Review by SuperPhillip
The original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a hit on a grand scale-- no, make that an epic scale. With a Hollywood-style presentation, great levels and multi-player, and a harrowing single-player experience, Modern Warfare was 2007's big blockbuster. It's two years later and the sequel to the game is hitting the HD consoles while the Wii is just finally seeing the original Modern Warfare. Says a lot about the state of third parties on Wii, doesn't it? Regardless, has Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition been worth the wait for Wii owners, or has this mission failed?
The world is in turmoil. A fictional Middle Eastern dictator has possession of nukes, and he's not too shy about using them. The United States and England take his threat of nuclear proliferation seriously, and the two superpowers team up to try to track this terrorist down. In Modern Warfare you switch off between playing as a member of the U.S. Marines and a soldier for the British Special Forces. The story itself is your typical big-budget video game story. Though it does an admirable job of trying to emulate Hollywood-- more specifically, a Michael Bay film. The story has plenty of twists and turns to keep your mission interesting, and everything ends with a satisfying conclusion.
Modern Warfare takes place in three acts and a prologue and epilogue each. This totals up to around eighteen missions to tackle. Most missions you'll be following the instructions of your squad leader and teaming up with fellow squadmates as you blow away terrorists with a myriad of militant weaponry. Your teammates are quite smart, and they can take down large numbers of forces without you. Though unless you want to sit around for a while waiting, it's best you get into the action, too. Some missions you'll be using stealth and camouflage to outsmart enemy forces who will otherwise cut you down with bullets in a flash. This is one of the more stressful but not frustrating missions in the game. Another mission will have your squadron moving from enemy house to house, taking down all enemy forces inside. The list of objectives and requirements for mission completion are wide and varied. Seldom do you feel like you're doing the same thing. At the same time, the level design is created so it's basically moving from one big firefight to the next most of the time. Nonetheless, this formula seldom gets repetitive even with this structure.
I spoke of weaponry earlier, and there's plenty of it. Your character can hold two weapons at the same time, and enemies drop valuable weapons that can picked up and switched out. There's AK-47s, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, pistols, grenades, and other military weapons to use. On the gadget side, there's ground-infiltrating claymores, night vision goggles for those particularly dark spots in the game, and C4 which can be planted to various vehicles and buildings to blow them the heck up. There's so much to use that players will quickly find a gun that's perfect for them.
Hidden in most of the levels are intelligence computers owned by the enemy. By downloading these throughout the game, you'll unlock cool cheats such as paintball mode and infinite ammo that can be used in the game's Arcade mode. This unlocks after the game has been completed, and with four difficulties, there's a level of challenge for everyone who plays. Arcade mode takes your best score based on kills, deaths, and time spent in a level and awards you with a point value. There's no leaderboards for this which begs the question: why the heck aren't there? Despite this, it's still fun competing to see who can get the highest score.
Apart from the single-player mode, there's an entire armada of multi-player options to select from. You can either join a party, add a friend (using those damnable friend codes), or enter yourself randomly into a game. The cool thing about multi-player is that even if you're losing, you're still making progress. Every kill, every assist, you gain points. These points are used to gain new ranks. As you earn ranks, you earn new abilities, perks, and weapons to use. New modes also open up for higher ranked soldiers. These aforementioned perks give you cool bonuses such as being able to call in for an air raid on a specific target or group of enemies. Treyarch is actively supporting the community, kicking out hackers, having double experience days, and adding new fixes to known glitches, so you're taken care of online. Additionally, there can be four separate profiles on one system which is always good for people with more than one gamer in the house/apartment/foxhole/whatever.
There's sixteen different maps to explore online. Most of these are taken directly from the single-player campaign, but some are new, too. There's also plenty of modes to participate in including your standard solo and team deathmatch, a capture the flag type mode, and many, many more which are unlocked as your rank increases. Overall, lag isn't too much of a problem in Modern Warfare Reflex, and the community seems as active as ever.
Moving from multi-player to the controls, Reflex allows players to fully customize theirs. Turning too slowly? Re-size the bounding box to a smaller size. There's a robust amount of customization options to utilize and make your own. You can even change what each button does to your liking. Don't like reloading with a shake of the nunchuk? Then you can map it to a button instead. This grand amount of customization is truly appreciated. Like any other Wii FPS, turning is done by pointing your Wii remote to one of the sides of the screen. In conjunction with the analog stick on the nunchuk, you can move and aim around simultaneously with ease. Sure, it may take someone used to dual analog some practice, but once mastered it becomes hard to go back to dual analog.
Activision did their best to hide the existence of Modern Warfare Reflex. Perhaps they were afraid it would steal sales away from the Modern Warfare 2. Regardless, it couldn't be because of embarrassment as Reflex runs and looks very well. Obviously it's nowhere near the level of the HD platforms, but it looks nice enough. There's some muddy textures here and there, and the occasional framerate jump, but other than that everything is here and pleasant to look at. The voice work and soundtrack (including that god-awful rap at the end) were ported directly from Reflex's big brothers, and yes, they sound just fine.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition may be two years late, but for Wii owners it's the best first-person shooter on the system. It has an intricate online system, terrific controls that I greatly prefer to dual analog (but not quite keyboard and mouse), and all of the options and fun of the HD original. Although the visuals are severely downgraded compared to the PS3 and 360, they won't ruin many players' experience with this game. Now one of the best military shooters of all time is now available to Wii owners, and fans of the genre certainly shouldn't miss out on it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/14/09
Game Release: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Reflex Edition (US, 11/10/09)
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