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Modern Warfare 2 Hands-On Preview

Preview: We've played it again

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The location for the demoed environment is great - a big country hunting lodge (complete with room full of weaponry) surrounded by forest, with the enemies attacking the house from the bushes. Depending on which difficulty setting you choose the number of enemies increases, with Veteran introducing other inconveniences like dogs to contend with.

The second mode he shows us, which we aren't so keen on, is a Time Trial which involves you racing your partner on a snowmobile. Now, this might appeal to some, but purists will probably recoil in disgust - a racing game? In COD? WTFF? According to our guide, it's made more enjoyable when you're playing against a friend as you can shoot them in the face during the run, but we aren't convinced. Someone will probably enjoy it though.

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Special Ops is a neat way of making anyone who fears the hardcore nature of all-out multiplayer feel included in the 'social gaming' experience. Like the exemplary World at War Zombie mode (the best bit of WAW in our view) getting together with a partner and taking on the 60+ challenges will certainly be an enjoyable and challenging way to play the game. It's also worth noting that as well as online co-op there's spilt-screen.

Our chance to shine came with a bit of 'hands-on' with Elimination on the Favela map (again), a different version of the shanty town from that seen in the multiplayer. The main thing we learn from it is you need take it very literally and co-operate or risk losing your partner as he bleeds out on the floor. You can resuscitate them, which is essential as alone you're a more vulnerable target. Oh and beware of friendly fire - in one comical situation we managed to shoot our wingman dead as a thankyou for reviving us seconds before.

The best strategy is to work through the map side-by-side and if you die retrace your steps along the same path, making a mental note of choke points. A further challenge is added by giving a penalty for shooting civilians - kill six and it's game over, or if you're on veteran kill three and your done.

Incidentally, in Spec Ops mode you can set your own difficulty level independently, which will sort out the n00bs from the boys. Demonstrated perfectly by Bowling as he polishes off the job in Veteran with a fellow journo on Regular in tow, more than making up for dying in the single-player demo.

This short re-exposure to MW2 ends with us feeling a familiar sensation to the end of the multiplayer event - we want to play and see more; to get on it for hours, to take on everyone in the room on a new map, on free-for-all. Being brutally honest - the core game, bar a few graphical sleights of hand - is little-changed, but now it's bigger, more expansive and with the potential for even greater longevity.

It's astonishing we're still playing Modern Warfare two years on - and if this demo is anything to go by, MW2 could keep us going for three. Now who was it that was moaning about the price tag?

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