Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: December 28, 2018
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is a first-person shooter game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Call of Duty is one of the most instantly recognisable franchises in not only the videogame industry, but also the entertainment industry; mostly due to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare taking the series in a new direction as far away from World War II that dominated any games within the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor franchises leading up to Modern Warfare in 2007. Can Raven Software’s remastering of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare deliver a significant enhancement to one of Call of Duty’s finest moments?
Story campaign mode comprises 21 levels spread over the duration of a prologue, three acts and an epilogue. The story revolves around the world being in turmoil with the SAS and USMC going behind enemy lines to save the world and the majority of the global population. Story campaign mode begins with Soap MacTavish being put through his paces as a rookie on the firing range and a timed cargo ship training exercise that essentially forms the basis of a well paced tutorial where Soap meets Gaz and Captain Price for the first time.
Arcade mode is unlocked after completing the story campaign on any difficulty level. Arcade mode tasks the player to play each level from story mode individually in an attempt to score the highest quantity of points possible through defeating enemies and completing the level in a fast time that is less than the time provided by the countdown clock situated in the top right corner of the screen. The player can also play through every level in arcade mode in one sitting without ever being able to save your progress during the full challenge, while every player’s score is added to arcade mode’s online leaderboards for each individual level and the full challenge.
There are 30 collectibles found throughout the story campaign that are utilised to enable a dozen cheats including noir, photo negative and super contrast graphical filters, an especially funny ragtime filter that replaces all sound effects and music with old style frantic ragtime piano music complete with an old black and white image from the dawn of cinema; and more besides.
As Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was released before the introduction of the zombies mode in the Call of Duty franchise; there is no zombies mode in Modern Warfare Remastered, while there is also no survival mode. However, arcade mode and collectibles being traded in for cheats more than make up for no zombies mode or survival mode being added in the remaster.
Character design is amazing as every main, supporting and enemy character is noticeably more detailed in comparison to Modern Warfare’s original release as they have realistic facial expressions, animations and finer details such as more rounded facial features rather than angular, hair and clothing even down to stitching.
Environment design remains as excellent as Modern Warfare’s original release in 2007 due to a complete remaster that has increased the immersion of the set pieces that your characters and their teams find themselves embroiled within when encountering enemy resistance on the ground and in the air. However, even when there are not set pieces occurring in the foreground or background; environments always have a modern generation Call of Duty quality to them from swaying foliage to polished buildings, vehicles and scenery.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered has a wide variety of weapons including entire ranges of assault rifles, submachine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns and light machine guns within the primary weapon category, while secondary weapons include pistols. Elsewhere, there is also a tactical category for grenades, alongside vehicular weaponry such as three types of cannons on a helicopter, melee weapons such as a tactical knife, weapon attachments such as a silencer for pistols and more besides. Every weapon has five attributes including accuracy, damage, range, fire rate and mobility, while having enough power to shoot through surfaces including wood and penetrate thinner walls.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’s downloadable content includes Variety Map Pack containing four maps for split-screen and online multiplayer including Broadcast, Chinatown, Creek and Killhouse at a price of £11.59.
