Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a defining moment for first person shooters; single player and multiplayer shooters wouldn’t be the same after this seminal game launched. It effectively kicked off the annual Call of Duty franchise we know today. It was so iconic that Activision-Blizzard decided to remaster the game in 2016 and reboot it in 2019. The reboot managed to reinvigorate the franchise’s multiplayer and successfully launch a battle royale in Warzone, but the campaign didn’t hit the memorable marks that I was hoping for.
I have to admit that I actually finished the campaign months ago and completed two other games before realizing that I didn’t jot down my thoughts on what I played. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s campaign leaned in on its blockbuster Hollywood depiction of war with unrealistic outcomes the nuance of a sledgehammer wielding gorilla.
This Call of Duty: Modern Warfare campaign tried to be more subtle and nuanced, but it still comes off clumsy and, frankly, forgettable. They tried to play between the lines of morality and deeper character motivations, but it didn’t manage to strike a memorable note. Who are the bad guys? How are people radicalized? Playing as a small child to save their brother from a superhuman invader by attacking and hiding three times doesn’t help me understand the situation any better.
I played the game on the PlayStation 5 in 2022, and it’s still holds up quite well. The presentation and feel of the game was a step above of any other Call of Duty title to date; probably only outdone by its 2022 sequel, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Bombastic spectacles were still present, but they were less ridiculous and entertaining than those found in the original Modern Warfare. They were trying to highlight the complications of identifying the enemy in this reinvented Modern Warfare title where battlelines are blurred and battlefields are much smaller in scale. Breach and clears were a punctuation point in the 2007 game, while it was — annoyingly — the point in the 2019 game. Creeping through buildings, to clear them out room by room is not my idea of a good time. Perhaps they were trying to convey that fact, in which case, they succeeded.
I was very curious what Infinity Ward would bring to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Choosing to reboot a beloved game was a very deliberate act to stir up excitement in a very long running franchise. I understand why they though it was a good idea to update Modern Warfare and actually have it reflect what warfare means in the 2020s. However, I think it’s trying to take itself seriously and created an even bigger tonal gulf between the campaign and multiplayer halves of the game. It’s ridiculous, but not in a good way.
I didn’t like it