The public relations frenzy that was whipped up over this release was awe inspiring; it was media carpet bombing in all it’s glory. Just about every form of media was giving it some about this game and a friend of mine also gave it a gilt-edged review so I felt an irresistable urge to get it. Infynity Ward had been releasing teasers and subtle blog rumours about things that might be in the game and things that may not and it was all very cloak and dagger; towards the end I’d come to the conclusion that Infynity Ward had killed Kennedy with an alien ray gun and Elvis was in the grassy knoll.
The game is split, in my opinion, into three distinct parts (in fact, it’s literally split into three distinct parts so this just makes me sound like an idiot): single player, Multiplayer and Co-op.
- Single Player I won’t bore anyone with the story because it’s the usual guff about international terrorists, corruption and double crossings left right and centre. No one is as they seem. No! Don’t trust anyone! It can’t be true! It’s all a big conspiracy. Blessed barnacles! Ah, you know, the usual balony. It’s quite short – again – but I thought, at one point, that it would be nice if some of the story just worked out rather than being double-crossed again. Against all popular and critical opinion, I didn’t really like the single player. I thought that the whole experience was on rails so much that the player is just a sophisticated way of triggering the plot mechanic, and the story is just not worth it. I would have liked a choice or two. There is a section where you play as an undercover agent or something in a terrorist massacre in an airport (which I found a bit too gritty). I would have liked the choice of killing the terrorists or at least chucking some luggage at them. Maybe I would have ‘failed’ the ‘mission’ but I would have felt better about myself. The other thing I didn’t like about the game were the characters; it seemed like my fellow squaddies were an approximation of the Top Gear team. Wanting to get some ‘me time’ away from your unit is not really in the Call of Duty styleguide.
- Multiplayer Inevitably, this is where the average player will spend the most amount of time. There was much kneeding of hands online that IW would fiddle around with it but they needn’t have fretted as multiplayer is better than the original and that really takes some doing. The main success is mainly what they haven’t done. They haven’t mucked about with the game engine, the feel of the weapons or the perks system. What they have done is tweak it massively; there are better scoped weapons, the flashbangs are way more effective, the killstreak rewards are awesome, you can carry more weapons, the maps are way more interesting – there’s almost too many to mention. I love the little ones: if you carry an MG and a shotgun then you run slower; grenades roll downhill; if you suck, the game makes it easier for you next time round. The only criticism of multiplayer is that you can no longer do party chat in multiplayer, what’s that all about? Not being about to chat with your mates because some 12 years old keeps saying he pawns you, that you are a noob and could you help with his fractions homework is a pain. Aside from that multiplayer is brilliant.
- Co-op This is a new mode where you collectively own, manage and run an ethical clothing shop on The Portobello Road: as if. This is where you can complete a whole host of missions contained within the game with a mate. It is good fun, though when I played one of the snow missions the chatter is significantly different from the in-game dialogue:
MrShev: Okay, I’ll take the guy on the left and you take the guy on the right.
Seekew: What about the dog?
MrShev: Whoever wacks his bloke first shoots the dog.
Seekew: I’m not sure how I feel about shooting dogs…
MrShev: It’s a vicious attack dog, shoot it.
Seekew: It didn’t ask to be a vicious attack dog…
MrShev: Well, I’ll bloody shoot it then…
Seekew: [sighs] I shot the dog…the two blokes are pissed off now.
MrShev: Well, they would be wouldn’t they? Do you want a beer?
Seekew: What? Help me! They’re shooting at me!
MrShev: You shot their dog, shoot back. You wanna beer or what?
That’s it. Great game, buy it…except if you have a Wii, in which case Wiipooperscooping and Wiiwallpaperstripping are out soon, so don’t worry. M272BXZJ69CQ