplayer. Spec Ops is Infinity Ward's answer to those who craved some sort of co-operative mode in Modern Warfare. Short missions ranging from a couple of minutes to 15 minutes where you will be doing everything from riding snowmobiles, escort people, blow stuff up, sneak or simply just partake in the war effort. Think of "Mile High Club" from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and you have some idea of the length and structure of the game mode. Highly entertaining.
However, Spec Ops is only a starter as the main course comes with an incredibly deep and content rice multiplayer component that puts most of the competition to shame. The levels are better, there are more weapons, and the options and settings are almost infinite. You can customise your class to fit your personal tastes without having to make any compromises.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has remained one of the most played games online ever since it was released two years ago, and barring the apocalypse the same will be true for Modern Warfare 2 as it is better in just about every conceivable area.
Infinity Ward delivered exactly what we expected. An entertaining campaign, and one of the best multiplayer experiences we have ever seen. Modern Warfare 2 stands out as one of the prime candidates for "Game of the Year".