First Looks// Modern Warfare 2

Posted 4 Sep 2009 13:48 by
Activision and Infinity Ward have been fiendishly cagey about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, presumably due to a desire to manage the hype surrounding what is sure to be the most wanted game this Christmas. Still, secrecy breeds suspicion, and our conspiracy theories (will review code only go to one of those specialist mags that offers a guaranteed minimum score in return for an exclusive cover?) weren?t exactly allayed on the GamesCom show floor: the same single-level demo as at E3 was being shown, disappointingly.

A bit of digging around, however, did shed a bit more light on Modern Warfare 2. In the Business area, we found a behind-closed doors demo of a hitherto undiscussed aspect of the game. Called Special Ops, it is the co-op mode ? when you boot up MW2, one of the first screens will allow you to choose between Single-player, Multi-player or Special Ops.

Which tells us quite categorically that the story mode will be single-player only, at least. Infinity Ward said that two people can play Special Ops together either online or locally with the screen split. Somewhat bizarrely, given that it is the co-op mode, Special Ops levels can be played solo, too.

Infinity Ward showed us a level called Breach And Clear, inspired by the hidden Mile High Club level in the original Modern Warfare, in which you were dropped into a plane and had to rescue a hostage. Mile High Club was renowned for its fierceness, and Breach And Clear was certainly just as fierce, although quite different.

For a start, the action took place in a run-down building rather than the air. After choosing your weapon, you used explosives to breach a hole in the wall: the explosion triggered a slow-motion period, which was handy given the five or six enemies immediately confronting you. Subsequently, level completion was merely a case of getting through to a certain point alive, within a certain time.

Getting there was pretty hectic, with amazingly detailed graphics, copious particle effects, with rooms filling up with smoke, laser-sights everywhere and enemies with riot-shields. Which you could grab ? although holding one meant losing your ability to throw grenades.

It was clear that major use of cover and grenades are going to feature in the game; the scenery, too, was more destructible than ever. While Breach And Clear was a short, sharp burst of a level, Infinity Ward promises various types of (and plenty of) Special Ops missions, although, typically, it wouldn?t go into specifics.

In terms of adrenalin-inducing gameplay and visuals which bring new levels of attention to detail to gaming, Modern Warfare 2 looks to be right on track. Bigger questions about the game remain, though: will the single-player game be as woefully short as that of CoD 4, for example, and what online modes will feature? Modern Warfare 2 will be a seriously good game, for sure. But will it be brilliant enough to justify that price-tag?

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