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Game Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Joey Thurmond

Slick as Soap

When you boot up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered's multiplayer, it greets you with a message welcoming you back to the "seminal" first-person shooter. It's a fitting descriptor because the unforgettable campaign and multiplayer have had rippling effects throughout its genre in the near-decade since its release, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree. Why does its impact endure? We were reminded why with this remaster – no, this remake – due to the exemplary overhaul it has undergone. Its aging is more apparent as a result, but nevertheless, what a relief it is to breathe in an old-school shooter that stands the test of time.

It's strange how so few Call of Duty entries have managed to capture the memorability of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's campaign, but we know exactly why it persists in excellence. The opening levels cement a radical terrorism that goes far deeper than you suspect, eventually revealing the consequences of extreme interventionalism with a growing threat that pulls you in with high and personal stakes. The suave SAS operatives and boisterous USMC soldiers you fight alongside inspire camaraderie, bolstered by brilliant mission objectives and design that emphasise teamwork, such as in 'Shock and Awe' and 'One Shot, One Kill'.

Most importantly, there's tension and gravity shot through the experience, as if the world is on your shoulders to push past every enemy line with explosive bravado or exacting stealth. This game may have been a watershed moment for big set-pieces and intense action in shooters, but it didn't come off as flippant or dumb fun. It's like the game subtly demands you to approach missions with senses of restraint and seriousness, which is definitely reflected in the somber, heavy soundtrack as well. There's a grounded feel to player characters that make you another cog in the machine with the abilities and limitations of an ordinary soldier, not a supernatural saviour. We felt that again as our boots hit familiar soil with this game, and we missed it.

At the same time, we underwent a bizarre déjà vu playing this. Original shooting mechanics, quirks, and weapon behaviour remain intact, but since the visuals and sound have been reworked to an unbelievably thorough degree, we were reliving old moments in ways that felt entirely new. We mean to say that Modern Warfare Remastered looks and sounds like a fresh game on par with today's graphical and aural standards, but gives its age away with classic gameplay you know and love.

This isn't a mere remaster, but a ridiculously faithful remake. There are new cloth and weather effects and overhauled motion capture; there are remade character, weapon, and environmental assets. Explosions and weapon sounds have been re-recorded, not to mention realistic changes made to the first-person animation with weapon sway and crawling. Whether the alterations are subtle or obvious, all of them are carefully implemented while fully preserving the original game's feel. It's nothing short of a profound feat, and Raven Software and its assisting developers deserve to be commended for arguably delivering the most substantial, masterful remake we have ever experienced.

With this admirable devotion to authenticity comes resistance to fixing flaws and making improvements or additions. So while we still hold Modern Warfare in high regard, there are lingering AI issues. Teammates will annoyingly block your path, jump into your line of sight, and demonstrate utter incompetence when they ignore or fail to kill enemies within their jurisdiction.

The opposition can also be confusing when it decides to bum-rush or ignore you on occasion. A few missions that were jaw-droppers have lost some oomph and their ability to enthrall like 'Death From Above' and 'War Pig'. There's even a sense of plodding here and there we don't remember from before, but despite these telling signs of age, there's plenty of vigour and personality left in the seasoned shooter that would still make it a runaway success if it were coming out for the first time today.

For those wondering if the same thoughts can be extended to the multiplayer, we're happy to share you can relive the glory days anew. With a revamped user interface, character models, maps, and more, we were grinning from ear to ear jumping back into old maps like Crash with an M16 and USP .45 in hand. All of the weapons and perks that you love and hate are untouched, and spawning in large game modes or in Free-For-All can be just as infuriating as it used to be. However, in contrasting the sheer simplicity of this multiplayer with Infinite Warfare's overwhelmingly packed version, you realise just how much Call of Duty has changed over time – and how less can be more.

But there are surface level additions derived from modern titles. Medals can be earned that recognise minor achievements like getting a first kill or coming back from a deathstreak. Callsigns, emblems, more camos, character patches, and weapon stickers are unlockable for completing challenges, which are neat cosmetic additions that give a bit more to strive for this time around.

