(Pocket-lint) – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is finally here – the whole game is now available to play after a staggered release that let the campaign out early.
If you’re dropping into MW2’s multiplayer, but you’re a little worried about how you’ll fare in its famously unforgiving online arenas then we’ve got some help for you – the tips and tricks we’ve assembled below range from basic to more complicated, but each should hopefully help you to improve your performance over time.
Check out our detailed feature on the game if you want to know more about it.
Get a headset
It might sound blunt, but the single biggest piece of equipment you can get hold of to instantly improve your performance on any Call of Duty game, including Modern Warfare 2, is a headset, even if it’s a really affordable one.
The difference between a TV’s sound performance and the precision you get from headset audio is staggering, and MW2 relies on footstep audio and gunshot cues more than any COD we can remember, so it’s even more of a leg-up. This will help you hear enemies before you see them, and know where on the map the action is, all without needing to divert your attention away from aiming and moving.
We’ve got handy lists of the best headsets out there for PS5 and PS4, as well as for those playing on Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One, and finally for the PC gamers among us, so go ahead and pick one from there if you’re in need of inspiration.
Build your gun for recoil control
Modern Warfare 2’s Gunsmith system is more involved than ever, with Weapon Platforms making for a new way to unlock new armaments, but when you’re customising a given gun there are still some fundamentals you can rely on.
If you’re having trouble getting kills and landing shots, we recommend concentrating on adding attachments that reduce the recoil of your gun, rather than focussing on movement-based stats like sprint speed. MW2 encourages a slower pace of play anyway, so being able to reliably control your gun is a key step as you improve.
For a bit more detail, if you’re playing on a controller you might want to focus on horizontal recoil in particular – this is the side-to-side bounce that’s more difficult to account for than a straight-up vertical recoil, although both are more straightforward if you use a mouse and keyboard.
Try every weapon out…
While the internet will quickly be flooded by articles telling you what the “meta” loadouts are on Modern Warfare 2, if you’re still learning the ropes we think there’s plenty of value to be found in experimenting a little – try out plenty of guns, so that you get a sense for which you like the handling on.
You might find that you do better with a surprising option, or that attaching a specific barrel modification changes how you use a weapon for the better – that’s another benefit of Gunsmith.
…But check the meta
Having just done it down, though, we will admit that there are plenty of moments in every COD game’s lifespan when a gun or two is totally dominant, before it’s tweaked and balanced. In that light, there’s no shame in checking on Twitter, YouTube or Google to see what the current meta is for MW2.
If you’ve got the right stuff unlocked, this can help you build a loadout that can really compete with the best out there, even if it means you’re not really learning too much about what attachments and styles work best for you personally.
Consider ditching the silencer
Modern Warfare 2 launches with a minimap that doesn’t show red dots when players fire unsilenced weapons – a huge bone of contention in the community. However, while this means that audio is more important than ever, it also means that you’re a lot less reliant on silenced weapons in general.
With the freedom to use other barrel options that might help with recoil or damage range, if you’ve got the instinct to slap a suppressor on every gun you build regardless, we’d suggest that you experiment with ditching it, and see how you get on.
Try Invasion for gun unlocks
Grinding up gun levels to get a new unlock or attachment is part of the Call of Duty way of life by now, but there are times when it would be nice to fast-forward that process. Sadly, we can’t help you skip it entirely, but we do find that Invasion is a game mode suited to unlocks.
Because there’s AI running around the map that can be gunned down pretty easily, you can get plenty of kills on board. These don’t net you as much XP as killing a human opponent, but they’re so easy to farm if you find a good spot that it can easily make up for that shortfall.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.