Though it should've been impossible, Modern Warfare 2 lives up to and exceeds the hype, setting a new benchmark for all FPS games to be judged against.
Nothing about Modern Warfare 2 feels underwhelming, with all modes delivering in spades exactly what you'd want and more. The single-player campaign has a ton of variety in the locations and objectives, so it's unpredictable and exciting throughout. It's obvious how much care and scrutiny went into the campaign to ensure that every moment would have your heart pounding and jaw dropping to the point that the story suffers. It tries so hard to create "oh shit!" moments to raise the stakes that by the end, the whole thing's a bit of a mess. It's still a compelling tale that set the stage for some incredible gameplay moments, but would've benefited from a more logical story that explained its characters' motivations better.
Probably the most impressive thing about Modern Warfare 2's competitive multiplayer is that it finally makes Call of Duty 4's multiplayer obsolete, even archaic. There's just so much more freedom to customize your experience and so many new features and improvements that it's tough to go back. Infinity Ward set the standard with CoD4, making other games feel too rigid and basic, but now they've set the bar a lot higher. The new cooperative Spec Ops mode almost steals the show, though. Every scenario is vastly different from the last and offers a fantastic challenge. It's the kind of mode you can replay over and over with your friends, brainstorming new strategies to shave seconds off your time, and it's always a blast.
The biggest surprise with Modern Warfare 2 is that it takes the unrealistically high expectations people had for it and goes beyond it all. In the FPS genre, this game has no equal.
Modern Warfare 2 / $59.99 / Reviewed on 360