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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on 360, PS3 and PC is the direct sequel to the best-selling Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Playing as new character Sgt Gary 'Roach' Sanderson as part of an international anti-terrorist army, the game takes players on a whirlwind journey across the world as you lead the fight against international terrorism. With new co-operative missions and an improved competitive multiplayer, Modern Warfare 2 sets the new standard in first-person shooters and cinematic video games on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
The first Modern Warfare was a video game triumph with its gripping single-player story mode and the addictive and groundbreaking multiplayer. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 increases the intensity of both these components tremendously and creates the ultimate first-person shooter for Xbox360, PS3 and PC.
As part of a multinational anti-terrorist squad you're continuing the fight against the Russian ultra-nationalists from the first game and helping to stop a devastating terrorist attack. Under the command of 'Soap' McTavish (the character you played in the first Modern Warfare) the game puts you through some of the most intense fire-fights and cinematic action a video game has ever produced.
The new underwater missions, new vehicles and gadgets help to bring a real sense of progression to this sequel, but it's not just the extraneous gameplay additions that beef up the experience. The levels of Modern Warfare 2 are much larger and more open than any Call of Duty game has produced before. These impressive battlefields in the single-player story mean you can choose how you want to approach your objectives. There's still the option to go for an all-out assault but the ability to take a stealthy approach gives Modern Warfare 2 a bit more depth to its already excellent gameplay.
Whereas in the first game you were limited to a handful of locations, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 takes you on a globe-spanning journey and revels in giving you some extreme environments to play in. From the snowy heights of a daredevil mountain climb to the deserts of Afghanistan, you'll always be in some distinctive and memorable locations.
A new addition is the inclusion of a special co-op mode that will introduce two player co-operative play to Modern Warfare for the first time. These non-story based missions are similar to the "Mile High Club" epilogue in the original Modern Warfare and are just as intense and fun to play.
But the main draw for so many players of the Call of Duty franchise is the competitive multiplayer component. The first Modern Warfare was groundbreaking with its perk-based, levelling-up system and this sequel builds on that foundation with some impressive additions. As well as being even more frenetic and intense than its predecessor, the new maps have been tweaked to perfect the balance of matches and also give a little more variety when it comes to people's play style. Some maps will encourage players get up close and personal with their design while others will allow for some devilish sniper locations.
New kill-streaks have also been introduced and include taking control of the awesome AC-130 gun-ship to rain down hell on your opponents. There are sentry guns, Predator missiles and also Care Packages that give a bit more randomness to the rewards from going on a kill-streak. In opposition to this are Death-streaks - a feature that helps out those players who are struggling to get into the game. I especially like this feature as being on the end of someone else's dominance in the multiplayer can be tiresome to say the least. These Death-streaks vary in reward - sometimes you will inherit your killer's class and weapons load out and other times you will get a boost of health, all very helpful to break the frustrating pattern of dying, respawning and shortly thereafter, dying again.
With the gripping and cinematic single-player story, the new co-op missions and the deep and addictive multiplayer, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the ultimate in first-person shooters. The slick presentation, sharp and detailed visuals all combine with the most responsive and enjoyable gameplay you're likely to see in a video game. There's quite simply no other game that produces such an impressive package and you'd be insane not to check it out.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: