Modern Warfare 2 launched with some great game modes, including new additions as well as franchise classics. This article ranks five of the best.
Modern Warfare 2 features classic Call of Duty game modes and throws a few new ones into the mix. The tried and true modes typically employ the same rules and objectives consistently, but the gameplay dictates so much of the experience. With each new Call of Duty, the modes can feel drastically different from their past renditions. Moreover, it's always exciting to try new additions to see if they will be one that eventually becomes part of the yearly package.
Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer has twelve game modes available to play before Season 1 launches in mid-November. Included among these are the large-scale modes of Ground War and Invasion. The latter features dozens of bots that assist teams in the battle, which is relatively new to Call of Duty, besides the standard private match bot lobbies and PvE modes of the previous entries. Modern Warfare 2 even features a dedicated third-person playlist, harkening back to the one in the class MW2, and it’s shockingly good. However, it remains an honorable mention here. Below is a list of five of the best game modes in Modern Warfare 2.
Search and Destroy, or SnD, has been with Call of Duty since the very beginning, and it returns to Modern Warfare 2 in spectacular glory. It’s highly recommended to play Modern Warfare 2’s Search and Destroy with friends. The mode's objective is to destroy or defend two bomb sites. Each player has only one life per round, so eliminating the enemy team will net a win for that round. Once the attacking team has successfully planted the bomb on a site, they must defend it for a period of time, while the defending team must race against the clock to defuse it.
Search and Destroy has always been highly competitive, encouraging attention to strategy and patience. It works counter to the cliché Call of Duty Deathmatch mindset of sprinting around the map guns blazing. For players having trouble performing well in the respawn modes, it is a good idea to play SnD for a while, as it can reframe a player's approach to the game and make them better at the other game modes and combat MW2’s SBMM. In Modern Warfare 2, SnD is particularly fun on the maps Breenbergh Hotel and Mercado Las Almas. In the latter, the tight alleyways add suspense when turning corners, and the mid-map marketplace becomes a risky shortcut to the other side of the map.
Prisoner Rescue is a new game mode in Modern Warfare 2. It plays almost identically to the Hostage game mode in Rainbow Six Siege and has some echoes of Search and Destroy. The mode's objective is to either rescue the prisoners or prevent their rescue. When the rescuing side grabs a prisoner, they must hurry back to base to score points. Using MW2’s wonderfully complicated Gunsmith to tune weapons for better mobility and handling is recommended for this mode. The round goes until both prisoners are rescued, or the timer runs out. Players only have one life per round, similar to SnD, and eliminating the enemy team will end the round. However, the catch is that alive teammates can revive fallen ones. This opens the possibility of a dire 1v4 situation turning into a 6v4.
Prisoner Rescue plays the best on the map Breenbergh Hotel. It has a nice mix of open space and tight corners. The tight corners can be a place of relief for the rescuers, as running in the open with the prisoner on their back can get pretty dicey, exposing players to Modern Warfare 2’s deadly killstreaks. The mode feels both competitive and fun and provides a welcome change of pace from the classic Call of Duty modes. This one has serious potential to make it into the yearly playlist rotation.
Hardpoint is another classic Call of Duty mode returning in Modern Warfare 2. It’s a high-octane version of King of the Hill. Players on both teams must secure the hardpoint and stay within the boundaries to earn points. Respawning is always enabled, so the team in the hardpoint has to post up well to defend it. Proactive teams can tactically leave one or two players in the current hardpoint while sending the rest to pre-secure the next one to max out point scoring and rank up fast in MW2.
Hardpoint gets really intense on the map Al Bagra Fortress. There is hardly any cover within the hardpoints, making defense particularly difficult. The spawn range on this map is pretty small too. Players often spawn very close to the danger, so the hardpoint is never far away, which gives the defenders no quarter. However, hardpoint really shines on the map El Asilo. The hardpoints have easily defensible sections and some exposed vulnerabilities, opening up plenty of opportunities to overwhelm the team in the hardpoint.
Knock Out is a highlight among the new modes introduced in Modern Warfare 2. It feels like a mix of games like Capture the Flag and Keep Away, and it plays well with SMG loadouts like the Minibak. The mode’s objective is to secure the package, a bag of cash, located in the center of the map. The team that holds the package when the timer runs out wins the round. The player with the package is exposed on the minimap, so they must stay mobile to avoid being hunted down.
Knock Out has the same respawn system as Prisoner Rescue, so the team that is eliminated before the timer runs out loses the round, but fallen teammates can be revived to even the odds. Despite being awful in almost every game mode, the map Santa Sena Border Crossing is surprisingly conducive to the Knock Out mode. The straightaway layout makes controlling the package feel like tug of war, and gives some value to what is otherwise MW2’s worst map.
Headquarters is a classic Call of Duty game mode that has been neglected more than the others. It disappeared from playlists for a while until it was revived in Modern Warfare (2019), and it appears again in Modern Warfare 2. It plays like Hardpoint, but the significant difference is that the team that secures the headquarters can’t respawn until it moves. This adds a wrinkle of strategy that prioritizes life over mindless objective defense. It has a mix of the fast-paced gameplay of Hardpoint and the patience that Search and Destroy requires.
Headquarters stands out on Zarqwa Hydroelectric and Crown Raceway. The headquarters locations on these maps are in areas that are easy to secure but difficult to defend when respawning is disabled. This makes using high-damage loadouts like the LM-S viable, and employing sneaky, hit-and-run gameplay an essential tactic for defending the headquarters.
Modern Warfare 2 is a great Call of Duty, and these game modes make the game what it is. The new additions of Prisoner Rescue and Knock Out are fun additions that will hopefully re-appear in future releases. Season 1 is set to launch on November 16 and will add Warzone 2 and some other game modes to build on the already stellar playlist.
Next: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II Review – It Ain't 2009 No More
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Editor’s Note: A lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges the company has engaged in abuse, discrimination, and retaliation against its female employees. Activision Blizzard has denied the allegations. The full details of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit (content warning: rape, suicide, abuse, harassment) are being updated as new information becomes available.
Eric Huels is a freelance writer. Games with a narrative focus are his favorites. When not writing for Screen Rant or playing games, he's watching as many movies and television series as possible, reading, or baking bread. Eric is also a speculative fiction writer and composer. He graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, studying Creative Writing and Music Composition. His top 3 most anticipated games are Starfield, The Next Mass Effect, and Callisto Protocol.