Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is a ghost of the former glory of its predecessors

Call of Duty campaigns are always a bit ridiculous and rarely profound, but in the moments when they hit a nerve, that effect lingers. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had the nuke drop; the original Modern Warfare 2 had “No Russian”; The 2019 reboot of the MW franchise had the house clearance mission. These standout moments set the tone and set the tone for the upcoming campaign.

In comparison, 2022’s Modern Warfare II fails to live up to any of the series’ previous achievements, instead opting to punctuate past achievements with shaky writing, gameplay that feels five years old, and nothing to grasp except “there is bad men doing bad things”. . Don’t make them alive anymore.”

Related: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer aggressively reinforces the meaning of a “modern” game

Image via Activision

Call of Duty games have always been influenced by the politics of their time, with varying degrees of success. But rather than adding any meaningful setup or character work, Modern Warfare II begins with a missile attack on what we assume is a powerful terrorist target. The rest of the game is spent chasing down the man who took the target’s place: Hassan Zyani of the Iranian Quds Force.

Like the villains of previous series like Makarov and Zakhaev, Hassan is always one step ahead of our protagonists; His story develops over the course of the game and he will inevitably and obviously be the last enemy we have to face. In typical Call of Duty fashion, Hassan is absent for the first hour or two of the campaign. Instead, we get a build-up to his plans: something that uses American-made missiles against their makers.

Image via Activision

Related: How long is the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign? Complete mission list

For the next six hours, our “heroes” – Captain Price, Gaz, Ghost, Alejandro Vargas, and Kate Laswell – and their support team hunt lead after lead, trying to stay one step ahead of Hassan. The first few missions make relative sense. From the rocket attack, which isn’t uncommon in today’s climate, to the first attempt to capture Hassan in his home territory, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here for Call of Duty. Hold position, counter-snipe, clear buildings and find the number one MacGuffin missile. There’s then some stealth gameplay on a dock that’s somewhat entertaining but nothing groundbreaking.

Once Alejandro and his Los Vaqueros crew join in, it all starts to fall apart, although that’s not the cast’s fault. The game quickly transitions into the politically charged realm, and it does so without any subtlety. They follow Hassan across the steel slats at the US-Mexico border, a process facilitated by a ladder and the use of desperate migrants as a smoke screen. From there, your foreign military agents justifiably “de-escalate” suspicious American civilians by pointing your gun at them, and complete the mission by engaging in an extended firefight in a house, which is eventually set on fire. That doesn’t account for the RPG swap earlier in the last section.

From the border suburb, the campaign moves to the fictional cartel-controlled town of Las Almas, where things get even more ridiculous. After failing again to capture Hassan, the team takes on a small contingent of the Mexican army. If Ghost rightly balks at the thought of fighting a foreign country’s military, the game (via Alejandro) brushes it off by blaming the cartels for controlling that army — a flimsy justification at best.

Image via Activision

When fighting an actual military force outside of your jurisdiction is flimsy, Modern Warfare II shakes the rest of the disbelief suspension by putting you in control of an AC-130 owned by the Shadow Company, General Shepard’s personal PMC ( yes he is back to). The mission could easily have been removed from 2009’s Call of Duty 4 or Modern Warfare 2 were it not for the destructible buildings and slightly increased focus on not taking out civilian targets. There’s also the fact that this AC-130 isn’t nearly as satisfying to play as the games from more than a decade ago, as its sound design or feedback isn’t as pleasing.

Had the story been better fleshed out up to this point, the franchise’s umpteenth close air support mission would have been fine. But all of the narrative gymnastics we’ve seen so far and the processed gameplay make it a chore. Thankfully, the game shows a few highlights not long after. To find out where Hassan is moving the missiles, seek out a character named El Sin Nombre, the cartel leader who orchestrates the movement of Hassan’s materials. Like Hassan, the cartel leader has the team chase carrots on a string and savors every minute of it.

The level where you meet them is also one of the highlights, with a tense interrogation scene and Hitman-esque stealth as you look for a way to capture the leader for interrogation. The level design isn’t on the same level as pure stealth games, but there’s excitement; The game is responsive to your choices, and the little twist at the end of the mission is a welcome boost to the quality of the writing.

Unfortunately, once you’re past the cartel’s headquarters, whatever branches are left snapping to keep the story going. Each character behaves as you expect them to; The villains are exactly what you’d expect them to be, and whatever good ideas the game has have gone out the window to follow trends that are half a decade old.

Image via Activision

In the “Alone” mission, the light stealth elements are expanded to include the crafting of traps, Molotov cocktails and other means of getting past an urban area full of enemy guards. Not in the obligatory sniping mission to have wait for Price to tell you what to do and there are a few alternate ways to complete each stage, but your choices all lead to the same outcome.

And while these missions add more variety to the Modern Warfare formula, none innovate in any meaningful way. Alone uses essentially the same stealth and crafting structure as an old Far Cry game, and despite your best efforts, the sniper mission pales in comparison to 2007’s All Ghillied Up. Call of Duty 4’s version is an exercise in character building and a massive tonal shift that still sets the tone and expands world-building. Modern Warfare II’s mission does little to expand the game’s characters, being about twice as long and another slow, stealth-focused slog in a long line of them.

By the end of the MWII campaign, I was just bored instead of feeling compelled to accept something unseemly about the world or enjoy an adrenaline rush. Any moment that could have made for something bigger didn’t get extra rewards. None of the collateral damage or political consequences of your actions have been acknowledged for even a second. For all the in-game talk about “no man fights alone,” I spent most of the campaign doing almost all of the work myself.

If the plot had been less predictable or the characters more relatable, I might have forgiven the overhauled gameplay. The opposite is also true. Nobody comes to Call of Duty looking for The Last of Us Part II or God of War Ragnarok. These games are escape from the world at its best. Still, Modern Warfare II tries to have its cake and eat it by offering a globetrotting adventure peppered with moments of extreme heaviness, itself paralyzed by mechanics that no one has asked for or wanted in years. In the end, the only reason to play the campaign this time around is for the multiplayer unlocks, and these will soon be devoured by the monster Warzone. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is a ghost of the former glory of its predecessors

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button