“Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered” just dropped, and it smells an awful lot like Activision trying to take advantage of people’s desire for nostalgia during these uncertain times. I know that opening wasn’t optimistic, but there it is.
Now, it’s important to note that this is a remaster and not a remake. A remake is like the fantastic “Resident Evil 2,” where everything is redone – graphics, controls, story elements – while still having some semblance of the original. A remaster is really just a graphical update with some possible extra polish, but no substantial changes otherwise.
This is clearly the latter, and that’s not inherently a bad thing if you play on consoles where, alongside a graphical update, you can play classics from the past that aren’t available on your new system. It’s not inherently a good thing either. “Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered,” to me, is the worst kind of remaster.
Unless you’re fully devoted to nostalgia, you’re in for a rough time with this game. Especially because, while plenty fondly remembers the campaign, most people more fondly remembered the multiplayer. The title makes it clear that this is just the campaign, so they aren’t trying to fleece people…well, not by false advertising. Currently, the game sits with a $20 price tag, and I doubt that will change soon.
This is one of the major problems: they are releasing only one-third of a game though at one-third of the original price. Despite this third being the shortest of the experiences and despite the new paint job, this is an 11-year-old game. While playing this game constantly reminds you that some games age like wine, this certainly calls up the fact that others like the one in your hands age like vinegar.
I don’t want to mention how the story feels 11 years later because it was still an over-the-top action blockbuster experience; I was just younger and, therefore, didn’t see it that way. In fact, I love plenty of things that I loved as a teenager, but I realize now that they are pretty dumb because they have a certain charm to match their dimwittedness. Any charm the story experience could have had is killed by the fact that the updated graphics and resolution clashes with the clunky controls of yester-year and that every object in the game seems to have oversized hitboxes.
This last issue is the deal-breaker: the flowing action this game requires for gameplay is broken constantly by invisible obstacles. I’m unsure if this is an unforeseen error during the remaster process or if the heightened visuals trimmed how things look but not how things actually rest in the virtual landscape of hitboxes and collision detection.
Snapping between targets seems largely uncalibrated as well, which is possibly another casualty of this remaster being only skin-deep. Even if these problems weren’t present, I still would say that remastering “Modern Warfare 2” wasn’t worth it. Every time you move around, mantle or shoot a gun in this game, you will instantly be reminded that this game is now a dinosaur.
You will see how bad hopping over and mantling things are now that the game looks new and cleaner, how very rudimentary your movement is and how you’re not really doing more than running through corridors that just appear to be open areas. The olden-days of shooting feels woefully inadequate in this new era, especially in a game that didn’t really revolutionize the basics at the time of release.
If this game was $10 instead of $20, it’d feel much more like it’s worth a purchase. There are remasters that are great, such as “Borderlands: The Handsome Collection” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition,” who, despite still having rough spots due to age, were at their core more timeless in experience, solid writing from release till now and far more reasonable prices for what you are getting.
I’d say, if you really need your fix of the “good old days,” do your best to wait for a sale in the future. Otherwise, leave your memories of this game fondly but firmly in the past and skip this purchase.