Kill Confirmed is the only new mode (though not for the series) and more variations of Old School and Hardcore modes have been implemented, too. While we'd honestly like to see more populate the game in the near future with some entirely new maps in tow, what stands here is a beautifully touched-up, nostalgic multiplayer that's – like the campaign – just as you remember with warts and all.


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has a lofty reputation, and aside from some telltale signs of age, it remains thoroughly impressive even today. This game remains a legend to be revered for its grounded, focused gameplay that will scratch an itch for anyone longing for simpler, purer shooters. Modern Warfare Remastered celebrates this legacy with updated visuals and sound that really go above and beyond the call of duty, sprucing up an old care package for a more modern age to near-perfection.

Game Trailer

User Comments (37)



xMEADx said:

Yeah like so many other's i've spoken to i'll either be playing this game when it's sold seperately or I won't play it at all. It's a shame I really enjoyed BO3 I got my dark matter camo and I hit level 120 something master prestige, but I played the IW beta and it sucked something awful. I am not being forced into paying for a game I have no interest in playing just to get the remaster.



Anchorsam_9 said:

Great review, completely agree with you. Although it's one of the best shooters of all time, it's crazy how a 9 year old game still puts Infinite Warfare to shame



bbq_boy said:

Like a good movie, a good book or the first snog to your current bf/gf/husband or wife. Unforgettable!



notdead said:

Will bite when sold separately.
Was the best online multiplayer for me and my mates, i remember drooling over
the perk trailers, those drove us insane!



wittypixel said:

Agree with @notdead this needs to be separated from the Infinite Warfare. Otherwise I'll be skipping the great Modern Warfare.



MaccaMUFC said:

Like the article says this is more of a remake than a remaster, what ever you want to call it, this sets the bar for how a remaster/"remake" is done, the best I've seen.

I've finished both IW and this and thought since I'm only playing MWR for the multi-player I'll sell the Legacy Edition and wait to see if MWR gets it's stand alone release. I looked on CEX website and it said I'd get £51 cash, I thought wasn't a bad deal when I paid £70. I go to CEX but man says 'sorry can't give you £51 for it because it hasn't got the seal on' I said 'but you deal with second hand goods, why would I buy it, not open it then sell it you brand new still in a seal?' He said he was just going by what he's been told and I'd only get £32 for it, I ended up getting £51 from Grainger Games who say the guys from CEX are clueless and absolute muppets. I used to like CEX just for the trade in and cash value but now I'll never set foot in a CEX store again.



GlynCR said:

still a 10/10 for me such an amazing game COD hasn't come close to this since it launched in 2007



ToOGoodOfAPlaya said:

Enjoyed MW on launch.
As a Battlefield fan it was nice to see it go in the same direction as Battlefield 2.
Exemplary story, characters you actually cared about.
However, I do not care for any modern Call of Duty games at all, and its a shame its not standalone, because it would be a must buy if so.



Tasuki said:

While it is sad that this game will never be sold by itself as a business decision it was smart of Activision to do so. I have been finding myself playing this alot more then IW especially old school mode.



Wesker said:

Great game but I do think MW2 is even better. Hopefully it will get the same treatment one day.



SecondServing said:

UGH, I don't know if I wanna pick up the legacy edition on black Friday for $57, or just wait to see if it goes standalone



GlynCR said:

@Tasuki it will be sold separately it's Activision they like money to much not to sell it standalone



TomKongPhooey said:

Couldn't agree more with that review. I'd give it a 9/10 also (it loses a point for still having the sniper gun glitch but I suppose I wanted it to stay true and could be called harse lol). Well chuffed to have this game back on my playlist. MP is a dream come true for me.



Tasuki said:

@GlynCR At the risk of angering all those people that bought IW just for MW. Not even Activision is that stupid.



hadlee73 said:

"What the hell kind of name is Soap, eh? How'd a muppet like you pass selection?"
Goes on to be one of the most important and beloved characters in the entire franchise



KAPADO said:

This is still a gem and i havent even jumped into the campaign mode yet.



DrJoeystein said:

@xMEADx From what I've played so far, I find the IW multiplayer way too busy and cluttered. It feels like a hodgepodge of ideas stuck together, and not only that, feels identical to BO3's multiplayer. Like, way too identical. I'm liking the campaign more than I expected so far, but that multiplayer? Nah. Not going to bother with it too much.

