Modern Warfare 2 - Multiplayer hands-on

Modern Warfare 2 is the shit, to put it briefly. Yes, I know, I only played a beta version for a few hours, and this is just a preview. And sure, I was probably influenced by the massive theater screen, surround sound, and free Mountain Dew (don't worry, I'm not reviewing it), but even so, I’m confident in saying that Modern Warfare 2 is the absolute fu**ing shit. 

Above: the absolute fu**ing shit

Infinity Ward could have hitched a ride on the success of Call of Duty 4 and released a moderately updated game with new maps and some new weapons, but they didn’t – they updated everything without losing any of the violent charm of the original.


Everything is more intense. The sounds of ricochets and bullets zipping by your face, the bloody deaths, the room-shaking explosions, the ringing in your ears – all of it feels twice as powerful. Visually, the game is very similar to CoD4, but the textures are crisper and effects like the bloody drips over your vision look more amazinger.


The controls haven’t changed, and it plays roughly the same as CoD4, but the new weapons, perks, and other additions have significantly increased the number of available strategies and techniques. Both offensive and defensive players should enjoy every match (especially capture-the-flag, which is a blast), and if you’re not the type to score a lot of kills, you’ll still have your chance to shine in objective matches (more on that later).

The maps we played were pretty similar to what you saw in CoD4 (with the possible exception of Highrise, which takes place at the top of an unfinished skyscraper), but none of them were ever dull. They’re crammed with choke points, sniping roosts, environmental weapons, and hidden paths, and they all maintain Infinity Ward's usual level of ambiance and factual accuracy.


Rather than recounting my innermost feelings with more walls of text, I’m going to deliver the rest of the hard information in bite-sized chunks. Many of the impressions I've just described will be expanded on as I detail the game’s individual features. Here is everything that is new:


You knew there would be new perks, but you didn’t know how varied and powerful they’d be. And you probably didn’t know that they’d be upgradable. Each perk now has its own challenge which, when completed, unlocks the “pro” version. You won’t know what the pro version will do until you unlock it, but we can pretty safely assume it'll be worth it. Here are some of the new perks we saw:

Bling – Use two attachments on a weapon. No more choosing between the red dot sight and grenade launcher!
Scavenger – Auto-grab ammo from enemy corpses. This is great for maintaining a steady supply of grenades.
Commando – Increase melee range for those extra-lungey knife attacks.



Here’s a general rule regarding Modern Warfare 2: if it wasn’t customizable in CoD4, it is now. You can still only have three kill streak rewards at a time, but after level 10, you’ll start unlocking new rewards which you can use in place of the defaults. The new default rewards are:

UAV (3 kills) – Exposes enemy locations on your radar. This is the very same unmanned aerial vehicle from CoD 4. So what makes the perk different in Modern Warfare 2? They can be shot down. Actually, everything can be shot down.

Care Package (4 kills) – Throw down a special smoke grenade to call in an airdrop of goodies on your location. Your reward might be something simple, like an ammo refill, or something awesome, like an instant advanced kill streak. The catch is that everyone, including enemies, can see the packages location on their radar. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, however, as they can be used as bait for ambushes.

Predator Missile (5 kills) - Try not to hit yourself as you guide a fly-by-wire missile from the heavens to the ground. It’s very effective, and scores you an excellent view of your enemies’ positions for some bonus intel.

Those are all great, but they’re nothing in comparison to the unlockable AC130, which gives you command of an aerial cannon that’ll shred your foes like cheese. See it in action in the video below:

A couple of the other new rewards are the Sentry Gun, an automated machine gun which is great for defending flags in CTF and bomb sites in Sabotage, and Counter-UAV, which does exactly what it's called, and cancels out enemy UAVs.


Perks like Martyrdom in CoD4 (which left a live grenade behind after every death) were meant to lend a hand to new players, but wound up being overused by skilled players. So to give inexperienced players a little help without making things easier for advanced players, Infinity Ward has introduced death streak rewards.

After three consecutive deaths with no kills, players are awarded a little bonus of their choice (assuming they’ve unlocked all of them). The default bonus is Copycat, which allows a player to steal his killer’s class for one round, and get a taste of the weapons and perks of a more advanced player. The next one unlocked, and the last one we saw, is Painkiller, which affords players 10 seconds of extra health after they respawn – great for when you’re being spawn camped.


