Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99 (all versions)
ESRB Rating: Mature
What kind of game is it?
Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter set in the near-future. Previous games in the Call of Duty series took place during World War II, but that changed with 2007's Call of Duty 4. It is also unscientifically the most popular game in the world at the moment.
Who's the Developer?
Infinity Ward is a game studio based in Encino, California (just north of Los Angeles). It was founded in 2002 by former members of the Medal of Honor development team, which was Electronic Arts' World War II shooter franchise. They have put out four games to date: Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Other games in the series, such as last year's World at War, were developed by Treyarch.
What's the story?
For the first time in the Call of Duty series (because this is the first time it actually makes sense), MW2 is a direct sequel to the first MW. The Russian ultra-nationalists have a new leader and renewed vigor, and five years after the events of Modern Warfare, they set their ultimate plan into motion. (Hint: They're pissed at America.)
Like its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2's online multiplayer features are robust. The same experience and perk system returns, with the level cap expanding to 70. There are new kill streak rewards (special abilities granted to players who rack up consecutive kills), including being able to call in the AC-130 gunship for temporary air support.
Standard multiplayer modes include Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Capture-the-Flag, Demolition, Search and Destroy, and Domination. The maximum number of players is 18 (9 vs. 9 teams)
New to Modern Warfare 2, however, is the cooperative "Special Ops" mode. In Special Ops, you and a partner must complete a specially-designed mission in the same spirit as COD4's epilogue mission (the quick run through the jet). You can play Special Ops online, or split-screen on the same television.
But if you're a PC gamer, those features aren't quite as robust as they used to be. Infinity Ward has eliminated support for dedicated servers in favor of their custom-built IW.net matchmaking system. They've also lowered the maximum allowable player count (it used to be 32 on the PC) and removed support for custom mods and maps.
What'd we say?
Stay tuned to G4tv.com and X-Play for our review!
See it in action: