The past year has been solid for gamers. Not spectacular, but solid. It was a year that saw sequels rule.
Capcom revived its Street Fighter franchise with an excellent effort in Street Fighter IV.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves built on the success of its predecessor, as did Assassin's Creed II.
And mega-franchise Halo expanded to a new type of game with Halo Wars and its focus on real-time strategy.
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But no game had such high expectations as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. And it met them, making it Gamer's Manifesto's game of the year.
The game wasn't without controversy. Its campaign gameplay is reminiscent of the first installment of Modern Warfare, but the story line took some risks with good taste, drawing the ire of some of the more prudish people among us. In one mission, the player must take part in some no-holds-barred bad-guy activity that involves shooting as many civilians as possible. But other than this risqué jaunt into the world of the bad guy, the campaign game play met expectations.
A new feature of the game was its special-ops mode. Elements of the campaign mode are broken down into small arcadelike levels that allow players to hone their skills and try beating their previous best times or scores. The mode features a variety of single-player and cooperative scenarios that can be as entertaining as they are challenging.
But those are just the buildup. Online multiplayer is where MW2 really reaches its full potential. The game branched out to include elements of role-playing gaming with its perks, kill-streak rewards and customization. Not only do the weapons have about twice as many attachments as there were in previous Call of Duty games, but players now have the ability to use more than one attachment at a time with the "Bling" perk. Getting kills while using a certain perk also will unlock the "Pro" version of a perk that adds additional abilities.
You also can earn the ability to call in airdrops loaded with goodies, guide in Predator missile strikes, call on a plethora of air support, or just end any multiplayer game by achieving a 25-opponent kill streak and launching a tactical nuke.
If you enjoy first-person shooting games and online multiplayer and don't already own this game, there might be something seriously wrong with you.