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Video Game of the Week – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

It's not too often that The Online Mom reviews an M-rated video game, but the latest Call of Duty title from Activision warrants the attention.

Officially on sale today and already shaping up to be a watershed moment for the video game industry, Modern Warfare 2 is attracting the kind of attention reserved for the release of a new iPhone or a blockbuster movie. Fans lined up at midnight at GameStop's 6,000 U.S. stores to get an early copy, and Best Buy and other video game retailers believe it's the game that they've been waiting for – one that will reinvigorate the video game industry after a near 18-month drought.

In terms of projected revenues, Modern Warfare 2 is likely to produce returns that a film studio can only dream about. The game is expected to sell upwards of 12 million units by Christmas, and ultimately generate revenues of over $750 million!

So if your child is into shooter or action games and owns an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or a PC, get ready for the inevitable request!

But before you shell out the $59.99 purchase price, what is the game all about and is it age-appropriate?

Modern Warfare 2 is what they call a first-person tactical shooter game and is the sixth release in the immensely popular Call of Duty warfare series. Like its immediate predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it places players in modern combat settings, as opposed to the WWII scenes of earlier Call of Duty games.

In single player mode, gamers take on the persona of Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson of the elite Task Force 141 and embark on a series of missions aimed at eliminating the Ultranationalist forces led by Vladimir Markov. Along the way, players can utilize a wide variety of weaponry and vehicles, many of which are new to the Call of Duty series. Players are rewarded for successful kills or "kill streaks" with additional fighting abilities, weapons and other benefits.

However, the real popularity of Modern Warfare 2 will lie in its multi-player options. There are numerous local and online modes, including an everyman-for-himself option appropriately called "Free-for-All"; the classic team-based "Capture the Flag" mode; and the highly tactical team-oriented "Search and Destroy" option.

Modern Warfare 2 also introduces a unique third option called "Special Ops", which can be played solo, with a friend, or online.

But make no mistake, despite the innovative gameplay, the award-winning soundtrack, and the amazing graphics (some of the most realistic video game graphics you will ever see), Modern Warfare 2 is all about killing. The goal of the game is to kill the enemy, and on every mission and in every situation you will be given ample opportunity to do just that. Plus, the more you kill and the better you get at it, the more you will be rewarded. (The game also presents opportunities to kill civilians.)

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has given the game an M rating, which means it may not be suitable for children under the age of 17. The game includes highly realistic war scenes, bloodletting, cries of pain, drug references and profanity-laced dialogue.

Publisher: Activision
Genre: First Person Shooter/Action/Warfare
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows XP/Vista
RRP: $59.99 for standard editions; "special" bundled editions are available at higher prices
ESRB Rating: "M" for Mature

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