Modern Warfare 2: Online Excellence or Excellent Online?

Let’s be honest, we have all been waiting for Modern Warfare 2 to come out so we could do one thing—kill our fellow gamer online. Some developers want to fix things that aren’t broken, but not Infinity Ward. I am happy to say that it plays exactly the same as the first time around, but with a couple of new additions that heighten the fun. There is sooo much going on that I’m only going to ping on a few of things that have made playing online more fun this time around. If I miss anything or leave anything out, I apologize.
What would Modern Warfare be without the perks? It would be, yet another, first-person shooter crowding a market full of first-person shooters. Infinity Ward stepped up their game with the perks this time around. There’s some new perks that should be fun to explore, there’s some old favorites, and some old favorites with a fresh coat of paint.

Held over from the first time around are perks like: Sleight of Hand, Stopping Power, Steady Aim, and Last Stand. The new perks are: Commando (which increases the distance that you can stab someone. I guess it’s a longer knife you’re carrying), Hardline (which decreases the number of kills that you need to get a Killstreak reward), the Light Weight perk lets you move quicker than normal when carrying larger weapons. The One Man Army perk lets you switch classes during a match rather than waiting to die to switch classes.

A couple of the new perks sound silly, but believe me they’re not. The first time you run by a Sentry Gun and you’re not shredded to pieces you will be thankful that you have the Coldblooded perk. The Coldblooded perk makes you invisible to thermal sensors, air support and those pesky sentry guns. The Ninja perk makes you invisible to heartbeat sensors; a new addition to the game that let’s players see their opponents on the map as a little red dot. When I used the heartbeat sensor I was too focused on the red dots and not to what was going on around me. I ended up dying a lot more than normal. However, there are people out there that will be able to use it to find players all day long. Use the Ninja perk and you will only have to worrying about someone seeing you with their eyes.

The Danger Close perk is the Sonic Boom perk from Modern Warfare 1. The Sitrep perk lets you see enemy explosives the same way that the Bomb Squad perk did in Modern Warfare 1, with the addition of being able to see a player’s Tactical Insertion (Tactical Insertion is a new perk that allows a player to mark the spot that they want to re-spawn). The Double Tap perk became the Rapid Fire perk. The Scrambler perk is the UAV Jammer perk. The Extreme Conditioning perk has been renamed Marathon. The Overkill perk has been renamed Bling and instead of being able to carry two primary weapons you can now add two attachments to your primary weapon. The Bandolier perk has become the Scavenger perk with a little twist. Bandolier gave you more ammo to start out with, but it once the ammo was gone it was gone. The Scavenger perk will let you resupply your ammo from other players who are carrying the same weapon. Of course, the player has to be dead before you can take your ammo. It’s possible, maybe not probable, that a player could have a nearly unlimited supply of ammo.

There are more perks, but none that are as fun as the ones mentioned. I have been busy figuring out which ones work the best together. I have already settled on Sleight of Hand as being one of my perks. It’ll come in handy when I am down to my last couple of rounds and need to get a fresh clip in fast before someone ruins my kill streak.

Whether it’s a new perk, an old perk, or an old perk with a new name, every one of them has what Infinity Ward is calling a “Pro” level. Of course, these new levels are only upgraded by finishing the attached challenge for each perk. Modern Warfare players aren’t greedy, we’re willing to kill or blow up whatever it takes to unlock upgrades.

Some of the upgrades will sound familiar to players. See if any of these upgrades sound familiar—the Pro Ninja perk allows you to move silently around the map without making as much noise. The upgraded Steady Aim let’s you hold your breath longer. The Scavenger upgrade lets you carry more ammo (I gave that answer away already for those of you who were not paying attention). As you can see, the other perks from Modern Warfare 2 have been included.

The Killstreak rewards have been given a steroid injection for Modern Warfare 2. The UAV is still there, along with the Attack Helicopter, and the Airstrike perk. Infinity Ward wasn’t happy with only three Killstreak rewards so they went one step beyond. There are now 15 Killstreak rewards. Some of the rewards are a precision airstrike, a Predator Missile Strike, a Harrier Jet, and a helicopter where the player controls the guns. The only catch is that a player can only have three active at any one time. It’ll be hard to choose which way you’ll rain death on your opponents.

