Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most heavily advertised and hyped games of the year, next to titles like Halo 3: ODST. It will no doubt go on to become a commercial and critical hit, thanks in part to loyal fans and dedicated developers alike. However, some of the hype only serves to highlight things that have since become repetitive in the genre and the series, so maybe it's time Modern Warfare 2 got deflated a little.
The first point to cover is the cinematic nature of the game. While there will no doubt be some excellent scripted scenes for the player to join in, this is also the major problem with the game. The fact that the events are scripted makes the game feel less like a Hollywood-esque war where everything is ridiculously intense, and more like just a straight rip of a Hollywood movie. Each Call of Duty game has been so heavily scripted that it removes almost all semblance of reality or free will from the game itself. Some may like this, but there's plenty of potential for some emergent gameplay here, not just whack-a-mole with explosion cutscenes each time you finish a level.
The second point comes from the fact that it is a sequel. Infinity Ward knows how to make good games that appeal to their fans, but they will probably not deviate too much from the formula that worked with Call of Duty 4. Looking for a new experience is not something you want to do here, as there most likely won't be one. It'll be basically the same thing, but with better graphics and a different story. It's a shame, since there's a lot of potential for innovation there as well. If you enjoyed Call of Duty 4, however, Modern Warfare 2 will no doubt be a first-day buy for you, as it will be mostly the same as its predecessor.
Infinity Ward will no doubt create an excellent multiplayer, and have already revealed some of the new features, such as dual-wielding pistols and a different scheme for kill-streak bonuses. While this is neat, there does not seem to be anything else. Why not a campaign that changes depending on who wins a map? Why not some newer and possibly stranger game modes? The simple answer is that it's just not time-feasible, as developers only have so much time to get their door out the game. Time spent adding little new features like that to the multiplayer is time not spent on the next scripted sequence in the campaign, and Infinity Ward has expectations to live up to, both on the part of the consumer and on the part of Activision.
So far, there has been little mention if there will be vehicles, or whether it will be entirely for infantry as before. There will definitely be snowmobiles in single-player, possibly more, but probably nothing in multiplayer, and so far no information on whether or not vehicles will play a part as anything other than rail-shooting sequences in the single-player. This is another sore point, as vehicular combat could definitely enrich the experience. We're not talking down calling air strikes, but actually controlling vehicles to unleash destruction on a large basis. There's lots of potential for even new game modes, such as protecting the tank or some such, but it will probably never materialize.
These hype points highlight the key issue behind the gameplay and story of Modern Warfare 2, and it was even stated several times throughout each point. It'll be a cool game. There will be lots of explosions, a decent story, and addictive multiplayer. Players will undoubtedly flock to it like bees to flowers. But the game will be essentially unchanged from its predecessors. Sure, there will be a few tweaks here and there, but nothing that will really scream that it is continuation and evolution of the series. It's sad to see a series stagnate the way it has, and we are hoping that Modern Warfare 2 proves us wrong, but right now, all the signs point towards it being pretty much the same game as before.