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Modern Warfare 2’s campaign deserves more blockbuster moments

From its visuals to its gameplay, the Modern Warfare 2 campaign is excellent - but where are the iconic, memorable moments that make your jaw hit the floor?

MW2 campaign: Valeria leans back on her chair in the Modern Warfare 2 campaign

Like a lot of long-time Call of Duty fans this week, I merrily ploughed through Modern Warfare 2’s stunning campaign in one sitting. It’s a very good campaign – only on one occasion did I feel my interest slip slightly, and even then it wasn’t enough to make me put it down. On reflection though, I have to say that this largely excellent campaign does lack one big thing that the very best CoD campaigns all possess – at least one memorable ‘wow’ moment.

There are so many iconic scenes from past Infinity Ward campaigns etched into my mind. Shepherd’s betrayal of Ghost and Roach in the original MW2. The Eiffel Tower crashing down in Modern Warfare 3. Reyes drifting to his demise at the end of Infinite Warfare. However, looking back at my playthrough of 2022’s Modern Warfare 2, I’m struggling to find an individual moment that packs a punch at that kind of level.

To be clear, I am more than satisfied with the overall quality and variety of the missions themselves, and while it wasn’t as packed with bombshells and twists as I’d hoped, the story itself was decent too.

It just feels to me that every mission – even those with super solid concepts and enjoyable gameplay – lacked punchy conclusions or epic, jaw-dropping moments. Be warned, that there will be MW2 spoilers ahead, as I’m about to dive into some examples.

The penultimate mission, Ghost Team, is oozing with potential. Although Shepherd and Graves turning against you wasn’t a surprising plot twist, I enjoyed the reasoning behind their betrayal and was glad that it wasn’t a typical trope like accepting bribes or being disillusioned with the cause. The gameplay itself was decent, I enjoyed the changing perspectives between Gaz and Soap, and it all built nicely towards a final stand with Graves.

For it to end in a cat and mouse chase with Graves sitting in a tank while you lob C4 at it – and then for there to be no face-to-face, final words cutscene afterwards – was beyond underwhelming.

El Sin Nombre is another example. Beginning with the introduction of two intimidating, exciting characters in Diego and Valeria, this Hitman-esque mission was fun to navigate. Yet once reaching Valeria and interrupting her meeting in order to capture her, what happens? You kick the door down, blast four or five guards away, and then walk out onto the roof to see her surrendering already. Again, underwhelming.

MW2 easter eggs Warzone: Captain Price with a slight smile on his face

I hoped that maybe the campaign would end with a final flourish, and that its big blockbuster scene would be saved for the final showdown with Hassan. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Again, the mission itself was fairly decent to play through, but to take down that terrifying missile remotely with a few button presses and for Hassan to be dispatched just a couple of minutes later with a rather easy snipe didn’t really meet my expectations.

This lack of dramatic and memorable moments also put a dent in Modern Warfare 2019’s campaign, and to see this continue on in a sequel that actually leans more heavily on the ‘good old days’ of the original, iconic MW2 is disappointing.

While I am annoyed about the lack of jaw-dropping moments, it still doesn’t detract from the fact that I enjoyed this campaign. It looks visually stunning, it makes a genuine effort to avoid too many stereotypes and re-hashed plot lines, and there is a lot of gameplay variety between missions.

It’s just a shame that despite all of these positives, there’s not a single moment I can see myself reminiscing about in years to come.