What can one say about Modern Warfare 2 that hasn't already been said? Well, not a lot, but we're going to say it anyway. We got to hang out with evil publisher Activision and check out Infinity Ward's hot shooter, up close and personal. The team was demoing the snow level that you may have already read about. If so, then prepare to read about it again.
What do we make of Modern Warfare 2? The only way to find out is to hit the jump and read our thoughts. So do that.
As the demo opens, Roach -- the hero through who's eyes you see -- is hanging out in the snow with "Soap" MacTavish, the hero through who's eyes you saw in the original Modern Warfare. An on-screen prompt tells you to press the trigger button in order to follow MacTavish up an icy cliff edge. Roach uses two ice picks to claw his way up, and each time he embeds one of them, a web of cracks appears in a very impressive visual detail.
As Roach continues to climb, he looks up and a plane soars overheard. It's a stunning moment, despite its brevity. Soap eventually makes it to the top of the mountain, but Roach has less luck, and ends up falling loose from his position. Luckily, however, Soap grabs him at the last minute and drags him to safety.
What follows is a snowblind trek, with Roach relying on a motion sensor to track heartbeats. White dots are enemies, and this allows you to stealthily locate and dispatch of enemy Russians. After a trek through the snow, Soap and Roach come across two enemies. Soap counts to three and they both gun down the opposing soldiers with little resistance. Two more soldiers are finished off with the same strategy. Roach continues to make his way through the snow solo, picking off two more guys, before coming to a runway.
Soap tells Roach that he's found a satallite in a hangar, and Roach sneaks his way there. There are nice extra details that needn't be there, like mechanics working on airplane parts that can be spotted through a window Roach passes. Eventually, Soap and Roach meet up again and enter the hangar.
As the two heroes walk down a corridor, Soap is able to intercept an unaware soldier, tackling and slamming him into a locker to take him out. These exciting takedowns are something NPCs will apparently do at various points in the campaign. Infinity Ward seemed to imply Roach wouldn't be doing any himself, and it was more of a visual treat for the player than a skill they themselves would need to employ.
Soap and Roach get upstairs and download a file, which alerts the Russians. This is when shit goes down. As an enemy soldier's voice blasts through speakers, telling the SAS soldiers to surrender, Soap and Roach start killing everything that moves in a very intense and visually astounding firefight. Soap tells Roach to hug the wall as they make a daring escape.
While heading east, Roach shoots a jeep to make it explode, just because he can. That's before soldiers on snowmobiles start pursuing him and he has to shoot them off their ride. After that, he tosses a pair of grenades and follows Soap. An utterly fantastic moment follows, with Roach sliding down an icy slope, then turning around and shooting up at enemies who attempt the do the same. It's a great shooting gallery moment, especially once the snowmobiles start appearing.
Speaking of snowmobiles, we got to see the famous getaway with Roach riding one of his own to freedom. This looks amazing, with Roach holding his pistol out to the side and popping off enemies who give chase. Rockets fly past, slopes are sped down, and Roach finally shoots over a ravine and approaches a chopper to end the demo.
After seeing the game up close, I must say that it looks impressive. It's a shame that there was no hands-on time with the game, but it was looking damn fine, and should continue the trend of quality that Infinity Ward started with the Call of Duty franchise. The little graphical details really make the game stand out and the setpieces are as stupendous as ever. Here's to Modern Warfare 2 doing its predecessor the justice it deserves.