Wednesday, November 2, 2011

6 is the Enigma


Modern Warfare 2, the sixth title in the Call of Duty series, smashed entertainment records when gamers finally got their hands on the most anticipated game in history. A commercial success, it changed the face of COD permanently for both the good and the bad.

You see, every good thing it brought had a darker twin lurking in the shadows.

For the first time, you could control killstreaks. Everyone who played COD4 wished they could be the gunner in the chopper, mowing down folks with reckless abandon (unless you were in HC, that's another story). MW2 let you be the gunner but control missiles and even the weapons of an AC-130.

In addition to actively using killstreaks, you also had the ability to choose which streaks you unlocked and used and they went all the way up to 25 kills in row when you could call in a nuke and win the game for your team no matter the score. Players had control over things like they never had before in a COD title.

Perks made a return as well but with the added bonus of making them "Pro". Unlocking the pro features of perks was a fun and challenging new component and helped keep the game fresh for people as they progressed through prestige ranks.

Playable and customizable streaks... pro perks... cool new features to an already great franchise.

But they came at a price.

As never before, killstreaks became the focus of gameplay. Gone was winning at all costs and in place was "I gotta get my AC-130." Nuke boosting in FFA became so common it made the playlist unplayable. Fewer people prestiged because they didn't want to lose their pro perks. Those that did, were always at a disadvantage in ways they hadn't been in previous titles.

That's not even mentioning...
... the balance issues with One Man Army and Commando perks.
... the slow and almost inept support.
... the hacking. Oh, the hacking.

All of this could be related to the issue with the IW founders... could be circumstance... I doubt we'll ever know. What we do know is MW2 could have been the benchmark for COD titles. Instead, COD4, a game made in 2007, remains the peak for the franchise to many even today. Yet, there's no denying MW2 changed the face of COD forever... good and bad.

That's the enigma of 6.

Next... 5 on 4.

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