E3 09: Modern Warfare 2: I Want To Go To There

I’ve been a fan of the Infinity Ward team for a long time, starting with their work on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault when they were part of 2015, through the first Call of Duty and right up to 2007’s Modern Warfare. Just about every game they’re released placed high in our old GameSpy Game of the Year awards, and Modern Warfare 2 looks just as awesome.

The awesomeness came in the form of a behind-closed-doors E3 demo at the Activision booth, where they were showing a ice-covered level called “Cliffhanger.” Your character, “Roach,” is part of a special ops team grouped with a Captain MacTavish; the two of you start the level doing some ice climbing up the side of a mountain, and stealthily making your way around an enemy camp.

There are the expected scripted events, such as when you almost slip off the mountain and MacTavish grabs your hand at the last second, and a small bit of tutorial, such as MacTavish showing you how the heartbeat sensor on your rifle works. With all the wind and snow swirling around, you’re essentially invisible, and so the first section is loaded with lots of sneak-attack knife kills, as well as what I thought was a humorous moment when MacTavish tackles an enemy against a locker. Hey, nothing like slamming a guy against a metal locker to stay quiet.

Of course, things go to hell at some point, and you end up fighting your way across a large airfield, which also provides a convenient excuse for big stuff to blow up — something Infinity Ward has always been good at. The large -scale firefight leads up to the third section of the level: a roller-coaster snowmobile escape down the side of the mountain, complete with near-collisions, falling trees and impossible jumps.


While IW wasn’t answering questions about multiplayer, they did mention that there would be special co-op missions that unlock as you progress through the game. If you remember the airplane mission at the end of Modern Warfare, then you know what to expect: special one-off missions that sit outside the main storyline that you can play both cooperatively and competitively… which I just love.

You might be wondering, “well, how is this any different from other Call of Duty games?” In reality, other than the usual graphical improvements (which look impressive), it’s really not … and that’s just fine. In a way, Infinity Ward’s games show how pointless a show like E3 is: any developer could make a shooter and follow the CoD formula, just as Treyarch did last year with World at War, but there’s just some level of pacing, balance and polish that IW seems to get right — when you see their games, you want to play them, and once you stop playing, you don’t want to stop.

And as usual, Infinity Ward doesn’t show off these games years in advance; every single Call of Duty title shows up at E3 exactly once, a few months before a holiday release, and Modern Warfare 2 will be no different, coming on 11.10.09. In the words of Liz Lemon: I Want To Go To There.