The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Tag Archives: Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Remastered

Revisiting Sunny Chernobyl- One Shot, One Kill in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered

“The wind’s gettin’ a bit choppy. You can compensate for it, or you can wait it out, but he might leave before it dies down. It’s your call. Remember what I’ve taught you. Keep in mind variable humidity and wind speed along the bullet’s flight path. At this distance, you’ll also have to take the Coriolis Effect into account.” —Captain MacMillian

Camping out at the Polissya hotel, Price and MacMillian patiently wait for their mark to arrive over the course of three days while the clouds wheel overhead. Unlike the unfortunate tourists of Chernobyl Diaries, no mutants attack them during the course of their wait. When Zakhaev arrives, Price makes ready with the M82 Barrett, and with some advice from Captain MacMillian, he is prepared to place a shot at nearly nine hundred metres. After a few tense moments, Price fires, managing to blow off Zakhaev’s arm. Both Price and MacMillian are forced to flee after their position has been compromised, and they fight through Pripyat to reach the extraction point. MacMillian becomes injured by a helicopter, and Price carries him the rest of the way. When they reach the extraction point, Price and MacMillian hold out for their helicopter’s arrival and manage to escape. “One Shot, One Kill” is the second half of the Chernobyl missions, being the polar opposite of the first, being one loud, bombastic and long firefight to the extraction zone. While seemingly a return to the sort of gameplay that Call of Duty normally features, the level presents a surprise taking the form of MacMillian’s injury. Players must strategically place him down in the right spot, after which he will assist in taking out ultranationalists, and otherwise be mindful as they move towards the exfil. In its remastered incarnation, “One Shot, One Kill” is a visual treat: crumbling walls of abandoned apartment blocks, rusting playgrounds and mould-covered surfaces are rendered with contemporary techniques to really illustrate what a world without us could look like, as nature makes to reclaim areas once inhabited by man. Impressive as Modern Warfare‘s original incarnation was, the remastered version of “One Shot, One Kill” simply knocks the visuals out of the park, combining the gameplay of the original with graphics of the present age to give the level new dimensionality.

I reached “One Shot, One Kill” the day before the second midterm in my physics course, and upon seeing the statistics surrounding the shot I’m to make, my mind immediately wandered towards physics and two-dimensional kinematics. My MCAT course had also begun by this point: the MCAT is unlike other exams and requires more than a good grasp of the materials to best, demanding strategy and creative thinking. With my mind not too far from the impending physics midterm, I looked at the problem and supposed that it was to determine the amount of compensation needed to accurately hit Zakhaev from the stipulated distance given the distance and travel time. Since speed and accuracy are the name of the game in the MCAT, reading the question becomes critical: the time of flight is already given, so the horizontal distance becomes a distraction. Armed with the time alone, it is sufficient to work out how far the bullet will fall by means of the kinematic equation, d = v(i)·t + (a·t²)/2 and some assumptions (e.g. the bullet has no vertical velocity when leaving the muzzle, and that acceleration is the acceleration due to gravity). The resultant answer is 5.40 meters to three significant figures, and a skilled marksman can then utilise the markers on his optics to determine the amount of compensation required, taking into account the height of the vantage point they are shooting from and any wind effects. Since the MCAT, my exam-writing style has changed somewhat, and while I’ve not done a written exam for three years now, some of those skills remain in my mind.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Close inspection of the Chernobyl nuclear plant here shows the Sarcophagus being constructed: the mission is set in 1996, but the construction of the actual Sarcophagus itself finished in October 1986, a few months after the disaster. Designed to contain the radioactive materials and prevent most of it from escaping, engineers knew that it was only a temporary measure: two years after its completion, engineers remarked the structure would last at most three decades, and so, the New Safe Confinement was planned. The dome was moved over the old structure just this year, and the project is expected to finish construction later in 2017.

  • The construction cranes should have been gone by 1996, but I am reasonably forgiving of these elements in fiction. This is the same image as the first image one featured in my original Chernobyl Diaries post, with the only difference being that it’s from Modern Warfare Remastered. The amount of detail in the environment is so much greater than the original, and there is foliage and other clutter in the area where the transaction between Zakhaev and the ultranationalists are taking place. This is contrasted with the original Modern Warfare, which feels sterile by comparison. The statistics surrounding Price’s shot have remained unchanged, and this time, I nailed my shot on first try.

  • After their presence is detected, MacMillian and Price are forced to flee as a Hind fires on the hotel, destroying the first floor. I went through this mission a second time to pick up screenshots – there was an unusual bug that caused me to spawn in with the suppressed M21 rather than the standard one, which would have resulted in some unusual screenshots. While effective in terms of stopping power and only differing in aesthetics, it would have felt out place to feature the suppressed, camouflaged M21 in “One Shot, One Kill”, which is all about going loud.

  • The number of ultranationalists filling the air with hot lead means that it is wise to heed MacMillian’s suggestion to run rather than fight: there’s too many of them, and with the timer winding down to the exfiltration, making it to the extraction point becomes important. The amount of time differs depending on the difficulty setting, and typically, on my first play-through of any Call of Duty title, I go with normal difficulty.

  • The moody grey skies and desolate concrete apartment blocks bring to mind the aesthetics surrounding Hasima Island, just 15 klicks off the coast from Nagasaki. Once a coal mining town built of large concrete buildings to withstand typhoons, the island was abandoned after the coal reserves were depleted, and today, it’s a popular tourist destination. It’s one of the most famous haikyo in Japan, and as of 2009, is one of the few haikyo that one can legally access: for three hundred yen, guided tours of the island are offered, and there is infrastructure to keep visitors safe.

  • It is only during a scripted moment that a Hind can be shot down in “One Shot, One Kill”: besides using the M82’s 50-calibre rounds to punch through the cockpit earlier, here, rounds from the M21 apparently damage the engine, causing this one to explode and crash. Elsewhere in the game, dedicated anti-air weapons must be used to deal with Hinds. The crash causes MacMillian to become injured, necessitating that players carry him to the extraction point for the remainder of the mission.

  • While players are still equipped with the suppressed USP at the start of “One Shot, One Kill”, it is strongly recommended that one switches to any other weapon dropped by the ultranationalists so one can remain effective in close quarters: I usually go with the G3 battle rifle. Other weapons available include the AK-47, MP5, mini-Uzi, RPD and W1200 shotgun; the AK-47 and MP5 are solid choices, as well – the number of soldiers encountered means that a good automatic weapon will complement the M21 both during the spaces outdoors, as well as the narrower hallways inside the apartments.

  • A large number of ultranationalists will fast-rope from helicopters, and in Modern Warfare Remastered, there’s an achievement for shooting down a number of fast-roping soldiers before they hit the ground. “One Shot, One Kill” offers plenty of opportunity to unlock this achievement on account of the number of helicopters that appear, and the M21 is an excellent weapon for this task.

  • Moving through the apartment blocks brings to mind the level design characteristics of Half-Life 2, where the strategic placement of obstructions, whether it be piled furniture or rubble from collapsed sections of the building push players down a path. As with all of the assets in the remastered Modern Warfare, the addition of the appropriate amount of clutter to the interiors of the apartments perfectly captures the abandoned sense that improves upon the aesthetics seen in the original.

  • I’ve got no screenshots of me carrying MacMillian through the apartments following his injury; while most games become a bit of a challenge in having players survive, Modern Warfare chose to address this by having MacMillian retain his exceptional marksmanship. When a firefight is imminent, he will ask players to set him down, offer some advice (such as placing claymores strategically to down enemies) and provide support to the best of his ability.

  • After dropping by my old lab to visit and chat with another one of my friends today, who’s close to graduating, I attended a computer science convocation today, five years after posting my original Chernobyl Diaries post for “One Shot, One Kill”. My former supervisor is now the department head, and he was hosting was the first ever reception for a computer convocation. Things started out quiet, allowing me to catch up in some conversation with my supervisor about research and also partake in some of the food available (including Japanese-style fried chicken, broccoli-cheese balls and jalapeño-chicken sandwiches).

  • More people gathered to fill the room with conversation, and during the next hour-and-a-half, I caught up with friends who had graduated today. In a bit of irony, the skies darkened as the reception drew to a close, and a spirited, but ultimately short-lived thunderstorm blazed through the area in a manner reminiscent of the rainstorm that occurred during my graduation banquet four years ago and was one of the factors that contributed to the Great Flood of 2013. Coming through into the change facilities of a public pool, I am vividly reminded of the day following the second physics midterm. There had been a lecture and lab; after finishing my day’s review, I dropped into Modern Warfare and continued with my adventure. I had studied quite thoroughly for the second midterm, having botched the first one (there was a question about Yavin and the Death Star that I still vividly remember missing), although it was afternoon, and my inclination to study had waned.

