Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Game Poster Image

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Mature shooter with controversial terrorist mission.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This is a tricky one. While you are a "good guy," out to protect the free world, the game is heavily rooted in violence. You will kill and watch hundreds of people die, and in that process see that war is horrifying. The game actively encourages you to not shoot civilians and often penalized (by a game over screen) if you do. However, the game contains an (optional) mission where you go undercover to infiltrate the enemy. While undercover, you participate in a terrorist attack of an airport and must decide whether to shoot injured civilians or walk on by as the other terrorists kill them.

Positive role models

The player is part of an elite military squad out to protect the world from a harmful (and heavily armed) organization. But the player fights fire with fire and must kill hundreds of people in this game. There is also an opportunity to make moral decisions when it comes to shooting civilians while undercover as a terrorist, so the player can guide this portion of the game.


Ease of play

The game is fairly easy to pick up, on both the console and PC versions, especially for fans of first-person shooters. The deveolopers have added special perks for non-expert players such as health bursts when they fail repeatedly and providing an (optional) easier way to target. There's also a good tutorial mode.


As with past Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare 2 depicts military violence in a realistic manner and is played from an immersive first-person perspective. Using machine guns and sniper rifles, gamers must shoot to kill, and blood can be seen on fallen enemies. There is also use of grenades and missiles. The game has scenes of civilian deaths, including a controversial (but optional) airport level in which the player goes undercover as an enemy terrorist. Cries of pain can be heard from victims in this game. Players are also rewarded for "killstreaks," where killing four enemies in a row, results in a bonus supply drop.


Not applicable

The game does contain some profanity, such as the word "s--t," "damn" and "hell." Some Russian words are worse, translating to "motherf--ker" and "f--k," though most American players won't know what this means.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game makes some references to drugs, plus the multiplayer mode lets you unlock emblems tied to your gamertag, including one that resembles a rolled marijuana cigarette ("joint") and one that shows a cannabis leaf.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while not over-the-top in the gore department, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a modern-day military shooter that realistically and graphically shows violence and blood. Much of the game involves traveling to different areas of the world to take down baddies with an assortment of weapons, all played from a first-person perspective. One of the locations is Washington D.C., which is shown as being under attack by Russian troops. In a controversial optional mission, players go undercover to infiltrate a terrorist group and end up participating in a terrorist attack on an airport. As players witness the horrors of innocent civilians being shot, they must make the moral decision whether to join in by shooting bystanders or to walk on by and ignore their screams of pain (gamers are not rewarded or penalized for any action or inaction they take during this scene). The game does contain some profanity and references to drugs, but it's the realistic violence in disturbing settings that is of more concern.

What's it about?

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2, the hotly-anticipated sequel to Activision's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which has sold more than 13 million units to date, once again drops you into a fictional near-future world in which a Russian ultranationalist threatens world security. From an intense first-person perspective, this military shooter engages you in both open-environment and close-quartered fighting, with an assortment of modern weapons ranging from machine guns and sniper rifles to grenades and missiles. Along with playing as different characters spread across the 6-to-8-hour single-player campaign, many will take the game online to indulge in a myriad of multiplayer modes (cooperatively or competitively). With the latter, a new "co-op" mode called Spec-Ops is made up of a series of near two-dozen missions; one highlight is the AC-130 mission, in which one gamer mans the gunship and provides bird's eye instructions to the second player who sneaks across the terrain. The competitive games played online supports up to 18 players and includes mainstays such as Deathmatch (everyone out for themselves), Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and others, spread across 16 unique maps.

Is it any good?


Yes, it is a very good game, but it's realistic portrayal of violence means parents need to take heed to the "Mature" rating (for players 17 years and older). The game's intriguing fiction, outstanding production values (including near-photorealistic imagery, an excellent musical score and voice talent), and most importantly, thrilling first-person gameplay, make this sequel one of the most explosive hits of 2009. Tackling enemies in huge and fully interactive environments -- ranging from the dusty towns of Afghanistan to the snow-capped mountains of Kazakhstan to the gritty streets of Rio de Janeiro to Washington, D.C. under attack -- also help this game feel like a cinematic action movie in which you're in the starring role. As with its predeessor, taking the game online gives it some serious legs and will sure to entertain for years to come. In short, if you liked 2007's Modern Warfare, you'll love Modern Warfare 2.