Call of Duty has previously made an appearance on Vita in the form of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified and even the PSP with Call of Duty: Roads to Victory, although there has never been a port of a home console Call of Duty game, but at least there is remote play as a consolation for players who want a home console Call of Duty experience on Vita. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’s performance during remote play is stunning as it possesses the same quality of graphics, audio and general performance as the PS4 version. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered retains Infinite Warfare’s positive control optimisations that feel as natural as the DualShock 4 controller as shooting and aiming have been re-mapped to R and L respectively which was important for two of the fundamental areas of the control scheme, while throwing frag and special grenades is now mapped to the bottom left and right of the touch screen respectively, alongside sprinting now being re-mapped to holding the left of the rear touch pad, using the right of the rear touch pad to perform a melee attack and tapping the touch screen to produce the scoreboard during multiplayer. Control scheme optimisations have made for a comfortable and exciting remote play experience throughout every mode.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the default control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire a weapon; pressing L2 to aim down sights; pressing R1 to throw a frag grenade; pressing L1 to use a special grenade; pressing X to jump or mantle; pressing square to reload or use an object such as rappelling down a rope; pressing O to crouch or go prone; pressing triangle to switch between your primary and secondary weapons; pressing up on the d-pad to use an inventory item such as night vision goggles; pressing left on the d-pad to switch to an alternative configuration of the weapon; pressing L3 to sprint or hold breath; pressing R3 to perform a melee attack on an enemy; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move forward or backward and strafe left or right; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look up or down and rotating left or right; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display objectives and the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad displays the scoreboard in split-screen or online multiplayer matches, while the DualShock 4 vibrates for every bullet wound inflicted upon your character, heavy impact landings, explosions and the recoil of your weapon as it is fired. There is no light bar implementation that could have produced various tones of green through yellow, orange and red to show your amount of health along with flashing red for when your character has very little health as an indication to immediately retreat.
There are a number of alternative control schemes to change the feel of the controls to specifically suit each player including four options for the stick layout and 10 choices for the button layout with a further option to flip the shoulder buttons around which is collectively an excellent design choice as it provides the player with the confidence of knowing that there is a definitive control scheme that will perfectly match their play style.
Graphically, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is a noticeable immediate improvement. Modern Warfare on the previous generation output at 720p resolution whereas the remaster is 1080p, while every character model has been fully remastered, alongside every environmental texture, lighting and shadow. For instance, the previous generation iteration of Modern Warfare has an angular scope when aiming down sights whereas Modern Warfare Remastered is smooth; the previous generation has pixelated shadows and seemingly baked on lighting, while the remaster has polished over any such aging in the decade between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and its remaster. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered supports PS4 Pro with dynamic 4K resolution and even further texture enhancements.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, story campaign menu, multiplayer menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on a camera panning around characters and set pieces on story campaign menus, while multiplayer menus showcase your chosen class and loadout.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered retains the talented voice-over cast that delivered such believable performances in the original release as Billy Murray voices Captain Price in the Modern Warfare trilogy, while Craig Fairbrass voices Gaz having also voiced Ghost in Modern Warfare 2, Walcroft in Modern Warfare 3 and Tee in Infinite Warfare as well as roles in big films such as Cliffhanger and the Rise of the Footsoldier franchise; David Sobolov voices Lieutenant Vasquez having also voiced Drax the Destroyer in animated TV series and videogames; Zach Hanks voices Captain Macmillan having also voiced Taro Namatame in Persona 4 Golden and Morgan and Custis Pendleton in Dishonored, alongside Gideon Emery voicing Mac and SAS 4 who later voiced Gideon in Advanced Warfare and other talented voice-over artists throughout the cast of amazing characters. Sound effects include walking, running, reloading, shooting at enemies and enemies returning fire, explosions, heavy breathing when your character has taken multiple shots, ambient sound effects such as water, nearby animals and more besides; complimented by climactic music. The DualShock 4 speaker optionally produces sound effects such as aiming down sights, reloading weaponry and a hit marker.
The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 34 bronze trophies, 15 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Ghillies In The Mist bronze trophy for completing All Ghillied Up without alerting any enemies simply by going prone and following directly behind your ally throughout the level and the Retro Shooter bronze trophy for completing a level without reloading your weapon that is particularly possible in All Ghillied Up and Mile High Club. Harder trophies include the Eyes and Ears bronze trophy for finding 30 collectibles; The Search silver trophy for completing Charlie Don’t Surf on veteran difficulty; the Best of the Best silver trophy for beating Infinity Ward’s best time on the ship training course in the opening level of the prologue; and the Deep and Hard gold trophy for completing the game on hardened or veteran difficulty. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 30 to 40 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are four difficulty levels including recruit, regular, hardened and veteran. Major differences include a certain increase in the amount of damage your characters receive from every enemy, while the damage dealt to enemies is decreased to such a point that you will have to consistently maintain better cover and increase your shooting accuracy as the A.I. controlled opposition will become even more aware of how best to flank your position and will shoot with a much greater level of accuracy and an immediate shoot on sight policy particularly during veteran difficulty level. There are particular areas of the story campaign mode that are especially harder on veteran difficulty such as the broadcast centre in Charlie Don’t Surf as enemies will continue to respawn until your team have made it up stairs, although making any significant ground towards achieving that objective is not easy as enemies will throw flashbang and frag grenades to flush your character out of his position and will even attempt different approaches from a distance and in close quarters.
