Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is now out on PC and Xbox One. After the one-month exclusivity window on PlayStation 4, Activision and Beenox have opened the gates on the revamped 2009 classic.
Having taken my time to re-familiarize myself with Modern Warfare 2, I began stirring over the legacy this game left. Over the past decade, many have argued that this game was the superior entry to the Modern Warfare trilogy. Many Call of Duty titles have come and gone over the years, yet I’m still enamored by what the game was able to accomplish.
The Call of Duty franchise is synonymous with blockbuster moments, and tight FPS mechanics. Of course, Call of Duty continues to hold onto its place within the competitive online space. That said, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered only includes the campaign mode. However, the reverberations this game created can still be felt in contemporary Call of Duty titles.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was how great the controls felt. I’m sure Beenox refined the mechanics in small ways. However, I’d be remiss if I said there was a noticeable difference from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered and the original. The original came at a time when wall-running, double jumping, and sliding weren’t a part of the player’s mobility. Everything was simplified in 2009. I played the remaster with the likes of Infinite Warfare and Black Ops 4 still fresh on my mind. This, in turn, helped me appreciate how minimal the gameplay experience was.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered was a stark reminder that during that era, Infinity Ward never felt the need to include added gimmicks to the gameplay. The game succeeded by offering unparalleled gunplay. Revisiting the game, I was delighted by how tight the aiming remained. Naturally, the remastered had a fresh coat of paint over it, providing graphical improvements. Additionally, everything from a gameplay perspective holds up nicely. Despite being 11 years old, Modern Warfare 2 is a timeless classic in that regard.
The mission structure of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a little dated, sure. However, the remastered was a trip down memory lane nonetheless. Having not played through it since 2009, I still remembered key points in the campaign: stealing a snowmobile only to barrel down a hill and over a jump, or running the rooftops in Rio de Janeiro towards your rescue helicopter. A lot of these moments managed to stick with me. This was accomplished in part by Infinity Ward’s unwavering urge to one-up themselves.
Of course, there’s also the infamous ‘No Russian’ mission. Whether or not you’re an active Call of Duty player, you’ve likely heard the controversy regarding No Russian. At the time, Infinity Ward and Activision were continuously trying to push boundaries. On top of providing players more spectacle, Modern Warfare 2 included an optional mission. No Russian took place in an airport terminal during a terrorist attack. This caused an uproar in the media. The Call of Duty franchise took a step back from the inclusion of controversial missions of that magnitude.
However, the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot included such levels as ‘Piccadilly’, which did gain a lot of attention for its real-world inspired depiction of a terrorist attack at the Piccadilly Circus. No matter which side you find yourself on in the conversation of the inclusion of these missions, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 built a name for itself by not shying away from controversies, and creating memorable moments.
Many of the maps included in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has since become fan-favorites, transcending the generations of games in the series. While many aspects flooded my mind as I played the remaster, walking through the Gulag was an unexpected surprise. Call of Duty: Warzone’s now-notorious Gulag is directly taken from ‘The Gulag’ mission.
Likewise, Warzone’s Prison location is also inspired by The Gulag mission. The airplane scrapyard saw in ‘The Enemy of My Enemy’ has been reused as the centerpiece of Warzone’s Boneyard location. Add to that the plenty of Burger Town nods throughout the Verdansk map in Warzone.
While Warzone has stitched many beloved maps together, many inclusions stem from Modern Warfare 2. The game’s intricate map design in both the campaign and multiplayer holds up in many ways and have managed to live on. Modern Warfare 2 Remastered provided a refresher course on the origins of these locations, as well as context as to why they are so important to Call of Duty’s lineage.Warzone’s ‘greatest hits’ level design shows how strong the maps were in Modern Warfare 2.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered reminded me of why this particular title was so important in the franchise’s history. At its core, the gameplay holds up surprisingly well when compared to modern FPS games. Many aspects of the game contributed to the franchise’s future including the need to push boundaries.