I just bought Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and played the first couple levels. The game retails between € 44 (Amazon and the Saturn/MediaMarkt chain) and a whopping € 59,99 (Steam and GameStop) here in Germany. Interesting price differential, which is probably reminiscent of Activision’s request for higher game retail pricing.
Installation is not really smooth; at least on my hardware (RAID1, quad core with Vista 64Bit) it took a whole while to install and then to verify the installed version in Steam. The Steam platform seems to be obligatory for this game; there’s no way around it. Since the Steam servers seem to be under heavy load at the moment, this is not really a good thing (but I remember that from earlier releases, e.g. HL2 and Counter-Strike: Source). In addition, there is no dedicated server, but all multiplayer is done from within IWNet, a platform owned and operated by the publisher. This is bad news for my gameserver hosting company, Stormix.
As soon as you start the game, it goes “woah”. Apart from the usual tutorial level, you’re thrown right into the action and the action is just amazing. In terms of dying all the time or tactical things, it might not be as gritty and realistic as, say, ArmA2 or Operation Flashpoint 2, but it conveys a unique sense of immersion that is so typical for the “Call of Duty” franchise.
I’ll update this post (or post more) as soon as I have advanced through the levels, but one thing’s for certain: If you like scripted shooters that don’t let you breathe, go buy CoD:MW2. Now.
You can find screenshots in my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Gallery