Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was my first true introduction to the series. I was astonished at the story, graphics, and the game modes, although they are not all in this remaster (Multiplayer and Spec Ops.) Despite the omissions, the campaign is still special not only to me, but in the grand scheme of military shooters. Beyond the shiny new coat of paint, Modern Warfare 2's campaign still holds up. The set-pieces are executed continuously well, the themes are thought-provoking and the levels themselves are memorable. As much as I long for the complete experience, it's the campaign I am objectively reviewing and it is one of the best in the franchise.
Antagonist Makarov, leader of a nationalist terrorist group, is the catalyst of Modern Warfare 2's two main plot strands. Special forces unit Task Force 141 is on the hunt for the terrorist Makarov, while the United States Army Rangers are defending the country against a Russian invasion. The game impressively shifts between several playable soldiers and operatives, but the most significant differentiation comes in the way these two types of levels play out. The special forces sections are suspenseful and of a lower-scale, while the Army Rangers' segments present an all-out war without fail. It is a brilliant balance that gets you excited in each mission's briefing's build-up and the mission twists and turns will still shock.
The decision to keep and remaster "No Russian" was a bold move on publisher Activision's part. This infamous mission puts you in the shoes of a double operative that partakes in Makarov's terror attack on a Russian airport. Even if it seems cheap, the scene continues to spark debates on far-reaching topics. As I played it, I gathered hints of significance in its message, even if the level does not wholly succeed at being substantial. Nevertheless, the improved textures allow the sequence to be even more disturbing.
Gameplay is typical of the older series' gunplay, but this time with the same custom in-house engine used in the previous remastering. However, this engine does not affect anything but the graphics and this still plays almost identical to the original. What could not be fixed is the level layout, which can be a bit ill-conceived at times, especially in the Brazilian favela areas. This does no favors to the enemies who have the tendency to lob grenades in surplus, leading to some unfair deaths. Where the gameplay excels most is in the more scripted moments, like driving a snowmobile or shooting from a helicopter. These moments will be ingrained in your gaming memory vault after they are over.
As with the previous installment, Modern Warfare 2 Remastered looks more like a remake than a traditional remaster. The graphics are entirely revamped from the ground-up and they look incredible. Faces look realistic, animations are fluid, and the environments are exemplary. The apocalyptic spectacle of the invasion, in particular, is as breathtaking now as it was in 2009. As the endless Russian soldiers parachute in from an orange-tinged, tumultuous sky, you know you are fighting a truly epic battle. The suburban picket-fence neighborhoods where you push through are the icing on the cake, giving you the complete sense of the American Dream being torn to fiery shreds.
For all the ridiculous and illogical storytelling in this action movie-like plot, Modern Warfare 2 contains some thought-provoking thematic properties. Its two primary explorations are the extent of patriotism and the philosophy behind interventionism. There is a reason why this is considered, among fans, the best campaign next to that of the first Modern Warfare. While a six-hour run-time may damage the value for money, Modern Warfare 2 is thoroughly exciting and admirably subversive for a seventh-generation single-player FPS campaign.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is a compact title with a lot going for it. The game is arguably a runner-up for the best Call of Duty story and the enhanced visuals punctuate every jaw-dropping sequence. Overall, this is a powerhouse blockbuster worth the return to duty.
Final Rating: 80% - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered stands strong without multiplayer or Spec Ops by giving you the chance to revisit a classic campaign.