Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare 2 – The Gameplay – The Blog post

Well, I was in Mexico for the launch of Modern Warfare 2, but I’ve played through the thing and it’s still within a month of the release, so I’m CURRENT for once!

We’ll talk about the game in this post and the controversial “No Russian” mission in another. Why? Because gameplay matters more, of course.

How’s it play? Quite well. The game follows much of the same format as the previous modern warfare game, but I’d argue it has a greater variety in the level design. Because you aren’t always playing as the same soldier, the game leaps around to all kinds of different locations, with many different styles of missions.

The sound design is particularly excellent. That’s not something I usually mention either. You’ll hear your teammates yell VERY specific things. Instead of “enemy to the east!”, you’ll hear “enemy behind that burger place!”. Seriously, it’s impressive. The AI is also quite good, for both AI and teammates.

The Call of Duty games have always done a good job of conveying a sense of chaos. With the aforementioned yelling and the explosions everywhere and several scripted events, they try really hard to give that cinematic feel. This is the type of thing that’s really cool for newcomers, but if you’ve seen previous games in the franchise, some of the gags might be a little old. The game repeats the “frantically running to a helicopter and JUUUMP” sequence at least twice, which is too bad, because the first modern warfare game had that at least twice as well.

They give you that “set piece” feel from time to time. One example is when you’re walking with your pals through a field and all of a sudden the game goes into slow motion as a bouncing betty flies up in your face and the words “press C to crouch” pop up on the screen like you’re some kind of fool. Some people will love those cinematic moments, others will find them really contrived.

The only real new innovation in the gameplay is breaching, where you set up a breaching charge against a door or wall, and then charge in and shoot things that are inexplicably in slow motion. I don’t know, I found these sequences pretty dumb, why is Call of Duty trying to be a John Woo movie?

My major complaint with the game is the checkpoints. The game saves whenever it feels like it, usually every couple minutes, so that you don’t complain if you’re no good. The thing is, I found myself in several “checkpoint traps”, where the game chose to save after I had been blinded by a flashbang, or seconds before an objective was about to be failed (maybe I’m no good). The game trying to hold your hand actually makes it worse, because you need to restart the level if you’re stuck in one of these situations.

We’ll talk about “No Russian” and the game’s story next time.

Loving the craft: A short H.P. Lovecraft Review – “The Unnamable”. This story is the second in the “Randolph Carter” series. I rather like this one. It leads the reader to the assumption that Randolph Carter is simply Lovecraft’s stand in for himself. Carter is a writer of Weird Fiction and he meets with another author to discuss their writing styles. His friend is critical of him using unknowable and indescribable evil in his stories, thinking that it’s a cop out… but of course, there’s a surprise waiting for him. This felt to me like Lovecraft giving the finger to some of his critics, but it made for a good story as well. It advances the Randolph Carter saga as well. Check it out, it’s a pretty good quick read.


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