Split-screen multiplayer supports two players, while retaining the graphical fidelity and performance of single player even when including up to 16 A.I. controlled bots in any game mode. Call of Duty games from around the time of Modern Warfare Remastered were criticised for not having enough multiplayer maps; yet this is an area where Modern Warfare Remastered actually excels in as there are 23 maps to choose from, although four of them are from the Variety Pack downloadable content, but that is significantly better than Infinite Warfare’s 10 maps or Call of Duty: WWII’s 9 maps. Meanwhile, online multiplayer supports 2 to 18 players, alongside online leaderboards for the fastest time on the cargo ship drill within the tutorial level and 18 individual levels or the full challenge of all 18 levels in arcade mode.
It is worth mentioning that the previous generation version of Modern Warfare featured 9 maps and half a dozen game modes in comparison to 23 maps and 9 game modes in the remaster, alongside the addition of up to 16 A.I. controlled bots during split-screen multiplayer in comparison to no bots in the previous generation release of Modern Warfare. Meanwhile, the inclusion of A.I. controlled bots allows a single player to practice their skills in any of the 9 game modes against up to 17 A.I. controlled competitors in free-for-all style matches or any quantity of A.I. controlled bots in both teams even to the point of one player versus a team of 17 A.I. controlled bots. However, one area that could be improved upon in the remaster is that the amount of players in split-screen multiplayer has been halved from 4 players in the previous generation to two players in Modern Warfare Remastered.
In Call of Duty tradition; maps are accompanied by an absolute plethora of game modes, while players can customise their own rules and save it as their own mode. If you are familiar with the multiplayer component in the Call of Duty series, then you will already know the classic recurring standard modes such as Free-for-all, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint and more besides which all feel incredibly different to one another in their approach and potential play styles. Meanwhile, there is also a range of character customisation including five create a class slots with your character’s weapon loadout and perks, alongside unlockable calling cards, emblems, character patches and weapon stickers.
Deathmatch style modes include Free-for-all in which it is every man for himself with the first player to reach the score limit ending the game or otherwise the highest scores are counted after the time limit has expired with the top three players on the podium being classed as successful in the match; Team Deathmatch is a team based version of Free-for-all in which both teams are attempting to win the game by reaching the score limit or having the most kills when the time limit expires; Kill Confirmed sees everyone attempting to recover dog tags to score for your team and deny the enemy from scoring; and Gun Game providing a twist on Free-for-all by the winner having to defeat an opponent with each weapon. Domination sees you attempting to capture and hold the designated positions to gain points against the competing team; and Hardpoint sees two teams attempting to capture and hold hardpoints. Mission objective based modes include Search and Destroy in which both teams take turns to defend and destroy an objective; Sabotage pits two teams against each other with one team needing to destroy the enemy objective; and Headquarters sees both teams trying to establish a radio followed by defending it for points.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’s replayability stems from one of the very best story campaigns in the history of the Call of Duty franchise, 30 collectibles that unlock a dozen gameplay changing cheats, an unlockable arcade mode after completing the story campaign, four difficulty levels to adjust the experience appropriately to your skill level in the story campaign and an expanded split-screen multiplayer feature set for 2 players or a single player versus up to 17 A.I. controlled bots, alongside online multiplayer for 2 to 18 players that will collectively keep players returning for dozens of hours.
• Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
• Developer: Infinity Ward/Raven Software
• Publisher: Activision
• System: PS4
• Format: Retail/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer)/2-18 (Online Multiplayer)
• Hard Drive Space Required: 77GB (Version 1.14)