There’s been a lot of rumours recently about a possible Modern Warfare 2 remaster coming out this year or next year. After the remaster of the original Modern Warfare, this doesn’t seem that unlikely, given that COD’s current run of games are becoming more and more derided by the fanbase, and the Modern Warfare series was a high point for many.
The Call of Duty franchise is arguably lacking direction at the moment. Infinite Warfare was widely condemned as the wrong approach for the series (it’s not Halo and it never should be) and while Ghosts, Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III all had some plus points, none came close to matching the best COD games (virtually every gamer I know who plays the series would pick an entry between World at War and Modern Warfare 2 as the series highlight). WW2 was sighted as a return to form, but let’s face it, that game only happened because of how well Battlefield 1 was received, and COD jumped on the bandwagon and decided to return to conflicts set in the past. I doubt anyone’s particularly excited about Black Ops 4 either, given that neither of the last two Black Ops games have come close to matching the original. The studios seem to have lost the sense of what the fanbase wants from new titles. The Modern Warfare remaster, on the other hand, was very well received (at least, it was once fans could buy it separately and not in a bundle with Infinite Warfare), so it feels natural that the COD studios will want to cash in on a nostalgic desire for its most successful games. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Black Ops or World at War remaster happens at some point either. But, arguably, Modern Warfare 2 is the obvious candidate for a remaster, as, for me at least, its the apex of the COD series.
I say this because its one of the only games in the series where all three parts of the game were great. The campaign may not be as iconic as the first Modern Warfare’s, but I found it equally fun and very intense in places. Who can forget the chase through militia infested favelas, storming a Russian gulag or fighting your way through a burning White House? The controversial ‘No Russian’ level aside, there’s barely a duff moment to be found in the campaign, and the shock betrayal from the Loose Ends mission is surely one of the most memorable twists in any COD game. Hans Zimmer’s rousing soundtrack stands out from the blander, by-the-numbers scores of both previous and future entries and doubles down on the intensity of both the action sequences and cutscenes. Spec Ops mode is great too, and genuinely challenging in places (normally whenever Juggernauts are present) and features a great variety of wave defence, snowmobile races, and assault missions.
Now we come to the elephant in the room. The most recent rumours about a possible remaster suggest that the remastered version will only include single-player, not multiplayer. THIS IS FUCKING POINTLESS!!! As good as the campaign is, why would you buy a £20 remaster just for that? I don’t know about you guys, but as long as your ps3 or Xbox 360 or PC still works, why spend money just to get extra graphics for something you can already replay at leisure? Even if Spec Ops is included, you could still replay missions whenever you want on your old console or save files. Most people only buy remasters for 3 reasons: 1. They never had the original game in the first place; 2. They didn’t have DLC that comes with the remaster; 3. The remastered version fixes bugs or other issues or simply performs better than the original.
Modern Warfare 2’s singleplayer was never buggy or had any issues with save files. There’s no singleplayer DLC for either the campaign or spec ops. The only reason you’d want a remaster of this game is because the one thing that no longer works on the original is the multiplayer, because the servers are largely empty and any game you can find is normally overrun by hackers who’ve turned off the gravity or made numerous other annoying glitches. If the remaster is single-player only, no one needs to buy it. No one except people who never tried the original, but they’ll probably prefer a new game that has multiplayer included anyway.
This is a real pity, because Modern Warfare’s 2 multiplayer is arguably one of the best in the series. The maps are near-universally good (There’s one or two exceptions: Underpass isn’t great and the DLC map packs aren’t worthwhile). Between Skidrow, Derail, Wasteland, Quarry, Favela, Terminal and all the others, there was something for everyone. The game modes all had their moments; Demolition, Search and Destroy and even Sabotage offered different challenges that were worth trying out whenever you got bored of the Deathmatches or Domination, while the Hardcore game modes really ramped up the intensity if you were feeling brave. Okay, yes, there were a few pointless perks and the Noobtubers were irritating as hell on some maps, but the killstreaks seemed balanced (I always loved shooting down helicopters the instant someone called them in) and almost all playstyles were viable, whether you used Sniper rifles, SMG’s, shotguns or Assault Rifles. While I know Black Ops’ multiplayer has its fans, for me, none of the CODs after MW2 managed to match its multiplayer for sheer fun (I rarely play multiplayer – this is one of only 3 games where I’ve really gotten into it, which speaks volumes about how addictive it was).
So to sum up: I hope that the rumoured remaster really is on the way. But only if it has multiplayer. If it doesn’t, this is the stupidest decision in gaming since Battlefront 2’s progression system/loot boxes. It would be that much of a let-down. And one I (and many, many others) would never forgive the Call of Duty series for.