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While Call of Duty: World at War turned out to be a excellent game in its own right, fans still couldn’t contain their cries for another game set in the CoD4: Modern Warfare world. Why? Well, apart from the fact that it was a nice change from the World War II setting the series had always used, unlike other slow-paced realistic FPS games, CoD:MW was a fast-paced, balls-out, action shooter with great graphics, smooth performance, varied game-play, responsive controls, and excellent multiplayer.

It’s hard to see how Infinity Ward could top what they offered in Modern Warfare. They set a pretty high bar for themselves with that game, and believe it or not, they’ve not only cleared it, but raised it again. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has finally arrived, and it’s everything fans expected and more. Better graphics, better action, better performance, and the next compelling chapter in the story.

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The story follows a few years after the end of the first game. But instead of controlling the previous protagonist, Soap, players are put in command of a handful of new characters, each of whom experiences the events of the story in different places at different times. This time round, the mercenary crew from the last game is tricked by a particularly nasty and unscrupulous mercenary named Makarov, whose devious plan unleashes an all-out war between America and Russia. It’s up to you to hunt down and expose Makarov before this conflict gets any more out of hand than it already is. Developer Infinity Ward was obviously aware that the pen is mightier than the sword these days, and that some people might take offense to the fictional events portrayed here. There are some scenes and missions in the game that they thought some people would find so objectionable that they included the option of a warning system, that, if enabled, warns players when the [potentially] offensive content is coming up, outlines what is in it, and gives them the option to skip it. You know, for those people who expected to find bunnies and rainbows in a realistic war game with an 18+ age rating. Let’s hope this helps Infinity Ward to dodge that censorship bullet – and maybe other developers can start using this system too, letting us avoid having things cut out of games in the future.

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The action in CoD:MW2 is intense, fast-paced, and varied. Players can be trading bullets with waves of enemy soldiers one minute, commanding remote missiles from a UAV the next, and strategically placing automated turrets the next. It might be a bit overwhelming at first, but the uncluttered HUD and the simple map and objective markers make keeping track of the mission objectives the least of your worries. It helps to get comfortable with clock directions too, since your in-game allies will often warn you about enemies you aren’t aware of, “Two enemies on your three o’clock!”

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