Modern Warfare 2 - Part 1

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

2016: This is where things start to get a little bit complicated.

Shepherd recruits Army Ranger Joseph Allen for a top secret assignment. Allen is given a new identity and sent undercover to infiltrate Makarov's terrorist outfit, which he manages to do. The thing is, Shepherd actually wants Allen to fail in this mission, and secretly ensures that he'll be found out by leaking information to Makarov. It's not clear whether he does this indirectly, or if the two men are knowingly working together despite being enemies.

Two members of Task Force 141 - Captain MacTavish and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson - are despatched to a Russian airbase in the Tian Shan mountains. They have been sent to recapture an ACS module - a highly sensitive bit of kit that was aboard a satellite that crashed. The module itself plays a crucial role in maintaining the United States ' defense grid. MacTavish and Roach succeed in recapturing the module; unfortunately the Russians have already copied the information they needed from the device, but no-one knows this yet.

Makarov and his men launch a horrific attack on Zakhaev International Airport, massacring countless civilians. Crucially, the terrorists keep their identity a secret, remaining silent throughout so that their nationality can't be confirmed. Just as the gang are about to escape, Makarov unexpectedly shoots and kills Allen. When the authorities close in, they find his body and realise he's an American. The Ultranationalists declare war on the USA, and the poop hits the fan.

Here's the kicker, though: Shepherd planned for all this. He set up Allen to fail in his assignment, he (presumably) arranged for the ACS satellite to be brought down. Why? Because if the Russians start World War III and invade the USA, thousands of people will join the military, and he'll be in charge of a massive force that will allow him to get some payback for the events of CoD 4. Or as Shepherd puts it himself, towards the end of the game:

"Five years ago I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye - and the world just f***ing watched. Tomorrow there will be no shortage of volunteers, no shortage of patriots."

There are a number of logistical problems with Shepherd's plan. How did he arrange for the satellite to crash, and in exactly the right place? If he wants the Russians to have the ACS module, why did he send Soap and Roach to get it back? It seems unlikely that Shepherd and Makarov would directly collaborate, but if this wasn't the case then how did Shepherd know that Allen would be killed and framed at exactly the right moment?

Beyond this, it seems weird that Shepherd wants to do this in the first place. He's already powerful, for a start - and by helping the Russians to invade he's actually weakening his own side, not to mention the American economy. And if it's all revenge for what happened five years ago, why is he helping Makarov, who was Zhakhaev's buddy? It's like two football firms agreeing to organise a brawl after a match, only on an international level.

The real answer to all these questions: because it's a video game, that's why.

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User Comments

riley0818mw2's Avatar


In order to understand :excited: Call of Duty you have to play all the Campaign Missions in all Call of Duty's
Posted 03:07 on 08 May 2012
87Sarah's Avatar


I haven't even thought about buying COD for the storyline...
Posted 15:45 on 04 November 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar


Cheers guys. I wrote this some time ago, but I have to say I rather enjoyed doing it.

For me, the interesting thing to note is that CoD 4 clearly had a much, much better plot than MW2. I know that this was never really in disputem, but when you have it all laid out on paper (well, screen), it really is quite striking.

MW2 had lots of great moments, but the plot was totally all over the place. And even CoD 4 seriously drops the ball with the Four Horsemen. Makarov may turn out to be Horseman 4, but that clearly wasn't the plan at the time, was it? They'd have mentioned it in MW2, somehow.

Of course, the really telling thing is that MW2's campaign still works, despite being fairly nonsensical. If you give people pure mayhew in the right quantity, you don't need narrative sense.

Although I'd still say that the campaign in CoD4 was the best we've had so far...
Posted 14:52 on 04 November 2011
draytone's Avatar


If you could to the write up including MW3 after its released then I won't have to play it! Yay!
Posted 11:20 on 04 November 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar


Yay! cheers for that Neon, like others have said we now know the story without having to replay the old.
Posted 08:09 on 04 November 2011
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga@ squidman

Exactly. ;)
Posted 20:24 on 03 November 2011
squidman's Avatar


I also found it useful! And it means I don't have to replay CoD4 before Tuesday so hurrah.
Posted 20:15 on 03 November 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I found it a gripping read. I also note that it's one page for each hour of gameplay in the singleplayer campaigns, unless you count mile high on Veteran which took me 9 hours. (It's a 60 second mission).

The fourth horseman is George Papandreou who has to destabalise Europe sufficiently enough so that Cost and Shower Gel (new undercover names to avoid Interpol) can crack a couscous in the Caucus joke to break the tension after an over the top set piece involving a minigun, a fuel depot, a nuclear tank batallion and a banana skin.
Posted 19:15 on 03 November 2011
altaranga's Avatar


I actually found this very useful. Cheers Neon.
Posted 18:53 on 03 November 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog@ squidman

It's a retcon job if that turns out to be the case; there's no mention of the Horsemen thing after the first half of CoD 4.

I reckon they just forgot to include a fourth character.
Posted 15:46 on 03 November 2011
squidman's Avatar


The only thing I would add is Operation Kingfish, the short official fan film that explains the start of TF141's campaign against Makarov and how Price ended up in the gulag in the first place:

Also, I assume Makarov is the fourth horseman.
Posted 15:32 on 03 November 2011

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