@bbq_boy Exactly!

@GlynCR I think World at War, Modern Warfare 2, and Black Ops 1 came pretty close, but beyond that, yes. The series hasn't reached the same heights.

@Major_owned There is split screen, but it's only for two players. Not four. You can do LAN parties though, so getting four together with two PS4s is possible!

@ToOGoodOfAPlaya More than 80% of the comments all mention how many won't buy it because of the bundle. I get every CoD each year, so the bundle doesn't personally affect me, but for those who only want MWR? I think the bundle was a scumbag move on Activision's part, especially since you can only play it with the IW disc in. So, so asinine.

@Wesker I think MW has a certain appeal to it, but MW2 definitely upped the ante with the action and setpieces! An absolute THRILL to play. I'd totally be down for a remake of that!

@TomKongPhooey Is it the one where you shoot really fast with a sniper rifle by switching to your secondary and immediately back to the rifle? I'm not sure. And yeah! Playing this MP is a dream. Can't wait for my friends to hop on once the game's released separately!



GlynCR said:

@Tasuki I bought it just for MW and I wouldn't be angry at all, I've been through the campaign twice and have nearly 10 hours online (which is where I usually start to tire of a game tbh but MW is just excellent)

I don't personally think Acti will carry if people get angry there out there to make money if they cared what people thought they wouldn't have made another futuristic COD when the fan base has been vocal about wanting a return to WW2 or a WW1 game



GlynCR said:

@DrJoeystein I really liked BLOPS tbf my 2nd favourite COD if that got the remaster treatment next I'd be interested in the next game as well



Tasuki said:

@GlynCR I will admit I wouldn't be upset at all either. Even though I don't play tennis IW multiplayer, I am enjoying Zombies so it's not entirely a waste for me, but that's another subject. However I am sure there are plenty out there who would complain and they don't really want that bad publicity.

As for not listening to the fans about futuristic CoD games they have been listening at least thats what it seems otherwise we wouldn't have got Modern Warfare Remaster. Truth is by the time the public was really vocal about it they were to far into IW development to just scrap it. Now if Sledgehammer's CoD game is a futuristic game then it can be claimed they ain't listening.



PorllM said:

Lol can't believe there are people thinking this won't be sold separately. That was never a possibility. Obviously they aren't admitting it now because nobody would have preordered IW, that's marketing 101 as shown with every preorder bonus ever.



dryrain said:

I will get the game when if it drops to £40 with the new COD. Its already dropped to £55 so can wait to play it.

I am not positive it will be sold seperatly. I think they will just drop the price for the combined game package.



ToOGoodOfAPlaya said:

@DrJoeystein Absolutely.
It was a definite move to sell IW.
And since sales were still almost 50% down on last year, that should speak volumes for what people actually wanted.

Personally speaking, I vote with my wallet.
Ill gladly just not buy another activision product but its not like theyve hidden theyre out for the cash.



sonicmeerkat said:

I wish I could communicate my disinterest in IW but communicate my interest in MW HD better, I sent an email but who knows if they even read those they may just get printed on to toilet paper and used in the bathrooms at activision.



banacheck said:

I really cannot see MW being sold separately any time soon especially as you need IW disc to even play it, if it does it'll be sold separately when the next COD is out. IW is definitely not as bad as people make out, it's butthurt fan more than anything else as you cannot claim to like BO3 & then say IW is rubbish. Also when claims of IW was a pay 2 win game i was expecting to find overpowered weapons that can only be got by supply drops, and getting supply drops would take weeks on end to get all hall marks of a P2W game . Its just not the case in fact some of them guns are better suited to Zombies then Multiplayer because of there perks, and you will not have a problem getting Keys for supply drops either.



GlynCR said:

@banacheck they can patch it out to work without the disc, you make it sound like it would be hard to do, the game isn't on the disc it's a full game download that's been locked behind the disc after the early access ended
the thing with IW for me and the reason I won't be partaking in any part of the game is because I don't want to play COD in space it just does nothing for me personally



johncalmc said:

I'll probably play this again once they inevitably unshackle it from Call of Duty In Space and I can download it for a semi-reasonable price next year.

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