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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**ingshit.

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, butthe textures arecrisper and effects likethe bloodydrips 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 maintainInfinity Ward'susual 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 versionwill dountil 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 makesthe perkdifferent 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 theSentry 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!