Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered (3 stars)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Campaign Remastered

Remaster of the classic campaign is frustratingly tough but looks great on modern hardware

More than a decade after its original launch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered resurrects the infamy of one of gaming's most notorious missions: No Russian. While the game boasts a world-spanning plot across a diverse range of locations (a frozen mountain, a Brazilian favela, the White House), what most players will remember is its infamous airport attack during which you're instructed to murder innocent civilians. It was an unhelpful controversy back in 2009 and it now sits awkwardly within the campaign like an embarrassing uncle.

While the series arguably jumped the shark with the global conflict of Modern Warfare 3, it's pretty close to happening here, with events rapidly escalating to a full-scale Russian invasion of the US inspired by John Milius's 1984 Republican recruitment war film, Red Dawn. As is always the case in Call of Duty, the best missions feature the British SAS and their slightly more considered approach to international crisis. And while nothing comes close to its predecessor's landmark mission, All Ghillied Up, it's always reassuring to hear the calm burr of Kevin McKidd's stoic protagonist, 'Soap' McTavish.

This is a full remaster, not just an HD upgrade. Environmental models have been rebuilt to take advantage of modern screen resolutions, and lighting and texture details have been much improved. While it obviously looks inferior to last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (which was confusingly a reboot of the series), it looks great for a game of its age.

But where that age does show is in its difficulty – this is a frustratingly tough campaign, largely thanks to enemies who are barely distinguishable from allies (and friendly fire will get you sent back to a checkpoint). Their camouflaged uniforms often blend into the browns and greys of the surrounding environment and, while you'll struggle to spot them, they have no such problems locating you.

As its unwieldy title suggests, unlike 2016's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered there are no multiplayer modes included which does make this an incomplete experience, although when its predecessor was resurrected its multiplayer lobbies were frustratingly sparse. Despite its testing difficulty spikes, Modern Warfare 2 is still an exciting, globe-trotting adventure which looks great on modern hardware.

Out now on PS4 (available on PC and Xbox One from Thu 30 Apr).

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