Content of the article: "I platinumed Call of Duty MW2 Remastered"
Hello Everyone. I recently platinumed MW2 and want to give my thoughts on it. I feel discussing the game from a trophy hunter perspective is probably a more novel look at the game than just discussing it normally.
Overall, it's not a hard platinum. Just mostly tedious (minus one trophy which is actually really tough). Half the trophies are "complete X mission" and "complete X mission in veteran difficulty". So about veteran difficulty, like Uncharted's crushing difficulty, it doesn't compliment the game and isn't hard in that it requires skill but patience + trial and error. Barring the occasional death loop, you can get through every encounter. It just takes a long time because you die after being exposed to 0.2 seconds of gunfire so you're spending most of your time behind cover and occasionally popping out to take the odd potshots. And given the large number of enemies and overly linear level design, you have few other options. I'm glad this game has a master volume control because I can use PS4's Spotify App to listen to podcasts as I play much easier (as an aside, does anyone know why the Bright Sessions volume is all over the place?). COD games aren't tactical shooters like Metro or old Rainbow 6. They're bombastic and cool popcorn entertainment. Like Uncharted, you're supposed to constantly be like "that's cool". But you're less likely to enjoy the cool set pieces and scenarios when you're constantly dying and having to repeat sections. It's telling that in the Pit, getting a good time has the game recommend veteran difficulty to you. The implication being that your fast-paced play is what Veteran demands while being slow is for easier difficulties. But you'll be dead in the field if you try bring so aggressive. That's why recruit difficulty is the best for COD games. You're free to run around and use every weapon and tactic you see which can be quite fun.
Another hard trophy is "Immortal" that you get by completing every mission without dying or having to use a checkpoint. Most missions are straightforward but some like Cliffhanger have so much unskippable cutscenes and a final jetski chase that's easy to fail which means a lot of retries and boredom. But there's no indication of what missions you've completed like this so you better remember if you accidentally loaded a checkpoint. Having to keep replaying missions magnifies every little issue like the unskippable cutscenes, the cool and kinda boring stealth and set pieces etc. I had to replay the campaign for a 3rd time when this didn't pop the first time.
The absolute hardest trophy was "student surpasses the master" which requires you to beat the Pit's best time of 19.7 seconds. The challenge here is that it requires a near-perfect memorization of the course and execution. You need to get at least 140% accuracy (shoot multiple targets with a single bullet) to knock around 6 seconds off your time. But the Pit randomizes the location of the targets every run so you have to react to where the new targets spawn and somehow set up a bunch of multi-kills fast enough. And this is assuming the targets are lined up well so fast multi-kills are possible in the first place. The best trick is to keep restarting the entire mission until your first Pit run has good RNG then keep reloading a checkpoint to try getting a good run since this preserves the original seed. I kept getting 20.00 seconds with the best possible RNG until I somehow got 18.7. I personally believe this trophy is too strict. Make it 24 seconds and remove the other Pit trophy.
There is a set of collectibles and trophies for collecting them. I'm not too fond of these as they require an online guide. The rest are pretty cool. Blowing up a Helicopter with a grenade, destroy the BRs without a predator drone, complete a breach with 4 perfect shots, kill 5 enemies in a row with different weapons, a post credits fight were what I'd like to see more off. Fun little challenges sprinkled throughout missions.
All in all, it's an easy Plat so might be worth going for. Have some other entertainment on hand because you're going to be doing a lot of repeats and should have something to alleviate the frustration?
If I designed the trophies for this game, I'd remove Student, Immortal and all the Veteran ones and replace them with specific challenges in levels. For example, get 4 headshots in Second Son using a red dot sight weapon, complete Exodus without personally shooting a single person with a regular gun, complete a mission with 4 challenge tweaks on, win a game of Rock Paper Scissors etc
As for the game itself though, I'd give it a 6.8 with a "somewhat recommended" score. It's fun at times but has some things holding it back. On the gameplay front, even on recruit difficulty, the gameplay isn't that interesting. Level design is overly linear and you're given very few ways to play around or flank opponents. The game does have cool set pieces but they're not that exciting to actually play through especially on repeat playthroughs. MW2019 addressed this with more varied levels. AW and BO3 addressed this by giving the player more tools to play around with. MW2 feels archaic even by 2009 standards. Games like Resistance at least had more varied level design and weapons.
The story and characters are also quite lacking. I dislike COD's habit of making characters you control silent because it limits their character and the interactions you can have with others. The only times Soap and Price are cool is when I'm not playing as them so they are free to be themselves. The consequence of this approach means most player characters have nothing to them as characters. What can you tell me about Roach as a character? Or Allen? Or Ramerez? Or Frost? They're all interchangeable. So when the story kills one off or tries to make them important, it falls flat since I'm not invested in them and they seem replaceable. When Soap brings the Helicopter around and risks it running out of fuel just to save Roach, I'm wondering where was this concern for Worm, or Ozone, Scarecrow, or any of the other people that accompanied them that can die on missions and rarely even get a "X is down". Why is my player character special? Why should I care about him? If Ozone was the player character instead of Roach, would there even be a difference?
