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Forums > Submission Feedback > honestgamer's Modern Warfare 2 review

This thread is in response to a review for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: November 12, 2009 (07:47 AM)
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Jason, I think this is the best review of yours I've ever read. The parts about how involving this game is, the verisimilitude that has been achieved, the disturbing terrorist segment--you've explored everything that is important about this game and done so with clear, effortlessly flowing prose. That I happen to agree with everything you've said isn't even the point. ^_^ Kudos.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


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Author: Lewis
Posted: November 12, 2009 (08:25 AM)
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So on No Russian, where do you - as Jason Venter, as opposed to Jason Venter in Review Mode - stand on it? Should it have been in there? How well is it done? Is it a solid aesthetic statement? Or is there more to it? Very curious...


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Author: Suskie
Posted: November 12, 2009 (08:27 AM)
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Hmm... I'm very surprised you went into such detail about No Russian, Jason, since so much of that level's effectiveness is due to its unexpectedness. That's the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't talk about in my own eventual review.

This is an excellent review, of course, but for that reason alone, I might actually suggest that anyone who hasn't already beaten the game steer clear of reading it.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 12, 2009 (12:27 PM)
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Masters: Thank you for the kind words. A lot of people felt that my review for the first Modern Warfare was one of my better ones. This game is great and I wanted to make sure that I didn't drop the ball with a hasty review, so it took me a few tries to get a review I liked this time around. After all, I didn't want simply a repeat of the approach I used last time. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Suskie: I felt that going into detail on "No Russian" was required because there's been enough media exposure by now that a lot of the hardcore gamers know about it. Those are the gamers who won't likely care about the content in that mission. I've found that a lot of them respond with: "So what? You kill people in GTA all the time!" So I wanted to discuss it in a way that highlighted what makes the mission especially disturbing (more than just bodies flying all over the place in the relatively cartoony nature of classic GTA), while also warning parents, while also refraining from spoiling other missions and surprises that might not be such a matter of public record. It's an early mission, too, and I didn't spoil the ending--the most important part--so ultimately I feel that this is one of those rare cases where minor spoilers are justified and even necessary.

Lewis: The "No Russian" stage is a lot to think about, and of course I can't really talk about my full reactions without going into rather in-depth spoilers that I'd rather avoid in this thread. I'll type up something for my blog here in a moment.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: Lewis
Posted: November 12, 2009 (01:42 PM)
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I agree it's almost a necessity to talk about it, as it's such an integral part of the game. Simon Parkin based his entire review around it, and the way the rest of the game sits around it, at Eurogamer.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: November 12, 2009 (05:30 PM)
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I must not be as in tune with the gaming community as you two are, because I haven't heard about it anywhere but here. I still completely disagree with the "necessity" of its mention here, mainly because it's so vastly different from everything else the game has you doing. I'm glad I didn't read anything about it before I played it myself.

Anyway, the point is: Excellent review, Jason.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Ben
Posted: November 12, 2009 (06:42 PM)
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I'll throw in my two pennies regarding how much of No Russian should be discussed in the review.

To me, the events that happen in that mission should be regarded as spoilers. Prior to playing the campaign, I heard that there was one mission near the beginning that was meant to be shocking, but I deliberately didn't try to learn more about it. I read Giant Bomb's review and that touched on it, but didn't reveal any spoilers. Then I went on Eurogamer, and ended up closing the review after just a few seconds. Glad I did that, because it let me experience the mission without much prior knowledge except for the fact that it was supposed to be controversial.

Would you want a game-changing moment which is twenty minutes into a film revealed to you? I wouldn't. I'm anal when it comes to spoilers, though, so my views may not match up with other people's.

I don't know if Jason knew about the mission beforehand, but if he didn't, I don't think he should've gone into that much detail about it in the review.

That aside, I most definitely enjoyed reading the review looking back at the game, but I honestly wouldn't want to read it before playing the campaign. Spoilers are a deal-breaker for me.


...


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 12, 2009 (07:01 PM)
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I knew about the mission several days before I got the game, because it was discussed in-depth on Destructoid, CrispyGamer and other places that I've been known to visit on occasion. I know for a fact that it also was detailed extensively on Wired and numerous smaller sites, plus I'm sure that with those places discussing it, the matter was also brought up on Kotaku, NeoGAF, GameFAQs, IGN and so forth... pretty much anywhere gamers get together to regularly discuss games.

I felt safe exploring the stage because my likely audience is made up almost entirely of hardcore gamers who already know of the scene, or parents of gamers who would definitely want to know about the scene before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

Ultimately, my review is guilty of explaining that there's a stage where you shoot innocent civilians while operating undercover. It's guilty of going into enough detail to show that this stage is different from the cartoony, inconsequential violence in games like Grand Theft Auto. I refrained from going any further than that (even though it could have strengthened my point) precisely because I wanted to avoid spoiling things for people who will still wish to play through the mission. I went as deep as I did because I owe it to my readers.

