Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
The fit and finish of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s remaster is not as you remember it. The iconography is different: the minimap, the on-screen d-pad, to the ammo counter have all gotten a facelift. I can’t be certain, but I swear the soundbite of the radio voice saying “enemy UAV is online!” on the Crash map is also different. The point count for kills is an inflated to match the series’ current totals (100 instead of the previous 20). So if you’re looking for something that will scratch your visual and auditory nostalgia for one of the defining games of the last generation of consoles to the letter, this may not be it.
But other than the visual makeover, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered has been preserved as well as you’d hoped. Every map and gun seems to have their textures uprezzed instead of redone, the latter of which you might expect after seeing the single-player portion of Remastered. But the blocky outlines of crashed helicopters, of hollowed-out homes and fountains, look exactly like how I remembered them, and I like it that way.
Even though I played it using a DualShock 4 instead of an Xbox 360 controller as I did originally, Remastered fits like a glove. I know every nook, cranny, and chokepoint of some of these maps, and I love knowing when to expect someone will round the corner I’m covering just from seeing them sprint behind an adjacent building out of the corner of my eye.
The recent entries’ focus on increased mobility might make you think Remastered feels sluggish by comparison, but I didn’t miss the jetpacks or wall-running in the hour I played. If anything, this game feels faster and more lethal, both because the decreased angles of approach means people end up funneling down the same paths more often, and because weapons seem to do more damage (or maybe soldiers were just more fragile back in 2007).
I may not be playing as a superhuman with a slew of abilities, but that vulnerability makes me feel like a regular soldier fighting for my life, which is its own brand of intense. Encounters happen over the course of one or two seconds, and with fewer options at your disposal, getting the jump on the enemy or properly flanking them feels more crucial to winning.
Call of Duty 4’s signature three killstreak rewards (a UAV, Airstrike, and Attack Helicopter) remain intact, as do the same suite of weapon and perk options. Want to mix Stopping Power, Martyrdom, and a shotgun again? You can definitely do that, once you’ve unlocked all of them.
Some of the later games’ design has made its way into Remastered, but it’s mostly psychological. If you get mowed down at the same chokepoint five times in a row then finally get the jerk who was sniping you on the sixth, expect “Comeback” and “Revenge” medals to pop up on your screen. Similarly, if you fail to kill that sniper, you’ll see a “Nemesis” marker as you watch the killcam where they pick you off yet again. These medals help you feel better about every successful kill, and while they’re not “true” to the classic experience, I didn’t mind being encouraged after a long streak of a deaths.
I came away from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered eager to play more. After a few trims around the edges, it has aged beautifully, and after the series has iterated and changed several of its defining aspects over nearly ten years, coming back to the game that made the series what it is felt like a refreshing change of pace. Call of Duty 4 may no longer be the multiplayer shooter most worth playing, but if my recent time with it is any indication, it could prove itself as one worth remembering.