Beenox has done an excellent job of making Infinity Ward’s blockbuster 2009 first-person shooter sequel look, well, modern. It looks excellent running in 4K on a PS4 Pro, as PlayStation is the only place to play this until April 30 as part of an exclusivity arrangement with Sony. Textures are fairly crisp and detailed, character models look really good, and the lighting is mostly nice. The strengths of the original get to really shine here: it’s always good to hear the voices of actors Lance Henriksen and Keith David, whom I’d forgotten were cast in the lead roles. Certain things still show Modern Warfare 2’s age, though, like the fire and explosion effects and the flat outdoor lighting in the early daytime missions.
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Given that I haven’t played this 4-6-hour campaign since it originally came out, I’m surprised at how much of it I remembered. That speaks to how memorable a lot of these missions are: I still love the snowmobile escape early on, the frantic fight through the favelas, the battle at Burger Town where you can sadistically abuse the drone-strike missile capability you’re given, surviving the war in firebombed Washington DC, and the very memorable finale. The weapons as played through the lens of 2020 expectations are a collection of same-y machine guns intermixed with some still-as-fun-as-ever fun thermal-scope automatic weapons, sniper rifles, and riot shotguns. And breaching a door in slow motion is still one heck of a grin-inducing experience.
And then there’s Modern Warfare 2’s most infamous level: the intentionally controversial No Russian, in which you’re sent undercover and asked to shoot innocent civilians in a Russian airport terminal alongside the bad guys (and yes, you can still skip it if you don’t feel comfortable playing it). Ten years on, I decided to see if I could get through it without pulling the trigger, and while you can avoid shooting a single civilian, you’ll still need to open fire on the police who arrive on the scene later in the level. So one way or the other, this mission can still make me squirm.
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