Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stay Frosty

If you don't want Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 spoilers then you do not want to be here. You have been warned. Act accordingly.

A big chunk of my free time was spent playing this game on my friend's XBox 360. Great game.

If you aren't familiar with the franchise check it out.

Let me tell you this game plays on some old fears.

Taking place about 5 years after the events of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare this time around one of the lieutenants of the main enemy of that game has risen to power. Throughout the game you play as four different people.

CIA Agent Joseph Allen: At the start of the game you go through a bit of training to familiarize yourself with the control and have a small training course to test your skills. After completing this you are sent to Afghanistan to clear out some hostiles in a small town. Upon completion of that mission you will be transfered to the command of General Shepard.

Sgt. Gary "Roach" Sanderson: At the start you are working with Cpt. "Soap" MacTavish, field commander of Task Force 141, in an effort to infiltrate a Russian base to recover an ACS module before it is cracked by the enemy.

The mission Joseph Allen was recruited for was to infiltrate the gang of Vladimir Makarov. You earn his trust by helping him slaughter a Russian airport full of civilians in cold blood. All goes well...until Makarov admits that he knew Allen was an undercover agent, kills him, and leaves his body at the scene. Why do such a things? Because Makarov's plan was to lead the Russian public to believe that the attack was done by Americans and the corpse of an American at the scene (and could be identified as one of the shooters by any survivors) was icing on the cake.

With the world at large thinking America did carry out the attack Task Force 141 sets their sights on Makarov. The only link is the ammo used in the attack that is traced to an arms in Rio de Janeiro.

Back in America it is evident that the Russians were able to crack the ACS before Roach and Soap retrieved it. This allows them to shut down all of America's warning systems and bring a full scale invasion force to American soil. As Private James Ramirez, of the Army Rangers under the command of Sgt. Foley, your objective to rescue a VIP that has crashed landed in Virginia just as the invasion begins (and there are exits for I-395 in this stage if you look for them).

Meanwhile in South America the 141 has found the arms dealer, obtained some useful info, and must now escape a militia that is closing in.

Ramirez's squad is now tasked with clearing out Russian forces in suburban Virginia and rescuing another VIP. The forces a cleared out but the VIP is dead by the time the squad gets to the scene. Three odd things. First, the VIP is never identified. Two the VIP was carrying a briefcase which was opened but you are never told what was inside. Three one of the dead Russians at the scene has tattoos similar to those worn by Makarov's men. Perhaps this will come up in the next installment.

The information that the 141 received is that there is a person locked up in a Russian gulag that Makarov wants dead very badly. Sounds like bait to me. Problem is the Gulag is guarded by SAM (surface to air missile) sites set up on oil rigs. Bigger problem is that there are still civilian workers on them so instead of blowing up the rigs wholesale you have to sneak onto them, save the hostages, and then take out the SAMs.

Once the way is clear Roach, Soap, Ghost (Soap's right hand man in the 141) and crew raid the gulag and bust out the man in question, Prisoner 627, aka Cpt. Price. If you don't know Price was badly injured, left behind, and presumed dead at the end of the first Modern Warfare. You now have a certified badass with you now.

Unfortunately the situation at home has turned to the worst. Ramirez's squad are tasked with clearing out some Russians from the Department of Commerce that are attacking the evacuation site at the Washington Monument. Once you have secured the evacuation craft you take off on your own chopper. This is where things go horribly wrong. Once you take off you are flying over Washington, DC and it is being overrun by Russians. The Washington Monument is damaged, you have to clear enemies from the WW2 Memorial with your chaingun, take out invaders with rocket launchers shooting down the escape craft, listen to Foley contact headquarters, listen to headquarters give the command to "Get the hell out of there!", all the while shooting at anything you can...all before you yourself are shot down. All to the sound of this (Composed by Hans Zimmer who worked on the score for Black Hawk Down). You wake up to the sight of your unit hunkering down behind a wall about to mount a final stand against an advancing force. Then everything goes white...

