Monday, November 16, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 issues (360)

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?


  1. Microsoft really needs to put more features and filtering options into their matchmaking system, which is what we're paying for with XBL when you get down to it. Very few console games have any dedicated server options and those that do have those servers operating on the developer's dime. Section 8 is the only one to release dedicated server code for consoles.

    AGE created their Friend of Friend (FoF) lists because of the 100 friend limitation. We're hardly the only one using this practice, so adding a Friends of Friends option to the Voice & Text setting would be helpful there.

    After that, individual games can (and should) have their own advanced filtering system which should be saved along with the normal game saves! I can rate players (prefer or dislike) so as you say, why can't I build my own preferred playlist which auto-votes No on maps I don't like?


    Oh and as I said countless times (this applies to all shooters) it's almost 2010. Are we SERIOUSLY still getting stuck on one fucking pixel? Doing the reality::game thing here, if I go upstairs and run into the handrail, guess what? MY BODY TWISTS and I continue upstairs. I don't stand there running in place like a remote control toy whose owner isn't looking. FUCK!

  2. the latest match finder is a pain... i got friends all over the world on XBL and when we all try to get together on a team it takes 5+ minutes to find a match, then when it does it ends up booting at least 1-2 people from our team and then we need to try it all over again... it happens all the time like every day and every match.

    my second issue is actually with the single player. i have 1 more achievement to get and its collecting all 45 intels. well i collected every single one and each level shows that i have all of them yet my main screen shows me at 99% complete and that i am missing 3 intels.

    i've joined Infinity Wards forums and posted my issue / problem, yet no one has even spoken a word or written a response to me... anyone know of a way to fix this? or does anyone have any direct contact info for the development team so i can write to them and ask the question?

    i can always delete my saved Data but i do NOT want to lose all my Spec Ops progress and sure as hell dont want to lose my multiplayer progress. (bangs head onto desk) anyone? any suggestions?

  3. Yeah I really don't like the having to mute everyone when playing in game mode, but didnt have any problems linking up with my bro across the country the first time we tried. Theres always going to be some flaws, but I do enjoy playing this one more than not.
    modern warfare 2


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