In 2007 the fourth installment of the Call of Duty series was launched, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Developed by Infinity Ward it became one of the all-time favorite Call of Duty games. This was also the first Call of Duty I have played and will always be my favorite. Skip to 2016, yes I cannot believe it has been almost ten years, and Infinity Ward and Activision announce a remastered version of the beloved game. Like most fans of the series I was excited by the news.
On October 5th those who pre-purchased Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Legacy or Digital Deluxe on PlayStation 4 got 30 days early access to the campaign. When I received my code I was very excited. and full of nostalgia. How is it? For the die-hard fans you will not be disappointed and to the new players, this is the Call of Duty. Call of Duty Modern Warfare is great for many reasons that I will explain in this review. Also, the remastered version makes it even better and way more realistic then before.
The remastered version is the same game but with updated graphics, color, and sound. The frame rate is also improved and is a faster game than the original. During Call of Duty XP Infinity Ward had a panel for Modern Warfare Remastered and they explained how they remodeled everything in the game, cleaned up the color and enhanced the sound. You are able to hear everything even the crunching of debris under the tanks and all the mechanical parts of vehicles. Even when changing out magazines the sound of the magazine going into your weapon is clear through the controller. Kind of gives the impression you are actually holding a weapon.
The people are also very realistic and each character looks the part. Captain Price looks like he has been through many campaigns, seasoned, and someone you would follow into combat; a leader hardened by battle. Every soldier on your squad has a unique look and name. Landscapes look worn torn and bombed out, with small little details in everything that makes it feel as though you are at that location. The enemies also got makeovers including Khaled Al-Asad and Imran Zakhaev. The original was well done but this one is fresher with an updated look for 2016 and the next gen consoles. Even with all the updated graphics the game did not change with all the old campaign missions and even how you play is the same. Same for those who have played before but for those new to the game it will all be new.
The plot is very relevant to today as it was back in 2007. Khaled Al-Asad is a terrorist leader in the Middle East who ruthlessly stages a Coup d’état. The opening credits have Al-Asad executing president Al-Fulani of an unnamed county and then rises to power. His ally is the Russian ultra nationalist Imran Zakhaev. Zakhaev’s goal is to bring Russia back to the era of the Soviet Union using the coup in the Middle East as a distraction. During the mission “All Ghillied Up” you play a younger Lieutenant Price as he makes his way through ruined buildings in Pripyat, Ukraine. This city was abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster. During this mission Price along with Captain MacMillan attempt to take out Zakhaev, but the mission was a failure.
In the first part of Modern Warfare you play as a new recruit to the SAS or British special forces, Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish. He first meets Gaz and goes through some basic weapons training. This is the player’s tutorial. Once Soap meets Captain Price he goes through training in a mockup of a cargo ship and how to take out enemies and use flash grenades. If you are too slow you start over.
After regrouping following the training you get your first mission briefing for the cargo ship mission. Following a short cut scene showing the satellite location in the Bering Strait and schematic of the cargo ship Soap along with Captain Price, Gaz, and the SAS team lands onto the cargo ship to recover the cargo. Fighting your way through the ultra nationalists on the ship your team finds the nuclear warhead. Before you can recover the package enemies attack the ship and your team is sent running to the helicopter before the ship sinks.
You continue as Soap for the next mission to rescue the Russian informant Nikolai who supplied the intel on the cargo ship. After the extraction of Nikolai players are sent to the Middle East as Sergeant Paul Jackson of the 1st force recon of the US Marines. His squad’s mission to find Al-Asad. Intelligence gives his location at a TV station broadcasting propaganda. Led by Lieutenant Vasquez your team fights through Al-Asad’s forces in the small town and take the TV station only to find that he had escaped. Your team is sent onto the next mission to secure an M1A2 Abrams, codenamed War Pig.
Following a very intense fire fight to secure the War pig the game goes back to Russia and the SAS team. Their helicopter is shot down in the meantime and your team must cross a field to a barn, get a FIM-92 stinger, and shoot down the helicopter. The campaign continues with the player supporting the SAS as a gunner in an AC-130 to support the ground team till extraction. The marines continue a ground campaign with the M1A2 Abrams clearing out Al-Asad forces and rescuing other teams. Extracting the teams, the Marines launch an all-out Shock and Awe campaign. Jackson on a Mk 19 grenade launcher on a CH46 Sea knight followed by Cobras. This leads back to Soap and the SAS now searching Azerbaijan for Al-Asad. Here you also learn about the connection to Imran Zakhaev and re-live Price’s past in “All Ghillied Up.” This game is all-out war at times and at others slower paced recon and special operations missions.
