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Modern Warfare 2 PS3 Multiplayer Impressions

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More of the same.
Game changing alterations.
Deeper customization.
Easy to pick up.

It seems Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer is a bunch of contradictions that somehow ends up working out. After investing 12+ hours into multiplayer thus far, I feel comfortable with saying that it’s a better game overall.

Upon first pick up, I immediately noticed how much tighter the controls were. Locking onto to people seems effortless compared to the predecessor. They tweaked the acceleration of the reticle when aiming down sights, suppressed the amount of recoil and the end result is an even easier game to pick up and play.

The difference between an M4 and the AK47 was immediately apparent in Modern Warfare, but it took a fair amount of time before I could pin point how the new M4 and SCAR-H differed in Modern Warfare 2. It seemed like everyone of the start up weapons fared well in combat. But like I said, the more time I spent with these new weapons the more apparent the differences became. The differentiation boiled down to clip size, fire rate and damage — recoil was rarely a factor.

So it’s more of the same “arcadey” military themed shooter we’ve come to love. Kill streaks continue to reward those who are lucky/talented enough to string together a few kills, but now there are Death streaks to “reward” those who aren’t. That’s the dominant theme of the multiplayer: constant rewards.

Take out an enemy from a distance? Extra experience points courtesy of “Long Shot”. Did he happen to kill me before? Even more experience for me by way of the “Payback” bonus. I thought this would get tiring and bothersome, but it really doesn’t. It does bring more intimacy and satisfaction to the game. Being rewarded for stopping someone short of a killstreak reward is gratifying. And the same goes for taking down someone’s harrier or attack helicopter.

Being rewarded is one thing, but being recognized is even better. Seeing my own “player card” appear in the top right corner for getting a multi-kill or shooting down a Harrier jet is awesome. Not everyone may notice it amongst the other myriad of HUD elements right away, but they will eventually take a look to see just who is shooting down their precious aircraft eventually.

But for all the efforts for in-game recognition, there are still obvious absences including saved replays and online stat tracking. Treyarch’s World at War had online stat tracking, why doesn’t this game have it? They’re already recording bits and pieces of matches for the “kill cams”, so why didn’t they extend it towards full blown recordings? These seem like missed opportunities to me.

From a tech perspective, there’s a lot to like with Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer. The framerate is rock solid, getting in and out of games is painless and there’s a host migration system in place. It all sounds great if I ignore the failed host migrations and the occasional flood of lag which can ruin an entire game despite the network quality indicator’s green bars. Party mode is still in the game, but it too randomly fails with no reason as to why. The tech isn’t perfect. There’s still a bit work to be done to make it really shine.

I knew what to expect from Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer; it was Infinity Ward’s Golden Goose and they couldn’t go in and mess around with that too much. The changes they introduced enhanced an already solid foundation. It’s indeed all the contradictory statements I made in the beginning. And it works. If you love infantry centric first person shooters like I do, then there’s no substitute for Modern Warfare 2.

Highly Recommended

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For more information on Modern Warfare 2, visit the official website.

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