Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is the glorious return of a classic
Very few first person shooter games stood out to me back when I was a young lass in high school. I remember breezing through a handful of FPS titles both on console and on the PC, but if you asked me to name them today I could probably only give you three titles.
One of those three was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (COD:MW). While COD:MW was praised heavily due to its well-executed multiplayer, it was the surprisingly interesting narrative that drew me in. I distinctly remember enjoying this game’s single-player campaign immensely. The main characters of the game, their personalities, and even some of their lines were embedded in my mind. The experiences of Soap, Gaz, Capt. Price, and Sgt. Jackson were properly paced and I remember how much the gameplay wrapped around their stories and enhanced it even more.
Perhaps now we might see many games doing the same and even doing it better than Modern Warfare, but back then FPS fans considered the title a gem.
So when it was announced that Modern Warfare would be making its remastered return with the release of Infinite Warfare, I was more than pleased. The release was quite timely as well. We’ve seen so many futuristic and space-themed FPS games recently that it felt like it was high time for us to return to our roots and keep our boots on the ground.
I was fortunate enough to get early access to the digital copy of COD:MW for the PS4. Despite the huge download size (40 gigabytes for a Remaster?!), I made sure I got finished the campaign over the weekend so we could talk about this down-to-earth classic before the futuristic Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is released.
One of the most dramatic remasters out there
Personally, it’s sometimes tricky to give a quick take on a remastered game. There aren’t many elements to talk about other than graphical improvements and perhaps a bit of additional content packaged into the game.
In many remastered games we’ll talk about the smaller details. We’ll talk about the smoother curves and textures. And that’s really just about it. There’s nothing too exciting except for the fact that you get to relish the nostalgia.
But after seeing Modern Warfare in the flesh, I have to admit my mouth was left hanging open. Despite the game only existing in the previous generation, the enhancements Raven Software made were incredibly dramatic.
From the lighting to the atmosphere to the soldiers that you bond with, Raven Software has added layers of detail, enough to make it feel like Modern Warfare was actually released in 2016, rather than 2007.
The characters look more realistic. Their faces are clearer and their expressions are more apparent. You could tell that they likely reshot a couple of the cinematic scenes to give more depth and to bring the characters’ skin textures at par with many games of today.
Their bodies move a little more naturally. They look less boxy and more human. Their clothes definitely have a more realistic texture and depth. The light accurately bouncing or reflecting on the fabric was a nice touch.
Speaking of lighting, I noticed that it is more realistically diffused. It’s softer or harsher where it needs to be. The flares are brighter and at times it can actually feel like it blinds your character. Explosions in the background are bigger and brighter, making you feel like you were standing just a few feet away from them.
The weather as well has an element of realism. In one of the first missions, where you drop down on a ship from a helicopter, the storm feels more intense and you can see that it will sometimes affect your vision when in combat.
All in all looks legitimately like a new game, not an old title that was just given brighter lights and smoothened textures just for the sake of bringing it back.
But it’s not just graphical enhancements and details that make the game look fresh out of the developer’s studio.
Thoughtful inclusions improve the immersion
From the moment you step into the shoes of Soap, you’ll instantly realize just how real Modern Warfare looks and feels. Subtle additional details like new NPCs roaming around the base will startle those who have experienced Modern Warfare.
Remember when you played as the assassinated President Al-Fulani? You were shoved into a car and were shown the horrors of war? Nine years ago, I remembered looking down, expecting to see my bloodied body. Instead I found out I was just a disembodied head. I laughed loudly at that despite the somber scene.
With the remaster though, Raven Software went through the trouble of attaching Al-Fulani’s body so that when you’d look down you’d finally see a pair of tied hands spattered with blood. You could even see Al-Fulani lift his arms up in a feeble attempt to stop the terrorist from hurting him.
It may sound unnecessary, but it’s these extra thoughtful details like attaching bodies and including new background characters and elements that suddenly make Modern Warfare more immersive. No more random bursts of laughter during tragic scenes.
I also appreciate the more apparent depth-of-field in the game. It’s made targeting a little more difficult for me, but nonetheless it has added yet another layer or realism in the game. I instantly recognized this during my drill with Captain Price, where the game will recommend a difficulty setting for you depending on your performance.
The remaster seems to be able to tell where exactly I’m looking or where I want to look, because I don’t recall the original game deeply and accurately blurring out points in the battlefield that I’m not focused on. This is most noticeable when you’re playing as Soap.
The audio is also a little different in the remaster. The gunfire sounds in the remaster aren’t as realistic or as intense as the FPS games of today, but there are some subtle changes that you will be able to notice if you strain your ears hard enough. There were points where I could tell that some of the rifles sound a little more contained and deeper this time than in the previous game.
I also like the reloading sound that comes straight out of my DS4 controller. It’s a detail that felt unnecessary as it definitely won’t make you feel like you’re actually reloading a gun, but it’s a fun little addition.
The new bar for remastered games
All in all, this reiteration of Modern Warfare sets the bar for the next slew of remastered games.
It blurs the line between “remastered” and “remake” by bringing in new elements and details in the visuals department while religiously sticking to the gameplay we’ve come to know and love in the past. And that’s what makes it worth the trip down memory lane.
If you haven’t played Modern Warfare in its original incarnation, give this game a try. It makes for a brilliant reminder of Call of Duty’s glory days and it’ll be a nice starting point before jumping into Infinite Warfare. – Rappler.com