Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Impressions

As you can probably tell based on the sheer amount of posts on the game, I’m a big fan of Modern Warfare 2 (and all of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty games), so there will probably be quite a few posts on here in the coming weeks revolving around MW2 and it’s different game modes and my experiences. I tried to give myself a little more time to play the game before writing this post, but I feel like I got the basic gist of things after about 7 hours of playing between the normal multiplayer modes as well as a few hours last night with the new Spec-Ops mode.  So I’m going to start this post with my first impressions of the new multiplayer experience and I will probably edit and add on to this post in the future.

First let’s start with the normal multiplayer mode. This is pretty much the reason why most people bought the game. The original Modern Warfare was incredible online and brought a whole new level to the game with the inclusion of unlockable guns and perks, among other things, but could MW2 surpass what was given to is in the first go around… In a simple answer, absolutely. Essentially Infinity Ward took all of the things that were great about the first one, the perks, rank levels, gun addons, etc and gave us even more. It seems as though they listened to the fans on some of these choices as well. For example, everyone complained that using the juggernaut perk on the first one was considered “noobish” or “cheating” since it made you harder to kill, so Infinity Ward scrapped it from what I can tell. And as far as martyrdom, which I continued to use in CoD4, it is now restricted to a death streak perk, meaning that only when you die multiple times in a row can you choose to drop a grenade as you die. They also did away with the x3 frag grenade perk as to cut back on grenade spamming, which is a welcome change I just wish they also got rid of the noob tube, aka the grenade launcher attachment for certain guns.

So on top of the adding and removal of perks themselves there are now 2 tiers to each perk, meaning that after you complete a specific challenge while using a perk, that perk is then upgraded to the pro version which gives you a little something else added. For example, the slight of hand perk (faster reloads) adds the ability to look down sight faster after you’ve leveled it up to the pro version. So these are just more cool unlockables that IW has added into the mix and so far I’m liking them.

Moving away from perks, but still in the realm of unlockables comes titles, badges and accolades. There are a ton of titles and badges to unlock by doing certain things in each multiplayer match, which you can then assign as a sort of call sign for your character. Accolades are more like in match achievements like “highest kill/death ratio” or “killed the entire enemy team without dying” sort of things. Just like the titles and badges there are a ton of these you can collect which is really cool. And the best part about these is that if you prestige when you hit level 70(?), the titles, badges and accolades stay with you so you don’t have to collect those all over again. It’s just another way of modifying your character so you’re a little bit unique when playing against a million other people.

A couple other more technical changes which are very welcome are the way match making and host migration is now done as well as how team chat is handled. Matchmaking seems to be a lot better and actually lets you know how many games it found that will work, then it looks for the best connection and dumps you into that lobby. I like that there is a percentage to keep you informed on what the system is doing and that it’s actually working and you’re not just lagging out. And speaking of lagging out, the new host migration integration is awesome. In the original Modern Warfare if the guy hosting the game decided he didn’t want to play anymore and quit out, the whole match would end and dump you back in a lobby. Now if the host leaves the game pauses, finds a new host, then gives you a 5 second countdown and starts the match up right where you left it. This is great for those games when the host is getting his ass kicked and quits because he can’t handle it. Lastly the chat changes. I guess there were issues in the past where teams would stay in private chat while playing a game, me and my friends would do this too as we didn’t like to listen to the 12 year olds bitching at each other, but they would use this to tell other friends/teammates where enemies were hiding, etc, essentially cheating.  Now when you enter a team match you are prompted to either leave your private chat and join the game chat or leave the lobby and you can play a different game mode. This is both good and bad, good because now you don’t have those people giving away enemy positions in private chat, but bad because now I have to listen to all these 12 year old whiny bitches singing rap songs and calling everyone “fags” and “n—-rs”.

The other new thing is the way kill streaks are handled. You can have 3 kill streaks assigned to a class at any time, but you have to unlock them as you level up. They range from your typical helicopters, UAV’s and air strikes to new things such as Predator Missles (which are cool as hell), turrets and even Nukes, among other things.  And at the other spectrum there are also Death Streaks which help you out if you’re getting your ass handed to you in a match. If you die 3 times in a row you can choose a death streak perk ranging from more health on spawn for a few seconds to martyrdom (obviously there are more than that). I like the additions to the death streaks and the ability to choose which ones you have assigned and how they are implemented into the matches. Like a turret for instance doesn’t just magically appear in your hands, that would be unrealistic. Instead when you get a turret and activate it by pressing right on the D-pad, a helicopter comes and drops a drop box which you can then go and retrieve. And I like how if you’re the one that called in the drop box you retrieve it faster than if someone else on your team (or the other team) tries to steal it.

I’m sure there is more that I’ve overlooked or haven’t gotten to play around with yet, actually I know there are some new game modes that I haven’t played around with yet so I’ll update this as I get a chance, but let’s talk about Spec-Ops mode.

Spec-Ops mode is Infinity Ward’s answer to co-op gameplay. A lot of FPS games these days are implementing anywhere from 2-4 person online co-op modes so that you can play through the story with your friends. Don’t get me wrong I love me so co-op gaming, however I totally agree with Infinity Ward’s decision on not including it in the actual campaign for this game. Playing as the 2nd (3rd or 4th) person in a game seems to leave you quite disconnected from the actual story that the designers are trying to tell in the campaign. Especially in a game like this were it’s written to take 1 person through these different environments and experiences throughout the story. If you were to dump someone else in the mix the game wouldn’t be as engaging for that 2nd person, unless of course the game was designed from the ground up with co-op in mind, which IW could have done, but it wasn’t how they wanted to tell their story. So instead of forcing co-op into the single player campaign they came up with Spec-Ops. Spec-Ops is basically scenarios from different parts of the single player campaign, pulled out and recreated for a co-op experience. And personally I think this is a much better use of co-op than just dumping a 2nd player in the campaign.

The Spec-Ops levels are specifically designed with 2 people in mind (although you can play them by yourself if you want), and they all have different objectives to complete. Some of them are similar to “horde mode” or waves of enemies that you have to fend off, some are sneaking around an area without being detected, some are terrorist hunts, etc, there are 20+ different Spec-Ops levels all with 3 difficulty levels each and in order to unlock more you must complete more, so again, more things to unlock.  So given the depth and gameplay of Spec-Ops mode, I’m don’t feel at all cheated that they did not give us a totally co-op campaign option. I think IW did a great job with the way they handled this aspect of the game and I think more people will start to realize that sometimes a co-op campaign just isn’t going to work.

So that’s all I have to say right now regarding the multiplayer experience on Modern Warfare 2, but I’m sure I’ll run into more issues and/or things to praise as I get more time with the game, but I’m curious as to how everyone else is liking (or disliking) the new multiplayer tweaks and changes.