Secondary weapons are no longer just pistols – they include machine pistols, shotguns (standard and automatic), and various rocket and missile launchers. This is great news for snipers, who will no longer be helpless in close-quarters (an automatic shotgun is a sniper’s best friend). And with a well-fired missile, you can take down helicopters, AC130s, UAVs and other nuisances.


On the next page… Attachments, special grenades, riot shields and more!

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  • TheJabberwock - October 18, 2009 6:41 p.m.

    Who thinks that as soon as this comes out, someone will make a riot sheild tank? (eight guys facing out horizontialy, with one or two guys looking up, to stop explosives from blowing up inside the "tank")
  • InsomniacJack - October 3, 2009 9:56 a.m.

    i cant wait for this it looks mint but i also want to get uncharted and the new fallout 3 dlc and i cant decide what to get coz im pretty skint
  • JClouse - September 26, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    If I had no other responsibilities, I would go to my grandma's house, take a bottle of Valium, and sleep every day, all day, until 11.10 (J/K, of course<---to any silly kids reading this) :)
  • MrTedO - September 26, 2009 9:15 p.m.

    Blackout1881 if you don't want the new stuff they are coming out with and it seems "over whelming" and just an "expansion" don't get MW2 and just stick playing COD4. I mean I'm glad they stuck with the same core game play because it worked, and it worked good. If it isn't broke don't fix it so I'm glad they didn't completely redo the core game play or MW2 might not be as amazing as it is going to be.
  • TH3Capta1n170 - September 24, 2009 7:23 p.m.

    DUDE ur are so lucky!! but this a a great article i read everything!!! thanks for filling us with some info about MW2 cant wait for it to com out!!!
  • bron1417 - September 23, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    multiplayer looks sexy right now
  • Tazz57 - September 23, 2009 5:56 a.m.

    looks good can't wait to get my hands on it this article just made the wait seem longer
  • Dalibor - September 23, 2009 2:31 a.m.

    Hopefully the silenced snipers are balanced out somehow. Otherwise it wouldn't be fun getting sniped & having no clue where the shot came from. That shield is going to be awesome to use. Haha I can already picture 3 guys going at it with shields.
  • crazyqazqaz - September 20, 2009 6:31 a.m.

    EXCLAMATION MARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • FETALJUICE - September 19, 2009 11:59 p.m.

    Silenced snipers? I hope that those silencers deteriorate with each shot taken till it breaks. It would make the game more balanced. Other than that, all of the new stuff being crammed in this game is amazing!! I can't wait for this to come out!
  • DannyRabone - September 19, 2009 9:31 a.m.

    really really amazing :D can't wait !!!
  • GOWKING - September 18, 2009 8:20 p.m.

    this is my number two on my wanted list 1st is halo 3 odst
  • infern0 - September 18, 2009 3:37 p.m.

    I got really bored of the first one but mw2 looks good I noticed maps look a bit bigger thats pretty welcome for us pc players but mw2 looks alot better than the first I despised mw1 it seemed every player was a LMG spammer or a grenade spammer it looks like I will be picking this up but I will wait abit due to my feelings on the first also I cant shake the whole dual deagles and silenced shotguns thing WHAT THE HELL infinity ward that make me face palm
  • infected123 - September 17, 2009 4:44 p.m.

    i wish their was a a game with the perks and stuff of call of duty and the map customising of halo.
  • key0blade - September 17, 2009 2:38 p.m.

  • yaboysupadave - September 17, 2009 12:58 p.m.

    shotgun with a silencer awesome did they release anything about the party system, cod waw that was probably the best thing about it besides having more than one map pack, but we know now why we got only one in cod 4. They were busy the mwf2. Also anything about prestige levels sounds likes there is tons of unlockables probably take longer than 10 days to cap top prestige. last question is any body gonna do anything about party chat cheaters especially being a hardcore snd guy i hate it. Awesome Article keep it up
  • Samael - September 17, 2009 6:13 a.m.

    @GamesRadarPaulRyan Oh...Paul's back. That's cool I suppose.
  • ParagonFury - September 17, 2009 4:46 a.m. nice as this all sounds, I'm thinking this is a bit too much. No other developer has ever, EVER balanced a game with this much customization to the point where after the first couple months there isn't a set hierarchy of "Best, Good, Bad, Useless". Hell, in COD4 they couldn't even do it.
  • Valntyne - September 17, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    Well, for what I see my social life is going down the shitter..., but goddamn i'm gonna enjoy it!!! Nov can't come soon enough!!!
  • damunsta - September 17, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    oh my god this game looks amazing congrats to infinity ward for keeping the series fresh.