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May 06, 2020

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $19.99
We Recommend: $19.99
  • Developer: Beenox, Infinity Ward
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Genre: Action, Shooter
  • Released: Apr 30, 2020
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
  • Reviewed: Windows

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is a mouthful to say, but is pinpoint accurate in what you’re getting. This is a remaster of just the campaign for the 2009 sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Every texture has been retouched, updated, and modernized for today’s consoles and PCs that makes it feel anything but eleven years old. While its pacing is breakneck, and the story is overkill, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is still an incredible ride, even if it isn’t as fully featured as the original.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered (or CODMW2CR for short) has some amazing set-pieces, with nearly every level memorable for one reason or another. I can talk about “Wolverines”, “Whiskey Hotel”, and “The Gulag”, but their mere mention will jog your memory. I of course can’t ignore saying “No Russian”, the controversial mission that warranted its own filter before playing. It’s a mission you can play as a pacifist, but it’s an absolute massacre that unfolds before your eyes. This campaign goes from zero to one-hundred, and never lets off the accelerator, even in its quieter moments.

The story takes place over three acts, and wears its movie influences on its sleeve. Most notably people have come to associate the original Modern Warfare trilogy with Michael Bay, where explosions were had more screen time than the actors. The game does go to some ridiculous lengths at times to tell a harrowing tale. For instance, a Private First Class in the Army gets recruited into doing undercover work for merely doing well in a single combat encounter, showcasing no other skills or qualifications that would fit the role. And in typical movie fashion, there are characters who survive devastating explosions, close range gun shot wounds, and other perils that kills others, but not them due to their importance to the overall story. When you distance yourself from the realism, you find that you’re having a great time globe-trotting and saving the world.

This was a time where TV and movie actors did voicework in games, and became immediately recognizable, for better or worse. You had voices done by Keith David, Glenn Morshower, Lance Henriksen, and even Troy Baker. There was a level of quality felt unmatched at the time, and still feels like you’re playing a blockbuster movie in video game form.

There’s something absolutely magical and epic with the soundtrack scored by Hans Zimmer. Known for numerous films, Hans Zimmer brought credibility, gravitas, and a unique sound that would stick with you. Every track has weight, backed by an orchestra full of strings. From the main menu to when the credits roll, the music that encapsulates every aspect of the game is simply unforgettable.

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Beenox have reworked nearly everything in the game, from textures to lighting to animations. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered looks dated at times, but this is an exception to the rule, because it looks like a game released earlier this generation. I was able to get the game to run at max settings, and while I cap my framerate to my monitor’s refresh rate, I almost never dipped below 140fps.

Throughout my time in the game, there was only one area that felt underwhelming, and that was when you had to use night-vision goggles. The view was obfuscated by large scanlines and overly dark presentation. I might be unfairly comparing this game’s night vision tech to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)‘s use of NVGs, but there’s something amiss here, thankfully their inclusion was at a minimum.

Otherwise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is absolutely stunning and runs at a blisteringly fast framerate on PC. It’s absolutely the best place to play it.

My PC Specs:

– Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
– Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5Ghz (Turbo)
– Corsair H115i RGB PLATINUM 97 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
– Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
– Seagate FireCuda SSD (500GB)
– Seagate BarraCuda SSD (1TB / 2TB)

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Intel inside

In the original release of Modern Warfare 2, there were collectibles known as intel, in the form of enemy laptops you could pick-up. This is still true, but now the intel will do more than just unlock achievements, they have a gameplay purpose. Collecting specific numbers of intel now offer funlocks. These unlocks offer fun in three areas: challenge, fun-time, and visual.

Items unlocked under Challenge offer gameplay modifiers similar to Halo‘s skull system, in that you can make the game harder based on various parameters. So you can make it where ammo depletes over time unless you kill, or explosions cause you more damage, only melee kills count, and so on. Fun-Time makes the game almost kid-friendly (which it most certainly isn’t), but you can turn grenades into pomegranates or enemy heads into pineapples. Visual applies a visual filter like going black and white for the entire game.

Since a majority of the locations of these items didn’t change, they’re easy to find with existing guides, or if you know what you’re looking for. This extends the life of the game, but not by too much.

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All in the name

Modern Warfare 2 was my most played game of that year, but that was due to its Spec Ops and Multiplayer modes, which are not present here in any capacity. I’m not sure why at the very least Spec Ops isn’t in here to be played solo (there were missions that allowed for it in the original release), but it lacks any additional modes. I mean hey, the game’s title tells you this. For a game so defining, it lacks completeness in the way Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered was.

It’s kind of surprising to me that when the Warzone mode released for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), it featured many locations from Modern Warfare 2 that were right in front of us the whole time: Gulag (Prison), Boneyard, TV Station, and Airport (Terminal) all derive from the multiplayer of this game. It telegraphed so much about the remaster, that it’s great to see how well these location fit into a single map. And that’s going to be the only way to experience maps like Rust, is in Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer or in the battle royale map of Warzone.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered looks fantastic thanks to the work Beenox has put into it. The story still holds relevance, and there’s some wonderful nostalgia to go along with it now. This is a game begging to be a more complete package with additional modes, that just aren’t here. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered comes in at a scant $20, and remains one of the best single-player experiences ever.

A PC code was provided by the publisher for review purposes