  • This midterm marked a turning point in my physics course: although I had been quite ready to throw in the towel and survive (the Bachelor of Health Sciences program does not count summer courses in the GPA calculation for research scholarships or eligibility to enroll in the honours thesis course), I realised that I should put my nose down and get the most of the physics course as possible. I stand in the Azure pool here, overgrown and derelict in a beautiful sense. It’s obvious that the remastered Modern Warfare involved a great deal of effort to get the details right.

  • In my original post, I noted that Modern Warfare had taken some creative liberties with its level design and chronology: the Azure pool remained open until 1998, a full two years after the mission in 1996, and it certainly was not that close the the Pripyat amusement park (in the game, the Ferris wheel is visible right outside of the pool). Having said this, I am okay with this inaccuracy: this is not a sentiment shared by other fans, especially those of Tango-Victor-Tango.

  • The rusted out remains of the Ferris wheel and some amusement park structures are visible here, bringing to mind the abandoned Nara Dreamland, which was deserted in 2006 after forty-five years. Nara Dreamland is a favourite amongst urban explorers, but last October, the park was undergoing demolitions, as the Nara government had finally auctioned the site off to an Osaka company. By contrast, the Pripyat Amusement Park was intended to be opened in May in time for May Day festivities, but following the Chernobyl disaster, some reports state that it was opened briefly to allow children some cheer before evacuation began.

  • Before “One Shot, One Kill”‘s largest firefight begins, I will explain the post’s titles. Similar to how I’ve called the original posts Chernobyl Diaries, here, I’ve titled both of them “Revisiting Sunny Chernobyl” as a reference to Andrew Blackwell’s “Visit Sunny Chernobyl”, a fantastic book taking readers through the most polluted places in the world and enlightening readers on the sort of things man has done to the planet. My spin on the title was chosen because I’m returning to Modern Warfare‘s two best missions, playing through things again in the remastered version, and also because these missions are flat out overcast, moody, rather than sunny.

  • For the remainder of the June five years previously, I divided my time between physics and the MCAT preparation course. The end of the month drew near, and with it came the physics final. When I left the exam room that evening, I felt reasonably confident that I had done well, and I finally turned my full attention to the MCAT. The physics course ultimately helped me with the physical sciences component of the MCAT, as biochemistry proved useful for the biological sciences component, and while I did spend the entirety of my June at a desk while my friends were making the most of their summer research, the knowledge gained from this course, coupled with exam-taking skills conferred by the MCAT course, allowed me to score well on the MCAT and further left me with exam taking skills that positively impacted the remainder of my undergraduate degree.

  • One of the features I liked most about Modern Warfare Remastered was the way that some optics were rendered: zooming in on a target in games is typically rendered by lowering the field of view (FOV), and here, it’s a simple filter surrounding a circular area representing the scope to give the sense of depth-of-field while aiming down sights. Leaving the peripheries visible is a nice touch (older games black the area out), although some of the more sophisticated renderings will only change the FOV slightly, and instead, only magnify the area under the optics, leaving the rest of the screen visible.

  • The final firefight opens with Price setting MacMillian down in a covered area and then setting down some claymores. Once ultranationalists arrive, it’s non-stop combat right up until the friendly helicopter arrives. This battle is chaotic, being an intense experience, with ultranationalists sneaking in from the bumper cars, being dropped in by helicopters and otherwise rushing in from a distance. The M21 becomes incredibly useful here, and at the ranges I prefer to engage at, the G3 becomes my weapon of choice even though it shares the same ammunition pool as the M21 does.

  • At long last, helicopters ready to extract MacMillian and Price arrive, bringing this fantastic level to a close. There is one thing that I’ve not noted up until now: since Modern Warfare Remastered was made well after Modern Warfare 3, there’s an achievement for killing Makarov (Zakhaev’s driver). There’s a very specific way of doing this — players must shoot out Zakhaev first and then locate the vehicle Makarov is sitting in. As soon as Zakhaev is down, one should unload on Makarov’s vehicle, making certain not to take out Yuri, who is sitting in the backseat. Once this is done, the achievement will unlock, and the mission proceeds normally.

With these memories enduring even after a half-decade, for me, “One Shot, One Kill” and “All Ghillied Up” are more than just exceptional missions in a Call of Duty game that set the standard for modern military shooters; they represent a trip down memory lane and were the form of escapism that contributed to my making it through that summer, allowing me to blow off steam even when staring down numerous exams. The cinematic, immersive experience offered by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare proved to be exactly what a busy mind needed, and since then, I’ve been a fan of Call of Duty‘s campaigns and set-pieces. These memories ultimately are the reason why I would consider Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s Legacy Edition to be a worthwhile purchase; I am, in effect, buying back a re-imagined, remastered look back at the events of the summer five years ago. Although it may appear that I am recalling this summer through rose-coloured glasses, I note that vividly remember of all of the tribulations and effort it took to survive both physics and the MCAT. That Call of Duty offered the occasional break from these challenges simply affords it a favourable impression in my books, and with these recollections drawing to a close, I will be returning to my regular programming: in the near future, I will be writing about Infinite Warfare, which I’d finished shortly after returning from my vacation.

Revisiting Sunny Chernobyl- All Ghillied Up in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered

“Look at this place… fifty thousand people used to live in this city. Now it’s a ghost town… I’ve never seen anything like it.” —Captain MacMillian

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s “All Ghillied Up” mission remains one of the most iconic missions in the history of first person shooters, offering a change of pace from the high-paced missions up until that point. Even now, it stands alongside the first Flood mission in Halo: Combat Evolved as being one of the most innovative and entertaining missions – players accompany Captain MacMillian on an assassination mission, sneaking through the dreary fields outside of Pripyat on an overcast day to reach a sniper’s perch. Long the way, they cautiously duck between convoys of heavily armed ultranationalists, engage lone guards and climb through the ruins of Pripyat, deserted and uninhabited since the Chernobyl accident. The unique combination of being very linear mission that offered a considerable amount of leeway for deviation from the script, fantastic moments conferred by close encounters with ultranationalist forces, a beautifully constructed level and atmospherics come together to create a very distinct aesthetic for “All Ghillied Up” that allowed its original incarnation to be counted as one of the most memorable missions even amongst modern shooters. However, in the remastered version of Modern Warfare, “All Ghillied Up” takes on a new life – the skies are a moody grey, overcast, and assets on the ground have been given a total overhaul. Grasses and trees are much richer in details than before, as are the buildings, whose walls exhibit aging and exposure to the elements far more sharply than the original. Upgraded volumetric lighting, particle effects and water reflections further bring this level to life, bringing “All Ghillied Up” into the present day. The mission loses none of its charm, and with its fresh coat of paint, conveys the atmospherics and tenour of “All Ghillied Up” even more profoundly than its original incarnation.

When I wrote the original “All Ghillied Up” post five years ago, I was well into my Newtonian Physics course and had just began my MCAT course. The film, Chernobyl Diaries, had also just been released, having premièred in theatres a few days earlier, on May 25. I had seen some trailers for the film and was intrigued by the premise: the film depicts a group of travellers doing an “extreme” tour of Pripyat before finding themselves stranded, at the mercy of an unknown force that relentlessly pursues them (which turn out to be escaped medical patients mutated by the radiation in-story). I was wondering if I should watch the film, and settled in playing through the Call of Duty missions owing to time constraints introduced by physics and the MCAT, recounting my own adventures through Chernobyl (in a manner of speaking). Five years since, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Chernobyl Diaries, and my impressions are that the film was largely unremarkable, delivering a thin plot and frequent jump scares that dampen the horror aspect of the film. While the film is nothing noteworthy in execution, one aspect I did enjoy was the presentation of Pripyat and its locations, especially when the travellers enter one of the old apartment blocks and later, the different facilities around Pripyat. In Modern Warfare, there are no hostile forces quite like those of Chernobyl Diaries, and the area is desolated save the ultranationalist soldiers. It’s decidedly less frightening and more melancholy, providing the perfect atmosphere that parallels what it felt like to be studying for Newtonian physics and an MCAT while my peers were enjoying summer weather and their research projects.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In the remaster of Modern Warfare, the clouds in the sky and lighting are far more vivid in detail. Grasses and vegetation are much more realistic, and a bit of volumetric lighting can be seen in the image’s right hand side to the upper right, by the trees. Upon Modern Warfare Remastered‘s first announcement, my immediate thoughts were “what would a fully modernised ‘All Ghillied Up’ look like?” Here, we have our answer, and already, I am impressed.

  • Upgraded graphics confers upon “All Ghillied Up” in Modern Warfare Remastered a sense of immersion far surpassing the visuals of the original mission, and even though every moment is identical, down to the scripting, a fresh coat of paint makes the game feel like a whole new title. I spent far more time admiring the visuals than I should have, right down to the reflections in the M21’s optics. However, there’s not too much time to dawdle: there’s a mission to complete, after all!

