Call of Duty Modern Warfare PC review
So should I buy it
Firstly let me say that I have been a CoD player since day 1 the very first edition. I have always enjoyed the single player side of the games but the multiplayer is the part that makes first person shooters and provides the longevity and value to a game.
The single player campaign follows on from the last Modern warfare title and I must say is enjoyable but not as much as the first one. It is shorter than the first one or at least it seems that way. It took me roughly 5 hours to complete on the normal difficulty setting.
The controversial airport scene does carry a warning beforehand and can be completely skipped without changing the way the game plays, however I would have thought a better way to do it would have been in a news type report rather than a first person view. I think the jury is still out on that one. I chose to play through it without shooting and didn't feel it added anything to the game. It is quite graphic though.
The rest of the single player campaign is quite good, cinematic but the plot seems less well written than the previous MW1 and also some things appear to be thrown in for wow effect rather than a plausible and essential part of the story.
If that is what you buy your games for then search for the cheapest version possible. Some of the UK supermarkets are selling it for as little as £26 and it is just about worth that, but only just. I'm afraid there is little to offer over an above MW1 and I would probably have as much enjoyment replaying MW1 on a harder setting.
The Mulitplayer experience
Now I knew there were no dedicated servers and I knew about all the other features that were removed from the game but I decided to get a copy to write an honest review of how IWNet performs.
In fairness, connection to the multiplayer is somewhat quicker than using dedicated servers. However, initiall you can only play a 6 v 6 game. The system has you waiting in a lobby as it matchmakes you with other players and the wait times vary from a few seconds to a few minutes. Probably no longer than it takes to select a server and then wait for the map and players to load up.
Once in game, there is no ping numeric, instead ping is represented by a mobile phone type bar graph. There is no explanation as to what 3 or 4 green bars represents and the first game I played showed some players with 1 red bar and a variety of orange bars. Mine showed 2 green but the obvious host had a full 4 green bars.
This first game showed some stuttering of the players right through to laughable lag whereby you emptied an entire magazine into someone only to see him fall to the floor as you were reloading. It seems that to compensate for this lag, the hit boxes have been increased and for an experienced player like myself, it became a bit of a turkey shoot. The only challenge I had was the host, who was a lot smoother than the other players.
In addition to this, challenges, scores and numerous arcadey writing kept popping up on screen distracting your attention from the fight. I'm sure as you progress this becomes less frequent, but for now it was thoroughly annoying.
After a while and several games following this format, the host dropped out. We all then had around a 30 second wait until the system allocated a new host, which just happened to be me. Being the host gave me godlike abilities and I actually got bored of killing everyone so easily. The obvious advantage I had completely ruined the competative nature. I was soon getting flamed for being a hacker. so I quit the game.
The second experience on a new game with different players was altogether different. It was a lot smoother and seemed more balanced. The pop ups were still as annoying and the whole experience felt very arcadey still. It was just too easy to shoot people.
The maps were nice, a good size but at times felt empty due to the low number of players and I was constantly checking the scoreboard to check we still had players online and alive.
Further games moving up to the 9 v 9 limit proved a little better but not to the point of having a good experience, just better than the poor 6 v 6.
You cannot choose which map you play and you cannot choose who you play with. Some players were more polite than others but the inability to kick or police the spammers and Team Killers was frustrating. You can vote to skip the map but you need a minimum of 7 votes.
Not a great experience but then again a casual fun one.
So is it worth it?
As a quick pick up and play frag fest, yes. It's fun while you are playing although it has it's annoyances. As an intense online gaming experience like MW1....definately not. If you like MW1 multiplayer, you may not like MW2's version.
It is fairly obvious that this is a direct console port with no PC specific content or options. Unfortunately it does shout commercial laziness on Infinity Wards part. For a blcokbuster title with all the hype it has received, I'm afraid it didn't live up to my (fairly low) expectations.
Well, this has potential. As it stands, I'm afraid it will be the darlings favourite for a few weeks and possibly a few months, but after that it will sit on the shelf only to receive occassional pick up a play games.
I know you will have probably heard it all before, but the introduction of dedicated servers would see this rise to even greater heights. This could be a fantastic game. The ability to customise is in their with the private party feature but it is poorly executed and requires you to physically invite people to play. A dedicated server that you can drop into and call home would definately improve this.
Dedicated servers would also ensure a consistent ping and a consistent experience, something that IWNet does not. It woud also remove the host migration issue. Dedicated servers could prolong the shelf life to 12 months and beyond.
Mod tools would make this the title it should have been and would push it into competative play and create a real arena to showcase the FPS genre. I sit here with hope that Infinity Ward listen to the community that has "tried it" and fed back to them and release a patch...sooner than later.
This is not the blockbuster title that the press hype would lead you to believe. In reality, it feels like an expansion pack to MW1. The experience didn't leave me with an anti climax feeling as I was aware of many of the issues before purchase, however if you haven't followed the detailed furor on the net, I can assure you, you will be dissappointed.
Any fans of MW1 will be a little shocked at the brevity of the single player and anyone other than a casual mutliplayer will be left in total confusion about the lack of dedicated servers and the matchmaking.
Clans will do well to avoid this title for any sort of competative play or community gaming. To be honest... I can't see it being too long before someone figures out how to port MW2 maps into MW1 and when they do, there is absolutey no reason to buy MW2.
So buy it if you wish based on my experience it is all about how you play and how big a fan you are of the series.