As with the first Modern Warfare, Activision has polished up the second part of Infinity Ward’s successful franchise with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered. It’s quite a mouthful, mainly to drive home the point that this particular version of Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t contain any of the multiplayer modes that were so popular during its original launch period (back in 2009). It’s exclusive to the PS4 for now, so let’s take a look.
If I’m honest, the single player campaigns in Call of Duty are often my favorite part of the game. The multiplayer portion is excellent, but because I don’t dedicate enough time to it and move on to different games I also have trouble keeping up and lose interest after a while. The campaigns might be short, but they’re terrific fun you can just blast through in a weekend or so – and they’ve been that way for well over a decade.
Possibly my favorite recent single player campaign wasn’t even Doom Eternal, but the campaign that was included in the recent Modern Warfare reboot – so I had high hopes for this remastered version of one of the most iconic campaigns in the franchise. As long as you don’t set the bar too high, it delivers.
Of course, one of the reasons this is such memorable campaign is that it contains that one particular mission where you infiltrate a group of terrorists and are part of an operation where your group guns down innocent civilians. A lot of the controversy has blown over since the bigger picture revealed this wasn’t some kind of glorification of terrorism, but the shock value is still there.
The campaign is roughly five to six hours long and plays a little like a season of the hit TV show 24 in its constant delivery of momentum and set pieces. The plot’s also pretty extreme in that it’s not very subtle about a pending Russian invasion you’re looking to prevent, but it all adds to that action movie-type drama that the early Modern Warfare campaigns were all about. There’s a good bit of diversity between locations and gameplay types as well, from sniping from a mountain range to a tense battle for the White House.
With the ‘remaster’ moniker comes the fact that the visuals now feature much higher resolutions (supporting up to 4K on a Pro console) as well as vastly increased detail on the levels and character models. The latter is especially visible, since facial animations have gotten a huge boost in lifting this from a PS3 experience to something that doesn’t feel out of place in today’s gaming world.
That is, with the exception of the elite titles that are coming out today, because comparing Modern Warfare 2’s remastered campaign to last year’s offering doesn’t feel fair. That also translates to the gameplay itself, which feels far less refined in the new remastered campaign. You can’t hold/mount your guns up against a wall to stabilize your shots, and you can’t slide to cover either. The fact that progression in a level is determined by progressing forward rather than just taking out enemies (who just respawn if you don’t move forward) makes this much more of a ‘run and gun’ title than modern campaigns are.
That doesn’t make the experience less entertaining though – Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is the equivalent of a good action movie or series that shows its age even though it holds up well in terms of entertainment value.