  • Supposing the recollections from my first “Chernobyl Diaries” discussion to be correct, it was a bit of an overcast day when I wrote the original post similar to the skies seen around the church (ostensibly, I was supposed to be working on a physics assignment on equilibrium and forces). The remastered Modern Warfare depicts this area as having much darker skies, and while waiting for the Ultranationalist convoy to pass later on, lightning can be seen illuminating the clouds. It’s subtle and it’s easily missed, but it is a very nice touch: whenever the clouds get this dark where I live, a thunderstorm or some form of precipitation is imminent.

  • There’s a cache of Stinger missiles inside the church that can be used to shoot out the Russian Hind, although I’ve never actually tried to do so for myself as of now. Some folks have tried “All Ghillied Up” without adhering to the stealth components, and there’s a trick to besting the Hind; one needs to get off two shots in quick succession. The first shot will always miss, since the Hind will deploy flares, and retaliation is swift as it unleashes a barrage of rockets, leveling the church. If players can evade this and get a second shot off, the Hind will be destroyed, prompting MacMillian to remark that Price is now showing off.

  • Depending on one’s perspective, five years can be a lot of time, or it can be a little time. When I played through Modern Warfare for the first time, the game had been out for five years, and was showing its age slightly against period titles, such as Battlefield 3. However, in atmospherics, it was unparalleled, and looking through my old archives, I was so engrossed in Modern Warfare that I beat the game in just over a week.

  • I’m actually not too sure how I developed an interest in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but it might have stemmed from seeing trailers for Chernobyl Diaries on television, subsequently looking up ghost stories surrounding Chernobyl and Pripyat and then coming across an article about ghostly voices of children in Modern Warfare at Tango-Victor-Tango. Closer inspection led me to learn more about the Pripyat missions, and once I found some YouTube footage, I felt that this was something I could enjoy playing. This would have been April, during which term was still on, and I was watching Angel Beats! while trying to do my best to stay afloat in biochemistry.

  • This is probably the tensest part of the mission, and I’ve died here more times than I’ve cared to keep track of because one of the ultranationalist soldiers stepped on me while I was still in the grass. MacMillian suggests anticipating their paths and keeping movement to a minimum, and with enough experience, it is possible to remember where the soldiers will go. While I love this mission, I’ve not yet memorised the soldiers’ scripted paths, so I usually make for the left and hide behind a tree until everyone’s gone.

  • What caught my eye in the trailer were shots of Pripyat covered in a fog, as well as the interiors of apartments and other buildings in Pripyat. While I had been interested in checking out the movie, a physics course and cold reception to the movie upon its release meant that my interest in the film waned. However, this year, I decided to give Chernobyl Diaries a spin just to see if the film was as poor as reception had presented it to be. Overall, I found that the narrative was a bit generic and the movie counting solely on jump scares to convey its horror moments meant that the fear soon gave way to wondering how the characters would react when they ran into trouble next. The fact that the source of the horror game from mutants also lessens the impact of each scare.

  • Having said that, there were some things the movie did reasonably well: the initial tour of Pripyat with Yuri and the initial fear conveyed by uncertainty as to what the cause of frights would be meant the film’s initial build-up was fun to watch. In particular, the moment with a fog covering Pripyat conveyed a perfect sense of suspense. By comparison, the best (and only other) horror movie I’ve seen was Dark Water, which scared me to no end because of both how the build-up was so well done, the fact that the specter’s physical appearance was quite unsettling and the implications the film imparts about human selfishness and cruelty long after the denouement was presented.

  • Even today, I’m still too much of a wuss to go back and re-watch Dark Water. By comparison, Chernobyl Diaries certainly is not scary, and perhaps if the mutants were in the open a bit more, in conjunction with at least a handful of survivors as opposed to total casualties, the film might be considered an adventure or survival film instead. Most of the deaths in Chernobyl Diaries were not too gruesome, minus Yuri’s: his abdominal cavity was torn open and mutilated by the mutants. Similarly, the presence of mutants rather than other supernatural entities meant that in theory, a good set of weapons could be sufficient to confer survival. Back in “All Ghillied Up”, I’ve reached the point where I must crawl under some parked vehicles. It’s a thrilling point in the mission, as suspenseful as waiting for the ultranationalist convoy to pass.

  • With this in mind, I contend that Chernobyl Diaries is not an equivalent experience to playing through Modern Warfare. Barring actually travelling to Pripyat, the remastered version of Modern Warfare is the most immersive experience of exploring Pripyat possible, and here, I’ve finally cleared all of the convoys and points in the game where there are large numbers of soldiers. There’s a lone sniper on the stairwell, but he can be dealt with quickly. Returning to my old post on “All Ghillied Up” will find a screenshot taken at the same location: the differences are dramatic.

  • In my original post, I only had ten images and focused predominantly on events after clearing the convoy. That post was written well before this blog became my preferred place to write: in 2012, I still maintained a website at Webs.com, where my reviews lived. By 2013, it became clear that the limitations of Webs.com (mainly with respect to maximum number of visitors possible and a difficult-to-use web interface) meant that I would slowly migrate here. After trying my hand at lengthier posts with Vividred Operation, I became accustomed to WordPress and have used it since.

  • Hence, readers who do choose to explore this site’s archive will find blog posts from 2011 and 2012 that deviate greatly from the way I currently do things. Posts take a considerably more substantial effort to write now, as opposed to being put together within the space of half an hour, and I often plan an outline for each post in my mind a few days or even weeks before putting fingers to keyboard.

  • Without the prospect of being shot at, “All Ghillied Up” takes on a different feel as Price and MacMillian wander through the deserted apartment blocks of Pripyat. Unlike Chernobyl Diaries, there are no mutants or large animals: players only encounter a wild dog that’s best left alone (killing it will result in a pack of dogs showing up, although it is possible and somewhat entertaining to extricate oneself from the situation). The absence of unknown enemies means that this short walk through Pripyat is a melancholic, moody one that brings to mind the dangers of knowledge and their consequences.

  • In my original post, I mention haikyo, a Japanese term for “ruins”. Having put some years between the present and when I last counted myself as a student, I can finally confess that I was never much of a student in my undergraduate studies until my fourth year, and one of the things I did instead of applying for summer scholarships or studying D vs L configuration of acyclic monosaccharides was browsing through old ruins in Japan. Since then, I’ve also found websites showcasing ruins of Russia, and more recently, Taiwan. The images are hauntingly beautiful, and there’s a strange appeal about derelict human constructs.

  • Here, I step into an abandoned room that appears to have once held a cafeteria; the remaster makes fantastic use of volumetric lighting and particles to give a dusty sense, while the peeling paint and detrius on the floors mirror the lack of a human presence. There are many hazards associated with exploring old ruins that images alone cannot capture: broken glass, asbestos, mold, crumbling infrastructure and feral animals, plus the ever-present risk of being detected and held for trespassing are very real threats that hang over the heads of urban explorers. Urban explorer Alexander Synaptic remarks that his preferred way of exploring haikyo is to start from the roof and work his way down, minimising the risk of detection.

  • Synaptic’s travels are largely focused in Taiwan, and while he does visit other locations, there are a host of excellent haikyo sites out there. Japan is where my interests were first piqued: I found an anime magazine showcasing the derelict roller coasters of Nara Dreamland, and since then, I’ve been drawn to reading about urban exploration.

  • Hearing ghostly voices of children’s shouts here is the only out-of-the-ordinary experience in “All Ghillied Up”, and it is here that Captain MacMillian’s quote is made, capturing the other-worldly feel surrounding the Chernobyl disaster. After the meltdown in 1986, liquidators stepped in to clean up and contain the spread of radioactive particles, while Pripyat’s citizens were given orders to evacuate. They were told only to bring necessities, as they would be coming back in a few days, but that never happened, hence the remnants of personal items in Pripyat.

  • A tragedy in every sense of the word, there have also been some rumours surrounding the Chernobyl disaster, ranging from the conspiracy theories to the downright supernatural. One of the most interesting is the “black bird” of Chernobyl, which was alleged to have been spotted in the days leading up to the disaster. Inducing horrific nightmares in those who’d spotted it, as well as causing said individuals to be the recipients of threatening phone calls, this “black bird” was seen hovering in the radioactive smoke after the disaster and was never seen again. Similar to the Mothman of Point Pleasant, this makes for a fantastic story until one realises that “black bird” sightings were only reported conveniently after things had concluded. My inner skeptic says that the myth was transplanted over to Pripyat as a derivative story, albeit a rather intriguing one.

