Crispy Gamer

Modern Warfare 2: Am I the Only One Who Feels Utterly Indifferent Towards This Game?

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While in NYC last week, I frequented a number of local game stores, including the totally batshit-insane GameStop on 33rd and Broadway (be sure to stop by there the next time you are in New York; it's worth the trip). Each and every store I walked into featured the same digital countdown clock for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. As those clocks wind down today--THREE! TWO! ONE!--as launch events nationwide fete the game (actual disturbing subject line from an email: MODERN WARFARE 2 TAKES OVER NYC'S UNION SQUARE!), I find myself experiencing one of those rare, exclusionary, I-don't-get-it moments in my beloved medium.

I played Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I didn't play it when it first came out because I was too busy playing the shit out of BioShock at the time. But I got around to it eventually. I think I saw what everyone else saw: a tight, taut single-player experience that clocks in at a lean six hours, and some terrific multiplayer.

Make no mistake: Infinity Ward can do things that no other developer can do. The visuals in the first game, and from what I've seen in the second, are nothing short of stunning. I have no idea how they get the PS3 and 360 to dance the way that do. Few games achieve the ridiculously high pants-crapping-to-minutes-played ratio that the original Modern Warfare did.

I get it; it was great.

But at what point did Modern Warfare, and the Call of Duty series, go from being quality games to achieving cult status?

I went to the Apple store here in Vancouver yesterday. And my personal shopper, Elliot, and I lapsed into a discussion of games. What couldn't he stop talking about? Modern Warfare 2.

Canada, need I remind you, doesn't even have an army. And if they did, it would be a very polite army. "EXCUSE ME, ENEMY, BUT I'M ABOUT TO SHOOT IN YOUR DIRECTION." (Blam.)

And whenever I purchased anything at any game store in the last few weeks, I was asked repeatedly if I'd like to pre-order Modern Warfare 2. "We can hold a copy for you for only five bucks," I was told. And when I'd decline, without fail, each and every cashier looked at me like I'd lost my mind.

On a more global scale, what's interesting is how a host of other AAA titles, suddenly, and very mysteriously got delayed until Q1 of next year. Bayonetta. BioShock 2. Mass Effect 2. Lost Planet 2. (I've never seen such a loaded Q1 as the one we'll experience in early 2010.) It's as if everyone just said, "The hell with this," and got out of the way of the Modern Warfare 2 juggernaut.

Will it be awesome? Yes.

But while the rest of the gaming world floods the MW2 servers over the next 48 hours, I'll be here, quietly playing Dragon Age: Origins, and trying to five-star that one set list in DJ Hero, and listening to the sad, mournful ballad of Gay Tony.

You kids have fun out there without me.

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