Right now my favorite Killstreak is the Care Package. Anything can be inside waiting for you to use against your opponent. One Care Package may only have ammo, and another package may have a Pave Low. It’ll be a mystery until the Care package lands on the map (side note– Don’t let the crate fall on you). As cool as I think that the Care Package is there is a reward that trumps them all. If you are lucky enough to get 25 kills in a row the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is yours to control. No, I’m not talking about Paris Hilton giving the keynote speech at an abstinence seminar. I’m talking about a nuclear bomb. That’s right kids, with 25 kills in a row a shiny, new nuclear bomb can be all yours to drop. However, it’s only available on Team Death Match.

New to the game are the Death Streak rewards. They are exactly what they sound like. You can get certain rewards for how many times that you die in a row. Martyrdom has been taken from the perks and added into this new category. Now, a grenade is not dropped every time someone dies. You have to die four times in a row to get a single grenade. One of the new perks is the Painkiller. Think of it as Juggernaut light. It only lasts for a few seconds after you have spawned and then it is gone. This one takes affect after three deaths in a row. Now we don’t have to unload an entire ammo belt from a PRD to eliminate someone using the Juggernaut perk.

Between the new Killstreak rewards, Deathstreak rewards, the new perks and the weapons there are enough challenges to keep a player glued to the console for days. There are so many challenges that I don’t have enough space to list them all here. Some of these challenges will have you scratching your head wondering how you are going to get them done. Some players won’t complete all the challenges and Prestige up as soon as they can. That’s all good; it’s a part of the game, but trying to complete some of these challenges are more fun than playing the single player mode.

The new weapons that Infinity Ward was boasting that they included in the game are pointless in the campaign mode. There really isn’t time to “oooo” and “ahhh” over them. Online is where you can really see what all the new weapons are about. Unlike the perks, Infinity Ward chucked most of the weapons from Modern Warfare 1. The weapon classes are still the same (assault rifle, sub-machine gun, light machine gun, and sniper rifle), but most of the weapons are new. It should be fun to see what each weapon is capable of doing before settling down with a favorite. I have been favoring the M4A1 and the UMP 45. Other players may like the new sniper rifles that have been added. I can’t snipe to save my life and I usually don’t. Anytime, that I try using a sniper rifle I waste so many bullets that it’s easy to see where I am on the map and finish me off.

The weirdest edition has to be the riot shield as a primary weapon. The riot shield will protect you from any damage from bullets that are coming at you from the front. When you go to your secondary weapon it will protect your back from anyone that tries to sneak up on you. In order to kill your opponent you are going to have to use some grace and skill. Try and use it a hallway or cramped corner, because if you try and use it in an open space your intended victim only has to get around you to kill you first.

One of the nicest touches, and some would say thoughtful, that Infinity Ward has made is with the hosting system. How many times were you creaming the competition, completing challenges, or leveling up like gangbusters only to have the host bail out for some reason? We have all felt anger when this happened because everything that we had accomplished was in vain. Infinity Ward heard our collective cursing. Now when the host leaves, instead of penalizing all the players, the server searches for another host from the list of players and continues the match. Nothing is lost. You even start back at the exact same spot, doing the same thing, as when the original host left the game.

The initial maps are smaller than the ones on Modern Warfare 1. Where as the maps on the first Modern Warfare seemed open, the maps on this one seem very cramped. This may be due, in part, because the maps are packed full with every kind of cover and concealment possible. However, a couple of maps are definitely smaller.

Rust is the smallest of the maps, followed closely behind by the High Rise map. Rust is Modern Warfare 2’s Killhouse. It’s so small that you can’t help but to feel a little claustrophobic while playing. Players practically trip over each other on this map. Like in Killhouse expect to be spawned close to other player. During one match on Rust, I was spawned killed at least three times. One time I was spawned in a corner, took one step and was killed. The kill cam revealed that the player who killed me had spawned seconds after I did.

Because the maps are smaller than in Modern Warfare 1, spawning becomes a real issue during game play. After your initial spawn in Modern Warfare 1 it was rare that you were re-spawned near another player (campers not included). I know many of you are saying that it happened all the time. However, if you take into consideration the number of times that you played and the number of times that it occurred you will find that the number is relatively low. It’s math and the math supports the claim. Either way you want to look at it, there was enough time to move and get back into the game before you were shot. However, because these maps are smaller the odds that you are going to spawn next to someone is very high. At times, you will spawn near more than one person. Don’t look for help from the Painkiller perk because two people shooting at you is enough to kill you.

