Where the game falls short of being the year's best game, though, it falls hard. The grenade spam may be gone, but the enemy AI seems to adapt in an unbalanced way: respawn at a checkpoint more than once, and the unaware bad guy around the corner will suddenly anticipate you. The story itself is a joke, stealing liberally from a whole generation of action movies and throwing in a controversial scene that seems to be designed just for a media frenzy. The extremely well-balanced multiplayer matches are marred by the exclusion of Xbox Live Party chat in most of the popular modes. Online servers for the PlayStation 3 version are managed by a third party contractor, and early reports are that connecting to a game has been frustrating and largely impossible for the first five days after it was released. Special Ops doesn't have matchmaking. Since we're not reviewing the PC version, I won't mention specifics on the laundry list of profit-driven and consumer ethics issues surrounding this title, but if you've been reading our news posts, you're probably already well aware. And let's not forget the largest blow of all: co-op removed from the campaign and limited to two players, all so that you don't ruin your own experience.
It seems like these problems - especially the implications and assumptions of the developer - would drive public opinion down, but the plain truth of it all is that Modern Warfare 2 has everything it needs to stand on its own as simply an extremely fun, addicting game. It could have been much, much better...and yet, many other studios will work for years trying to reach the bar that Infinity Ward has so cavalierly set.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but in terms of both co-op and single-player: most of Modern Warfare 2's drawbacks are overshadowed by tried-and-true gameplay and high production value. And of course, the multiplayer aspect is unrivaled on consoles. Can I recommend this game for Game of the Year? Eh, probably not. Can I recommend it for your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Absolutely. What little co-op there is really shines, and I anticipate many "sick days" full of Modern Warfare 2 in the coming year.
The Co-Op Experience: Play through specific co-op scenarios in the Special Forces mode. It's currently being described as similar style missions to the "Mile High" mission at the end of Call of Duty 4. Each scenario has different styles of play like survival modes, timed modes, and unique objectives. For instance one player may use a laser designator to target specific areas for another player who is in control of the DC-130 aircraft.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.