Modern Warfare 2’s Story Shines Despite Flaws


Rights reserved to Activision

The loading screen for the “Kill or Capture” mission.

By Gabriel Cabello Torres, Technology Editor

Call of Duty has been a staple video game franchise for years. Ever since its original Modern Warfare release in 2007 was met with resounding success, it became apparent that there was no slowing down this first-person shooter giant. After years of releasing both legendary games and games players wish they could forget, the franchise rebooted an old series that already got closure in 2011. 

The Modern Warfare series featured an intense, enthralling story following a beloved cast of characters. Anybody who has played this series can recall how fun the gameplay was, as well as the trash talking on online servers. The first reboot, Modern Warfare (2019), saw massive success on both the sales and ratings charts. With such a massive hit, fans couldn’t wait for the release of Modern Warfare 2.

Modern Warfare (2019) offered a refreshing story featuring the beloved characters Captain Price and Gaz, the latter of which died in the original MW game but was then revived. However, these were the only characters to make a full return , and it wasn’t until an end credit scene that we got confirmation Soap, Ghost and General Shepherd would make a reappearance.

The story starts off with a simple mission. You start playing as Ghost and all you do is go up to a ridge and confirm a strike on a high value target. This strike decimates every hostile in sight without giving them a chance to react. It’s a brutal and glorious explosion that makes even the  seasoned soldier Ghost curse. It’s not much in terms of gameplay but it serves as the spark that sets off a chain reaction of significant events that will take place in the campaign.

On an honest note, while it was cool seeing Ghost again, the punch this mission could have  had was lacking. I firmly believe that it was a mistake  to showcase him in so many cutscenes in the Warzone gamemode. It desensitized me to seeing Ghost in action. Thankfully, the story eventually makes up for it.

The story brings you to a variety of locations from Mexico to Spain to Urzikstan, a fictional country in the Middle East. The game doubles down on the thrilling, slow-paced tactical clearing introduced in Modern Warfare. The weightiness of the weapons can be felt. You don’t run amuck  like a supersoldier on three adrenaline shots; you lug around gear with a realistic heftiness. This pairs beautifully with how the difference between firing a pistol and a shotgun is displayed on screen. 

What’s even better is that certain missions allow you to swap between  pieces of equipment. This gives you the opportunity to deal with enemies how you want to instead of following the script. Armored enemies were introduced back into the game, but now a shield shows up when you shoot one. The shield icon shatters when you  break their armor; this is essentially the same principle applied to armor in Warzone. The same can be said for ballistic helmets. 

Modern Warfare 2 isn’t free from bugs. I have been stuck in an area because the game refused to load what would be a cutscene in the next area, which could only be accessed by opening a door. Enemies glitching through doors, ally models speaking without moving their mouths, and enemy AI being inconsistent are just some of the many bugs that can disrupt gameplay .

Several missions make the game exciting in its own right. Taking control of a gunship was reminiscent of the original Modern Warfare, but forced you to be more careful lest you obliterate a poor ranchero who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. One mission puts you on a ship that is in the middle of a storm which causes all the crates and cargo to slide around. This was intense and having to play a Mario Party-style minigame while gunning down hostiles was entertaining and totally unexpected. 

Some missions were lackluster. Take “Violence and Timing,” which essentially forces you to hijack moving vehicles while taking out other enemies. It felt more like a chore than a fun experience. While introducing new controls, it couldn’t help but come off as a gimmicky mission in the long run.

If any mission made this game amazing, it was “Alone.” 141 encounters an unexpected conflict causing Ghost and Soap to flee. Soap manages to escape but gets shot in the process. He tries to phone in on Ghost through his comms and carry on. Soap is outmanned, outgunned, and losing a lot of blood. Everyone is on the lookout for him and he has no way of efficiently taking them out…yet. 

This mission introduced a fresh type of gameplay that hasn’t made me feel this nervous since “All Ghillied Up” in the original Modern Warfare, when you had to sneak through a platoon of hostile soldiers and ATVs. The last thing I was expecting from a Call of Duty game was a “survival horror” mission where your wits are your best weapon. Ghost guides you through crafty traps and tools that could aid you in taking out enemies or creating a diversion. However, you have no way of taking out enemy foot soldiers until you’ve found a weapon. Even when you acquire a knife, it still forces you to get up close and personal with the risk of being found. Using a pistol isn’t exactly ideal either; it’s loud and since Soap is injured, you have to be careful about properly aiming your weapon to finish off your enemies before you get finished off first. 

What makes this mission so memorable is how Soap and Ghost’s relationship as teammates is strengthened. The two banter throughout the mission and you have dialogue options for much of it. You are still on your own, but having the assurance that someone is waiting and holding out for you gives the story a lot more meaning. What’s nice about this level is that as you are progressing through it, you’re given new terrain to work with and you have the chance of discovering more materials and secrets to aid your trial by fire.

The story shines with a cast of fresh new characters with their own personalities. None of the teammates are one-dimensional. Ghost and Soap become an iconic duo, demonstrating what brotherhood is like. Ghost was originally more of a lone wolf but eventually opened up to Soap and the rest of 141. It’s not a central part of the story but you love to see it. Their relationship also serves as a nice parallel to the eager “student” and seasoned veteran relationship that Price and Gaz have. The game puts every protagonist through a crisis moment that drives both character development and plot. It’s a solid story and even though it can be a little predictable, it’s still engaging. 

The “141 Crew” picture at the end of the game. (Rights reserved to Activision)

Overall, Modern Warfare 2 does an excellent job of introducing new gameplay mechanics while keeping the story going. While it might not be as impactful as the original Modern Warfare 2 story, it’s still an exhilarating ride that won’t disappoint. Fans can expect this game to be a step up in areas such as gameplay. Players will find themselves excited for the third installment, in which a prominent enemy from the original trilogy will return.