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Modern Warfare 2 Story Mode: Final Smack

The story mode in Modern Warfare 2 is a perfect example of how games want to mimic films, and proves exactly why they shouldn’t. They try quite hard to make some good scenes, and they actually show talent in the composition of shots and even in some of the mechanics. But the truly moronic plot and the deep lack of agency put all of that to waste, and make the entire experience a laughable failure. Just go straight to other modes. This mode is just an exercise in disappointment. More info within.


  • There are some good camera angles in this game. They do know how to compose shots.
  • The basic combat mechanic is pretty fun when you actually have the chance to do it.  The scenes where you actually get to fight for yourself can be very cool.


  • The narrative literally makes no sense. Illogical things happen. Characters have no consistency.  And the core plot is so stupid even trying to ignore it will not help.
  • The game is so committed to trying to tell its story well that it deprives you of agency to tell the story they want. That lack of agency is so profound that you can often do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in a scene and still proceed. That is not fun.
  • There is almost no set-up to any scene. This coupled with the above makes it impossible to care about anything that’s going on.


Don’t play the story mode unless you want a visceral example of why games should not try to emulate movies. I am being literal when I say that you will do almost nothing in this game. The fact that they create some nice images makes it even more disappointing that they don’t let you have any control and that so many scenes resolve regardless of what you do, including nothing.  I’m sure the other modes have value, but there’s nothing worth playing here.

Posted in Hardcore, Reviews.

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2 Responses

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  1. awkm says

    I heard a lot about how Metal Gear’s cut scenes were always too long. Akel sent me Kojima’s keynote from GDC 2009 and he himself is making fun of the length of the them for much of the presentation too. But after watching the keynote (never played enough MGS), I can’t imagine Kojima making the same mistakes as the devs of MW2 with creating a rail-like narrative.

    I guess the complete opposite to MW2 would be Heavy Rain where I hear agency is heavily rewarded. With Chinese New Year just starting, I’ve got my hands on some mad lucky monies. Maybe I’ll pick up a PS3 to play MGS4 and Heavy Rain.

    Though it’s terrible, I suppose I’ll have to play through MW2 just to see what not to do.

  2. Douglas says

    Your comments on lack of agency, while I agree are spot-on, make me think of this YouTube video: “Ramierez! Do Everything!”

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