I've already posted my take on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's now-(in)famous "No Russian" chapter. I was not content to simply post my own thoughts on the matter, however. Given the uproar and truly interesting commentary that has sprung up around the game sequence, I wanted to survey a few of my fellow bloggers regarding their own opinions and experiences. I received a handful of responses to my request for commentary: Some authors had played the sequence in question, some had not. Some felt quite strongly in the positive, others in the negative. Some responses were longer pieces, others were short remarks or pointed me towards an existing blog post.
As first-person shooter campaigns go, it's definitely in the 95th percentile of enjoyable shooting galleries. But it's also a campaign that worries me. While playing through the brief solo mode (roughly five hours), I couldn't help but be reminded of the stereotypical Bay film: Things blow up, uber-macho soldiers shout, the player performs wild stunts (like jumping into a helicopter for the umpteenth time), and loud orchestral music plays. It doesn't seem to matter that the plot is poorly paced, makes very little sense, and no characters are developed. If I'm a typical M-rated gamer, all I'm supposed to care about is that I shot people and stuff blew up real purty.
In my review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, I disagree with my peers that the game is not a compelling example for games as art, rather it's perfect for a sports argument. Take 36-year-old David Dague of Chicago. When interviewed by The Associated Press, he said the game's launch is like the start of football season for a sports fan, and the comparison couldn't be more fitting. But there's another, more obvious landmark the game reaches in the form of its controversial level, "No Russian."
The Brainy Gamer blog featured a terrific post today directed at Infinity Ward's questionable "FAGS" advertising campaign, in which Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels decries grenade spam. It's covert advertising for Modern Warfare 2, of course, although the acronym with which said message is provided is obviously the source of the most worry.
So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".
Spoiler Alert for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fans!!
This morning on Twitter, I saw a link come in mentioning Modern Warfare 2. I don't really give a rip about it and I've been skipping over most of the masturbatory OMG-look-at-this-new-feature news on it, but this particular tweet was from one of my recent follows who I perceive as being a pretty sharp dude, and his basic reaction to this piece of news was essentially "holy s**t." That in itself isn't usually enough to get me to click a link, but like I said, this guy has had some interesting things to say, so I checked it out.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is an outstanding rollercoaster ride of a first-person shooter that crams so much action into its roughly six-hour playtime that it manages to feel just as grand as games two or three times its length. A prime example of quality over quantity, here is the kind of highly polished, densely packed, cinematic experience that reminds me of why I play videogames.
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