We really enjoyed our time with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered back in 2016 and we kind of wanted to call it a remake given the extent of the overhaul, so it's no surprise that Activision gave Beenox the task to give the same treatment to that game's sequel. Times have changed, however, and the difference between a remaster and remake and the quality each of these typically offers has increased, which is one of the reasons why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered isn't as impressive as it would have been a few years ago, even if it is just as good.
Don't get us wrong. Modern Warfare 2 looks great on PlayStation 4. You don't need comparison videos to see that these visuals are leaps and bounds beyond what we got eleven years ago. The textures have been improved so much that it's almost difficult to recognise John "Soap" MacTavish, General Shepherd and the other iconic characters. We mean that in a good way. It's fascinating to see everything in a new light, literally as the remaster also includes HDR and we apologise for using a cliché but this addition definitely makes the already impressive environments really pop. Running on the rooftops in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, seeing Washington DC in flames, and sneaking through a blizzard in Kazakhstan - each one is a sight to behold. Beenox knows that it has done a good job, which is probably why it's also possible to inspect every single weapon more closely with the press of a button, and we would have done the same if we had put the same amount of work into something.
The audio team also deserves a lot of credit. Sure, it might not be quite up to snuff compared with the latest games, yet there's no doubt that it's a lot better here than it was in the original. Shouts are clearer, weapon audio is more distinguishable, grenades pack a greater punch, and Hans Zimmer's music still manages to take the intro and set-pieces to another level.
Something else that will take this remaster to another level for many fans is the plethora of changes and Easter eggs that have been included. We're not going to spoil them here, but if you thought the inclusion of Makarov in Modern Warfare Remastered's "One Shot, One Kill" mission was cool then you'll love some of the tweaks that have been made here. Some of them fix plot holes in the game or series, others make the scenarios more realistic, and a portion of them are just there to create fun time paradoxes for easy trophies (or achievements, when the game lands on PC and Xbox One on April 30).
Gameplay is still the most important thing though, and this is where Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 shows its age. Hate it or love it, the Call of Duty franchise focused even more on action-filled set-pieces and checkpoint systems that spawned an infinite amount of enemies until you reached a certain point back in the day. This remaster doesn't change that, so it won't take long before you get some nasty flashbacks when three or four grenades suddenly surrounds you, or it seems like an entire army is just standing in line around the corner sending out enemy reinforcements every time you kill another soldier. There's a reason why the franchise moved on from that approach (to an extent), and this is a clear reminder.
Some of the core mechanics and systems are also showing their age. Looking at a prettier and clearer world is obviously fantastic, but it also highlights that some of the animations and aliasing aren't as fluid or natural as they are in the games of today. They've been touched upon for sure, but not enough to make us forget that we're playing something sourced from a decade-old game. It's undoubtedly understandable, as that amount of change would pretty much require rebuilding the entire game from scratch and that includes the controls. "But the controls in CoD have never changed" some haters might say - trust us, they have. After playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone in the last few weeks and months, going back to Modern Warfare 2 feels a bit clunkier and more arcadey.
Finally, there the obvious lack of multiplayer and Spec Ops. Both of these were huge parts of the original, so even if we understand the reason behind not including them when last year's Modern Warfare will include many (if not all) of our favourite maps by the time Infinity Ward stops supporting it, it's disappointing not to get the complete package. Price isn't the issue here, as that will change as time moves on, it's just hard to ignore that something is missing.
Still, there's no doubt that those of you looking to revisit the famous campaign will get real bang for your buck. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered takes the already iconic story to another level with great visuals and impressive sound-design that put some of today's first-person shooters to shame. Fans of the original will also enjoy some cool changes made in several sequences and scenarios that fix plot holes and make for some fun references. Just don't go in expecting the same kind of varied and finely tuned gameplay or animations as the newer Call of Duty games or the same amount of content as the original what with the multiplayer and Spec Ops being cut. This remaster is meant for those of you just wanting to relive an extravagant story and iconic sequences dressed in modern technology, and on that front, it's objective complete.
Loading next content