(Activision for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
One of the more enduring questions du jour in gaming in 2009 was: With multiplayer gaming exploding in popularity, is the single-player experience dying? It’s not, but the Modern Warfare series is one of the few that can claim to have a multiplayer experience that is as complete, polished, and satisfying as the best single-player games. Modern Warfare 2 has a great solo campaign that strings together spectacular set pieces at a breakneck pace and is crafted with enough finesse to keep it from feeling like a shooting gallery. Why then does it take enormous willpower to simply make it through the handful of hours it takes to complete? It’s because the whole time you’re thinking “I could be playing multiplayer. I could be playing multiplayer.” It’s that good. The FPS gameplay has been polished to a sheen that eclipses even Halo 3, so no matter how many times you die, you know it was your fault and not the game’s, and you jump right back into the fray. As you progress through the ranks and unlock weapons, your tactical options become limitless, and creating customized versions of your character can spin how you approach a match into dozens of rewarding directions. The new question for 2010 should be rephrased: When is the last time you played a single-player game as compulsively as MW2?