Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 review

  • Three excellent game modes
  • Messes with FPS conventions to great effect
  • Literally years of entertainment guaranteed
  • Signposting can be confusing
  • Your team can be frustatingly stupid
  • No 'look round a corner' move

Spec Ops

Modern Warfare’s multiplayer is legendary. Combined with a first-class story mode it was a package that had a lifespan way beyond most console titles - we’re still playing it now. So how do you extend that further? Add another huge mode like Spec Ops - a series of 23 specially designed two-player co-op modes that can be tackled online or offline in split-screen.


Some require you to kill a set number of enemies against the clock, others are wave-based like GOW’s Horde or WaW’s zombie mode, or they might be small missions that can only be completed with co-operative play - specifically, as you can revive each other if one of you gets shot up. They use locations from the single player game, the original and a few are unique to Spec Ops - like a huge New York bridge in ‘Suspension’.

Once again, IW’s confidence in their game shines through - limiting co-op to two and only two players means they can be precisely designed to offer a serious challenge to each player. There are five ranks of Spec Ops increasing in difficulty from Alpha to Echo each earning you three stars - with the aim of reaching 69 stars.

This could probably be achieved in a few days of solid play, but much of the appeal lies in beating your previous records so there’s longevity way beyond just collecting all the stars.

Rather than just list the Spec Ops modes here’s our three favourites:

Breach and Clear


This begins as a breaching mission with you and your team mate required to bust a hole into an old two-chambered shower complex in a Russian Gulag. Ripped straight out of The Rock, you’re attacked from above and the front and face a wave of Riot Shield wielding enemies who push you back and draw your fire.

It’s one of the Charlie Spec Ops and insanely difficult despite the small amount of ground you have to cover to clear the room. Much of your success depends on sticking close together for quick revival purposes - run off into the second chamber and get shot down and the game is as good as over.


Like a snapshot of the Ghilli mission you undertake with Price in the original Modern Warfare this is a timed sniper evasion challenge with both players covering open ground and taking out enemy patrols as silently as possible.

Tension is ramped up with snipers taking pot shots at you from the undergrowth and enemy patrols going beserk (in the style of Metal Gear Solid) should you get spotted by a patrol. My partner and I managed this one in 17:37:40 - with the estimated completion time being 4:30:00. We’d had beers, though.

Big Brother

This is the best example of co-op we played as you totally rely on each other for progression. One of the team is in a Blackhawk Helicopter and the other on foot as you try to fight through the Russians to a checkpoint in an occupied US suburb. Obviously the guy in the chopper has the elevation and fire power, with the guy on the ground picking off stragglers.

Communication is essential so that the infantryman knows when to push forward or stay in cover. It’s no easier being in the helicopter either - if your man on the ground gets shot it’s game over for both of you.

Next up in our Super Review - Multiplayer and our ultimate verdict 

More Info

Release date: Nov 10 2009 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC (US)
Nov 10 2009 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Infinity Ward
Franchise: Call of Duty
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Language
PEGI Rating:


  • kooloff - October 1, 2010 6:28 p.m.

    cod is 4 noobs, get reach
  • Jadernader - July 30, 2010 7:58 p.m.

    gaem does NOT deserve a 10... in no way has it improved on CoD4
  • Z3r0T - July 14, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    To all you die-hard Halo hating CoD fans, who seem to blindly flame the Halo series for the sole reason of "it's not CoD, therefor it sucks," get a life. For one, it's purely your opinion, nothing more, therefor whatever negative things you have to say about Halo, millions of people would say the opposite, or something in between. Just because you think it sucks, doesn't mean it's true, and in fact it isn't. The fact that millions of people around the world greatly enjoyed all the Halo games, means that it's got something, anything, that the people liked. Just because one lousy snob thinks it's got no potential, doesn't mean it's a bad game. Personally, the storyline behind Halo is my all time favorite, ever, seriously, more than anything (the books help a lot to understand it, plus, they're also amazing). However, despite the addicting gameplay (and as many times, more than I can count, that I have played through each of the campaigns), I haven't made up my mind if it's my favorite for the gameplay aspect of it. The gameplay is amazing, although there are so many more games out there (Gears of War, CoD, Borderlands, FEAR, Army of Two, etc.) that bring some solid competition to the board. I have enjoyed every single CoD game to date, and since getting XBL, have been absolutely addicted to MW2's online multiplayer, as many times as noobs online have pissed me off to the point I broke things. The difference between CoD and Halo campaigns (to me, at least) was the difference between pure adrenaline rush scenarios throughout the campaign in CoD, and shock and awe, as well as some adrenaline pumping scenes occasionally, in the Halo campaigns. So I simply cannot choose between them, as far as campaign gameplay goes. And don't forget all the things Halo brought to the gaming world: playing with the same people for more than one game, t-bagging to a perfection, etc. So to all you Halo haters, I'll say again, get a life.
  • Codakk - June 27, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    Its awesome, though I wish that you could do splitscreen online.
  • pakk99 - May 31, 2010 2:11 p.m.

