There are dozens of reviews out there that tout Modern Warfare 2's strong points. And they're right -- it's a great game. Infinity Ward took a great game and improved it in many ways. They even added a new mode, Special Ops (co-op missions), which itself provides hours of repeatable entertainment.
But the game does have problems, so let's talk about them. I can only comment on the Xbox 360 version.
First, as often as players avoided particular maps in the first Modern Warfare, and with a guarantee of millions of players, you would think it would have been a no-brainer for Infinity Ward to enable players to avoid those maps automatically.
Why not simply allow players to check/uncheck maps on a list? When a map comes up that the player doesn't like and has unchecked, that person's game automatically leaves the current host and searches for another with one of his desired maps. If the devs are worried players will avoid maps before getting to know them, the option could be withheld until a player has experienced a particular map five or ten times.
Next, grouping with friends seems to be more complicated than it needs to be and even, at times, impossible. Scott and I tried to group up four or five times in Ground War (which allows Live parties), but couldn't figure out how to get it to work. I used the game's Invite option to group up with him in the general multiplayer lobby (that much worked), but then he'd never show up in the same match player list or match. I'm pretty sure I've seen people grouped up (they shared a clan tag), so grouping is possible. But even if Scott and I were missing something, it begs the question: Why?
As for the story, Scott pointed out how strange and awkward it is that the player is thrust into helping Makarov slaughter civilians without any lead-up whatsoever. Are we really to believe that Makarov would include a stranger in such a wild action right away? If not, shouldn't there be at least some passing reference to the CIA agent's gradual infiltration?
Lastly, there's the problem that I knew would bother even before launch. Much has been said about the lack of dedicated servers for the PC version, but the void is felt on Xbox Live as well. The game now switches to a new host when the first lags, which means a pause of anywhere between 10 seconds to 40+ seconds (longer pauses are more common in my experience). This obviously disrupts the flow of the match and screws up firefights in progress at the moment of pause.
Ultimately, it's not that big a deal, but I have to wonder why the problem exists at all when we pay for XBL multiplayer access. Access to online multiplayer has always been Xbox Live Gold's primary selling point, and yet Microsoft doesn't even attempt to ensure connection quality during that multiplayer? Honestly, I blame Microsoft more than Infinity Ward for this.
Another problem I'll lay at Microsoft's feet is the apparent lack of a way to mute all and not have to manually mute every jackass that runs his mouth or makes inane noises on XBL. Apparently, there is a way to mute everyone except your friends, but it's hidden and that's why many XBL users don't know about it. From the Xbox Live Dashboard, go to Profile > Edit Profile > Privacy Settings > Voice and Text > and select Friends Only. Both developers and hardcore gamers often forget that not everybody lives on the internet and is skilled with search engines and forum searches. I recommend to Infinity Ward that they advertise this XBL option somehow.
As I said, it's a great game overall. But these and other issues can be annoying. Anything else you noticed? Could a patch fix the problem?