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Modern Warfare 2

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Star Rating: 
10 out of 10
The Skinny: Back by popular demand, the Modern Warfare series takes a darker turn in intercontinental politics, thrusting U.S.-Russian relations into a tizzy. Nuclear armaments are being engaged, ragtag groups of soldiers are sent scrambling, and complete mayhem erupts on American soil. What else were you expecting?

The Good: This is the one everyone's been waiting for, enough to turn anticipation for the former king of day one sales Grand Theft Auto IV into an afterthought. Luckily, the game delivers. Those looking for an intriguing plot full of double-crossing, unadulterated murder, and gratuitous violence will find it in the game's story missions. It may be over in a blink of an eye (see below), but thankfully there are many other avenues of fun to explore. The new Spec Ops mode is chock full of various game types (e.x. assault & conquer, snowmobile racing, terrorist hunting) which are great time wasters, but require a second player, whether it be on the same console or online. And, the bread and butter of the series, multiplayer has been tinkered with and enhanced based on fan feedback. There are a ton of new guns/perks to unlock and, of course, leaderboards that will literally eat up hundreds of hours of your life.

How do you say "Sorry, I stole your snowmobile" in Russian?

The Bad:
The single-player campaign is short, clocking in at around 4.5 hours on the "Regular" setting. If you're not likely to get in on the impressive online matchmaking, you may actually not want to pay full price for this.

Modern Warfare 2 Night Vision Goggles Mini-Review: If you're one of the lucky ones to get your hands on the Prestige edition, you're probably too busy terrorizing the neighbors with the goggles to read this. Nevertheless, they are sweet to own, but are essentially a modified kids toy made by Jakks Pacific. (For all you recession-weary gamers, they also stock EyeClops night vision infrared stealth goggles for 50 bucks. Not as cool, but whatever.) Those who opt-out of the add-on aren't missing much.

Buy, Rent, or Disembowel? Solidly in the conversation for "game of the year," MW2 is a must-buy for any and all gamers.
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