Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Impressions

I found some time over the weekend to sit down and dive into the campaign for Modern Warfare 2, and once I got in I couldn’t get out. After about 7.5 hours of playing I finally reached the end and defeated the threat against the United States. I won’t go into too much detail about the storyline because there are some cool twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll mostly talk about the flow of the story, the different levels and things of that nature.

When I got the first Modern Warfare game 2 years ago, I dove into the campaign mode on the “Hardened” difficulty level. I didn’t want to be held down by the looming “Veteran” level so I opted to play it a little safer. I knew I could beat the game on Normal pretty quickly so I wanted to make it last. After beating it on Hardened I did go back and beat everything on Veteran which gave me some nice replay value, but with Modern Warfare 2 I wasn’t really looking for replay value in the campaign, I just wanted to dive into multiplayer, which honestly made me feel a little guilty. The developers put all this time and energy into making a great single player campaign in addition to the multiplayer that everyone loves, so I felt that I needed to give the campaign a shot. This time around I dove headfirst in the campaign on the highest difficultly level, Veteran.

The game took me about 7.5 hours to complete according to the stats screen, so had I done it on Normal, I could have easily beaten it in about 5.5-6 hours based on how long it took me to beat some of the levels. That being said, I do believe that the campaign in the original Modern Warfare was more difficult, but part 2 was far cooler. The level design and the way the story progressed was extremely engaging, the added vehicle levels were extremely cool and a nice change of pace from the run-n-gun aspect to the rest of the game. I like that each section did not have an endless supply of enemies and once you killed the set number that was it, you could advance. In the last few iterations of the game you would have to push forward in order for the flow of enemies to stop which could be part of the reason why I feel those were harder than this one, but it was also more frustrating and annoying to have endless waves of enemies coming at you.

Without going too in depth into the story I will tell you about a few levels and my experience with them. If you’ve been following the game at all you know that there is a level that is quite disturbing and has been stirring up quite the controversy, yep I’m talking about the airport level. At one point in the game, which is actually near the beginning of the story, you go undercover and infiltrate a terrorist cell who decides to take their machine guns to a crowded airport terminal and kill a bunch of innocent people. If you opted not to skip the graphic levels in the game when you started the campaign (there’s a warning when you start) then you now have the option to either fire your gun off into the crowds of people along side the terrorists or just walk along as they do the dirty work. I understand why people are a little bit upset about this level, but it’s a video game people, and one that’s rated M (17+) on top of it. It’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor what their kids are playing and most stores won’t even sell the game to someone under 17 anyways, and if your kid thinks that violence in video games should translate over to real life, well then your kid has much deeper problems.  I’m almost 28 years old so telling the difference between a video game and real life isn’t really a problem for me so I chose to follow the storyline and blast away the innocent people. Now does that mean I’m going to go out and shoot people or join a terrorist cell? Absolutely not, it just means I see what the developers were doing and like playing games all the way through…

So that was really the only level I can recall where anything super graphic/controversial happened although when the war comes to the United States I found those levels to be incredible to play and experience, especially the ones in D.C.. The addition of the vehicle levels is also extremely cool and I found myself enjoying every minute of the snowmobile and boat races, except when the boat level took me forever to beat because I kept getting killed before I would reach a checkpoint, but overall the use of vehicles was well implemented and fun to play.

Vehicles and killing innocent people aside, the coolest part of any level had to be the “bullet time” type slowdown that they implemented whenever you breach a room. I believe the first time you encounter this is when you’re on the oil rig thing in the middle of the ocean and have to rescue hostages, but it continues through the rest of the game. I don’t know why, but I thought the slow down of time and the fact that you couldn’t shoot hostages or any of the tons of explosives in the rooms was extremely cool. And the shower room on the island fortress (or whatever it’s called) level, is extremely intense.

Overall I loved every minute of the campaign mode and I’m glad I went through it on Veteran as opposed to one of the easier difficulty levels. It lasted a little longer and I feel that I got more satisfaction out of it knowing that I was able to beat it at that level. Sure it lead to some frustration at points, but who wants to play a game straight through in 5 hours and that’s it… I know some people felt cheated by the length of the campaign in general, but I was perfectly happy with it, it kept good pace and each level offered a little something different as you went along. I highly recommend putting down the multiplayer for a while and jumping into the campaign and playing through it. Like I said, it’s fairly short if you just want to play it and choose normal, but whatever difficulty you play on, at least give it a once through.