Is Modern Warfare 2 Infinity Ward’s “Swan Song”?

We’ve been lazy here for a while and have been failing to cover – even mention – the slow crippling and death of the studio that made $558 million in a 5-day span (reportedly exceeding $1 billion in 2 months).

As it goes, Activision had accused the heads at Infinity Ward (Vince Zampella and Jason West) for conspiring against the company from threatening Modern Warfare 2’s early development to creating a studio that goes against Activision’s benefit. Thusly, the publisher had fired Zampella and West in early March. The exiled leadership of Infinity Ward then decided to counter Activision’s attacks with a lawsuit of their own, stating that their release was merely a ploy to withhold the hard-earned royalties gained from Modern Warfare 2’s epic sales.

It is a huge mess and the proverbial case of “he said, she said” at this point – however, the repercussions of this case could very well mean the end of Infinity Ward. Several key members of Infinity Ward’s development team have already up-and-left the company (literally in droves).

Zampella and West have already announced plans to head Respawn Entertainment; signing on with Electronic Arts in the process. Talk about a slap in the face for Activision – although, this move might very well have proven the publisher’s case as truth…

Only time will tell whether Infinity Ward has any future left as it’s own studio. Mergers abound – Activision may just find it best to consolidate their Call of Duty franchise developers (that is Infinity Ward and Treyarch). As for the continued support of Modern Warfare 2; if members of the studio continue to jump ship, it’s not entirely out of the question that downloadable content come from Treyarch. Stopping the flow of content would be a foolish endevour on Activision’s part, as the recently released “Stimulus Package” map-pack has already garnered 2.5 million purchases, shattering Xbox LIVE records in its first week (available exclusively for the Xbox 360 at that point).


DLC // First Modern Warfare 2 Map Pack is Oscar Mike!

Infinity Ward’s face, Robert Bowling, has opened the proverbial can-o-worms with his tweet regarding the cure for “mapathy” hitting Xbox LIVE three weeks from now.

Three weeks!? What the heck are we supposed to do before then – play more Modern Warfare 2 and running around the same God-forsaken maps over and over again like we have been doing for the past five months!

Okay then.

Modern Warfare 2 “Care Package Fix” is a go!

Infinity Ward’s buggy (but oh so enjoyable) Modern Warfare 2 for the Xbox 360 will soon be up-to-date with its PC and PlayStation 3 brethren.

When asked regarding the patch’s release, Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling responded: “The Care Package Fix patch went to Microsoft for cert on Friday. Not too much longer before it’s a thing of the past.”

Key features in the Care Package Fix are:

— Care Package, Emergency Airdrop, and Sentry Gun marker grenades sprint speed normalized.
— Fix for “infinite care package” exploit.
— Sentry Guns: Improved placement detection, preventing cases of Sentry Guns inside geometry.
— Model 1887: Bling using Akimbo and FMJ combination now has same range and damage as non-Bling Model 1887s.
— Fixes to prevent various XP hacks.

REVIEW // Modern Warfare 2

Perhaps the most highly-anticipated title of the decade has been released. The direct follow-up to 2007’s critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward had an uphill battle in bettering the formula of the original for Modern Warfare 2.

So as a direct follow-up to such a successful game, is Modern Warfare 2 everything its predecessor was (and possibly more)?

Infinity Ward's new Modern Warfare is a safe move.

Set 5 years after the events of Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 has players assume the role of “Roach” of Task Force 141 to pursue a vile Russian terrorist known as Vladimir Makarov, who plots to pit the superpowers of the United States and Russia against one another. Once the fighting starts, players also assume control of Army Ranger James Ramirez who is tasked to put up arms against the Russian Ultranationalists who have initiated the first foreign nation’s attack on American soil in 100 years…

The change of scenery is a welcoming change to the desolate deserts of the Middle East.

Hollywood-caliber Presentation
Infinity Ward’s inspiration for Modern Warfare 2 had indeed come from top action-flicks, like: The Rock, Ronin, and Tears of the Sun. There is remarkable detail in the direction of the single-player, from the environments presented in-game to how character models react to the world around them.