  • Returning to the 1024 by 768 screenshots in my original “All Ghillied Up” post (and even the 1920 by 1080 screenshots from last year), the differences between the original Modern Warfare and its remastered incarnation are dramatic. I noted that this mission would be more enjoyable than watching Chernobyl Diaries, and after five years, I’ve vindicated that particular claim.

It is quite evident that experiencing Pripyat through Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, although eclipsed by visiting Pripyat, is much more comprehensive and exciting an experience than watching Chernobyl Diaries. While the film is a linear adventure, players have more freedom in Modern Warfare – they can elect to follow MacMillian’s orders, which is the most efficient way to complete the mission, but should they be compromised or feel particularly adventurous, can go weapons loud. The game will uncharacteristically not punish the player; instead, MacMillian will either comment on the player’s inability to comprehend the definition of “stealth” or even remark that they’re showing off, should they succeed in using the M21 to fend off numerically superior enemies. It stands in stark contrast with the hand-holding seen in other missions. Already a fantastic mission in its original form, playing through “All Ghillied Up” in Modern Warfare Remastered is akin to playing a completely different game: grasses get pushed aside as players crawl through it, and cracks in the peeling paint are visible in the new version. It is an experience that very nearly commands the price of Modern Warfare Remastered (itself only available in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition), being quite worth it for the fact that I could experience this wonderful mission again with a completely revitalised and renewed feeling.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered- Act III Review and Reflection

“At least the world didn’t end. Hit it.” –Staff Sergeant Griggs

In the aftermath of his son’s death, Imran Zakhaev seizes control of a nuclear launch installation and launches nuclear-tipped ICBMs at the Eastern Seaboard. Unless these missiles are stopped, upwards of 41 million casualties may result. A joint SAS and Force Recon operation is conducted, opening with a HALO jump that sees the combined forces reach the facility, take control of the command room and safely destroy the missiles over the Atlantic Ocean. Escaping the facility with Zakhaev’s forces in pursuit, the joint forces are stopped when a Mi-24 Hind destroys a bridge. Despite their efforts to hold out, they sustain numerous casualties – Zakhaev himself arrives and begins executing the wounded, but a Loyalist Mi-28 Havoc takes out the Hind, creating a distraction that allows Captain Price to give Soap his M1911. Soap kills Zakhaev and his escorts, and Loyalist forces move in to secure the area and tend to the wounded. The incident is covered up: the media presents the missiles as a Russian weapons test, and the ultranationalist involvement in the Middle East is swept under the rug. This brings Modern Warfare to an end, and at the time of writing, this marks the third time I’ve gone through the campaign in full. A thoroughly enjoyable campaign by all accounts, my initial impressions when I played through this five years ago was that the atmospherics were superb, capturing fully the sense of a squad working together to prevent the instigation of a nuclear war by rogue forces. Up until then, I was most familiar with James Bond and Halo as my shooters: I pressed through missions alone, counting on my own wits and equipment to advance. Thus, when I played Modern Warfare, it was a breath of fresh air to be working with other soldiers: I was quite unaccustomed to notions of breaching and dependency on squadmates to open doors for me, and therefore did not find them to be a distraction. Upon finishing, I was impressed with the campaign’s immersive nature, and presently, Modern Warfare Remastered has done much to recapture these old feelings and add on top of it solid new visuals that brings a classic to life using current generation rendering and graphics techniques.

When I completed Modern Warfare for the first time back in June 2012, I was just beginning to watch CLANNAD and was more than halfway through my introductory physics course. At this point in the term, the second midterm had just concluded the day before, and unlike the first midterm, I had performed quite a bit better than the first. The day after the second midterm, I only had a lab (lectures ran four of the five weekdays) – finishing this, I was free to head home, and took things easy by finishing Modern Warfare. I vividly recall the point where I reached the transmission tower and was asked to destroy it with C4, subsequently wrapping up the game that same evening. At this point in June, the final exam was still three weeks away, and at this point in the summer, the physics class meant that I could not study fully for the MCAT. What happened subsequently is largely a blur now, but I do remember beating Portal 2 in the days following; the day before the final exam, it was raining, and I had studied as best as I could. I spent the remainder of that afternoon playing Half-Life 2. Ultimately, I would end up with an A- in the physics course: I was fully ready to throw in the towel, but seeing the resolve in Modern Warfare (and events of CLANNAD) provided some of my motivation to keep trying until all opportunities were spent. With the physics final done, I would spend the remainder of July preparing for the MCAT. This physics course ended up being the only spring course I would ever take during my undergraduate program, and was a gruelling one owing to how condensed the materials were: I was most grateful to have also had the chance to play through a fantastic game to kick back and regroup.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This post is going to be one long trip down memory lane: I will recall moments from the summer of 2012 as I push through the thirty images and intersperse them with some of the experiences I’ve had while making my way through what remains one of the most memorable FPS campaigns I’ve experienced. We begin here, landing in a foggy valley shortly after touching down. The HALO jump has gone pear-shaped, and the first goal is to locate Griggs after he’s separated from the others. His signal takes Soap and the others to a small village.

  • After clearing the village out, Soap locates Griggs, and the mission proceeds. Like almost all missions preceding it, “Ultimatum” starts Soap out with the M4A1 SOPMOD. This form of the weapon is one of the most versatile, akin to the XM-8 rifle seen in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. In general, assault rifles in video games are exceptional in that they can be adapted for use in most situations. A secondary weapon is usually then geared towards a specific task (close-quarters stopping power, longer-range accuracy or anti-vehicular readiness).

  • Even now, I still remember the physics labs that were a part of the physics course. I was never too fond of these, as they merely offered practical experience in the theoretical concepts being taught in class. Time consuming and tedious, I nonetheless strove to perform here in the event that my exam marks were unsatisfactory: I completed the seventh of the nine labs when I walked out into this field where the transmission pylon was for the first time. It was an evening, and having completed the second midterm, there was no material to review: I typically spent around two hours after each lecture reviewing materials and doing practise problems in the textbook.

  • After destroying the transmission tower, Soap and the others make their way into a labyrinth of derelict buildings. These sites apparently dot the far reaches of Russia, relics of the days of the Soviet Union, and unlike their real-world counterparts, which are largely peaceable, fierce hostilities await the joint SAS-Force Recon groups. The close quarters of the buildings notwithstanding, it’s still a wiser idea to carry a longer-range weapon, like the SVD-63, as a secondary weapon (as opposed to a PDW or LMG). It was here that I managed to shoot down a helicopter with an RPG, unlocking one of the achievements for Modern Warfare Remastered.

  • I did a second physics course in following years; with the focus being on electricity and magnetism, I rather enjoyed this one more than the first physics course. Even back during high school, I preferred electricity and magnetism over Newtonian kinematics and dynamics: one of the more interesting things to note is that some two years had elapsed between the two physics courses, and so, I entered the course with a textbook that was an edition behind. It suddenly strikes me that I am unlikely to use that textbook again, although I suppose that it could still be useful as a reference should the need ever arise.

  • Of course, I’m now at a stage where GPA and grades are of limited relevance, being pure numbers that are strictly for bragging rights. With this in mind, I will finally make known my old MCAT scores at a later date, since the five-year period where my MCAT scores are considered valid by the AAMC draws to a close. If I were to desire a career in medicine and admissions to medical school after this point, I would need to do another MCAT; since 2015, a new MCAT was introduced. Compared to the one I took back in 2012, which was a five-and-a-half hour long exam, the new MCAT spans seven hours and thirty minutes (including the half-hour break). The exam is truly a battle of attrition, and I sometimes feel that my thesis defense exams are, in a way, much easier than the MCAT.

  • With this in mind, MCAT stories will be explored in full as a topic for another day: this post is, after all, titled “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered” rather than “MCAT recollections remastered”. Back in Modern Warfare, I’ve finished shooting my way through the abandoned factory complexes: moving through carefully and methodically shooting all ultranationalist resistance is the way to clear this part: while Call of Duty‘s multiplayer is often considered to be very much a run-and-gun shooter compared to more tactical games out there, ironically, running and gunning in the campaign is not an effective strategy.

  • “Ultimatum” draws to a close with a pair of nuclear missiles launching. A mere two days before I was slated to write the MCAT, a friend asked me about citations in a paper. They were working on a talk about WMD and Iran, remarking to me that talk of weapons and destruction was a depressing topic. We met in an introductory Japanese class, and although infinite distance now separates our hearts, some of the memories from that summer of us sharing conversation and supporting one another remain some of the fondest I’ve got. Of course, time and space makes fools of us, and these days, we’re out of touch largely because staying out of touch is recommended as a means of letting the pain heal.

