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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare starts out with a notice that says it has mature content. You have to click on it where it says, “I understand.”

That is your last chance to turn around before you get sucked into the enthralling but brutal story of modern war. Then it begins by grabbing your attention.

A suicide bomber steps out of a truck into Piccadilly Circus in London. He holds a detonator in his hands and has a lot of explosives strapped to the outside of his body so that everyone can see it and panic. He raises his hand to detonate it, and then the scene flashes to 24 hours earlier.

You’re now in Verdansk, Russia. A Russian general, Barkov, has lined up a cache of chemical weapons and is preparing to ship them out on a convoy to Urzikstan, a Middle Eastern country that the Russians are trying to subdue. You can think of it as a fictionalized Afghanistan or Syria.


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Above: Going dark in Verdansk in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Image Credit: GamesBeat/Activision

A team of U.S. special operations soldiers flies by helicopter to a forest near the plant. A team goes dark in the beginning of the Fog of War mission, headed by a CIA agent named Alex. The team starts taking out Russian guards in the dark and eventually dons night-vision goggles. The Americans drop a series of bombs that float down from the sky.

The soldiers go into the compound to inspect the debris. Burning soldiers crawl out in front of you. A soldier asks to put them out of their misery. The Russians catch on and the battle goes hot. The music picks up. You fight your way through the compound.

The team reaches the chemical weapons, but then another group of insurgents attacks and wipes out the Americans. They drive off with the chemical weapons. A sniper prepares to shoot at the insurgents, but SAS captain John Price, returning from the original game, takes them out.

The scene shifts back to London, where the bomber has set off a bomb in the middle of Picadilly Circus. Soldiers have been tracking a terrorist cell for weeks and are closing in on them, but they’re a second too late. The terrorists start shooting everyone in the square, and you have to stop them. The battle goes on for a while, with plenty of civilians screaming and dying. You play as Kyle, a soldier in an anti-terrorism unit. You have to clear out the terrorists but also check your fire and make sure you don’t hit bystanders. The battle ends. Kyle complains about how their hands were tied.

And so begins the journey into modern warfare. The game debuts on Friday around the world.

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