Online interaction: As with its predecessors, much of the appeal of these games is the online play with other gamers. Some might argue shooting other "humans," played by real players, is unhealthy while others might argue it's a harmless way to blow off steam after a bad day. Also keep in mind, many people also play with headsets and you can her some pretty intense language in these Call of Duty games.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether these games sensationalize violence, and thus, trivialize the role of U.S. troops who lose their lives in the call of duty. Or do games like this give us a taste of what American soldiers go through to protect the free world?

  • How do you feel about the inclusion of the optional "airport mission" where you, as an undercover agent, take part in a terrorist attack on an airport in which hundreds of civilians are killed.

  • Why is it important to keep violent media away from kids? Is there anything wrong with violence video games if you're of the age to play them? Or is it worse than "enjoying" a violent war film because you're actually doing the killing?

  • Game developer Activision Blizzard is using part of the money they will make on this game to create a one million dollar fund to help raise awareness of veterans' unemployment difficulties. What are some of challenges facing veterans?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Available online?Available online
Release date:November 10, 2009
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Language

This review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was written by

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Adult Written bynaildesigner May 19, 2010

Great game

If your not an aggressive parent like the ones who won't even let there kids watch Bambi, then this game is ok for your kids. There may be one level that promotes terrorism, but it gives you the option to skip it and move on. Its not that bad of a game language is about the only issue, just mute the TV. Don't worry about blood in in anything, blood is a natural part of life so parents who think that blood is something bad;WRONG; its natural so get used to it. Its rated M for blood and the terrorist mission but like i said (or typed) those are issues that can easily be taken care of. Enjoy your soon to be favorite game.
Educator and Parent of a 14 and 15 year old Written byJparker August 9, 2010

Maturity and education are key

Call of Duty. My son's favorite game and on of my favorites to. Most parents today take one look at a rating and then make there choice. They do not take the time to read reviews by other parents who have allowed their kids to play the games or watch the movies. This is a problem. COD MOD2 as my son calls it it a war game and it is violent. what you need to remember is that you are taking the part of the GOOD GUYS (The US Army) and fight to protect freedom in other places. The only reason for such a high rating is because of some mild language (One count of the F word) and because of the realistic violence. I like to use games, movies etc. as learning experiences for my kids, With this game I talked to my son (14 years old) about how true to life this game actually is. The gameplay reminds me of the war stories my father told me when I was younger. I think that one could call this game educational because it is so lifelike in the scenarios and in the the tactics used to take dow the opposing forces. The game has good role models in the sense that you are playing the part of the good guys and that you are fighting to make the world safe for all. I tell my kids that fighting is never the answer but sometimes when you cant use your words to change bad people or people who are hurting others,you need to resort to force to keep people safe. I have two kids, one age 12 and the other age 14. I think that this game is to intense for my 12 year old to play. I hope this review helps you with your choices. Dr. J. Parker
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great role models
Parent of a 13 year old Written byblueduck86 August 6, 2010

Great Shooter for kids 12+

I think that kids and teens shouldn't play most M games, but some are acceptable. When people rate games, I think they overrate them. about half the games that are M are the equivalent of a pg 13 movie, such as halo 3, odst. Non realistic blood and pg 13 language isnt so bad as to be treated like a rated R movie, it would be a pg 13 movie. Half the things kids watch are worse than M games, and have much more language. As long as your kid isnt running around your street pretending like hes killing your neighbors with an airsoft gun, then i would trust him/her to play an M game. It's all a matter of whether you trust your kid not to curse or kill people. (honestly, do you think your kids gonna wake up in the morning going, "mommy! I just played mw2 and it inspired me to kill people! bye!") The game does have a mature content filter, so that cuts out most of the language and blood. Just go to the options menu and you will see the option for the filter. As most people probably know about from news stories or hearing people talk about it, there is a controversial level in the game where you go undercover as a Russian terrorist and go into an airport where you massacre innocent civilians. The game gives players several options 1. Skip the level entirely. 2. Go through the level but don't kill anyone, or 3. Kill everyone you see. I had my 12 year old son skip the level entirely. There is no penalty for skipping the level. There is some pretty bad language, but kids hear stuff a lot worse than s--t or f--k (which they say pretty rarely) at school that us parents might not have even heard before. I was picking my son up and there were some 12 year old kids who were fighting and talking like sailors. I asked my son about it (he wasn't involved) and he said he hears kids say stuff like that all the time at school. I actually think the filter is unnecessary until the last level of the game where your character is stabbed and all you see is a big red mess around you. So this game is okay for kids 12+ if you skip the level "No Russian" and use the filter.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models