Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered updates the FPS classic admirably, but its pricing scheme and missing maps keep it from reaching its true potential.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched in 2007, earning widespread critical acclaim, and changing the face of the industry in the process. With countless Game of the Year awards under its belt, Call of Duty 4 is considered one of the best first-person shooters ever made, so fans were understandably excited when it was announced that the game would be updated for current-gen consoles as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. And almost a decade after the original game's release, we're happy to report that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is still a lot of fun, but it comes with a couple glaring flaws.
Perhaps the most obvious flaw is its pricing scheme. At the time of this writing, Call of Duty 4 fans looking to revisit the game with prettier graphics can't simply go out and buy it. On the contrary, they have to purchase, at minimum, the Legacy Edition of Infinite Warfare, which currently retails for $80. Those hoping to purchase the Legacy Edition and then sell Infinite Warfare are out of luck; Modern Warfare Remastered requires the Infinite Warfare disc to function.
Some view this pricing scheme as a way for Activision to force consumers to buy Infinite Warfare after the game's reveal trailer was met with overwhelming hate from the community. Regardless of intent, Activisin's decision hasn't sat well with many fans, as it essentially means that Modern Warfare Remastered costs $80 - a rather steep asking price for a core gameplay experience that's nearly a decade old.
Besides the questionable pricing scheme, there's another issue with Modern Warfare Remastered that needs to be addressed. Namely, it doesn't launch with all 16 maps that were available in the original game, with fans having to wait until December to get their hands on the rest of them. The post-launch DLC maps that were released for Call of Duty 4 also don't appear in Modern Warfare Remastered, and there has been no indication that those particular maps will be added to the game at all.
Even with those two issues holding the game back, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is still great fun, and a very well-made game. It features one of the most exciting Call of Duty campaigns in history, full of heart-pounding set-pieces, and action sequences that were rather innovative for the time. In the near-decade since Call of Duty 4 originally hit store shelves, however, its campaign has been outdone by many other FPS titles, and so some might not find it quite as memorable or impressive as it was the first time around.
While the campaign may feel a little dated, it has undeniable polish, and its replayability has been extended by the folks at Raven Software. Players have more campaign cheats to unlock this time around, which should give Call of Duty 4 veterans a good reason to go back through the story. By the way, the aforementioned cheats are unlocked by collecting enemy intel, and fans will be happy to know that the game now keeps track of the number of intel collected in each level, whereas the original game left players guessing.
Otherwise, the campaign should be exactly as players remember it, except for the vastly improved visuals and audio, that is. Simply put, Modern Warfare Remastered succeeds at modernizing the original game's presentation, with improved textures, frame rate, and many other visual and auditory enhancements.
Of course, the game's celebrated multiplayer enjoys the same upgrades. While it's disappointing that Modern Warfare Remastered is missing a number of maps that players could access in the original release, the new version of the game has one major advantage over Call of Duty 4: no hackers. Anyone that revisits the older Call of Duty titles like World at War and Modern Warfare 2, will find multiplayer lobbies filled with invincible opponents, people that can fly, and more, effectively killing the online experience for those games.
The opportunity to revisit Call of Duty 4's multiplayer without the annoyance of hackers ruining the fun is one that will be hard to pass up for those that loved the original. Even so, the multiplayer also feels somewhat dated compared to most modern shooters on the market. While there's something to be said for the impeccable map design and polish of Modern Warfare Remastered's multiplayer, it's still the same experience as before, and may come across as rather simplistic and plain to those that have been playing this year's new shooters.
When it comes to Modern Warfare Remastered, it all boils down to one simple question: Is the game worth the $80 price tag required to play it? For those that truly loved the original release and are looking for an upgraded version with vastly improved graphics and audio, Modern Warfare Remastered is likely worth the price of admission. Gamers that are used to the bells and whistles of newer shooters may struggle to stay interested in Modern Warfare Remastered as long as enthusiasts, and may want to wait and see if Activision does eventually release a standalone version of the game at a more reasonable price.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.