Modern Warfare 2's glaring plot holes exposed!

Having trouble wrapping your head around MW2's story? You're not alone

Once the Russians have been successfully repelled, Shepherd and Task Force 141 get down to the business of mopping up Makarov. Shepherd calls out two potential hiding places, the “last safe havens on earth for Makarov and his men.” Incidentally, no one stopped to wonder how Shepherd suddenly uncovered these safe havens or, if he knew about them all along, why they weren’t investigated after the airport massacre. But wait! Intel gathered at one of the safehouses links Makarov to Shepherd: cue the shocking murder of Ghost and Roach at Shepherd’s hands.

Above: Alas, poor Ghost, we hardly knew ye. Actually, we spent half the game thinking you were Gaz (same voice actor)

Devastated, Price and Soap moan about how they’re all alone in the world with no one to turn to. Umm, guys? Aren’t you technically still officers in the British Armed Forces? Sure Shepherd was calling the duo “terrorists,” but America’s credibility on the world stage was shot to hell after the airport incident. Someone over at SAS would remember the heroes who gunned down Zakhaev and send help. No? OK, better just grab Nikolai and go after the bad guy yourselves.

Above: Backup: for sissies. Also less poetical

Price convinces Makarov to reveal the location of Shepherd’s super-secret hideout, indicating that he’d been over once or twice for tea and crumpets. But how exactly did Shepherd’s and Makarov’s interests overlap? The nature and extent of their relationship is never fully explained or rationalized. Apparently both thought a massive and possibly nuclear war was a brilliant idea (never mind that they’d be on opposite sides of it the second it broke out).

Above: Getting the messy details sorted

For the record, here are a couple other things that didn’t sit quite right.

- During the mission planning for Cliffhanger, why did they pick an extraction point on the far side of a massive canyon? Were they planning that raucous snowmobile getaway the whole time? What if they hadn’t been able to find a vehicle capable of jumping the gorge?

-If Zakhaev had become a martyred “hero of the people” and the Russian public was embracing his ultranationalist movement, why didn’t Makarov have more political clout? Why did he have to ally himself with a shady US general and mass murder people who probably supported his cause?

-Isn’t anyone in the US government (like the SecDef?) demanding to know why a “CIA agent” participated in the murder of Russian civilians? Or is it easier to hand out blank checks than ask tough questions?

-How did those trenches around DC get dug so quickly (and under heavy fire no less?)

-Where did Price’s trademark hat suddenly appear from? Did Soap have it lovingly tucked away somewhere?

-Who were the dead HVI and soldier with the unusual tats? That whole subplot was dropped as quickly as it came up.

-The Soaphawk. ‘Nuff said.

Maybe Modern Warfare 3 will make sense of it all, tie up these loose ends in a satisfying manner. Or maybe we’re better off not scrutinizing it so damn closely. We’ll take awesome gameplay with an incoherent story over an airtight story with uninspired gameplay. Of course, ideally we’d like both but we’ll be spending vastly more time in multiplayer and Spec Ops anyway. To the game’s credit, we always knew exactly what we were supposed to do, even if we didn’t always understand the whys and wherefores.

Still confused about Modern Warfare 2’s story? This video should help.

Nov 20, 2009

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