Modern Warfare 2 launch report

Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most praised games of the last several years (see our review, for example). It’s a massively massive release, and given that CoD 4 has been in our multiplayer rotation for the past two years, we can only expect that MW2 will be dominating PCs, PS3s, and 360s for the next two (or more).

Whether you’ve already scored a copy, or you’re still waiting to get your…wait for the super-games-writing-cliche…sweaty mitts on one, you’d probably like to know what’s going on. Because MW2 is such a big release, hype-driven confusion and controversy are flying around like shrapnel from a frag grenade that detonated atop a pile of idiocy. Let’s sort it out.

Above: The scene last night outside a San Francisco GameStop 

We’re bringing you MW2 features all week, including guides, videos, and assorted bits of GR-style nonsense. Skip to the bottom of the page for a preview of what’s to come!

The Reaction

As expected, the reviews are hugely positive. Modern Warfare 2 currently boasts an average score of 96 on Metacritic, with the lowest score being an 80 from Boomtown, which criticizes the game’s length, pacing, and costliness. In general, however, the campaign is being deemed a huge success (it's hard to overstate our satisfaction), because despite the relative shortness, it’s devoid of fluff and loaded with brilliant set-pieces, intense moments, and a fantastical, but nevertheless exciting, story. That, combined with the new Spec-Ops mode and beefed-up multiplayer, has garnered the game ten perfect scores so far (and that doesn’t include most print sources). Note that Metacritic will likely drop some of the early reviews as more come in, so it may not look the same to you as it did to us.

Above: Short, but so, so sweet. And with Special Ops and multiplayer, there’s a lot to do 

Reactions from players are mostly positive as well, though there are always devil’s advocates waiting to pounce on internet reviews with whatever venom they can summon. User doom3pwns commented on GamesRadar’s review:

“This game is ****** trash, no dedicated servers, unbalanced gameplay weapons gotta be unlocked, still cant sprint and shoot which is unrealistic, graphics not much of a improvement.

**** this game,anyone who buys this shit should die”

This coming from a guy who uses the word “pwns” and isn’t over Doom 3 yet. Amidst his mostly uninformed chatter, he does bring up one valid point – the lack of dedicated servers has instigated the wrath of PC gamers. Shrugging off such an established PC convention was a bold move by Infinity Ward, who is unapologetic about the decision. And to top it off, the game won’t be unlocked on Steam until Thursday.

There’s no word on why the PC launch has been so botched, but it certainly isn’t doing the game any favors with the already irate PC crowd – the user score for the PC version on Metacritic is a pitiful 1.3/10.

Can you get a copy?

So you didn’t preorder? Good for you, stick it to the man! But can you get a copy anyway? The short answer is “maybe…probably.” GamesRadar sent an excursion party to our local GameStop at about ten this morning and managed to pick up several copies. The clerk informed us that they’d likely be out by noon, but another excursion in the afternoon found plenty available. If you live near a variety of retailers, it seems fairly likely that you’ll be able to find a copy (based on our experience). Of course, if you’re a PC gamer, that’s another story…

Above: The sound of this box opening was also the sound of our productivity plummeting 

The multiplayer onslaught

Having already spent plenty of time in the campaign, and not wanting to fall behind the competition, several of the GR staff jumped straight onto Xbox Live to see what the carnage was like. For some reason, the game reads “0 players online,” but it’s obviously packed. Still, there’s no sign of overload – games have been easy to jump into (though we did lose our connection in the middle of a couple matches…ones we were winning, of course).

Above: Favela seems to be a popular, if challenging map. Watch for fire from the rooftops, and check out our multiplayer guide tomorrow 

The highest level player we encountered today was at 60, but in general, the competition hovered between levels 10 and 25. The most common maps to load in free-for-all have been Terminal, Highrise, Estate, Rust, Favela, and Wasteland. The most skipped map has been Estate (the large, grassy map with a power station at one end and a two story house at the other… it’s icky).

