Yes, we understand that you'll be boycotting Modern Warfare 2 because you want dedicated servers or are offended by its viral advertising. What will you be playing instead? Here are several suggestions.
With a goodly portion of the gaming community tied up playing Modern Warfare 2 over the next few months, those of you sticking to your boycotting guns will need another first-person shooter to scratch the itch that will surely rise. Your friends will be talking about it. We'll be talking about it. It'll be on the news, in the magazines, and on billboards. What you need is a game to fill in the blank in this sentence: "Oh yeah? Well I'm busy playing _____!"
With most first-person shooters scurrying into 2010 to avoid the Modern Warfare 2 hype machine, finding a present-day game to substitute for it can be tough, but they definitely exist.
Wolfenstein: It's not exactly Modern Combat, but it's got a strong franchise history behind it, and magical Nazis to boot. You can kick it old-school while still technically kicking it new-school. A win-win.
Jurassic: The Hunted: What could be more insulting to Infinity Ward than forgoing its ultimate combat experience for a $39.99 budget shooter that no one knows about? Besides, how bad could it be? You shoot dinosaurs. That never gets old.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising: It's a buggy mess, but Codemasters can patch it, right? The latest operation Flashpoint game (more or less) features modern combat of a sort, an interesting real-world setting, and co-op multiplayer on top of the standard online kill fests we've come to expect. As an added bonus, Codemasters has experienced fan backlash for missing features, so they can play a sort of lesser of two evils role in your boycotting campaign.
Killzone 2: It's pushing the new category a bit, but Killzone 2 is the go-to PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter, so no PS3 owner could be blamed for spending their time shooting at the Helghast instead of taking out terrorists.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
Substituting an older game for Modern Warfare 2 gives you the extra-added benefit of making you seem like you are just a really loyal customer who doesn't want to abandon your beloved title, rather than just one dissenting voice amidst many. Here are some older titles that fit the bill nicely.
Counter-Strike Source: Counter-Strike is the sort of game where you will never lack for players to shoot at or be shot by. Of course most of them have been playing far longer than you, and you will die horribly many, many times as a late comer, but at least you can be killed by a wide variety of people. Of all the reasons to not play Modern Warfare 2, "I'm into Counter-Strike" actually seems the most valid.
Halo 3: It's Halo 3. Of course this is an Xbox 360-exclusive, so PlayStation 3 and PC players can't use this as an option, but it's an excellent alternative for Microsoft fans. You prefer your shooters a little more futuristic. We get that completely. Carry on.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: This is almost cheating. Playing the original title instead of the new one will indeed send a clear message to the folks at Infinity Ward. Remember back when they gave you a game you didn't feel like complaining about constantly? Those were the days.
Turok: Remember how I said shooting dinosaurs never gets old? Case in point. Turok has futuristic weapons, dinosaurs, and it was created by Propaganda games, the development studio that counts the current head of the Halo franchise as one of its founding members. Did I mention it's only $20?
FUTURE TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION
You don't have to pick your replacement right away. Take the $60 you saved by not buying Modern Warfare 2 and apply towards one of these upcoming shooters instead, perhaps justifying publishers' decisions to avoid the MW2 release window in the process.
Left 4 Dead 2: Another game that sparked outrage from the player community when first announced, Left 4 Dead 2's release is right around the corner, and seeing as you have a spare $60 floating around, you could do far worse than to invest in the game that made banding together to shoot at zombies cool. No, not Call of Duty: World at War.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2: For those of you who prefer your battles be fought on a much larger field, there's Bad Company 2, the sequel to EA DICE's runaway hit. Perhaps the closest you can get to the Modern Warfare 2 combo of single-player story and multiplayer goodness. You'll have to wait until March, but if you haven't caved and bought MW2 by then, you'll need it.
Dark Void: Yes, it's a third-person shooter, but Modern Warfare 2 has its third-person bits as well, so it all works out in the end. Capcom's shooter is certainly more fantastic story-wise, but when you get right down to it, both are about rescuing enslaved humans from a manipulative alien race, except for Modern Warfare 2.
Army of Two: The 40th Day: "We'd rather fist-bump than play a game that doesn't allow for dedicated servers and only features 9-on-9 PC multiplayer!"
So there you have it. 12 different games you can play instead of spending your hard-earned cash on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. We're not saying you should boycott it, but if you are, you might as well play something. Think you can come up with better suggestions? The comment section is yours.