Modern Warfare 2 Single Player Review – I did not see that coming

6 min read


Modern Warfare 2 has a lot to live up to – what with it’s predecessor still riding high on the multiplayer charts 2 years after it was released and its single player still being used as a beacon of what a good FPS title can be.

So have Infinity Ward managed to bring their A-game once more and deliver a truly memorable and worthwhile single player experience?

Well, maybe. Let me try explain while not ruining the story or giving up too many spoilers.

Modern Warfare 2 takes place 5 years after where we left off and goes about the first stage in a very similar manner. However, this time you are not treated as a rookie but more the slightly experienced soldier who can show the rookies a thing or two about war.

Learning to fight again

You are taken through the standard aiming tutorial which highlights a helpful new feature in MW2, if you pull the left trigger to aim and then slightly release it and pull it again it will automatically target the next closest target within reason. This makes clearing a crowded room a little more elegant than the spray and pray style I normally equip myself with.

After the basic tutorial you are sent over to the pit where you need to complete the course in a certain amount of time without killing to many civilian targets, regulars to the series will breeze through this without paying much attention and I wouldn’t bother trying to beat your personal record here seeing as you can always come back to the pit during Spec Ops.

Opening levels

After you have done that you are given a briefing and then dropped straight into the warzone where you get to experience some long, medium and close range shooting and also get to play around with some of the bigger guns on offer.

Next up is a quick stealth styled stage that isn’t to long or overly stealthy, I am not a fan of stealth stages so thankfully it opened up into a true shooter quite quickly and ended up in a mad dash down the mountain side on a snowmobile.

The snowmobile scene has been plastered all over the Internet already so I don’t feel like I am spoiling anything by saying that you jack some snowmobiles and then high-tail it down the mountain side in a breakneck attempt at gaining freedom. Unfortunately the snowmobiles (and all other vehicles in the game) don’t handle very well at all and it often feels like you are simply going through the motions while some helper code actually ensures you stay on target throughout the course.

The the infamous airport scene arrives, which means this is a good time to let you know that when you start the game for the first time it pops up with a little message saying that there will be some scenes that may disturb you later in the game and if you like you can opt out of them then. It then goes on to reassure you that you won’t miss out on any achievements or score by doing so. I selected to play the scenes which caused another window to popup and ask me if I am sure and whether it should ask me again closer to the time…

The scene itself is good and it’s not as disturbing in person, which sounds strange but it did appear to fit into the story very well and I can see why ratings boards decided to allow it. If you were wondering then yes I did participate and I did shoot.


Setting the scene

After which you are taken through a multitude of levels which include American Burger joints, Diners, shanty towns, not so happy suburbs, Oil rigs, the White House and an airplane bone yard.

Thinking back on the game now I can’t really decide which one was my favourite of the lot, the emotional realism of playing through the suburbs was possibly the most hard hitting moment in the game while running through the shanty towns makes you understand why the police and army are hesitant in entering townships. They really are perfect for guerrilla warfare.

The Story

The story was fun to interact with and while on the far conspiracy side of reality it could in some way be imagined to be true. There were a fair few shockers in the story line and some really good twists and turns. Some of them were Hollywood-styled obvious choices while others left you scrambling to find out why it had happened.

I think the story itself is better than the first but the one thing it misses is some of the more awesome moments like the C-130 sequence in the original and the stealth scenes never hit the heights of All Ghillied Up either.

However the boneyard scene was incredible and I absolutely loved the Favela and the American diner stage was also highly enjoyable.

Things that fitted nowhere else

I was worried about the underwater part of the game that I had seen in trailers and I am happy to report that it doesn’t exist, it’s merely a cut scene with bad graphics that really could have been left out of the final game in my opinion.

It looks like Infinity Ward had improved the engine’s ability to render vast amounts of enemies on screen at any one time and the Washington DC battle was a perfect example of this, you really did feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemy infantry and vehicles moving around.

The end sequence is becoming a Modern Warfare staple and while this story is pretty neatly wrapped up there is enough left in the story to easily justify a third in the series.



Gameplay: 9.5
It’s Modern Warfare but improved and with new weapons and features. Infinity Ward have mastered the realistic FPS genre on consoles.

Presentation: 8.5
It never blew me out of the water but it looked nice and rolled well into each subsequent scene.

Sound: 9.2
The music was really engaging and the voice acting ability was as good as we can expect for a war game. Some of the lines were a little to cheesy for my liking though.

Value: 9.0
As a single player game it is a little on the short side but does offer a fair amount of replay ability with the harder difficulty settings and Spec Ops looks like the perfect port of call for a quick run and gun when needed.


Overall: 9.4
Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t disappoint and while I haven’t even tried the multi-player yet I can highly recommend every FPS fan with a console or PC pick up a copy of this title.

Last Updated: November 10, 2009

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