  • Back in Modern Warfare, the SAS link up with a US Sniper Team as “All In” begins. They push through into the launch facility. In my earlier discussions of Modern Warfare, I largely omitted screenshots of these sections of the game, as they were overshadowed by “All Ghillied Up” and “One Shot, One Kill”. Further, the low polygon counts of Modern Warfare‘s original incarnation become increasingly obvious by this point of the game, which felt distinctly like the “Surface”, “Bunker” and “Silo” missions of GoldenEye 64. By comparison, the remastered graphics look astounding.

  • The final stages of Modern Warfare are very high intensity, occurring within the span of a few hours. The last act in the game feels very quick, and each time I’ve gone through Modern Warfare, I’ve played the third act almost all at once owing to the pacing. There is a specific path that Soap has to follow here, and straying from it will invariably mean dealing with infinitely-respawning enemies. It took me several tries to get the path right despite having played through this two times previously.

  • Access into the facility is complicated by the presence of BMP-2 IFVs. While Soap is instructed to use C4 in conjunction with smoke rounds (which I comply to here and utilised back in my earlier play-throughs), RPG-7 rockets are an equally viable option that will make quick work of these vehicles, allowing players to pick them off at a distance at the expense of sacrificing their secondary weapon. With the versatility of the M4A1 SOPMOD in mind, however, this is the easier way of doing things, although RPG rounds are in short supply. For the first BMP-2, C4 and smoke is the better option, as the BMP is nearby and therefore, easier to reach using smoke grenades.

  • Price will shout for Soap and the others to head right owing to the extreme resistance faced, and for the sake of completing this mission, it would be wise to take this route. The other route is heavily defended and will leave players exposed to counterattack, but those tenacious enough to pick their way through will find an FGM-148 Javelin, which makes eliminating the remaining two BMP-2s a much easier task.

  • I managed to capture a screenshot of a bullet missing Soap in this image here, bringing to mind the blaster fire effects of Star Wars. According to Mythbusters, blaster bolts travel an average of 208 to 216 km/h (converted to units for a physics context, 57.78 to 60 m/s). The Mythbusters values do not account for variations between different blaster makes and builds in-universe. By comparison, bullets average 3841.2 and 5486.4 km/h (1067 and1524 m/s, respectively). However, official documentation suggests that the blaster bolts are themselves invisible, travelling at or close to light speed, and the glow resulting is from the energy emitted by the bolt in transit.

  • Star Wars, being soft science fiction, provides only a minimal explanation for most of their technologies, but in spite of this, it is always a thrill to watch Star Wars for the special effects alone. Rogue One was a fantastic movie, and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is set for release somewhere in December 2017. At the same time, Star Wars Battlefront II is also set to release, and the game is to contain a single-player campaign. As I’ve done for most titles where I’m interested in the campaign more than the multiplayer, I will likely wait until this one goes on sale before picking it up.

  • After the tarmac to the missile facility is cleared, it’s time to enter the bowels of the facility, Throughout the mission, Soap’s squadmates can be seen carrying power saws: it is here that they are put to use, cutting through the steel grating to the ventilation shafts leading into the launch facility below.

  • The last major game I played involving infiltration of a missile silo (discounting the original incarnation of Modern Warfare) was GoldenEye 64. This was the game that got me into shooters, and it was playing at my cousin’s place during Christmas that introduced me to the joys of shooters. While the technologies driving FPS have advanced significantly since the days of GoldenEye 64, the thrills of a shooter have largely remain unchanged for the past two decades.

  • An interesting bit of trivia is that this missile facility is set in the Altai Mountains, located in the central-eastern reaches of Russia, but the pre-mission tracker shows the mission as taking place in the Caucasus Mountains. With the revelation that Modern Warfare‘s third act is in the Altai mountains, this marks yet another location I’ve been interested in as being visited in Modern Warfare: extremely remote, the Altai Mountains have remain untouched since the last Ice Age and is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The area is dotted with lakes and vast mountain ranges, and in Chinese, the Altai Mountains are known as “Gold Mountain”.

  • The interior of the missile facility in the original incarnation of Modern Warfare felt distinctly dated: low-resolution polygons and basic lighting means that the interior is much brighter than its remastered form. Moreover, the increased lighting throws into sharp relief the interiors’ limited details. Although the mission remains very entertaining in its original incarnation, it offered few locations where I felt inclined to take a screenshot.

  • The close quarters confines of the missile facility means that a shotgun becomes a viable tool here owing to its stopping power, so I swapped out my empty RPG for the M1014. A large Soviet Union emblem can be seen on the wall adjacent: this was a simple metal structure mounted onto the wall in the original, but in the remastered, the new emblem has been given new colour and life. The stairwell in the remastered version is much darker than it was in the original to better capture the moody, dank interiors of the missile facility

  • This mission’s name, “No Fighting In the War Room”, is titled after Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a satirical comedy film about the dangers of nuclear weapons. The original line promoting this mission’s name is  “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”, one of the most famous lines in the entire movie. Here, I push through corridors containing the missiles themselves. Unlike the large multi-story silos of GoldenEye 64, these ones are much smaller, but the missiles they contain are no less deadly, carrying MIRV payloads. The facility appears to be built with the dense pack methodology in mind, where missiles were packed closely together to increase the chance at least several could survive a first strike and be utilised for retaliation.

  • A heavy blast door opens slowly once activated, being one of the slowest doors I’ve ever seen in a game and while Price is impatient, Gaz only makes the tongue-in-cheek suggestion of pushing the doors. Incredibly heavy, these doors would have offered the control room protection from external forces, and without dedicated equipment and a lot of time, getting through is nigh impossible. In their present circumstances, they can only wait as the doors open completely before pushing through to the control room.

  • The fears and uncertainty surrounding a nuclear exchange between the United States and Soviet Union was very much a real threat from the 1950s into the late 1980s: my generation, the millennials, are completely unfamiliar with the ever-present threat of a nuclear war and grew up listening to news reports of terrorism instead. However, with the recent deployment of a carrier task group into the Korean Peninsula and the increasing belligerence of North Korea, I am growing a little concerned that things could go hot. As Robert McNamara put it, nuclear weapons in human hands are a recipe for disaster; unless cooler heads prevail, the world is hurtling to the brink of devastation not felt since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

  • When the mission starts, the controllers coordinating this mission still had not acquired the codes yet to abort the missiles. In the eleven minutes I was given to reach the control room, the abort codes have been acquired. Soap enters them into a console, and command confirms that the missiles have been successfully destroyed in mid-flight. The world may have not ended, but there’s still a ways to go: Soap and the others must now evacuate the facility and reach an extraction point.

  • The keyboard console to enter the abort codes is seen in the left-hand side of the screen, and when the codes are successfully entered, there are no indicators at the mission control centre to suggest the nuclear weapons have indeed been neutralised. These are tense moments, and while awaiting the confirmation, I wander about, locating the intel on the room’s far left. I’ve opted to leave all the intel in place for now and as noted previously, will be returning quite separately in order to locate all of the intel at a later date. Previous efforts to do so never materialised, but I will try to make a more honest effort for Modern Warfare Remastered.

  • The last mission of Modern Warfare is appropriately titled “Game Over”, and of all of the missions in the game, is the most hectic and wild as Soap and the others must make their way to the extraction site. If Modern Warfare‘s previous missions was the process of studying for the MCAT and all of the build-up leading to test day, then “Game Over” is the MCAT itself: like Soap, who must now fire his M4A1 to hold off ultranationalist forces while in a moving vehicle, the MCAT is an exam for which there can be no true preparation for.

  • For a moment, Modern Warfare turns into Need for Speed: shooting out the gunners in the pursuing trucks is all Soap can do to keep alive. Like the MCAT, it’s not really about what one knows at this point, but rather, how one applies their knowledge and soft skills to survive. On my test day, knowing how to take on the exam and answer questions using logic and reasoning proved to be a far greater asset than the facts themselves. From start to finish, the exam was a blur, and I only vaguely remember sitting in front of the computer, filling out questions by reasoning through them as much as calling upon all of the knowledge I’d picked up in a classroom under the morning light during the MCAT preparation course.

  • Back in Modern Warfare Remastered, I take aim at yet another truck-full of ultranationalist soldiers. I’m not sure if it is possible to shoot through the windshield and kill the driver (this would make it considerably easier), but firing short, controlled bursts while aiming down sights is the best way to go about surviving the car chase. It is non-stop action, and the worst part is running out of ammunition and being forced to reload, which feels like an eternity. Consequently, picking one’s shots calmly even during such chaos goes a long ways towards ensuring survival.

  • An Mi-24 Hind appears and begins opening fire on Soap and the convoy with rockets and gunfire. Picking up an RPG, Soap’s efforts cause the Hind to leave for a few moments. Despite being on a moving vehicle, there are a few moments where players can line up a perfect shot on the Hind. However, the Hind lacks any hit boxes: as it is a scripted entity, it cannot be destroyed. In the original Modern Warfare, there are no water reflections in the lake – the scenery has been duplicated and inverted along the y-axis. However, Modern Warfare Remastered rectifies this: a proper water surface is presented to give a much more realistic-looking body of water. Players are not likely to notice this owing to the destruction the Hind is causing.

