Saturday, 23 Sep 2023

Modern Warfare 2’s "No Russian" Doesn’t Hold Up

Once upon a time, 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was considered one of the edgiest games of its time, but really only for one reason: the notorious “No Russian” mission.

In the “No Russian” mission, you play as a double agent assigned with the task of acting as a terrorist as you walk beside multiple actual terrorists with the hope of ultimately undermining them after all is said and done. The mission really consists of three parts.

The first part has you in an elevator in an airport with the terrorists. One of the terrorists looks at you just before the elevator doors open and utters the now-often-cited phrase: “Remember. No Russian.” Here, he references the fact that none of the terrorists are to speak Russian to disguise their nationality.

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The mid-section simply involves an all-out spree in which you nonchalantly walk around the airport shooting all civilians in sight. However, though you don’t need to shoot any civilians, you are are still able to within the mission. This section lasts for a while.

The final section of the mission sees your character get offed by the antagonist, Vladimir Makarov, who orchestrated the entire act. This concludes a mission that was ultimately more insulting than anything else, and is certainly dated by today’s standards.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2‘s “No Russian” mission has ultimately aged very poorly. It is retrospectively tone-deaf now that numerous tragic mass shootings have transpired, resulting in far too many deaths. In hindsight, the mission appears to be made purely to spark controversy and debate, which it had done at the time. Some argued it was unnecessary, while others argued that it made the campaign more impactful somehow.

Alas, real-life shootings such as the Las Vegas shooting, the Pulse Night Club massacre, the Christchurch massacre, and numerous others have turned “No Russian” into more of a head-nodding mission than a harrowing one. It’s a stark reminder that these kinds of things have happened on a more frequent basis than we would like, yet nothing seems to change, and no video game mission could really build on the situation.

While the “No Russian” mission has been burned into the consciousness of many FPS fans, it need not be remembered as effective political commentary. Rather, this is an art piece, part of an otherwise great game, that falls flat with the passage of time.

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