Joystiq's Top 10 of 2009: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

It seemed like half of the posts we wrote this year were about Modern Warfare 2 -- interestingly enough, the closer we got to the game's release, the more inflammatory the subject matter of these stories became. From leaked footage to dedicated servers to petitions and boycotts to news backlash over that one scene, it seemed like public opinion on the game had turned ugly. Then it came out, and everyone bought it.

That sales success was predicated upon the strength of the first Modern Warfare game, and a trust in Infinity Ward to deliver a stronger single-player and multiplayer experience in the sequel. Our trust wasn't misplaced -- the already compelling and entertaining multiplayer component from the first game has been expanded and improved, and though you may have qualms with the campaign's straight-up nonsensical storyline, you can't deny that it contained more than a few holy crap moments.

The game's main time sink is, of course, the multiplayer mode. Modern Warfare 2's got more perks, weapons and equipment to unlock, not to mention the titles and emblems you can earn by completing challenges. These little incentives are constantly getting unlocked, forming an unrelenting, iron-clad grasp on the player. I can't count the number of nights I accidentally stayed up until dawn, in constant pursuit of that next level. And then the one after that. And then the next one.

While we still would've preferred a cohesive co-operative campaign, the new Spec Ops mode provided a few additional jollies. Some of the later missions were a little too tedious and aggravating for our tastes, but the chance to recreate some of the game's more intense combat encounters with two players was much appreciated.

Of course, the game wasn't completely without fault. As mentioned above, the story was nigh-incomprehensible (Terrorists! Bombs! EMPs! Invasions! Bigger bombs! What a tweeest!), and the online multiplayer was riddled with bugs and exploits that have only recently been remedied. Thanks to this one game, the word "Javelin" will hold sinister implications in the mind of every gaming enthusiast across the world.

Still, these issues don't do much to detract from Modern Warfare 2's overall experience. The explosive single-player campaign, innovative Spec Ops missions and infinitely addictive online multiplayer offerings combine to form one of the most compelling, jaw-dropping first-person shooters we've played in a good, long time.

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.