Posts Tagged ‘playstation 3’

MGM: Modern Warfare 2

If you’ve been following Call of Duty at all recently then you’ve already heard, seen and probably played the controversial No Russian level.  But even with all the talk and infamy, there’s more to examine with Infinity Ward’s latest offering than ten minutes of fictional terrorist footage.  Many continued to play the first Modern Warfare well after its release and has since become one of the most critically acclaimed and top selling games of this generation.  And now we have its sequel, Modern Warfare 2, bringing plenty of new content to keep fans coming back.  How well does it all manage to be?

Matt’s Thoughts

One more year, one more Call of Duty game.  If I didn’t know any better I’d say Activision were becoming a new version of Electronic Arts with how frequently they’re releasing games for the same franchise.  Fortunately, unlike recent Need for Speed games, the Call of Duty series still manages to at least be decent even with some installments are clearly inferior to others.  I’m glad to say that Modern Warfare 2 is, all things told, one of the better entries, though not everything is blissful here.  The campaign is fun but is way too short to fully enjoy, the story is still uninteresting and I really found the No Russian level to be unnecessary.  And just like the first Modern Warfare, the online is ultimately both the pinnacle and downfall of the game.  On one hand, the amount of content, variety and combinations you have available to use and unlock is quite astounding and the matches can be very fun and tough to stop playing.  However, some of the perks and killstreak rewards seem unbalanced and a sizeable chunk of online players still love to camp or cower in the same area.  This is unfortunately boosted by design choices for some areas in the maps that seem intended for these annoying players.  Even with all that said, when the game is fun and plays out as it should, the experience is quite invigorating.

Greg’s Thoughts

Although I seldom enjoy the Treyarch-developed entries, I’m glad that Infinity Ward at least contribute half of the Call of Duty games.  With that in mind, it’s needless to say that Modern Warfare 2 is one of my favorite installments for the franchise.  While I doubt the series will ever hit the high mark Call of Duty 2 left on me Modern Warfare 2 is a very admirable effort despite inconsistencies.  Matt essentially sums up the online portion.  Matches are usually quite fun and addicting but when you’re against a team of people hiding in buildings (whether alone or together) it’s almost sympathetic to just leave the match.  As for the campaign, I actually found it to be one of the better single player modes for the series and arguably the best since Call of Duty 2 (thought not nearly as good).  The story is also a step above that of 2007’s Modern Warfare even with it being too short-lived to match its potential.  Overall, I’d consider this my second or third Call of Duty game and, were it not for the hit/miss online mode, I’d call it better than Halo 3 online.

Michael’s Thoughts

I’m not sure how Greg can consider Halo 3 online great (it was good for a year, but that’s all), but Modern Warfare 2 pretty much blows any other (console) FPS out of the water right now.  PC gamers have and continue to brew an absurd, silly storm over not getting dedicated servers and, quite frankly, if console gamers can live without them then anyone else can.  I will agree with Greg on the campaign and story, both of which have easily the strongest emotional scenes in a Call of Duty game (that’s not including No Russian).  Of course, most people bought and are playing this game for the online mode and even though there’s a large amount of cowards online that’s not a direct issue with the game itself.  When matches aren’t dominated by these morons (for lack of a better term) it’s tough to put the controller down and, were it not for vehicle fees, I’d have bought this game from the get-go.  Modern Warfare 2 steps up the competition for future first-person shooters and it’ll be interesting to see how Infinity Ward decide to continue improving or revitalizing the series.


Guitar Hero 5 First Impressions

Normally I do full-fledged reviews, but since I rented this game and had my time cut short due to visiting my grandparents in New York, I’m providing a first impression article instead.  Anyways, the blog:


Activision are a publisher that seem to value quantity over subtlety, with the recent release of their third Guitar Hero game this year alone being as much an indicator as anything.  In addition, with the success and acclaim Rock Band has achieved with only two (three this Wednesday) game releases, one might get the impression the Call of Duty publisher isn’t so concerned with integrity.  But fans keep on buying and, for the most part, the games themselves haven’t been too shabby.  Arguably the first full-fledged Guitar Hero game since World Tour, the series fifth main installment has hit shelves; have the first few hours of playing left me wanting to purchase it?

The game’s Career mode has gone through a few alterations this time around.  Taking a slight cue from Rock Band, songs are organized into sets at various locations and allow you to play any two songs at the end of each set.  What’s nice about this is that there are several venues to play at, most of which look fairly impressive.  Unfortunately, even though the set-up might be different the progression is ultimately the same: play some songs, unlock some new ones, play those and repeat.  Though the way to join in as a band is handled smoother and, like Guitar Hero: Metallica, unlocking songs isn’t too demanding, this is still the same trod-along through songs you’ve seen before.  On the other hand, all of the songs are available to play from the get-go in Quick Play, meaning those strictly playing for the party aspect won’t have to worry about this tedium.

Other design choices in the game, however, are welcome and help benefit the overall package as well as potential band experience.  The first to note is Party Play, which can be tested at the opening menu whenever a song plays.  In this, players can drop in or out of any song during any point (so if a friend comes over while in the middle of “Sympathy for the Devil,” they can join in wherever you are; no restart required).  Another pleasing addition is how gamers can now play any instrument they want even if someone else is playing that same instrument (got four drum sets and want to play the same songs cooperatively?  Go right ahead).  Changes have also been made to the song creator to make it at least a little more accessible, which dedicated players will definitely appreciate.  Though I didn’t have the time to mess around with the other changes (namely online and competitive multiplayer), what I did manage to try out was very pleasing.

But of course the main concern with Guitar Hero or any other game is how fun it is, and this series has admittedly had its highs and lows (Metallica and Rocks the 80’s, respectively).  In regards to what I played for this entry (which was about one third to half of the total set list), the entertainment was rather mixed.  One key reason behind this comes in the form of the game’s demographic which, outside of the soundtrack, is how it appeals to either newcomers, series veterans or both.  The note charts are overall some of the easier ones found in the series, especially for those developed by Neversoft.  In fact, there are barely any challenging songs at all, with none of on-disc inclusions hitting the highest difficulty on guitar.  This might turn off experts looking for practice-worthy tracks, but in the long run it helps make the game more manageable for when in a full band playthrough.

Then there’s the game’s soundtrack which, like any other collection of songs, will appeal to some and repel others.  On a positive note, there are some great, long-awaited songs included such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the Queen and David Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure,” “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down and my personal favorite, “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits.  However, other inclusions and selections for certain bands are rather questionable.  For instance, including a band like Attack! Attack! is rather silly and the continued addition of the Beastie Boys in a still guitar-oriented game feels out of place.  As for the track selection for certain bands, just look at Megadeth and Children of Bodom with “Sweating Bullets” and “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” being the song selections, respectively.  I think I can speak for many other fans that the song choices for both are rather disappointing.  But for what it’s worth, the soundtrack is a decent mix, but it does have a distinct lack of strong, memorable song.

My time with Guitar Hero 5 was simultaneously surprising and disappointing.  Even though just about all of the design choices are very pleasant; the soundtrack, overall gameplay and thus entertainment did leave me feeling unfulfilled.  Even though I’d normally say spending more time could yield more fun, all of the previous iterations (save for the lackluster Rocks the 80’s) at least provided satisfaction from start to finish.  As of now I’d have a tough time trying to justify shelling out $60 for this game; let alone over $100 for a bundle.  If the price goes down anytime soon and more, better songs are made available via download, it might be worth a purchase but as it is, the game is only worth a lengthy rental.

First Impression Score: 77