    This game is far from a 10. It shows an enormous amount of potential: great weapons selection; decent firing mechanics, top-notch rendering engine. Unfortunately, it never reaches the level of greatness it should have. For one, it's too easy. Even at the Veteran setting, the single-player game can be finished in a single sitting. Second, it's too linear. In a game that could have easily supported story-branching, Infinity Ward took the path of least resistance, and created a game wherein the player has no effect whatsoever on the progression of the story. The player's actions mean absolutely nothing, which is unfortunate because some scenes (like the one in the airport) practically beg for the player's choices to effect the story. Sadly, they don't. After your first play-through, there is absolutely no reason to play MW2 again. Third, the game never lets the player decide how to approach a given level. Not only does MW2 prevent the player from effecting the story, but the game is constantly telling the player exactly what to do all of the time. And don't try to ignore the irritating voice screaming in your ear, because until you do what it is telling you to do, the game won't progress ... at all. From tactical decisions to choosing the side of the street to walk on, MW2 makes all of the decisions. The player is just along for the ride. Finally, the biggest problem with MW2 is that it offers very little that is different from MW, or for that matter, the original CoD. If you'd like a little comparison, download the original CoD on Live and play it through. The two games are virtually identical. You perform the same tasks, and follow the same orders. The game progresses at the same pace, and demands the same twitch-shooter gameplay. It just plain lacks originality, which for some folks isn't an issue. For me, I don't like the feeling that I've already played a game. I prefer the experience to be fresh. That said, MW2 is a fun game. Its just not the game-changing 10 that some reviewers make it out to be.
  • jaredmaracano - April 12, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    good *****
  • nickbak - March 30, 2010 5:34 p.m., Free microsoft points
  • BishopofHippo93 - March 30, 2010 2:37 a.m.

    At first, I agreed wholeheartedly with GR's review of MW2. But looking at it in a different light, I find myself getting really angry with the game more often than not, which is not an aspect I generally view as good in a game. Now, if you like a good shooter where the playing field is either even or ridiculously unbalanced, where a newcomer will either do well or fail miserably, I say get the game. However, I have been playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 since its release, and I find it to be a much more enjoyable gaming experience. The vehicles make the massive maps more accessible and, frankly, more fun. Granted, if you like leveling up fast, that doesn't happen. The wide range of firearms and gadgets make the game more varied and keep things interesting. While it lacks more traditional game modes like Team Deathmatch, it makes up for it with fun and unique game types, particularly Rush. It is much more centered on squad gameplay which is both a blessing and a curse, as you are incapable of speaking with the other members of your team, but teamwork is rewarded with more experience. Not to mention the moments where you say "Holy crap did you see that?!"
  • marcoallegretti - February 19, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    MAG is way better. Get a ps3...
  • Adamister10 - January 2, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    Great campaign kind of short but really good.
  • moaidhog - December 26, 2009 11:06 p.m.

    wow i bought . i loved that no russians level it was amazing and the snowmobiles , quite a thrill i must admit
  • twingun - December 21, 2009 1:44 a.m.

    Great game but there servers suck its a pain to find games and then half of them lag
  • CD73 - December 2, 2009 2:15 a.m.

    Activision is going to make a lot off of this game. This game is great and it is a sequel to beat any other. Thinks for the review.
  • noobeater - November 27, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    lol anyone who said its not worth theprice tag after playing for a week and i got limited adition, i wouldnt flinch to play 100 pounds it was so great, campaign was epic in the action and twist, multiplayer maps and weapons make it more battle like and not small and empty, eg 2 harriers and a chopper and an ac 130 at the same time, and spec ops amazing even tho it keeps me from my last acheivement
  • cigero - November 18, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    I really think this game is a bit over rated. I mean, really everyone on xbl ar a buncha 10 year old jackass', it lacks creativity and I think the multiplayer sucks (compared to the battlefield series multiplayer in which I so highly indulge) and if u pay close attention, u can tell these games copy a shitload from other games/movies (EX- saving private ryan, black hawk down) I don't care what u ppl think.... mw2 sux ass
  • XBLsponge - November 17, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    Cod modern wafare is the worst game evr, your all noobs.halo kicks it's ass. yeah im just joking im getting the game today at last and can't wait for it, left 4 dead 2 two days later is like a cherry on top off is like a sweet, sweet, heroine injected cup-cake.mmmmm... heroine cup cakes, modern warefare and L4D2 *slowly drowns in own drool
  • farewellandgoodnight - November 15, 2009 11:06 p.m.

    Online multiplayer is fantastic but the ingle player campaign is an insult to paying customers. For those without access to online play £55 for five hours play is shocking!
  • HeavyTank - November 15, 2009 11:24 a.m.

    Well, if IW deserves any credit for this game, it is because FINALLY they stopped being afraid and put some missions involving you playing as a terrorist...and let the conservative Americans whine all they want.
  • Spybreak8 - November 15, 2009 11:05 a.m.

    @theschwartzb "At times, it seems like the guys im fighting know exactly where I am, and know exactly where and when to shoot as I come out of cover, which can be a bit frustrating, but honestly, frustration is a sign of a challenging game, and its not so frustrating that I feel like putting the game away." I feel this too and the problem is every COD game I've played has been like this. I though it was just the damn nazis and their god like ability to know where to shoot at me every freakin' time! I think I'm spoiled from GRAW and taking out enemies behind cover.
  • Spybreak8 - November 15, 2009 11 a.m.

    Wow, glad I finished the story before reading this review. At first I was a little weirded out with the airport level but then I went on a killing spree in the bookstore. Take that overpriced airport products!

Showing 1-20 of 75 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000