Realising Modern Warfare’s campaign isn’t as good as I remember it is like being kicked in the balls by satan’s cloven hoof

By Matt Martin
24 October 2016 11:10 GMT

Fuck you, memories.


“What if remasters of older games are just like backwards compatibility – everyone asks for it but when it comes down to it no one actually plays it. We’re spoilt so quickly and distracted by the shiny new thing and I’m beginning to think that’s a good thing.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is back, remastered and looking rather lovely. Oorah.

I’ve been playing it this past week because I’m a spoilt games journalist and it’s great. I am in no way influenced by rose-tinted night vision goggles. Modern Warfare still rocks hard AF.

It’s exactly the same as it was back in the day before I had children and my wife didn’t have to pretend she still loved me. You don’t need me to remind you that Modern Warfare nailed Call of Duty to the mainstream consciousness like an interactive torture scene. It became a cultural phenomenon at that point and remains so, even when there are better, more gloriously violent first-person shooters flooding your consoles. This was way before it lost its way and you started playing levels as Riley the fucking dog. Remember that brief trend when we got dogs in games? Yeesh.

Except, as much as I don’t want to admit it, it’s not as good as I remember. That’s because no matter how good the remastering process is, games age pretty poorly. They just grow so quickly that something cool five years ago is a right load of old bollocks today. Remastered games are the grey hairs in my beard.


Raven has done a great job of adding little extras – from smoother animations to reload sounds through the controller’s speaker – but it can’t change the level design. So the signposting is pretty poor and all your AI buddies get in the way, clogging up the doorway like it’s 2007 all over again. Because it is, essentially.

Call of Duty has never been very open in its map design, but this feels like a particularly narrow funnel, where trying a route around the smallest of objects is impossible if you’re not meant to go that way. Car hood in your path? Forget it, it may as well be the Doors of Durin. Sometimes that’s used effectively to push you from one encounter to another, but more often than not it’s a frustrating bumble to find the correct path, not the obvious one you can see right in front of your eyes. No one likes to be told by a game they’re playing it wrong.

So Modern Warfare is old-school and a bit clunky and that’s to be expected but goddamn, I still get a buzz from War Pig’s “POSITIVE ID ON YOUR SPARKLE. WE’RE COMING IN HOT” and then the Apache helicopter swoops in and is all blamblamblamblamblamblammo and motherfuckers’ are flying all over the shop like bad trampolinists. Death From Above remains chillingly realistic, reducing war to a meta video game inside a video game about war. All Ghillied Up is probably the best mission in any Call of Duty game.

It’s still great, and I don’t regret returning to it, but the lit firework I was expecting has fallen over and spunked it’s fizzle into the wet grass. It’s a little bit heartbreaking. I mean, what if the games industry pushes new technology forward so quickly and relentlessly because games age so quickly, so badly? Maybe we should never look back.

What if remasters of older games are just like backwards compatibility or the return of a Nintendo character other than Mario and Zelda – everyone asks for it but when it comes down to it no one actually plays it. We’re spoilt so quickly and distracted by the shiny new thing and I’m beginning to think that’s a good thing. Frankly, what if all old games are shit?

I got a bit down about it all to be honest with you, so to cheer myself up I decided to compile a scientific list of all the games Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is better than and the results are in. In no particular order:

All The Games Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Is Better Than:

  • Call of Duty
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Call of Duty: Big Red One
  • Call of Duty: Finest Hour
  • Call of Duty 3
  • Call of Duty: Road to Victory
  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Call of Duty: Strike Team
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, let’s be honest, most probably.
  • All the other games ever made, ever.
  • Apart from maybe DJ Hero.

Writing this list cheered me up even though it’s not true and then I skipped off to tell my wife I love her and I didn’t play games all weekend and we had a lovely time. So basically, despite our brief reunion, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare isn’t what it used to be but it did just save my marriage.

Thanks, Activision!

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