Published on April 10th, 2020 | by Sean Warhurst
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered PS4 Review
Summary: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is a solid return to a genre classic that proves that it still has what it takes to stand up to the big boys, although the lack of multiplayer may be a stinging point for some.
I’ve made mention in much of my previous Call of Duty coverage about how I was a relative latecomer to the series, initially only dabbling with Finest Hour on PS2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on 360 before jumping ship until Black Ops III and remaining with the franchise ever since.
Because of this huge gap in my Call of Duty career, I’ve inadvertently missed out on some of the most highly revered entries in the series, such as the original Black Ops and this, Infinity Ward’s follow up to the aforementioned Modern Warfare.
Picking up from the events of the previous game and featuring a cast of familiar faces, Activision’s remastered Modern Warfare 2 campaign has had a fairly under the radar launch, which is curious considering all of the hype and controversy that surrounded the release of the Modern Warfare remaster, which initially launched locked behind special editions of the then current Infinite Warfare.
This is a bit of a shame as, with lockdown starting to bring on the onset of cabin fever in many households, Infinity Ward’s foray into the further adventures of Soap and company is a welcome reprieve from the unprecedented world events that are currently unfolding and, despite its age, provides one of the more enjoyable Call of Duty campaign experiences I’ve had in my time with the series.
Of course, this won’t be news to anyone who has already played through the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, as it’s often held up as the pinnacle of the series for good reason, but for those of you who, like me, are coming in with fresh eyes, prepare to be blown away, both literally and figuratively.
The beats of the campaign show a stark contrast to the more subdued and realistic take on the series that was seen with last year’s reboot of the Modern Warfare series, and indeed many of the last few entries; for a while there, the CoD games were expected to top each bombastic setpiece with an even bigger and more Michael Bay inspired effort immediately thereafter, often straying into ridiculous territory that stretched credulity like an overloved Stretch Armstrong figurine.
Modern Warfare 2, however, falls directly into that sweet spot where Infinity Ward has walked the fine line between building upon the action movie-esque sequences from the previous game without straying into an assault on the senses that eventually leaves you numb to the constant chaos that is unfolding on your screen.
Firstly, it must be mentioned that the game here is exactly as its name describes – This is just the Modern Warfare 2 campaign, with no multiplayer component at all this time around; the campaign itself is worth the budget price in my opinion and Beenox have done an admirable job touching up the visuals and audio but the fact remains that this is essentially just the barebones campaign, which might be a deterrent for those who primarily come to the series for the frenetic online multiplayer.
Again, this is a shame, as I’d wager that even if you’ve played through this sometime in the eleven years since its release, Modern Warfare 2’s campaign is an exceptional example of a developer firing on all cylinders and holds up just as well, if not better, than most modern efforts, making it well worth your time strapping on your boots and launching a multi-pronged assault on the world of terrorism.
The narrative follows your typical hunt for the leader of an evil organisation tropes but offers up enough genuinely surprising twists and turns that you’ll find yourself completely engaged throughout.
The basic plot sees you taking control of various members of different strike forces and other operations, infiltrating terrorist cells and, in one particularly memorable mission, sees you actively participating in an attack against civilians. It’s raw, surprisingly confronting at times and offers up some of the most inventive and fun action sequences in the entire franchise.
The gameplay can suffer at times due to slightly dated design, but, to be honest, this was rarely an issue throughout my time with the game, with the level design and enemy AI behaviour generally holding up to conventional modern standards.
Movement can admittedly feel a little stiff, with the absence of sliding felt the most, but this is offset by the satisfying gunplay and a varied series of different environments to work your way through.
One little bonus for those who might be playing Warzone is that the purchase of this offers up a new Underwater Demo Team skin for Ghost, a calling card and some other goodies, if that’s your bag.
Graphics and Audio
Beenox have slapped a new coat of paint on the visuals, resulting in a title that might not be the prettiest beast on the market but certainly belies the age of the original source material; environments look crisp and detailed and the game in general looks like a slightly downgraded modern Call of Duty title, which is commendable, with a solid 60fps holding steady throughout.
The 4K remaster doesn’t rewrite any rules but is definitely an accomplished effort, despite some of the character animations coming off as a little janky.
The audio is bold, bombastic and in your face, especially when paired with a decent set of headphones; audio directionality is as precise as you’d expect, making identifying the source of the constant barrage of bullets an easy task.
The soundtrack is your typical sweeping orchestral efforts and becomes appropriately pulse –pounding during the bigger setpieces, resulting in an audio experience that, whilst not the most memorable, is as solid as you’d expect given the series’ pedigree.
Obviously my experiences with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered (and you can bet that’s the last time I’m typing that unwieldy title in its entirety) are affected somewhat by the fact that this was my first time playing through, but woowee boy, what a campaign it is.
The remastering effort itself by Beenox is solid enough but it’s the strength of Infinity Ward’s original vision that truly shines through here and offers up what is still one of the more visually arresting and engaging Call of Duty titles.
Again, if you’ve gone through the campaign before, there’s nothing extra added here to offer as a real incentive to come back, aside from the updated graphics and audio, of course, but the experience itself is solid enough to warrant a return, in my opinion; one sticking issue might be the price being a little bit steep for some considering that the campaign only offers up around 7 hours of content, although higher difficulties do add to the replayability for those determined to smash out the trophy list.
Overall, Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is a solid return to a genre classic that proves that it still has what it takes to stand up to the big boys, although the lack of multiplayer may be a stinging point for some.
Primary Format – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Game Genre – First Person Shooter
Rating – MA15+
Game Developer – Infinity Ward, Beenox (Remaster)
Game Publisher – Activision Blizzard
Reviewer – Sean Warhurst