  • The vehicle chase comes to an abrupt halt when the Hind destroys the bridge. Players must hold out for a few moments, and I pick up an M60E4, pummelling ultranationalist forces before a second explosion knocks down the entire team. The music here, also titled “Game Over”, is one of the most solid pieces of the game’s soundtrack: it becomes darker and brooding as the squad faces certain doom, for Zakhaev begins executing them. Hopeful motifs begin playing when Price slides Soap his M1911 after a Loyalist Mi-28 destroys the ultranationalist Hind.

  • Picking the weapon up, I take aim and shoot Zakhaev in the head, along with his cronies. Here, heroic elements seep into the song, swelling into a crescendo when Loyalist forces tend to the surviving SAS men. This song captures everything about how an MCAT feels in its run, and the ending elements reflect on the sense of relief to know the world has not ended. When my MCAT ended, this song filled my mind, and I walked out into the evening sun, feeling a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I set off for dinner, and arriving home, I came home to a notification on my iPad, inquiring about the exam, to which I responded: “I’m quite glad it to be over now; hopefully, it’ll’ve been alright”.

The dialogues and music from Modern Warfare would also carry me through the summer; I listened to the melancholic, yet heroic pieces while studying for my MCAT, and joked frequently with friends using lines from the game to illustrate how I felt about the exam. It’s been five years since then, and although Modern Warfare Remastered might have been improved, the game itself still evokes strong memories of a long-distant summer. These memories account for why my final verdict for Modern Warfare Remastered (a strong recommendation) is also not one to be taken at face value owing to my own biases. The question thus remains: is Modern Warfare Remastered worth buying? After all, the game is essentially a ten-year-old title given new graphics – its mechanics still handle as they did a decade ago. The answer to that is simple: the game is not worth the purchase at full price, and folks looking to experience Modern Warfare Remastered as a standalone without Infinite Warfare might be wiser to wait. With this being said, folks who’ve never played the original Modern Warfare may find the Legacy Edition worth buying if it is on sale: one is getting two games for the price of one (or better) under these circumstances. I purchased the Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition mainly because of the fact that it was on sale and because it’s nearing the five-year anniversary of one of my MCAT, I am feeling a bit nostalgic about the events of five years earlier. With Modern Warfare Remastered in the books, I can easily say that the remastered version brings new life to a decade-old classic, and for the present, it’s time to wrap up Titanfall 2, before taking on the Battlefield 1 Premium experience. I will be returning in May and June to finish Infinite Warfare.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered- Act II Review and Reflection

“Ignore that load of bollocks. Their counterattack is imminent. Spread out and cover the southern approach.” –Captain Price

Despite the nuclear detonation, Price believes Al-Asad to be alive; with support from Russian Loyalist forces, he strikes at a village in Azerbaijan where Al-Asad is suspected to have a safehouse. After clearing out the village and locating Al-Asad. Price begins to interrogate him with the goal of learning who supplied his nuclear weapon. A ways in, Al-Asad’s phone rings: it turns out to be Imran Zakhaev. Price connects the dots and executes Al-Asad, explaining to the others that fifteen years ago, he and Captain MacMillian had been assigned a mission to eliminate Zakhaev, an arms dealer who had profited tremendously from selling nuclear mateirals to other parties. Sneaking through the abandoned Pripyat, Price and MacMillian wait for Zakhaev at the top of the Hotel Polissya. The mission was unsuccessful despite Price’s placement of a shot that blew off Zakhaev’s arm, and the two were forced to fight their way through hordes of Ultranationalists. MacMillian is injured during their escape, but both manage to escape. Back in the present, Al-Asad’s death causes ultranationalists to converge on the farmhouse: owing to difficulties with the original extraction site, Soap and the others must fight their way back to the bottom of the hill for exfiltration. Price decides the next move is to locate Zakhaev’s son, Viktor, who shares many of Zakhaev’s visions and is actively involved with the ultranationalists, being a field commander. The SAS forces ambush Viktor’s convoy, and while he manages to escape, he is eventually cornered, but commits suicide before Price can interrogate him. His death prompts Zakhaev to seize controls of nuclear missiles in retaliation – while Gaz remarks that they’d lost their only lead, Price surmises that Viktor’s death will only make it easier to find Zakhaev.

Punching through the remote mountains of Azerbaijan to locate Al-Asad, crawling through the fields surrounding Pripyat and the town of Uzlovoy in the Mostovsky District of Russia, Modern Warfare‘s second act is a ways shorter than the first act, but also is where the exposition comes to a close and where the narrative of the game really picks up. The different elements of the second act deal predominantly with Imran Zakhaev and the threat he presents – a classic Soviet villain, Zakhaev longs to return Russia to its former glory through any means necessary. The British government are presented as being well aware of this, and in the game’s most brilliant missions, the story behind how Price knows Zakhaev are told in the form of a flashback that also offered a completely novel turn on gameplay: whereas going loud is the norm in other missions, “All Ghillied Up” is set up in a completely different manner. Price and MacMillian are out-numbered and out-gunned at all points during their assignment, but patience and stealth win the day. The missions set in Pripyat and its surroundings remain some of the most famous, well-received in the world of first person shooters for good reason, conveying a new atmospheric that was unexpected and refreshing in a title like Modern Warfare; to see these levels remastered again was to bring back one of the greatest missions in a first person shooter and breathe new life into it, furthering the sense of immersion that these levels create.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In the original “Safehouse” mission, a yellow glow can be seen on the horizon just above the mountains, and wisps of dark are interspersed with the sky. It has the effect of suggesting that Soap and the others are operating during an overcast evening; the days are lengthening again, and given how many cloudy days there have been this month so far, I’ve seen the effect myself. Conversely, the updated graphics in Modern Warfare Remastered firmly present the missions as being set well after sunset.

  • Curiously enough, the remaster of Modern Warfare chooses to depict the strike as happening on a moonlit night, when the original set the mission during a moonless night. The advantage about operating on a moonless night is that one is less visible, so the original games made more sense from a tactical perspective, although for the sake of aesthetics, I can let this slide. One of the Russian loyalist soldiers can be heard saying that the ultranationalists are slaughtering the villagers, but upon arriving in the village itself, no civilians (or any hints that they were present) can be seen. Soap starts this mission with the M4A1 SOPMOD and the M1014 shotgun.

  • Despite being louder and having a slower rate of fire, the M1014’s stopping power in close quarters combat cannot be understated. The mission objectives here, being to clear each building, are stringent, and the waypoints will not update until every enemy inside a building has been neutralised. Hence, it is worth methodically going through every room in a building to make certain that everything that moves, doesn’t move any more.

  • Throughout the mission, the SAS and Loyalist ground forces are assisted by a Mi-28 Havoc gunship that can be called upon periodically to clear out heavily defended positions. Fun it may be to clear out enemy forces, they are present in overwhelming numbers on some occasions, necessitating some close-air support from allied assets. When I played through Modern Warfare for the first time, I was surprised at how little durability my avatar had, having grown accustomed to the recharging energy shields of Halo 2.

  • From 2009 to 2012, I played Halo 2 almost exclusively on PC, spending most of my Friday evenings slagging other players in CTF and Slayer on maps like Lockout, Midship and Coagulation. As a result of concentrating on one game, I became somewhat of a legend in Halo 2 on Windows Vista; there were several servers named after me, and some servers would even kick me on sight. By 2011, Team Fortress 2 became free-to-play, and I spent a bit of time playing that, but I predominantly spent time in Halo 2 until the servers finally shut down in Feubrary 2013.

  • In my original review of Modern Warfare, I featured a similar screenshot of myself standing under a street lamp with the SVD-63. One of the things that stood out most to me in the game compared to the likes of Halo was that players were much more vulnerable and therefore, had to play more tactically in order to ensure survival. Similarly, the arrival of enemy armour was a much more serious challenge; while Modern Warfare conveniently provides players with means to take out armour (usually in the form of the FGM-148 Javelin), in Halo 2, I typically carried a rocket launcher around in conjunction with the Battle Rifle and therefore, feared neither armour or infantry.

  • In Modern Warfare and most of the shooters I’ve since played, dedicated anti-tank weapons are less effectual on infantry, so I’m typically forced to swap weapons out. One thing that I am inclined to do is to go back through Halo 2‘s campaign in the future, but in conjunction with the fact that I’d also like to go through Portal 2Wolfenstein: The New Order‘s Fergus playthrough and Valkyria Chronicles‘ “Behind Her Blue Flame” DLC, this set of endeavours could take quite some time. Back in Modern Warfare, once all of the houses have been confirmed clear, Soap makes his way to the barn (barely visible in this image), where Al-Asad is holed up.