Infinity Ward made missions that were believable and put players in the middle of the battlefield or on an AC130 or Helicopter. You are not stuck in one location or as one person. For the first half of the game you are two different soldiers both fighting for the same thing, to stop two factions from oppressing freedom, destroying lives, and destabilizing world governments. Except for the small part of being Lt. Price players focus mainly on Soap and Jackson.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare embodies what war is today and the story of the 21st century military, our enemies, and modern day combat. Battles today are fought everywhere including small towns with heavy fire from many different locations. It’s not easy to take down enemies when there is fire from all sides, and when you’re in a mission like “War Pig” using cover is your best hope for survival. But even then the wrong cover can bite back, like an exploding vehicle. The game does generated a lot more enemy combatants than real life but it does make for some very intense moments, especially when you have guys with machine guns and RPGs.
Your squad is everything in this game. Like in real life soldiers count on their squad to watch their backs and you follow them throughout the mission. In the bog when recovering the Abrams tank I had to take out an anti-aircraft gun and call for air support. Before doing anything I made sure there were no direct enemies and I had members of the team with me. As a sergeant I was ordered by my commanding officer either Captain Price or Lieutenant Vasquez to man the guns or scout ahead or leave the squad and go into buildings to recover soldiers. However, I was never alone, I always had at least two or three men with me to take out enemies or throw back a grenade. It’s also a good idea to watch the other guys ahead to know the dangers or just do what they do. Some players may not like the staying behind cover all the time or in prone but to complete a mission with limited casualties and respawning its best to have a little patience and take out all enemies.
Gameplay from the SAS mission “Hunted”.
As with real war you need to be careful not to fire on friendlies because there are consequences like ending the mission and starting back to the last checkpoint. Except for the areas requiring night vision friendlies are easy to spot. When doing “Death from Above” your commander warns not to fire on friendlies or when not to fire at all. From the AC-130 friendlies have flashing Infrared strobes to identify them and you have the ability to cycle through weapons and get precise kills. If you are forward in a mission your buddies coming from behind will warn you they are coming. In the open enemies are distinguished by their dress and uniforms from your team, especially the marines who are easy to make out. The SAS are more subdued but your missions are covert and out of urban areas. To make a bit more real your buddies can be killed, it’s bad when your buddy next to you falls. They may be NPCs but I felt a connection with them, without them the mission would fail.
The one thing that is missing from the game are long unnecessary cut scenes. although there are a few small scenes like when Captain Price reflects on his mission to Pripyat and other story detail scenes but nothing that distracts from the real point of the game. You are playing a soldier in the Marines and the British Special Forces and your job is to conduct the mission as ordered by your command. That’s it, and Infinity Ward gave us that realism of a mission focused game with the top priority of getting the job done and leaving no one behind. In “Shock and Awe” a Cobra goes down and the crew is trapped in a fire fight with the OpFor. Your squad goes in to rescue them quickly as there is a warning of a possible nuke in the city. Leave no man behind despite the consequences.
The start of each new mission begins with a satellite image showing the location, who is involved and a schematic of any vehicles or objects important to the mission, such as the M1A2 Abrams, AC130, or cargo ship. There is a short scene of the troops entering the area but that is it, the player gets right to playing the mission. In this way it is the perfect war game. Except for some friendly dialogue between members of the team and plot monologues most of the talking is done by the squad leader or commanding officer giving orders and communicating to his squad and company. When Al Asad was not in the TV station you waited for new orders and intel. In “All Ghillied Up” MacMillan instructed Price in how to move unseen, and when to take out the target. Most missions you must follow the lead of your superior. Like real life military missions.
I really prefer the type of gameplay Call of Duty Modern Warfare offers. All the new Call of Duty games have maps and follow me dots and all kinds of directions on where to go and what to do. Not this game. The most players have is a small compass and yellow dot at the bottom of the screen and your men to follow. When Captain Price tells you to mark a building for an airstrike its not specified which causes the player to know what is going on around them. Call of Duty is played by visual cues and knowing the mission objectives.
It is a first person shooter and weapons are vital to playing the game. Players get a select choice of weapons. You have your main rifle and side arm that is specific to your unit. There are also other weapons that are objective specific or mission specific such as sniper rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, RPGs, and the Stinger. These are either provided at the mission start or can be found at the target location and when needed. As you take out enemies you can grab their weapons like Ak-47s and use them. Players also get melee and flash and frag grenades. Melee is the R3 button. R3 is also used to take out attack dogs. Sometimes objectives require extra gear, such as night vision goggles and claymores. Players have this gear available when needed. There is also very good control with aim and steadying your weapon, which is needed in this type of game.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is by far one of the best war games available. With the new look it doesn’t feel 10 years old but new and timeless. A good plot and missions, which take some time to do, Modern Warfare gives players a challenge with its game style and focus on the individual missions and characters. You will spend most of the time playing the game and diving right into battle following a brief orientation. Along with gameplay and some good enemies, Call of Duty Modern Warfare has fantastic graphics, appropriate music, and great voice acting. Infinity Ward did create some very realistic and plausible enemies for the game, which follows the realism of the game. With all of that I will tell everyone reading this to play this game either for the first time or again and I look forward to the multiplayer.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered launches November 4th as part of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Digital Deluxe, Legacy, and Legacy Pro editions.