Mesmerizing Set Pieces
It was inevitable that the set pieces in the game were made to accommodate the explosive action. The scripted action and exotic locales will certainly make players feel that they’ll soon be knee-deep in enemy carcasses and ammo casings. From Washington DC to Rio de Janiero, there is no shortage of epic vistas or awe-inspiring views.

New Weapons & Gadgets
New weapons are always a plus in my book; especially when they consist of the FAMAS, SCAR-H, Steyr AUG, and the new Riot Shield! Items like the Predator Missile console and Sentry Turret are welcoming additions and add to the diverse gameplay.

Robust Multiplayer
The unlockables are a-plenty and the variety of gametypes are sure to prove time-consuming for the average FPS fan. The new signature feature provides players with a semi-unique identity in the world of online play, and unlocking all of those precious graphics are sure to be an achievement in itself.

Top-notch Graphics
“Solid” is a word that comes to mind. The mere fact that the visuals can uphold so greatly against the quick action and pacing of the game’s gameplay is enough to warrant award for the developer’s hard work in refining the experience.

Fast, Frantic Action
The gameplay remains solid and functional. What made Infinity Ward’s last installment so loved and hailed is still intact.

Spec Ops
Have a friend on- or off-line that you want to partner up with and dislike the idea of other players fighting along side you both? Go for Spec Ops! This mode offers a great break from the loneliness of the single player and crowded servers of the multiplayer. In here, you and a buddy can take on missions to either take on wave-after-wave of enemies, provide support for one another in a chopper, eliminate an enemy-occupied position, and much more!

Riot shields: A tactical wild card... and a pain in the arse to deal with!

Over Before You Know It
When the game came to pass, I was flabbergasted. I checked the time and had realized that I beat Modern Warfare 2 on Veteran in less than 8 hours. How can this be!?

No Party Chat
Not a dealbreaker, however, it can be a major inconvenience to have to mute the undesirables in certain matches… I’m looking at you “URa ReTaRD 94”!

Glitchy Online Functionality
There appear to be hiccups here and there within the multiplayer LIVE servers for Modern Warfare 2. Issues pertaining to involuntarily dropping from a lobby, getting shoved into a “private” match, bugs allowing abnormally fast-paced action or infinite ammo and care packages.

Uneven Gameplay Balance Online
Players will find out right away just how lame it is to get fragged by that one lone ranger on the other team who dual wields Model 1889s with the Lightweight and Marathon perk… yeah – it sucks. Not to mention the low-caliber UMP 45 ammunition being able to penetrate through a vending machine AND a solid concrete wall.

Get Ready To Pre-Order Modern Warfare 3
Let me just say… things don’t necessarily get “resolved” in Modern Warfare 2. Sure, you’ll get the “bad guy” as it were – however, the conflicts and issues are far from over.

What's next for "Soap" MacTavish and his gang?

It is definitely safe to say that Modern Warfare 2 is an excellent follow-up to Call of Duty 4. However, though the narrative showcases what to do in a single player campaign… it also shows what not to do. That is, deliberately show that the storyline will continue on to another game. It is grossly obvious that the story was cut short to provide something for Modern Warfare 3.

Though the single player itself was satisfying, the real star of the Modern Warfare 2 is its multiplayer element. So much time can be devoted to the many unlockable weapons, graphics, killstreak rewards, and accolades. There so much to be done, and with more maps on the way there is sure to be plenty of fun to be had.

Spec Ops mode also provides for a co-op that was severely lacking from the first game. Though in some cases a co-op campaign mode would have been a nice addition, Spec Ops fills the void by adding plenty of hours of two-man buddy action.

Essentially, gamers are paying $60 for a robust, bustling online multiplayer experience. If you liked Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, you’ll like Modern Warfare 2. Plain and simple, it’s more of the same – only better! If you like shooters, might as well try your luck in renting it to see if the game clicks for you.

Review based on the Xbox 360 version.