To date, Infinity Ward’s been pretty quiet on how multiplayer will work for its new Modern Warfare 2 game. That all changed last night at a special event in Los Angeles where they talked a bit about the game, and let people go hands-on to play. I was lucky enough to spend a few rounds with the soldiers, so wanted to share my impressions of what I played.
First of all, customization is key. As players rank up in the game or accomplish challenges, they’ll earn new titles and graphical emblems, which they can tag to their character. These have no effect in-game, and are purely a bragging rights addition, however, you’ll earn more titles and emblems associated with how you play. For example, if you play a lot with a riot shield, you’ll unlock more riot shield-focused rewards. Also available to players is the ability to customize your killstreak rewards, which ranged from UAV unlocks at 3 kills, an airdrop at 4 kills, and an AC130 at 11. The airdrop is interesting; sometimes it drops ammo, sometimes it drops other killstreak rewards, and not necessary ones at the same level! Of course, you have to call it in, wait for it and ensure the enemies don’t steal it from you.
Also shown off was the revised Perk system, which still allows 3 different game changers to be appended to your character. But now Perks too “level up”, with a Pro version available if you meet certain challenges. Also, there’s a new slot for Death Streaks, or what happens to most new players who try to go online to play the game. In a way to help out the newbies, Infinity Ward offers certain bonuses to players who die too many times in a row. Bonuses like Painkiller, which gives players additional health, or Copycat, which lets you copy the class of the player who killed you, sometimes yielding perks that you haven’t unlocked yet.
Finally, players will be able to customize weapons to their heart’s content. Every weapon has some sort of attachment, like heartbeat sensors which mount to your weapon and display all life signs (green for allied, red for enemy). You can even “bling” weapons which allows you to use TWO weapon attachments. Secondary weapons have been improved and goes well beyond pistols to include submachine guns and rocket launchers, among others. There’s also an equipment slot for throwing knives, blast shields and other handy items, and yes, there’s still your standard grenades. But even better, there’s new Tactical Insertion grenades, which don’t help you out when you throw it, but when you die, you’ll respawn whereever you threw it.
All of this, and you haven’t even started up the game! Of course, there’s pre-created loadouts but the beauty of the game is in the customization. But onto the gameplay!
The game itself is very familiar, in all the best of ways. However, all of these new additions make for a frenzied battlefield. The first match I played was team deathmatch. I quickly dispatched a few enemies, earned my airdrop and called it in. We were playing on a new map, Highrise, that, wait for it, took place at the top of a high rise building, and I unfortunately learned that a misplaced airdrop can fall of the edge of a building after landing. Worse, some of the enemy team were using Sentry guns, deployable automatic guns that were taking out my fellow squadmates left and right. These can be shot and destroyed, but they’re pretty lethal. This round went on without much new, other than observing how bright and colorful the game is. Gone are the muted, battle-worn environments of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, these levels are almost cheery.
My next session was a new game type called Demolition (I believe) , on a map called Favela, which seemed like a small South American villa. Every teammate has a bomb and needs to plant it at two target locations, while the enemies defend. By blowing up one target, you earn more time to reach the other. For this go out, I took a riot shield with me, which is awesome. You can block incoming bullets and earn rewards for “crowd control” which is more XP for ranking up. With the riot shield away, you pull out twin submachine guns for dual wielding chaos. Personally, I found dual wielding has ineffective since there’s no way to aim down the sights, naturally, and the distance is tricky. On tighter maps, I can imagine it paying off more. During this time out, I also earned the Predator missile killstreak reward. Pop open your laptop, and you’ll see an overhead view of the map, with red boxes appearing around your enemies, making it that much easier to steer a devastating missile into the crowd.
As its Infinity Ward, the controls feel incredibly tight. These are masters of their domain, and they know what makes a game fun and accurate. I can’t wait to play more Modern Warfare 2, and here’s hoping for some sort of public beta so the rest of the world can get a quick taste as well!
If you want to see the multiplayer trailer, I’ve included it here: