REVIEW: The ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’ Campaign Is Middling But Fun (PS5)

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Modern Warfare 2

After the 2019 reboot of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sub-series, I’ve been wondering where these games would take us. Would we see Task Force 141 see the same fate as the original games? What stories would be explored, and what characters would be included? Published by Activision and developed by multiple teams, including Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter that takes players across the world and follows the fan-favorite Task Force 141.

If it wasn’t clear from the last game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 isn’t a remaster; it’s mostly a new game though it features the same characters as the original 2009 game of the same title. Acting as a sequel to the 2019 Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 takes place in 2022, with Task Force 141 working under the command of General Shepherd and conducting surgical strikes against Iranian forces.

When Quds Force Major Hassan Zyani becomes involved in funding terrorist activity, Shepherd and CIA Station Chief Kate Laswell deploy MARSOC Marines led by Lieutenant Simon “Ghost” Riley and Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish to apprehend Hassan. However, Hassan flees the area, and Ghost and Soap discover he was in possession of an American-made ballistic missile. Que globe-trotting to pursue Hassan and find out more about these missiles.

While the story differs from the original 2009 iteration, some plot beats are similar, though not precisely the same. I won’t say which ones, but long-time fans will see it coming a mile away despite the differences. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun time. Unlike Call of Duty: Vanguard, which focuses on massive, grandiose battles of World War II, Modern Warfare 2 focuses on low-key, special ops missions featuring a lot of sneaking and silent takedowns over loud, flashy gunfights (though you can choose to approach some missions that way).

The gameplay is your usual Call of Duty violence; it’s harsh, sudden, and doesn’t hold punches. There are 17 missions in total that feature a variety of locations and objectives. In addition, you’re given some wiggle room with how to approach certain situations. But, for the most part, the missions are very straightforward, and the objects simplistic. But the scenarios players are thrown into are what makes for some great fun—you’re asked to snipe, gun from a helicopter, man cameras, direct combat from afar, defuse a missile while under fire, and kill from the water. And, as the cherry on top,  there’s plenty of typical Call of Duty ridiculousness to be had, like hanging upside down from a helicopter, jumping between moving vehicles, and dodging around shifting shipping containers on a cargo ship in choppy waters. It may be absurd, but it’s immensely fun. The only downside is that some ops feel just a bit too slow and go on for too long.

With the variety of missions comes an array of weapons, equipment, and mods—night vision, thermal, C4, but also makeshift items like mines made with a mousetrap as the detonator. The latter is an example of the flavor of guerrilla warfare in the game, requiring the player to scavenge parts and put together makeshift equipment. And I say “flavor” because, while enjoyable, these mechanics are used in only one mission, then never again until a short section at the end. Additionally, the fact that some equipment is used once and then never again makes these moments feel more like training for War Zone and multiplayer modes than part of the campaign.

Modern Warfare 2 features many characters players already know and love. But if you don’t already know Task Force 141, the small moments of pathos, snark, camaraderie, and humor go a long way to endear you to the characters, and the possibility of death or worse in every encounter makes the narrative gripping. And the emotionality of these moments is brought to beautiful motion by the absolutely gorgeous graphics. The option to interact with your teammates throughout the campaign is also a nice touch. The only disappointing part is that after the great campaign in the 2019 Modern Warfare heavily featuring Farah, we only see her once, and Hadir and Alex are nowhere to be seen.

The Modern Warfare 2 campaign is middling. Some missions are more fun than others, and the pacing is a bit off in certain spots. Despite this, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, and seeing Task Force 141 again is always a treat. If you’re only interested in playing the game for its campaign, the $70 price point isn’t worth it, especially since the campaign can’t hold a candle to the 2019 Modern Warfare story. But it’s worth the play if you’re also intending to take advantage of War Zone and the multiplayer.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

The Modern Warfare 2 campaign is middling. Some missions are more fun than others, and the pacing is a bit off in certain spots. Despite this, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, and seeing Task Force 141 again is always a treat.

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