  • It was last week, April Fools’ Day, that I reached “All Ghillied Up” at last. After a morning spent lifting weights, and pushing out the April Fools’ Nyanko Days post, I went out by evening for dinner with family. I ordered a medium-rare sirloin steak topped with garlic shrimps, plus a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. The steak was tender and delicious, as was the toffee pudding following the main course. It was a quiet evening at the restaurant: evening sunlight streamed through the windows, and service was very quick. After the last of the food was enjoyed, we headed home, and I spun up Modern Warfare Remastered.

  • To see “All Ghillied Up” remastered in all of its glory was a moving moment. The clouds have become much more detailed to really give the sense of a moody overcast day, and the vegetation is much denser, even parting when Price crawls through. By this point, I’ve already finished most of the mission, and having not alerted anyone to my presence (MacMillian will shout that “We’ve been compromised!” if that happens), I unlocked an achievement for this mission, compared to previous playthroughs, where a lack of patience usually led me to go loud, only for MacMillian to reprimand me. Having lost none of its suspense, the renewed graphics makes an already timeless mission something that was even worth the price of the Infinite Warfare: Legacy Edition.

  • The answer for why I’ve only got such a small number of screenshots for what I consider to be the most iconic missions of Modern Warfare, is that I’ve actually got two dedicated posts in the works to be published at the five year anniversary to when I first posted the original Chernobyl Diaries talks for Modern Warfare, having completed these two missions shortly after the ill-received film Chernoyl Diaries was released in theatres back during May 2012. The plan is that I will talk about Chernobyl Diaries in the dedicated “All Ghillied Up” post, exploring what I thought of the movie after deciding to check it out a few weeks ago.

  • For the post “One Shot, One Kill”, I will recall the summer of 2012 and the numerous hours I spent studying, both for introductory physics and for the MCAT, opening with a worked computation of bullet drop and bullet speed for old times’ sake. Here, I’m about halfway through “One Shot, One Kill”, about to fire at the helicopter pursuing Price and MacMillian. It is here that MacMillian is injured, and any misconceptions of him becoming a minor inconvenience are quickly dispelled when players set him down, only for his exceptional marksmanship to deal with enemies efficiently.

  • The placement of landmarks in Modern Warfare‘s Pripyat have previously been noted to be incorrect, but the game accurately and faithfully captures the atmospherics: so immersive is the lighting and details in the environment, whether it be the accumulation of filth on the tile or the dust filling the air, standing inside the Azure Swimming pool in-game made it feel as though I were there for myself. One of the most frenzied firefights proceeds this point, and I will be returning to detail “All Ghillied Up” and “One Shot, One Kill” fully – for the time being, I will continue on with Modern Warfare Remastered‘s second act.

  • In the remaster, the mission “Heat” still appears to be set on an overcast, humid morning as seen in the original Modern Warfare, which reminded me of the days in July 2012; by this point in time, I had concluded my physics course and was wholly dedicated towards studying for my MCAT. I came to campus on some mornings to lift weights, and left afterwards: on one morning, it was humid and grey, brining to mind this mission, although by this point in the summer, I had long completed Modern Warfare and had returned my friend’s Steam account. Instead, my gaming would focus on Team Fortress 2 and MicroVolts, which I played in between studying and revisions.

  • Sun Tzu said that all war is deception, and the SAS forces here capitalise on that, firing on the ultranationalist forces from concealed positions and making use of well-placed explosives to give the impression of their being a much larger force than they are. Soap starts “Heat” with the M21 and the M249 SAW. Both weapons are effectual on this level, and I remark that one of the things I look for in a game, when it comes to light machine guns that are belt-fed, is the animation of bullets being cycled into the chamber. Some games conceal this, and the bullets themselves actually do not move, but it is always a nice touch to begin running dry on ammunition and watching as the belt empties.

  • The large number of enemies means that having an automatic weapon becomes indispensable: LMGs are generally of lesser use in campaign missions, since there are few cases where players are faced with overwhelming numbers, and where suppression effects are not likely to dissuade the AI. Moreover, the long reload times can be a bit of a liability: in multiplayer, being able to suppress other players is a much more viable tactic, and for Battlefield 3 and 4, the M249 became one of my favourite LMGs for its relatively high fire rate. Battlefield 1 has no such equivalent, and as a result, my performance with the support class is not quite as good as it was in earlier Battlefield titles.

  • In Modern Warfare‘s campaign, the M249 is the most effective LMG owing to its higher rate of fire than comparable LMGs, whereas in the multiplayer, the weapon has weaker bullet damage. Coming in from Battlefield, I tend to favour higher RPM LMGs owing to my preference for close-quarters combat; the slower-firing weapons, such as the M240 and PKP are better for medium range encounters. The new reloading animation for Modern Warfare Remastered‘s M249 is a slick-looking one, too.

  • While Gaz and the others shout that things are about to get a lot more difficult on account of incoming ultranationalist helicopters, the overwhelming firepower conferred by the mini-gun allows Soap to turn all five of them into flaming wreckages in a matter of seconds. Firing 7.62 mm rounds, the M134 mini-gun is so-called because it is essentially a miniaturised version of the M61 Vulcan, firing smaller rounds, but its high rate of fire allows it to deal a great deal of damage.

  • Soap sprints up to the tavern to man some detonators, further stalling the ultranationalist forces. I’ve featured a similar screenshot in my older review written last year, during which I remarked on the melancholy this mission evokes. This was in part owing to the section of the track “Game Over”; the original Modern Warfare played a slower, more sombre part of the song, whereas in the remaster, a more harrowing, urgent part of the song is played to create a different atmosphere. Rather than an MCAT-style sense, Modern Warfare Remastered yields a more tense, high-intensity feel as Soap and the others make their way back downhill to the newly designated LZ.

  • With enemy tanks converging on their position, Soap’s tasked with retrieving a Javelin missile launcher from the barn. While the chaos of “Heat” may be overwhelming, the mission is a reversed version of “Safehouse”, bringing to mind the level designs of Halo: Combat Evolved. While it might be done as a result of budget or time constraints, I personally do not mind them quite to the same extent as some folks out there: backtracking missions can allow one to revisit a level under a completely different set of lighting and visual conditions, making visible things that might otherwise be missed or overlooked.

  • Is it realistic for a Javelin missile to one-shot a T-72 tank? For gameplay purposes, this makes sense, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a single missile destroying a T-72 totally is not outside the realm of possibility – the missile is performing a top-down attack, striking the part of the tank with the smallest amount of armour, and T-72s without any defensive measures, such as reactive armour or active interception systems, would be destroyed on short notice.

  • Late into “Heat”, allied airstrikes become another option as the number of enemies becomes staggering. Having close air support buys players enough breathing room to keep moving forward: the extraction team note that the entire area’s become too hot to land safely and move the LZ, much to Gaz’s displeasure. This is a clever parallel with the dynamics of real life, where situations can change without a moment’s notice. Resourcefulness and flexibility are key to survival and success: Price tells Gaz to let it go and push for the new LZ.

  • Three minutes to cover the ground between the farmhouse and the base of the hill may not seem like much, and it is definitely not if one chooses to engage the endless ultranationalists that appear, but there is a way to make it very quickly. In previous play throughs, I would move cover to cover and wait for the others to catch up, but since the game’s timers are dependent on the player’s actions, it is possible to slip away, and armed with an appropriate weapon set, punch through the hills to reach the base on very short order: Price and the others will spawn right behind the player if they do this, and the mission will still be completed.

  • Without making use of additional airstrikes or risking exposure to enemy fire, I reach the bottom of the hill, arriving at the gas station that Soap starts at in “Safehouse” to conclude the mission. In my older reviews, I always mentioned that I would return to Modern Warfare and collect the intel: I will do this with Modern Warfare Remastered and likely have a post out for August. There are 30 pieces of intel in Modern Warfare, and this corresponds nicely with a post of thirty images.

  • Bolt-action rifles have always held an interesting place in a modern military shooter’s campaign: despite their stopping power, campaigns tend to send a larger number of enemies at players. As such, a semi-automatic rifle is almost always preferred, having a larger magazine capacity and higher firing rate that make them more useful against large groups than the more powerful, but slower-firing bolt action rifles. At the beginning of “Sins of the Father”, Soap is equipped with the R700, and will only find limited use for the weapon before its ammunition is depleted.

  • Soap can either pick up an automatic weapon and push into the garage, or else take up an overwatch position and pick enemies off from afar. I chose the latter, equipping the SVD-63. Either method will work well enough, and a checkpoint will be reached as players wait for Viktor’s convoy to arrive. In this time, Soap and the others don ultranationalist gear to conceal themselves. The R700 is also discarded for the RPD.

