Task Force 141
Image Via Infinity Ward

Review: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is Both a Return to Treaded Waters and a Step Into the Future

Is this year's entry worth a look?

Though life changes drastically from year to year, one thing that’s continued to be a constant through my adolescence and into adulthood has been the shining light of the Call of Duty franchise. Whether with its highs like the original Modern Warfare 2 back in 2009 and the original Black Ops or the lows of Black Ops 4 and Infinite Warfare, there’s no doubt that the game has always welcomed players with open arms.

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And while 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot seemed like the beginning of a glorious new chapter in Call of Duty’s story, it was followed by a game or two that just didn’t hit the spot for me. Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer was a walk back from the entry previous to it, and while Vanguard had Modern Warfare’s fantastic gameplay, the zombies was a wrong turn and multiplayer couldn’t really grab me for too long.

Enter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the next real step in the right direction. Having played the campaign to its fullest and sank hours upon hours into multiplayer, I can definitely this is the Call of Duty title that all fans, new and old really should check out. It has it all.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review Biggest Takeaways

  • Gameplay is at its peak in Modern Warfare 2.
  • Though online multiplayer suffers from bugs, it’s still incredibly satisfying and addictive.
  • This is the best Call of Duty has felt in years.
  • Many of the multiplayer aspects can be confusing as the game flips the script from the last entry heavily.
  • Modern Warfare 2’s campaign allows you to invest time into some new and returning characters worth caring about.

Final Score: 8/10

Task Force 141 Gets Some New Members

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Colonel Alejandro Vargas Image
Image via Activision/Infinity Ward

The campaign in Modern Warfare 2, in many ways, met my expectations, delivering bombastic story moments and a story to hold on to. Modern Warfare 2 picks up shortly after the events of Modern Warfare (2019), directing attention to yet another global threat.

But while most of the main cast returned, and then some, I felt like there was a bit of a disconnect at most times as Task Force 141 is split up for the majority with zero communication between the core members until the third act. I would’ve liked to have seen the whole team together from the beginning, but the story kept me engaged regardless.

What I can appreciate though is the entrance of some truly great protagonists in the charismatic Colonel Alejandro Vargas and his companion Rodolfo Parra. These characters, along with Ghost and Soap really do carry the weight of the story, making Gaz and Price’s inclusion feel more like an intrusion of the screen time that we could be getting from these more lore-rich characters. It really is a testament to how well the actors did with these roles.

I was really happy to see that Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t follow directly in the footsteps of the game that it’s rebooting, instead showing homage to some of the ideas in that title but diverting onto its own original path. I was gripped by the narrative throughout like a kid again, and it wasn’t until the credits began to roll that I felt like the mission had been successfully carried out.

Missions are incredibly enjoyable, for the most part, and you really get that authentic Call of Duty feel that we all come back for year after year in its stories. There is a lot to keep track of in this game’s story, and between it and the incredible action set-pieces, you’ll have quite a bit to chew on as the narrative continues to twist and turn.

Online Multiplayer Like Never Before

modern warfare 2 valeria
Image via Infinity Ward/Activision

When it comes to the multiplayer aspects of the game, there’s just something that feels so right here that’s not found in any other entries. Is it the movement? The new vertical hanging mechanic? The swimming mechanics? Is it the feeling of the guns? There’s really no one place to point a finger to as everything has seemingly been stripped down to the studs and built back up, properly. It makes me hopeful that we won’t have the same issues going forward in the next entry as we did going from Modern Warfare to Cold War.

Though my go-to for multiplayer, Hardcore, isn’t available right now, I’m having a blast as the gameplay sort of feels like it’s in a balanced middle. Sniper shots are typically an instant kill but SMGs will need to plunge a few bullets into a target in order to take them out. Most weapons so far are extremely satisfying to use and it doesn’t take long to find the ones you’re most comfortable with, similar to how Modern Warfare (2019) worked.

Related: How to Unlock the Juggernaut in Modern Warfare 2

As a huge fan of the gunsmith in the most recent games though, I gotta say that things are a little more confusing this time around. Unlocking receivers and attachments, at least for me, doesn’t seem as universal as Activision made things out to be. Maneuvering the screens to customize weapons or switch load-outs are also a bit cumbersome with the way the new perk system works. Though I do appreciate that perks have to be earned as opposed to just getting given out whenever.

I’m also a huge fan of the map design in Modern Warfare 2. Though there are definitely some silly conceptualized ones, there are also realistically set maps for those of us looking for a more grounded experience in our FPS titles. Espectially when playing on the larger maps in Ground War and Invasion, this feels like the game that I was hoping Battlefield 2042 would have been. You gotta give credit where credit is due, the multiplayer rocks.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

This game suffers from a lot of issues right now. And that statement isn’t just limited to online multiplayer, as I ran into a crash or two during my time with the campaign as well. In multiplayer though, players will experience horrible rubber-banding, connection issues, and even loss of sound entirely. These don’t entirely ruin the game, but they are a pain to have to even deal with as they’re so commonplace in modern game releases.

Though this game’s launch isn’t as rocky as some other FPS titles have been in recent memory, it’s just a constant reminder that a lot of online games these days continue to be released before actually being ready for shipment. And though Activision is usually pretty quick to push out updates, the game has been out for almost two weeks at this point and is still suffering from the same issues players faced on launch day.

A Step in the Right Direction

Image Via Infinity Ward

Though many may complain about the Call of Duty franchise for being a derivative, annually updated game that gets a $60+ label slapped on every year, I can never really understand that ideology. Call of Duty does its best to evolve with every single new entry, for better or worse. And while Modern Warfare hit a home run and Cold War fouled out, I think that Modern Warfare 2 is one of, if not the best Call of Duty games we’ve seen post the original Modern Warfare trilogy.

I’ll happily be playing this game for the next year or two with a smile on my face due to the fun gunplay loop, the vastly improved gameplay mechanics, and the sheer scope of everything available to players, whether overstimulating or not. If you’ve got two thumbs and have loved Call of Duty in the past, you have gotta give this one a try because it is a great time to be had.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Be sure to check out some of our great guides on Modern Warfare 2 to get even further into the action or to fix game issues with guides such as How to Fix “exe/bad_challenge” Error in Modern Warfare 2.

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Author
Nathaniel Litt
Hi! I'm Nathaniel; Star Wars nerd, musician, and active daydreamer. When it comes to gaming, I'll try anything at least once. My mains though are FPS, Action-Adventure, and Puzzle-Platformers.