Controversy just for the sake of it?

00:21, Nov 16 2009

After playing through the controversial airport sequence of Modern Warfare 2 last week, and discussing it with friends and colleagues over the weekend, it's obvious to me that every gamer who plays it is going to react differently to the scene.

Personally, I didn't fire a shot as I walked - I can't run - through a Russian airport, while the men around me fired systematically on innocent civilians, filling the air with terrified screams. I don't know what it was but something just made me not want to pull the trigger. Maybe my morality chip was kicking in, I don't know, but something just held me back.

Other friends who have got the game said they blasted through the airport, firing away happily, with one saying he gunned his way through to the end. Another said he fired on the civilians, saying it's just a video game.

For those who haven't played Modern Warfare 2, at the very beginning of the game, before you've even loaded a clip or fired a bullet, there is a warning that tells you some people may find one mission "distrurbing or offensive" and it gives you the option to skip the mission. Don't worry, skipping the mission won't penalise you in any way. You're given another chance to opt out of the mission before you start the game.

After finishing Modern Warfare 2 over the weekend, and contemplating the experience, I feel that the terrorist sequence was totally out of place in the overall scheme of things. It added absolutely nothing to the story - and this is clearly evident in the fact that developer Infinity Ward gives you the option of skipping the sequence altogether. Also, graphically, it looks inferior to the rest of the game, as if it was almost a last-minute add-on.

After playing through the controversial airport sequence of Modern Warfare 2 last week, and discussing it with friends and colleagues over the weekend, it's obvious to me that every gamer who plays it is going to react differently to the scene.

Personally, I didn't fire a shot as I walked - I can't run - through a Russian airport, while the men around me fired systematically on innocent civilians, filling the air with terrified screams. I don't know what it was but something just made me not want to pull the trigger. Maybe my morality chip was kicking in, I don't know, but something just held me back.

Other friends who have got the game said they blasted through the airport, firing away happily, with one saying he gunned his way through to the end. Another said he fired on the civilians, saying it's just a video game.

For those who haven't played Modern Warfare 2, at the very beginning of the game, before you've even loaded a clip or fired a bullet, there is a warning that tells you some people may find one mission "distrurbing or offensive" and it gives you the option to skip the mission. Don't worry, skipping the mission won't penalise you in any way. You're given another chance to opt out of the mission before you start the game.

After finishing Modern Warfare 2 over the weekend, and contemplating the experience, I feel that the terrorist sequence was totally out of place in the overall scheme of things. It added absolutely nothing to the story - and this is clearly evident in the fact that developer Infinity Ward gives you the option of skipping the sequence altogether. Also, graphically, it looks inferior to the rest of the game, as if it was almost a last-minute add-on.

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I loved Modern Warfare 2 but was the terrorist sequence included just to court controversy? Was it added just to generate more interest in a game that was going to, controversial scene or not, sell millions of units anyway? I can't help but think that it was. 

The only other game that I can think of that created as much controversy was Manhunt, from Rockstar, which was banned in New Zealand and several other countries. In that game you play a death row inmate who has to kill gang members for someone called The Director using increasingly gruesome methods.

I'd like to hear from Game Junkie readers who have played the Modern Warfare 2 airport level and ask what were your thoughts as you played through it. Did you fire at the civilians or not?

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