I like the new maps. As I mentioned, Infinity Ward managed to fill these maps with every type of cover and complement that they could come up with. In the air terminal, which is of course on the Terminal map, there are counters that players can hide behind. You can hide in a plane (which a lot of people will do. Fire into the cockpit and you are guaranteed at least one kill a game). The Favela map has a lot of shacks and buildings that players can park themselves in and pick people off as they run by. If you can think of something that might be in a real building, house, or garage then Infinity Ward has included it here too. These added touches make the environment that you are playing in feel more real than the maps on the first Modern Warfare. On one map we can even climb over a pool table. There wasn’t even a bookcase in most of the houses that we fought in on Modern Warfare 1.

The design of the new maps brings up another problem that is not exactly Infinity Ward’s fault. These maps are a camper’s wet dream. It’s as if, and I am not say that they are, Infinity Ward is encouraging camping. Personally, I have nothing, but feelings of loathing and contempt towards campers. It takes zero skill to park yourself in a corner and blast people as they walk past. What irks me even more is when campers want to brag about their skills as a player. With that being said, it will take a little more skill than running and gunning to combat both the camper and the regular player.

There were a couple improvements that I think should have been made, but were not. Still in is the one knife kill after you have shot your opponent multiple times. Hasn’t Infinity Ward ever heard the old adage, “ Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight,” before? Apparently they haven’t because they would know that a semi-automatic rifle would win every time against a knife. I don’t care if you’re Jim Bowie wielding that knife; you are going to be dropped like a sack of potatoes.

The other problem that was not fixed was the issue with the shotguns. Shotguns are not long-range weapons. Shotguns are used for close combat situations, clearing a room, and breaching doors. You will never do any sniping with a shotgun. However, time and time again, shotguns are being fired across the board killing someone on the other side. You’re never going to see a shotgun that has the same range as a high-powered rifle. However, Modern Warfare 2, and Modern Warfare 1 for the matter, is not a realistic portrayal of combat or the weapons that are used.

I am hoping and praying that Infinity Ward managed to fix the cheating that went on in the first one. However, I don’t think that it’s possible. There is nothing that can be done about some of the cheating, like the modded controllers. For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, a modded controller gives the player the ability to fire any weapon like it was an automatic. I have even been told that it is possible to have unlimited ammo when using a modded controller. The other problem was with programs, such as aim-bot, being inserted into the game. The map is an open board to a player using aim-bot. All players, regardless of location can be seen on the cheaters television or computer monitor. When using the program, a player’s bullets will hit the intended target almost 100 percent of the time. A blind person could win a match using aim-bot.

If Infinity Ward couldn’t keep Modern Warfare from being hacked and played before the release date, then there is no way that they can stop things like these from occurring. Just like campers, I have nothing, but animosity for anyone that uses any sort of cheat. Why bother playing if you have to resort to these measures? There are no trophies or monetary gain to be had when loading up the game. Bikini models are not going to come down to your basement and throw themselves on you when you win. The game is meant to be fun, but when people resort to these sorts of cheats it takes the fun out of the game for other players.

A friend of mine wanted to know if Modern Warfare 2 was Modern Warfare 1 rehashed? I thought about it and had to agree with him. I couldn’t come up with anything to defend the game. We get to ride a snowmobile and a boat. There are a couple of new attachments we don’t even get to use that much. I was going to tell him about the new rifles a player can use, but when you play the game it doesn’t matter what kind of weapon that you use. In the end, I had to agree with him; the campaign mode of Modern Warfare 2 is rehashed Modern Warfare 1.

My friend won the battle, but he lost the war. Modern Warfare 2 online, with all of its faults, is one of the best gaming experiences a gamer can have. There isn’t a game out there that comes close to it in sheer quality (sit down Left For Dead) and depth (don’t even think about saying a word Gears of War 2). If Modern Warfare 2 does win a game of the year award it will be because of the online play.

Enough writing and reading; it can rot your brain. I have important business that needs to be handled. So, if you’re looking for me, you know where I can be found– online with Modern Warfare 2.

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