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Gaming: Modern Warfare 2 releases

MW201

Wikipedia fact: "The original teaser trailer ... confirmed that the game's title of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was officially shortened to just Modern Warfare 2. Activision {then} confirmed that the standard-edition Modern Warfare 2 packaging will feature the Call of Duty brand logo .... It is speculated that the decision was influenced by findings that brand awareness for the game was significantly lower without the Call of Duty brand. The developers however still prefer to simply call it Modern Warfare 2 as they consider it a new IP."

Modern Warfare 2 is out now and looks set to be the game that could finally topple Halo 3‘s sales records in the US NPD sales (which sold 3.3 million in its first few days).  Here’s the trailer (watch it in HD):

It’s a very confident trailer, slick  and loud and undoubtedly a blockbuster, though some have commented that it’s not really similar to the attitude of the original Call of Duty.  The closing comments of Eurogamer’s Call of Duty retrospective is one such example:

But going back and playing Call of Duty now after receiving its expansion pack and four sequels on a yearly basis like an American footballer taking one hit after another, I’m standing up, I’m taking off my helmet and I’m wondering this: Where on Earth has this series’ heart gone? Watch the intro to Call of Duty 1 and the Modern Warfare 2 launch trailer and you’ll probably get where I’m coming from.

Fundamentally, Call of Duty gave the impression that war is more often than not a bad time. Modern Warfare? What is Modern Warfare? It’s not actually modern warfare, for one thing. It’s SAS teams dropping onto Russian cargo ships in the middle of a storm, finding a nuclear bomb and then leaping back onto their helicopter as the ship sinks.

It’s shooting a man’s arm off. It’s also, apparently, firing missiles at a medieval castle and two men jumping over a sliding, flaming motorbike. That’s not a bad time. That’s awesome! What man or woman wouldn’t answer the call of duty if your duty was to ride a skimobile down a mountain while firing a machine pistol with one hand?

This change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. I’m just very aware right now that the first Call of Duty promised an emotional depth to this series, and if all sight of that wasn’t lost when they chose to set footage of men dying to an Eminem single, it currently seems very distant. This decision to exchange the game’s backdrop from the most exciting moments of a real war to an action movie (complete with villain and stunts) seems a shame, to me at least. It feels like all Infinity Ward is trying to do now is drop jaws by any means necessary.

Never mind the fact that they might have just made the biggest-selling videogame of all time. Playing the original game again, I feel like this series could have been more than that.

I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, considering some of the original Modern Warfare’s events really didn’t make it seem like a good time.  Spoilers for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will be present in the next couple of sentences, so skip past if you haven’t completed that.  In that game, the US storyline comes to an end when your character is caught on the edge of a nuclear blast, and for a while you control him as he stumbles around, dying.  Later on in the SAS storyline you take control of an AC-130 Spectre gun, where you see everything through a filter and kill waves of soldiers while your allies make jokes about it, completely detached from the reality below, that men are being torn apart.  At the end of the game all your allies seemingly die as you alone are taken out alive, which isn’t really what I’d consider an awesome time. Spoilers end

One other mildly sad thing is that now that game has released all the activity around the game’s controversial level will die down.  Ever since I posted about it here that post had been pretty bombarded with traffic, so it will be a shame to see it slowly fade out of relevance once people experience it for themselves and everybody forgets about it.

Still, for everybody playing or about to play, I hope you all have fun.

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