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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Xbox 360, PS3, PC
There once was a time when you knew who your enemy was. The good guys wore white; the bad guys wore black and usually sported sweet handlebar mustaches.
In wartime, telling who fought for what army was as easy as uniform color. Alas, those days are gone and the lines of good and evil are blurred, friends are fair-weather, and your worst enemy yesterday could be a vital ally tomorrow. This is the world of Activision's critically acclaimed first-person shooter, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Picking up five years after the end of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the Russians are again America's most deadly enemy. Ultranationalists control the Kremlin and Ivan's looking for another reason to fight Uncle Sam. The opportunity soon arises, and it's off to war, Red Dawn-style.
Your character moves swiftly and smoothly, which is important because the game skews towards difficult. Even at lower-skill levels, your killing and survival skills will be tested. To that end, most of the weapons from the previous entry are found here, with a few new bang-bangs thrown in for good measure (the predator-guided missiles are a personal favorite). The single-player campaign is short, but plenty of the game's highlights are re-created in the "special ops" mode. Also, online multiplayer shines with plenty of gameplay options.
The Call of Duty Series has always been at the forefront of the first-person shooter genre, and Modern Warfare 2 upholds that legacy. There's little to be found wrong with the experience; the multiplayer is killer, the storyline's gripping (though admittedly, sometimes confusing), there are plenty of replay options, and enemies don't just stand around waiting to be killed. Modern Warfare is as close to a perfect experience as you can get in gaming. —Bryant Franks
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Sony Computer Entertainment America
One of the year's best video games is also one of the PlayStation 3's all-time greatest. Like Lara Croft with testicles, hero Nathan Drake is a treasure hunter who can't stay away from trouble. Good thing he's armed with a quick wit and lots of weapons. Storytelling and gameplay rarely mesh so well. The multiplayer is terrific too. —Michael Gallucci