The second game in the Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, was released on November 10th, 2009 to great financial and critical success just like it’s predecessor, although certain fans had mixed feelings due to the game’s departure from grounded-realism to scenes inspired by Hollywood action films such as a Russian invasion from Red Dawn. The game’s story begins roughly five years after Call of Duty 4, set in 2015 where (Despite the death of Imran Zakhaev) the Ultranationalists have managed to gain public support and Boris Vorshevsky, the official leader of the Ultranationalist Party has been elected president of the Russian Federation.
That the Ultranationalists somehow managed to gain the support of the Russian people is very unlikely, as in Call of Duty 4 it’s shown that the Ultranationalists use rocket attacks against civilians, show little disregard to even the elderly and will massacre entire villages. However, in Modern Warfare 2 Boris Vorshevsky has made the Ultranationalists more political, while a psychotic new villain, Vladimir Makarov, has taken over Zakhaev’s place. Supposedly, Zakhaev kept Makarov in line, and with his death Makarov has taken over part of the Ultranationalists and split with Vorshevsky. Makarov himself is incredibly violent and bloodthirsty, to whom death means nothing and hates the West more than anyone in the Ultranationalists.
In reality, there was a group known as the National Bolshevik Party that was registered as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which advocated the return of the USSR and was roughly 10,000 strong. However, eventually the NBP dissolved when the leader, Eduard Limonov, pursued a more political approach and founded The Other Russia party. This move caused some members to splinter into other groups such as the National Bolshevik Front, whose ideals are more radicalized than the main NBP as some found Limonov to be collaborating with Western influences.
Also, a real-life terrorist group al-Qaeda was led by a radical named Osama bin Laden (As most people obviously know). The attacks by al-Qaeda on the World Trade Centers on September 11th, 2001 began the War on Terror. Three years ago in 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs and was subsequently replaced by Ayman al-Zawahiri who is considered by some to be more dangerous than Osama bin Laden, who in the later years of his life was becoming less active in the leadership of al-Qaeda.
The game’s main protagonists are a group of special forces drawn from the U.S., United Kingdom, and Canada (Although it’s never specified outside of shoulder patches) called Task Force 141 under the command of an American named General Sheperd. The purpose of TF-141 is to kill or capture Vladimir Makarov, who uses his influence in the Ultranationalists to threaten the West. In Afghanistan, there is a unit of special forces soldiers called Task Force 373, who operates based on a list known as the Joint Prioritized Effects List, a list of Taliban and al-Qaeda members as well as other individuals who assist the war effort against ISAF forces. The operations conducted by TF-373 are kept top-secret, so much so that other ISAF forces are not aware of them and all orders are received directly from officials within the Pentagon.
The plot of MW2 really picks up with a (Controversial) mission named “No Russian” where Makarov, three other Ultranationalists and the player (A U.S. Army Ranger named Joseph Allen, picked by Sheperd to infiltrate the Ultranationalists) attack an airport in Moscow named “Zakhaev International Airport.” The attack consists of gunning down huge numbers of unarmed civilians, airport security and FSB (Federal Security Service) forces before Makarov shoots Allen and leaves him to be found by the FSB. The FSB for some reason have “MVD-RF” in Cyrillic on their shoulder patches, meaning Ministry of Internal Affairs – Russian Federation, which is an entirely separate organization. They also utilize more NATO weapons, such as the MP5k, FN F2000, M9 pistol, SPAS-12, and the Israeli TAR-21 instead of locally manufactured Russian weapons. The level is named “No Russian” because Makarov’s group only speak English, and also use M240B light machine guns (Used by the U.S. military for example) and leave Allen, an American to be found so that it will cause a war between the United States and the Russian Federation.
While such an event would be extremely detrimental to Russian foreign relations, there would have to be steps taken prior to a full war. For example, not only would the FSB be investigating the incident, but also the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) as well as the American FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and the NSA (National Security Agency) to determine the cause behind the attack. There is also security footage clearly showing Makarov was the one leading the attack, so why would the man who hates the West more than anyone in the Ultranationalist Party ally with an American soldier, then subsequently kill him? Especially when the Russian authorities know that Makarov thinks of President Vorshevsky as a traitor and has committed previous acts of terrorism against Russia in the past?
Regardless, the Russians use a captured U.S. ACS satellite (Containing security codes or something to that effect) to hack the U.S. early warning network and make it appear that an airborne invasion force is inbound to the West Coast, while the actual force invades the East Coast in an effort to capture Washington D.C. The Russian paratroopers, VDV (Air-Landing Forces) use more NATO weapons such as the Vector, the Striker, the FN FAL, with the only Russian-made weapons being the AK-47, the RPD, and the SVD. This is odd as the Russian military would have to supply the VDV with NATO ammunition while only using very outdated Russian weaponry.
The AK-47 used is also particularly strange as it has synthetic furniture, uses plastic magazines and has an AR-15-style stock. This is strange as this is obviously not an AK-47, but more likely a more modern version such as the AK-74, while the stock is not even an AK-style stock. The only way it could have a different stock is if it was modified by the owner, and there’s no reason the Russian military would modify their own rifles with an American stock. Also, if it were being used by the VDV then odds are it would have a folding stock to make it more compact while troops are being transported by airplane.
The Russian forces mostly use BTR-80 infantry fighting vehicles, even though the BMD-3 is developed specifically for the VDV. Very few Russian tanks are ever encountered, although radio chatter sometimes mentions the (Again, outdated) T-72 being used, as well as the T-80 tank. While the T-72 is very lightweight compared to NATO tanks, it is very old and would be at a bad disadvantage to the modern M1 Abrams, as illustrated by Iraqi tanks during the Gulf War and the War in Iraq. Oddly the only aircraft used by the Russians are the MiG-29 “Fulcrum” fighter, the Mi-28 “Havoc” attack helicopter, and the An-124 transport aircraft. The Russian air force only has twenty An-124’s, while the MiG-29 is also becoming outdated and would not have the fuel capacity to fly from Russia to the U.S., dogfight then return to Russia without aerial refueling. Unless they were MiG-29K’s operating from the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier although other aircraft such as the Su-27 “Flanker” or the Su-35 “Super Flanker” would have a much better survival rate against U.S. aircraft.
Despite the Russians managing to get the upper hand, an EMP blast disables all electronics and allows the American forces to recapture Washington D.C., while it turns out General Sheperd was a traitor who helped Makarov start World War III so that “There would be no shortage of patriots.” The game ends with two protagonists from TF-141 (Whom Sheperd had killed with his own group of special forces called “Shadow Company” to tie up loose ends) killing Sheperd, and subsequently going into hiding with an ally from Call of Duty 4, a Russian named Nikolai who had been a Loyalist and is now himself in hiding too, while World War III rages and Makarov is still in hiding.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is more similar to an action movie than the headlines-inspired story of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and as such the realism begins to decline. As such, this is where visuals take priority over plausibility, and issues both with equipment and politics become more apparent. If you liked the article, comment or suggest another game or topic you’d like to see in the future, and stay tuned for the final article in this three-part series; as always, thanks for reading.