Don't start thinking that on a whim I've stopped worrying about spoilers. I still do everything I can to avoid spoiler discussion in my reviews and I maintain that in this case the mild spoilers were both appropriate and necessary. Thanks for the feedback, folks, even if I don't agree with all of you!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 13, 2009 (01:44 AM)
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I don't want any spoilers, so I'm going to decline from reading the review.

But it's tough. I started to read it and had a hell of a time pulling myself away. Just from that, I know this is excellent work, Jason.

It also makes me feel guilty for never finishing the original Modern Warfare. I kind've hit some mental block around the game when I couldn't beat it on hard. That fucking sniping mission by the Ferris Wheel... erghalfuck.

At least I'll have a reason to come back to it when I finally pick up my HDTV... sigh... one of these days...


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Ben
Posted: November 13, 2009 (07:33 AM)
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I certainly see your point, Jason. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the thought you must have put into how much of the mission you were willing to talk about in the review.

The only thing I'd say to your response is that I'm sure there are plenty of hardcore gamers who have deliberately tried to avoid learning of the scene - some of which are still undecided as to whether to get the game or not.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: November 13, 2009 (08:03 AM)
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The only way you can spoil No Russian is by telling people how the mission ends.

What's really clever about including a mission like No Russian is that it deflects all attention away from the fact that this is Call of Duty 6 and we're still defending points and destroying anti-aircraft guns. The US levels are no different to the Caan levels in 2. Don't get me wrong, I love this stuff. But the series is getting to the point where it's 7/10 at best. Although I do like the Rio levels - they feel fresh and exciting (and force you to employ different tactics than the standard run forward, shoot and crouch against a wall strategy).


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Halon
Posted: November 13, 2009 (09:57 PM)
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I was going to write a rant disagreeing with what was said about No Russian, but figured that I should play the game first to get an idea of where everything is coming from. So it will happen. Eventually.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: fleinn
Posted: November 14, 2009 (12:14 PM)
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"I realize that "involving" isn't all that precise, so I'll qualify."

.. :/ You're describing how you feel about the game. So you're saying you're "qualifying your feelings about the game". It's like saying: this is all subjective, so I'll qualify the argument by explaining how I feel. :p

I mean, it's a good personal perspective review (even if I miss something about how the game plays.. you know, something about how the first person perspective ties into the gameplay, or something). But it would grate a bit less at my brain, at least, if you said something like.. "so I'll try to explain how I felt when playing the game", or something like that. :)


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 14, 2009 (03:22 PM)
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I'm qualifying what I meant by "involving," not how I felt about the game. It's understood that the review is how I feel about the game, but "involving" can mean a lot of different things to different people in different instances, so I'm qualifying how I mean it in this particular case so that the word gains its proper significance in the review. I'm not sure why that would bother you or grate on your nerves. I've done nothing improper.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: randxian
Posted: November 15, 2009 (07:28 PM)
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I disagree with Suskie that Jason should have perhaps skipped over the "No Russian" part. Some people may not feel comfortable about that sort of thing. Also, it gives the otherwise ignorant parents a heads up about what all is included in this game. I think giving people information about something so controversial is a good thing, even if it does spoil part of the plot.

Really enjoyed the commentary about how there are scenes that occur naturally in the levels instead of stopping the action, forcing you to watch some clumsily done cutscene, and restarting the action, leaving you disoriented in the process.

Only thing I don't like is how this seems geared toward people who have played the first. I have not played a single game in the Call of Duty series. There really wasn't much, if any, discussion on actual game play mechanics, but since you gave it a 10, I'll assume there are no real issues.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: Woodybeaver
Posted: November 16, 2009 (03:42 AM)
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Truely nice review. MW2 gets the highest scores from critics I've ever seen.


We are never so happy or unhappy as we imagine...blah blah blah


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Author: fleinn
Posted: November 16, 2009 (09:31 AM)
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@honestgamer: no, no, I understood what you meant. ..but to me, using "qualify" in that way means either explaining technically what "involve" means, or maybe that you're going to describe an image of /how/ the game does involve you. I didn't mean at all that I couldn't see that the game engaged you. Or that the story-telling was involving. But you didn't /qualify/ what you meant with that word. You explained ways you felt the game was engaging, and what you felt when playing it.

Like someone I know says sometimes: "before I explain this, let me tell you what I mean". :p ..It's the same kind of thing. I'm sort of expecting a setup early on - a way to see how you intend to link your impressions to a particular aspect of the game. So is "no russian" what the game is all about in terms of involvement? ..I don't know, it could be I'm expecting to read somewhere about the flow between the missions, use of first person camera, and so on.

(and sorry about the "grating".. I didn't mean it actually irritated me. It was just something that didn't sound entirely right to me in an otherwise good review.)


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