Review by SMuffinMan
Great fun, mostly online though
As Modern Warfare 2 was being released, Nintendo was hoping to cash in on the popularity of the Wii owning Call of Duty fanbase with a port of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. They even went so far as to give it the same release date as Modern Warfare 2. What we got was a great game with it's share of problems, but no game is perfect. Unfortunately because Treyarch didn't have anything to do with Modern Warfare 2, Wii owners will be left hanging and they'll have to get a 360 or a PS3 to play that one.
Story: 7/10: The story hasn't changed from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. For the most part, you play as British soldier Soap McTavish with his superiors in their fight against a global terror plot that soon becomes a race to save the world. The story has a few twists but it's nothing original, hence the semi low score. Most first-person shooters don't have much of a story if any at all. Still, it's good to play through the single player campaign at least once. Let's face it, this isn't Goldeneye. I haven't felt that a first-person shooter has ever come close to it, which I consider to be somewhat of a gold standard. The plot here feels pretty rushed and empty because they wanted most of the focus directed into the online multiplayer. It's a shame really as it feels like if they tried, they could have come up with a decent plot if they had taken their time. But like every other first-person shooter, the plot feels pretty empty. There are moments that might hit you pretty close to the heart, or a moment that gets you ready to feel that, when things all of a sudden turn around and it never comes to fruition. The pacing is too fast and it's hard to become connected to any of the characters. It's my hope that future Call of Duty games try a little harder to get you attached to the characters. But overall, the game holds it's own and I suppose if you're just looking for a "brothers in arms" sort of feeling, then this game delivers in plot for you.
Gameplay: 10/10: This is where the game shines it's brightest. Upon picking the single-player campaign, you'll get to select your difficulty which will fix the speed, sensitivity, and responsiveness of your movements. First you'll be given a tutoral on how the controls work, and if you're just using the Wii remote and nunchuk, they're great. I've tried this game with the Wii Zapper, and it's pretty hard to do because you have to shift your hand a lot to hit the plus and minus button for frag grenades and special grenades (flash, stun, smoke, etc.) respectively. You're better off sticking with the Wii remote and nunchuk without any sort of gun casing for them. You use the joystick to move around and the game makes use of the Wii's motion controls. Whichever way you point the Wii remote will determine where your character is looking. The controls may be extremely difficult to adjust to if you're used to first-person shooters on a typical controller. But after playing for a while, it becomes pretty fluid. The A Button will make you sprint, and B is to shoot. Using the Z Button on the nunchuk will let you aim down the sights so you can zero in on a target. Newbies can use the aim assist option so that when you point at an enemy and aim down the sights, it will zero in perfectly on an enemy target. This can land you some quick kills if you aren't to the point where you're obsessed with headshots yet. Plus and minus will let you toss a grenade or special grenade. These buttons can be held down so that you can cook a grenade. But be careful! Cooking frag grenades can be very dangerous. If you're cooking one, you'd better have a target in mind so that as soon as it connects, it blows up. Holding it for too long will cause it to blow up right in your hand and result in an instant death. Again, the controls may take some getting used to but now it's to the point where I wouldn't want to play a first-person shooter any other way. First-person shooters are a great genre for the Wii and it's unfortunate that so many third party companies neglect this console.
Aside from the story mode, you can play multiplayer online. There's no split-screen in this game which is unfortunate as you can't play at home with friends. Regardless, the online is great fun. There are a variety of different matches to select from, such as Team Deatch Match, Free-For-All, Sabotage, Search and Destroy, and quite a few others. As you kill enemies you'll gain experience points that will allow you to level up and select from a greater variety of weapons and perks. Perks are special abilities that can be equipped to make things a little easier. One perk gives you more health and another makes you do more damage. Another perk causes you to drop a live grenade when you die, much to the chagrin of your enemies if they happen to run by your fresh corpse. Each weapon has it's challenges that can be completed to give you a large boost of experience points and unlock different things for your gun, such as camo or a red dot sight, the latter helping with accuracy. There are plenty of challenges to complete and doing so will help you level up a lot faster, so you'll be switching to all sorts of different guns. Upon reaching level 55, you'll have the option to "prestige". Prestiging will start you out at the base level with a new icon next to your name. Unfortunately, you lose all of the weapons that you unlocked and your challenges will have to be completed again. So it's your choice if you want to make this rather large sacrifice for the sake of having a new icon that strikes fear into the hearts of newbies.
The online play is great. It never takes long to find a public match and it connects pretty fast. However, since the Wii doesn't have dedicated servers for it's online games, this game does suffer from it's fair share of problems. With the lack of servers, that means that you're connecting directly to the other players. If they themselves have a bad connection, you're going to experience some pretty nasty lag. Because of this, you'll often have to lead your shots. This becomes less of a problem though as you learn to compensate and problems should eventually become minimal. Unfortunately, hackers also like to make their way into matches. Some hackers will never have to reload while others can never die depending on how they're cheating. Sometimes though, you'll be given the same abilities as them which can be pretty fun at times. Still, these hackers are more of a nuisance than anything and more than likely, they'll eventually be banned from online matches. The leader boards have already been hacked to death, so don't bother trying too hard to get on there. You'd think Activision would have taken care of this problem by now but alas, that isn't the case.
Graphics: 10/10: The graphics look simply fantastic on the Wii. Everything is very well detailed and you shouldn't have a problem making out what's what. The Wii isn't Hi-Def so get over it already, this game still looks pretty good. The graphics look pretty realistic and Wii games are slowly progressing in terms of video quality to hopefully eventually appease those whose sole reason for playing game is for good graphics. But in this game, gameplay comes first and the graphics aren't that important. So if you're a graphics hound, this isn't even the console, much less the game for you. For what the Wii can do with standard definition though, this game looks pretty great. For a Wii game, the graphics are pretty good and shouldn't be a problem. Graphics has never been one of my issues with games. So long as I can tell what everything is, it doesn't have to look mind-blowing or super realistic.
Audio: 7/10: This is one of the game's weakest points for sure. The game has a lackluster soundtrack, though it does have it's moments. The credits theme is kind of fun, despite it being hip-hop. The majority of the game didn't impress me with it's soundtrack though. The voice acting is all pretty good, and the terrorists are especially funny to listen to, especially when they get angry. The sound effects are pretty good too. You'll be able to hear footsteps if someone is sneaking up on you unless they have a certain perk equipped. All of the guns sound fine and if a chopper is closing in on you, you'll be able to hear it and have time to hide in case you don't want to pay attention to your map because you're in enemy territory. Still, this game presents a pretty lousy soundtrack and here's hoping this will improve with future installments. Much like the story for the single player campaign, it feels like they didn't try very hard in this area.
Overall: 8/10: This game has it's fair share of it's strong points and it's weak points. If you're looking for some great online multiplayer on the Wii, this is definitely a game for you, especially if you like first-person shooters. The campaign is pretty lackluster and it would've been nice if they put some thought into it, but of course they didn't because of this game's target demographic. Most people who are into first-person shooters value story very little and would rather just shoot at things for a few hours. Still, this game can be plenty of fun and if you want great controls for a first-person shooter, then go ahead and get yourself a copy of this game, you more than likely won't be disappointed.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Reflex Edition (US, 11/10/09)
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