Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered Review — Remember, No Multiplayer
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is a beautiful yet unfulfilling remaster of one of the most legendary first-person shooters of all-time.
In many ways, 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time. It helped kick off “1v1 me, bro” culture, was one of the first first-person shooters to really blow up on YouTube, and as a result, had a lot to do with video game meme culture. In many respects, the original game is responsible for a ton of jokes, cliches, and experiences in online gaming culture that we have today. Because of that, if you would have told me back then that 10 years later we’d be getting a remaster of the game without that classic multiplayer experience, I would have called you a liar. Yet, here we are.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is a mixed bag. On one hand, just like Modern Warfare Remastered before it, it’s an absolutely gorgeous representation of one of the best FPS stories we’ve ever gotten. On the other hand, unlike its aforementioned 2016 predecessor, Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered only brings over one small, albeit impactful, aspect of the original game.
Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is fantastic from a visuals standpoint. Colors pop in a way that they didn’t before, textures look impeccably detailed, and everything just feels buttery smooth. During my playthrough of the game, I loaded up the original 2009 version on my PC to check out the differences.
The biggest difference between the two, in my opinion, is the facial animations. While the original looks acceptable (especially for its time), the facial animations in the remastered version breathe a ton of new life into each and every character. You can see the individual hairs on Makarov’s face, the fibers in clothing, and mouths move in a much more natural way than the original. The level of detail in this game cannot be understated.
Now, is it the best looking game I’ve ever seen? Of course not. It’s supposedly running on the same engine as Modern Warfare Remastered (which makes a lot of sense) so it doesn’t look as good as 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. But just because it doesn’t meet that insanely high bar doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of praise.
Like Modern Warfare Remastered, there are things that have been added in this version of Modern Warfare 2 that weren’t in the 2009 version. For instance, in the 2009 version, the second mission in the game, Team Player, opens with a black screen and a disoriented player being helped up by General Shepherd. Here in MW2 Campaign Remastered, we actually see the explosion that causes the player to blackout and get disoriented.
In addition, other small, yet noteworthy, additions have been made. When picking up items designated for the player (ie. the M4A1 in the first mission, objectives later on in the game, etc.), for instance, there are unique animations for them, where the original just had all of the items teleport directly to your hands. These small changes make this version of the campaign the superior version by a country mile. They don’t detract from the original experience, but instead, they add to it, which is how a remaster should be handled.
In addition, weapon inspects make a return and even a few guns share the same firing sounds as their counterparts in Modern Warfare Remastered. As someone who’s a longtime fan of Modern Warfare 2, I immediately noticed that the AK-47, amongst others, didn’t sound like I remember it from the original game. It seems as though the developers were trying to make a more unified experience with the remasters of MW and MW2, which makes sense.
Beyond this, Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered also includes some new features for the campaign, including that of intel cheats. Like Call of Duty 4 and its subsequent remaster, you can unlock cheats based on the number of intel items you collect while playing through the campaign, which was not present in the original game. There’s a ton of cheats featured, including some that carry over from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered and some that are completely brand new. One of my favorites is the ability to turn every single enemy into General Shepard.
Beyond the story, the only other thing included with the game is the Museum level. After the main story is done, players are treated to a bonus level that gives you an up-close look at every character model and weapon in the game. This tiny level gives the players a little bit extra to do after the campaign is over. That being said, given that this was something included with the original game, I would have been upset if it was left out of the remaster. Even still, it’s nice to have it here.
With all that out of the way, it feels like an appropriate time to talk about the lack of multiplayer and Spec-Ops. When I heard the rumor that the game wasn’t going to include either of those modes, I was firmly in the camp that wanted to play it before passing judgment. After playing through the game and messing around with specific missions after it was completed, I can say this without a doubt in my mind: the lack of multiplayer is sorely felt throughout the entire game.
Is the campaign great? Yes, absolutely. But not having pretty much anything to do except grind for intel and trophies makes this an insanely short experience. All in all, you could probably get the platinum trophy for the game in 10 hours or so. And then after that point, there’s not much of a reason to continue playing the game, unless you want to revisit fond memories.
Activision says that the reason they didn’t want to include multiplayer is that they didn’t want to split the player-base from 2019’s Modern Warfare. Believe it or not, I understand this point. There’s no doubt in my mind that including a remaster of one of the most popular multiplayer games of all-time would pull players away from Modern Warfare and Warzone. That being said, just because I understand it, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of criticism.
On top of that, there’s no Spec-Ops included either. Even if they weren’t going to include multiplayer, it would have been nice to have Spec-Ops to play after the campaign is over. I cannot stress enough how much the lack of these two modes weighs on my mixed feelings about the game.
If that wasn’t enough, while the game itself is beautiful and there’s clearly a large attention to detail, there are also a few bugs present that take away from the overall experience. For example, there’s an easy and simple way to get out of the map on the first level of the game, S.S.D.D. Another example is the Raffica pistol. For some reason, the green tip on the front post of the iron sights floats in the air while the slide is locked open. Are either of these game-breaking bugs? No, of course not. But the fact that these bugs still exist is worrisome, in my opinion, especially considering this game has (supposedly) been completed since 2018.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is probably the most divided I’ve felt about a game in a long time. The actual content included is breathtaking and I can tell Beenox took their time crafting every little detail in this game. But this game should have included something beyond just the campaign so that I didn’t feel the want to put it down after six hours. Despite this, I can suggest you pick up the title, especially if you have never played Modern Warfare 2 before. That being said, if the price was any higher, I would really be struggling with recommending it. If multiplayer was included, this would’ve been an all-around winner. But in its absence, this package is much too straightforward.