A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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