The campers have found their camping spots and the snipers are enjoying early access to the 50 Cal and a secondary shotgun (the SPAS is a dangerous tool when used well). There are, however, still plenty of inexperienced players who are a joy to fill with bullets – they’ll learn.

We’ve yet to see anyone score the elusive Tactical Nuke kill streak (25 consecutive kills!), but during our play session a couple weeks ago, we were surprised to see it happen during a very real match. If you didn’t see the leak on YouTube, then check out what happens when an uber-player uses the last resort in a multiplayer match:

Nov 10, 2009

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • TURbo - November 16, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    I found another "reporter" that gives even a lower score. 3/5 stars That's 60%. Stu Horvath.
  • DoctorCrazy - November 13, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    Hehehe when i read the review i thought the exact same thing about that doom3pwns guy. Im glad you called him out on it.
  • Mirako - November 13, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    The Nuke Make You Win Period.
  • sato - November 12, 2009 2:42 a.m.

    PSN was working fine today. (Didn't play online though, too busy doing spec-ops with my friend.) reCaptcha: OH purina !?
  • madsick1 - November 12, 2009 2:41 a.m.

    Yeah, what about the crap where you can't make a party in multiplayer on PS3? My friend found a way to work around it but its a pain in the ass. I hope it really is fixed by Friday.
  • Cernunnos - November 11, 2009 7:06 p.m.

    seems like online is down for PS3 users until friday... thats a slap in the face.
  • Cernunnos - November 11, 2009 6:54 p.m.

    nadrewood: it ends the game, and whoever has the highest score wins. think if it as when the host left in CoD4.
  • Yeager1122 - November 11, 2009 4:35 p.m.

    This game is the best cant believe someone gave it an 80 on metacritic.
  • Visual217 - November 11, 2009 12:23 p.m.

    I just got MW2 yesterday, and i love to play spec ops wit my friends, its a challenge to improve urself for multiplayer
  • oufour - November 11, 2009 11:36 a.m.

    hopefully gamefly will send me a copy soon.
  • nadrewod999 - November 11, 2009 10:33 a.m.

    O_0 THE NUKE ENDS THE GAME IN YOUR FAVOR!?!?!?! Dang, I am gonna lose a lot of matches.
  • faceofmonkey - November 11, 2009 6:07 a.m.

    does the nuke just kill everyone?
  • TURbo - November 11, 2009 5:28 a.m.

    Someone has a lower metacritic score. Reviewer Lou Kesten on behalf of AP gave this game a 3/4 which is a 75%m beating the score of 80%.
  • DarbonX - November 11, 2009 5:19 a.m.

    "This was a triumph, I'm making a note here: huge success, it's hard to overstate my satisfaction"
  • usmovers_02 - November 11, 2009 4:14 a.m.

    Awesome Portal refrence hidden in there... lol.
  • LizarDAZZLE - November 11, 2009 3:26 a.m.

    Wait, I've only ever played PC games and loved COD4 to death, but I don't understand this "No Dedicated Server" stuff. I feel like it means people can't create their own servers on PC, but If that were true, that seems like a horrid idea by them. So what does "No Dedicated Server" mean is what I'm really trying to get across here.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - November 11, 2009 3:24 a.m.

    I played the single player early because I had a modded 360, but of course I get banned the day the real game comes out. I guess I'll have to wait a few days before I can dig in to the multiplayer.
  • Gingerbread - November 11, 2009 3:16 a.m.

    i pre ordered from gamestop and didnt get any thing. Should i have?
  • Embolado - November 11, 2009 3:03 a.m.

    Just picked up my copy and not from gamestop, I think we as a gaming community need to take a stand agasint some of this pre-order and recieve "some random usless product" that should be available on every copy of the game, not used as a selling "extra" selling point. If anything the only Pre-orders should be fore the "way overpriced" special editions.
  • Major_Wuss - November 11, 2009 2:05 a.m.

    I'm very excited for this. I got one of my friends to buy it, we are having a party tomorrow to just play this game =D