Hmmm ... I got it on the day of release and I'm really not sure about it.
I'm strictly old school when it comes to FPS games and only consider playing them on the PC whether they're solo or multiplayer: you just get way more accuracy and control with the WSAD/Mouse combo and I have been playing that way since Doom came out in 1993, which is nearly twenty years, after all.
I own a Wii, but generally don't get on with consoles in general as I find it really hard to use the controllers. There is a new gizmo coming out shortly that allows a keys/mouse set-up to be attached, but ... what's the point?
You may as well just play PC as do that ...
SinglePlayer: excellent story line, starting with the Cuban missile crisis in the Bay Of Pigs in the early 60s. You're actually strapped in a chair and are being interrogated throughout the campaign section of the game, and the various missions take the form of flashbacks. There are numbers popping up all over the screen from time to time and you've obviously been brainwashed or at least severely damaged mentally at some point in the last 30 or so years. The game then moves through various international incidents that have called for strategic initiatives and covert operations, sometimes in the midst of an all out war (Vietnam), sometimes not (a raid on a Russian silo, breaking out of a gulag). In all, there are 15 solo missions and you work back and forth from 1945 to the present day, sometimes as a Russian with western sympathies, but most of the time as an American.
It's gripping as a story, perhaps the most cohesive yet in the series, and the set pieces are - as always - spectacular. The downside is you can't skip a lot of the cinematics, which is annoying at the best of times but given that the bloody game freezes or crashes SO OFTEN on the PC it's downright infuriating. I have not played such an out-and-out bug-ridden game in years.
It's so frustrating ... twice, on two separate missions, I've had to restart the entire level, and given that those cutscenes can last for five minutes, I've just gone to make a coffee or whatever ... ridiculous.
So, overall: it's good, but it's terribly executed and possibly worth waiting for a patch to play all the way through the solo part of the game.
Multiplayer: I'm going to ignore the Zombie and the training missions as I've yet to play them, but I will say there's quite a cool gambling aspect to the MP game in that you can play four different scenarios in which you put up COD points as a bet: you win the game, you take your opponents currency; you lose, they take yours. You'd better be good !
Again, I've not played these yet, because I've been focusing on the regular MP side of things, but I like the sound of them.
Currency? Did I say currency? Yes, I did .. there's two ways to get on in the game and I REALLY like this development. You not only get the usual experience points, allowing you to unlock weapons as you ramp up the levels, but you also gain COD Points, which is a bit like money in that from the off you can buy guns, various attachments for them, perks and killstreaks. If, like me you like to be stealthy, straight away you can get the silent running and radar-proof perks (called Ninja and Ghost). I then bought a silencer for the MP5 and dived straight in ... happy days
Obviously, if you want to play with a more attacking style, you can choose load-outs to suit that as well, as it's really up to you. I love this aspect of the game as it's very balanced and well thought-out. You still can't get to the juiciest weapons till you climb the rankings, so it's quite a level playing-field which works well overall.
The game engine is the same as WaW, which is a little disappointing as I always found it rather clunky. The MW graphics and mechanics worked better for me, with more accurate shots and a more realistic feel to the physics in the game. With the Treyarch titles, I always feel they're a bit "cartoony" ...
However, like the single player game, having said all those good things about it, there are massive problems.
The lag is unbelievable. I've got a speed of 8 or 9Mb/second, which is pretty good, but I'm getting serially annihilated when the screen freezes, normally as I enter a new room or turn a corner. My PC is a ninja beast, so I know it's not that. Everyone is saying the same thing, moaning about their pings and how annoying it all is .. and I've got my settings on the lowest possible and I've still got problems.
Again, I'm guessing that a patch will address a lot of the issues, in the meantime I'm not playing it all that much as I'm sick of dying all the time. There are already hackers too, with many players having prestiged or at least playing on level 40+ (there's only 50 before you prestige, but there are now 15 levels of prestige).
With a lot of killcams, you see the wallhackers doing their usual thing ... seriously, I wonder if some of the developers don't create the hacks themselves, they're out so damn quickly.
Apart from that, I find the MP game as tricky as WaW, which I never enjoyed as much as the MW games. It's not the weapons, a lot of which are current, it's just the game engine itself and how clumsy it feels. It's just not as smooth or as accurate as the IW titles. And I hate IW for what they did in the last game with the servers.
That is one great aspect of this newer version, the return to dedicated servers: already, I've got a few favourites that I return to, which is always nice.
There are some cool touches with the killstreaks: a radio-controlled buggy with a bomb on it, SAM missiles you just leave to take down choppers, a Blackbird UAV that shows where the enemies are facing as well as their locations, and some interesting variations on rocket launchers, allowing you to fly round a map before choosing your target. It's good to see some serious diversity, rather than the usual airstrike/chopper variations.
So overall, I think there are some great developments in terms of the gameplay structure, but also some massive issues with the actual game itself. Some reviews are saying it's unplayable on the PC at the moment: I don't think that's really the case, but it might be wise to wait a couple of weeks before wading in with either version if you're liable to punch your monitor in frustration with any little glitch .. because there are loads of them and they're big!
Pros : Innovative features, great load-out options, rivetting solo game
Cons : bugs, lag, bugs, lag, bugs, lag
Verdict : wait for the patch and keep playing MW2 till then