As unbelievable as it seems, we’ve reviewed thousands of games over the last decade-plus. In that time, only a handful has ever achieved a perfect score. One of those games was 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, so we were definitely excited to revisit it with the newly released Modern Warfare 2 Remastered (currently only on PlayStation 4 but coming to Xbox One and PC in late April), even if Special Ops and multiplayer were left out.
Obviously the big draw of a remaster is the presentation, and Beenox has done an excellent job of taking Infinity Ward’s classic and updating the graphics. It doesn’t feel cutting edge visually with explosion and fire elements looking a little dated and some of the outdoor sections being pretty sparsely populated. Still, you wouldn’t have much trouble convincing someone unaware of MW2‘s original launch that this was a 2020 title, which is a testament to Beenox’s efforts.
In terms of content, you’re looking at a roughly five-hour campaign. As a story, it’s pretty much a one-note affair. Yeah, you’ll get a couple of the shocking moments and deaths that Infinity Ward was becoming known for, but the character development is mostly nil, and if you don’t have any nostalgic feelings for the likes of Captain Price, Soap and Ghost, there’s no real reason to invest in or care about the characters.
Where Modern Warfare 2‘s campaign always excelled, however, was its action, and even all these years that part holds up well. Outside of the introductory mission and a few sniper-based sections you’ll be spending most of those five or so hours trading bullets with a seemingly endless supply of faceless baddies. It’s hard not to get drawn back in as you chase a terrorist through a favela teeming with tangos or drive invading forces from suburban America.
Given how long it’d been since we played the campaign we were surprised by how much of it we remembered, which speaks to the level design and set pieces. That being said, with Modern Warfare getting a full-blown reboot last fall, MW2 Remastered does feel like its operating in its shadow, so if the 2019 version was your introduction to this timeline the “sequel” may come across as a step backward. Also, the loss of Special Ops is a blow to the replayability — the multiplayer maps are being integrated into the current Modern Warfare.
Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is a strong effort for what it is, allowing players to experience the action-heavy campaign with much-improved graphics. Minus the stellar multiplayer, though, it’s unlikely to offer long-term engagement.