This extends to other characters not named Price, Soap and Foley. Most have very little to distinguish them from others. What can you tell me about Ghost as a character? Unless you read his prequel comic, all you'd know about him from playing this game is he's another competent soldier and a hacker and wears a mask. What makes him different from any of the other characters? I'm genuinely curious because he'd such a popular character yet has nothing to him that would warrant it. Dunn from the Rangers has shown more emotion and motivation in game and has more of a connection to the player since they chill for a bit before the Pit and he teaches the player about "switching to your sidearm is faster than reloading". Ghost has nothing next to that aside from dying with Roach. That's too late to endear me to a character.
Speaking of that, the Betrayal sequence was well directed. But lacked any emotion because again, I have no connection to Ghost, Roach or even Shepard. While Shepard is in the loading screens talking to other characters, we rarely get to interact with him or know him. He feels no different to Overlord. So his betrayal doesn't really feel like a betrayal because both you and the characters don't have a connection. I'd argue Advanced Warfare did this Better. Here, the player and the protagonist Mitchell got to spend time with other characters and Irons chilling. You got the sense that Mitchell looked up Irons as a father. So when he Has to turn against them, there was genuine emotion as both Irons and Mitchell had a connection and the player had one as well. They were also actual characters rather than blank slates.
Shepherd's motivation was also poorly explained in game. I had to go onto Quora and Stack Exchange to read essays from people on his motives and many of them even had "this wasn't explained well in game lol". This hurts the pacing of the story since the story seemingly pauses hunting Makarov to hunt a guy you hardly know doing something you don't know why and nobody even brings up until like 2 minutes before the end credits.
I think the story would have been a lot better if the player got to spend some time with Shepard so the betrayal also felt more legit. I also think he would have felt more like a threat and connected all the different threads better if it was more clear that Shepard had his hands in everything and was using both the Rangers and Task Force 141 to do his dirty work. This is kinda what the game was going for but it's not told well.
Graphics, sound and environments are top notch.
As a game, MW2 Remastered is a bit underwhelming. It lacks the multiplayer that's the whole reason 90% of people play this series. It lacks Spec Ops that generally added some gameplay variety. All it has is a campaign that has some lacklustre level design and a story where most of the cast has very little to worth investing in. I'd say get it cheap if you haven't played it yet and want a fun weekend if you want to play it casually. And free up a few more days for the plat.
While I'm here, I might as well talk about my thoughts about the COD games in general.
Inderdip Lohtia on Twitter already summed my thoughts on the shooting in COD games
I want to add that I personally feel COD is at its best in Futuristic settings. This allows the gameplay to give the player more options for playing the game and the writers more freedom without being tied. COD, being a black and white bombastic popcorn flick, struggles with more grey aspects of the real world. So it has done stuff like in MW2019, refitting the US Crimes at the Highway of Death to the Russians, or how the new Cold War trailer removed references to Tiananmen Square. Whereas the futuristic titles are so removed from all this that they can make any one or faction completely good or bad and have it fit better in the story instead of feeling like revisionism.
Here's my ranking of the COD games overall. Note I won't point out Multiplayer unless I have played it and I focus on gameplay most of all.
-1 Warzone (8.0): Solid BR game. Loved the objectives and Gulag System. I feel that the loadout system is too generous.
-2 BO3 (7.8): The gameplay gives the player the most customization to play through missions with. Added modes like Parkour and Bonus Twin Stick mode is great
-3 AW and IW (7.5): Solid gameplay and decent stories
-4 MW2019 (7.3): while the story hamstrings itself in trying to be grey, the gameplay is arguably the best of the "boots on the ground" style with level design being more open ended and more measured set pieces.
BO2 (7.3): Good story and decent stuff with the different endings and setpieces.
-5 BO1, WAW and MW1 (7.0): Decent games with decent stories
Mobile: The only COD game whose multiplayer I played a decent amount besides Warzone. It's pretty solid.
-6 MW2 (6.8): See above
Ghosts and WW2 (6.8): I found the gameplay a bit boring but the attempts at characerizing the cast and set pieces were nice
-7 MW3 (6.5) A bit too bombastic in its approach, its story jumps around too much for its own good and has underdeveloped its World War 3.
-8 Strike Force and Roads to Victory (6.0) Decent Premise but lacklustre execution
-9 Declassified (5.0): It exists
- Thoughts on call of duty modern warfare 2 campaign remastered
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