Courting controversy seems par for the course with Call Of Duty‘s Modern Warfare franchise, such is the realism of the violence on display, but the developers at Activision and Infinity Ward have outdone themselves this time, with this game making headlines all over the globe, including spots on most of our country’s top talk-shows, reigniting the debate around violence in video games.
The furore surrounded one of the campaign’s early missions, which it even gives you the option to avoid if you find it distressing, whereby your undercover agent joins up with an uber-heartless Russian terrorist for a spate of random shooting in an airport terminal that leaves hundreds of innocents dead. It’s quite a shock, even for those of us well used to pixelated bloodshed on a daily basis. It’s also a vital part of this game’s plot, sparking a major war between Russia and the USA, which sees the fighting hit American cities, as once-quiet neighbourhoods are transformed into bloody, pulpy battlefields, where every picket fence could be hiding enemy soldiers.
If it’s white-knuckle action you’re after, Modern Warfare 2 does it better than any game before it. The relatively short single player campaign is possibly the most exhilarating, frantic (sometimes downright confusing) virtual war experience we’ve ever set thumbs on, while the bevy of multiplayer options available, including the unlockable Spec. Ops, add value to what’s already an adrenaline junkie’s dream.
From the blood-soaked favelas of Rio de Janeiro (like City Of God on uppers) to the Afghan badlands, the bombed-out shell of the White House to a Russian gulag, Modern Warfare 2 keeps the locations interesting and the action relentless. The graphics are great and the voice-acting exemplary (we thought -Soap’ MacTavish sounded remarkably like Graeme Souness, but it transpires it’s Kevin McKidd from Trainspotting and Rome fame), while there are some genuinely head-turning plot twists to keep even tired games hacks happy. Be warned, though, there’s an 18s cert for a reason and the heady carnage won’t be to everyone’s tastes.