Now that it is clear that Makarov is responsible for the invasion General Shepard has been given a blank check to go after him and Shepard intends to "spend every cent of it killing Makarov." The 141 decide to turn the tables by procuring a nuke at a Russian sub base. All goes well. The unit parachutes in, sneaks past the initial guards, attacks the main base, and defends the sub while Price secures the sub. Well Price takes a bit further and actually fires a nuke, at America.

Fortunately Price did this in order to "put out one fire by setting off a bigger fire next to it. snuff out the oxygen."

Back in the States the Army Rangers prepare for their last stand when Price's nuke goes off over America. While there is no fallout from radiation the resulting EMP does knock out all electrical systems in the city and surrounding area. Saved by the 141 from the other side of world Ramirez's unit make their way to the rally point Whiskey Hotel aka The White House. Upon reaching it you discover it has been taken by the Russians and must be retaken. While fighting through the White House the unit receives word that DC has been declared a lost city and will bombed unless green smoke goes up from enough locations to show that it is back under American control. Guess what you have to do? After getting to the roof of the White House to fire off green smoke Foley's unit declare that whenever they get the green light to go to Moscow they burning it down. This concludes your play as Ramirez.

Makarov has been tracked down to two possible locations, safe houses at the Georgia/Russia border and an old airfield in Afghanistan. Roach and Ghost go to the safe house and Soap and Price go to the airfield. As Roach you and Ghost make it to the safe house (after first being ambushed) and while you don't find Makarov you do manage to find lots of data on his operations. You download the info and fight tooth and nail to the extraction point. Shepard himself meets you...and betrays you. He kills Ghost and Roach and burns their bodies in a pit. The last thing you hear is Price calling over the radio warning you not to trust Shepard.

Meanwhile at the airfield (called The Boneyard) Price and Soap did manage to find Makarov but as they were closing in Makarov's men are attacked by Shepard's men who are also there to get rid of Soap and Price. Believing that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Makarov gives Price the location of Shepard's hideout. Deciding that Shepard is the bigger fish Soap and Price leave Makarov be (and this is the last you hear of him, surely he will be back in the sequel) and choose to take out their boss. But first you have to get to the other side of the airfield to reach your getaway plane and the only thing in your way is a war between two armies and both sides are more than willing to kill you on site.

With information on Shepard's location the pair head to a network of caves in Afghanistan. At first they are able to start off with quite the bit of stealth but after a while their cover of blown and full on combat ensues. Shepard makes his way out of the back by way of a boat along a nearby river. You (as Soap) give chase with Price laying cover fire. Shepard manages to get to a chopper waiting upriver but Price manages to shoot it down. However your own boat is taken over a waterfall.

You wake up and only with your knife you pursue him from the wreckage. You approach him for the kill but he evades, smashes your head on a nearby abandoned, and stabs you in the chest with your own knife. Shepard draws his gun (the same one he kills Roach and Ghost with) and prepares to finish Soap. But as any villain does he reveals his intentions. Shepard has been looking for his shining moment when he would rise as a great war hero. While the actions of Foley's Army Ranger unit were of no major consequence (in fact since they were acting under Shepard's command their acts of bravery make him look even better) the 141 was dangerously close to bringing Makarov to justice which would end the war since a great hero needs a great villain. Just before he fires Price jumps into the fight. They battle back and forth hand to hand but Shepard gets the upper hand. With what may be your last ounce of strength you pull the knife from your chest and throw it right into Shepard's left eye. A few seconds later your escape chopper comes in and carries Price and a badly injured Soap away as the credits roll.

A pretty intense game to say the least. The invasion of America by Russian forces is a nightmare come true for those who feared war with Russia during the decades that followed the end of World War 2. I especially like the helicopter ride while trying to get out of DC. Very emotional and really powerful. And awesome game and I can't wait for the third installment.

Oh as for the title of the post. Its a phrase that was used several times out throughout the game. Basically it means, "Chill out" or "Calm down".

I spent so much time playing this game that I just had to do a post for it.