Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 Airport scene… Military perspective

Yes I bought Modern Warfare 2. I haven’t played it that much but I have played past the Airport level with the Russians. I’m not entirely sure how to begin this because my opinion is still fractured on this. On one hand it does carry a very emotional and valid story throughout the level and on the other hand it was completely unnecessary.

The Airport level is by far one of the most shocking bits of video gaming I have ever played. I won’t call it more violent or gory than anything else because to be perfectly honest it wasn’t. However compared to any other game I’ve played, including the long despised Grand Theft Auto series, this was by far the most emotionally shocking. For those that don’t know the jist of the level is that you are an undercover US Army Ranger with a Russian terrorist group who enter a Russian airport and massacre unarmed civilians that are running from you.

The level does in fact help to set the tone for the rest of the game. It’s more or less the climax of the story arch where the War is concerned and it is done very well. If the civilians had been enemy soldiers, even unarmed, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. That’s what makes me think this shouldn’t be an issue. Just because the targets were rendered in different skins then the other hundred people you have already shot up until this point makes it inappropriate. I’m not so apt to jump on the inappropriate content bandwagon just because of them being civilians. The game gives you plenty of options to skip this level and if you still wish to view it you don’t have to participate in the killing of the civilians.

You play PFC Jacobson who is an undercover US Army Ranger; this is where I have my problem. Your commander asks you to enter the world undercover and commit atrocities in the mission briefing. He says you will “lose a piece of yourself” in this mission. That is my real complaint. No self respecting soldier, no matter what the situation would or SHOULD allow this to happen. Maybe I’m an idealist NCO in the US Army but I could never bring myself to do this. In fact I would demand the execution of any US Soldier who did this.

This mission is more akin to what some Soldiers did in Vietnam. The US Military has tried to project its soldiers as professional peace keepers, not violent animals. We get in trouble for wearing any emblem that glorifies death even when on missions where the objective is to eliminate enemy combatants. I just can’t bring myself to fathom what kind of soldier would do this or be okay with the representation of us doing it… even if it is only a video game.

Yes this level does have substantial significance to the overall story of Modern Warfare 2. However that could have been just as easily achieved if this group of Russian Terrorists had tried to bomb a building or attack a Military installation. It was intentionally done to illicit a response from the media and public. I don’t condemn Infinity Ward for doing this, but I fully understand the public opposition to it.

The freedom of speech and media does in fact give them the right to produce this material just as I’m free to give my opinion on it. At some point though you need to reflect on yourself and wonder if this is really what you want to publish to the public.

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