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‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’ a battlefield hit

Some companies release a game knowing it will be a blockbuster hit.

There was no guesswork with Infinity Ward’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.” The sequel to the 2007 original, which became one of the best selling games in history, was released to great fanfare Nov. 10 and became the biggest launch in entertainment history in terms of revenue. That means the game, which made $310 million in North America and the United Kingdom in the first 24 hours, outgrossed any book, movie or music release in history, although it helps that the cost of a game is higher than any of the other media.

The game grossed $550 million in five days, and 2.2 million people played the game on Xbox Live in the first 24 hours.

It seems pretty obvious by the sheer number of people interested in the game that Infinity Ward has produced a strong sequel. But just how good?

It’s right there with “Uncharted 2: Drake’s Fortune” as the best game of 2009.

What makes this game so good, however, is that Infinity Ward stuck to its formula for the original game.

The campaign centers around a multi-national, anti-terrorist group tracking down Russian terrorist Vladimir Makarov. The campaign takes the gamer around the globe chasing Makarov and his terrorist cell. Just like in the original, there are plenty of surprises in the campaign mode.

Also back is the awesome online multiplayer mode, which was what made the original such a hit. There were hundreds of thousands of gamers still playing the original online two years after its release. The multiplayer mode has some new tweaks, but they are for the better.

“Modern Warfare 2” would be great with just the campaign and the online modes. The first game in the series was one of the great games of all time, so a carbon copy with new missions would have satisfied almost every buyer. But Infinity Ward added a third game mode, the co-operative “Spec Ops” mode.

In Spec Ops, you and a partner play through different missions that take place at locations in the campaign mode but that are completely self-sufficient challenges. Some included sniping, disarming bombs in the Rio de Janeiro slums and timed snowmobile racing.

Few games — if any — will package three separate game modes into one. It means that “Modern Warfare 2” will have even more online value than the original, and that people will be playing this for the next few years until a third game in the series is released.

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