  • The mission threatens to fall apart when one of the vehicles rams the guard tower Soap is in, causing it to fall over. Unharmed, Zakhaev takes off, prompting Soap to give chase. A legion of ultranationalists stands between Soap and Viktor Zakhaev: the goal is to ensure that Zakhaev does not get too much of a head start in their foot chase and escape. At this point, the RPD is less of an asset, and I immediately switch over to the ever-reliable G36C: its slight magnification and precision allows players to target other soldiers without accidentally opening fire on Zakhaev.

  • For the curious, I have, on numerous occasions, accidentally killed Viktor Zakhaev with a variety of weapons while trying to thin the number of ultranationalist soldiers between myself and him. The only trick here is to check one’s targets before firing, and also to know where Zakhaev is heading: it is also possible to get lost in some of the settlement’s streets, allowing Zakhaev to escape.

  • After turning left on the main road into an alley way, there’s actually no more need to move at an urgent pace, since Soap is getting close to the final destination – instead, it makes more sense to clear out the area before pressing forwards. Aside from the G36C, another good weapon to have is the MP5: I usually overlook this weapon owing to its weaker 9 mm rounds, but it’s reasonably consistent when fired from the hip, making it a fine secondary weapon to resort to in a pinch.

  • A machine gun nest can be found at the top of a five story apartment: players can take it out if they so choose, but supporting fire from a friendly helicopter will eliminate the position. In the close quarters of the apartment, a high RPM weapon is ideal, although a shotgun can also be effective. Owing to their slower rate of fire, it is inadvisable to rush through the building, and instead, carefully pick one’s shots. I normally won’t run with a shotgun in this mission, but for old times’ sake, I decided to do so in order to confront Zakhaev with a shotgun, as I did in my previous talk on Modern Warfare.

  • At this point in time, I’ve decided to try and finish Modern Warfare Remastered in conjunction with Titanfall 2 before May rolls around. There’s a reason for this, that I will share at the appropriate point in the future. In the meantime, I will keep going through Titanfall 2‘s excellent campaign. I’ve heard that Battlefield 1 will also be getting a Spring patch, which I hope will bring some new ribbons into the game. The upcoming DLC, “In the name of the Tsar”, will feature snow maps, and I’m now class rank six for both the assault and scout classes. I’ve decided that, if there are no games worth picking up during the Steam Summer Sale this year, I will make the plunge for Battlefield 1 Premium. I do see myself playing Battlefield 1 for more than a year, and my progress through the game suggests that it is worthwhile to buy the extra content; while some of my favourite YouTubers are expressing some doubt over the game’s future, I am largely enjoying the title and would consider the Premium to be an acceptable purchase for the value I get out of it.

With the two most memorable missions completed, Modern Warfare returns to the present: “Heat” deals predominantly with the intense firefight Soap and the others must survive in order to reach their extraction point, dealing with an overwhelming number of hostile forces. It’s one of the toughest missions in Modern Warfare owing to just how much enemy fire there is, and I’ve seen remarks on how, after the Pripyat missions, returning to the present marks a substantial change in pacing. Having received a complete update to its visuals and sounds, “Heat” and “Sins of the Father” have been far improved to create a completely different environment: it is during the missions set during the day where the remastered Modern Warfare‘s differences from its original incarnation are truly obvious. Foliage is exceptionally detailed, and will move in response to player movements. The improvements in draw distance and visual effects also make the mountains and valleys much more realistic-looking, and under the light of day, the sophistication of the new smoke and other particle effects becomes very obvious. To be able to go back and fight through refreshed, reimagined locales that I first experienced during the summer of 2012 was an incredibly humbling experience, and from a personal perspective, was worth the price of admissions to Modern Warfare: Remastered.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered- Act I Review and Reflection

“Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.” –Robert Morgan

Long considered to be the best entry in Call of Duty‘s entire franchise, it was to general excitement and then anger when it was revealed that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare would be getting a remastered edition, followed by the caveat that the remaster would only be available with the Infinite Warfare‘s Legacy Edition tier, which sells for 110 CAD normally. Seen as an attempt to drive up Infinite Warfare sales, most individuals resolved to only buy the game once it became available as a standalone, although at the time of writing, there is no news on whether or not Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered will become available as a standalone title. However, this is not particularly relevant, since I’ve gone ahead and purchased Infinite Warfare‘s Legacy Edition during a sale. The sale, I considered to be a reasonable price, since I remarked earlier that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered would be worth paying 40 CAD for, and the sale offered the game at exactly this price. Hence, I now have the opportunity to go through and experience the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare campaign once again in a modernised form. Although the visuals and audio effects have been vastly improved, the core gameplay and story elements remain untouched, creating an authentic experience that has been given a fresh coat of paint while bringing back the mechanics and old-school feel of the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

In the game’s prologue and first act, players are introduced to John “Soap” MacTavish, a new recruit who joins the SAS task force under Captain Price’s command. They are sent to retrieve the manifest for a cargo ship carrying a nuclear device, and later, carry out an operation to rescue an informant, Nikolai, who carries details surrounding the plans of an ultranationalist Russian faction. Although they successfully exfiltrate Nikolai, their helicopter is shot down, forcing them to make their way through the countryside of the Caucasus Mountains to a secondary extraction point, where they are supported by an AC-130 gunship. Meanwhile, in an unspecified country in the Middle East, president Al-Fulani is executed and taken over by a radical, Khaled Al-Asad, prompting the United States to invade. The USMC 1st Force Recon, led by Lieutenant Vasquez, is sent to capture Al-Asad, but are initially unsuccessful. They move on to assist an armoured column, aiding in the defense of an M1 Abrams stuck in a bog, and participate in operations to capture Al-Asad. This operation ends in failure when a nuclear device detonates, killing most of the forces in the area and devastating the city, presumably killing Al-Asad in the process.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In my earlier Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare posts, I did not feature any screenshots from the missions prior to “Blackout”. However, that’s changed: with this series of posts, I am to be a little more comprehensive than any of my earlier talks on Modern Warfare either here at the blog or at my old website: there will be a total of six posts, one for each of the three acts in the campaign, plus a separate pair of posts for “All Ghillied Up” and “One Shot, One Kill” and finally, a discussion on intel in Modern Warfare. I’ve been meaning to go back through in the original Modern Warfare on an intel run for quite some time: collecting intel unlocks cheats that add a different dimension to the game.

  • In later instalments of Modern Warfare, intel does very little, and so, there’s no incentive to really collect them. The first real mission of Modern Warfare is titled “Crew Expendable”, referring to the notion that players are to go weapons free in this mission and eliminate all hostile forces. It’s a thrilling start to the game and, completely redone for its 2016 release, looks and sounds like a present-generation game even though some of the movement and shooting mechanics still feel like they’re from 2006.

  • “Blackout” is the first mission in Modern Warfare proper, where the goal is to locate an ultranationalist informant, Nikolai. After clandestinely making their way through a village by night, Soap and the others rendezvous with friendly Russian forces. In the original Modern Warfare, there was a distinct reddish-pink hue near the horizon, suggesting that the mission was set on an overcast day shortly after sunset: wisps of cloud can be seen at the interface between the darker parts of the sky.

  • By comparison, Modern Warfare Remastered sets “Blackout” on a night with a full moon. The skies are generally clear, with only the odd cloud here and there. Back on the ground, the foliage is lush, and water reflections are detailed. Under a full moon, on cloudless nights, the bright light of the moon fills landscapes with a gentle – it’s quite pleasant to behold, except perhaps for amateur astronomers, for whom the light can wash out fainter stars.

  • Soap starts out with the M4A1 SOPMOD setup in the first mission, which comes with a Cobra RDS, suppressor, AN/PEQ-2A infrared laser module and the M203 under-barrel grenade launcher. The addition of a suppressor means that this default weapon is well-suited for covert action: with a high rate of fire and low recoil, it’s one of the most effective weapons in the campaign, being incredibly versatile and useful in a wide range of situations. After meeting up with the Loyalist Russian forces, Soap and company hike up a small hill to a viewpoint overlooking a village below.

  • Nikolai is in one of the larger buildings to the right of this position, and here, I wield a suppressed M21, a semi-automatic sniper rifle that has a relatively high rate of fire and low recoil. It is pointed out here that weapons can punch through some forms of cover, such as wood and plaster, allowing players to shoot enemies that are not visible. This feature, I’ve not encountered in Battlefield to the best of my knowledge, and brings to mind the 2015 Mythbusters episode, which demonstrated it is possible to hit targets from the other side of a wall by predicting where an enemy is using a range of cues.

  • Modern Warfare holds a special place in the FPS community for its fantastic multiplayer and immersive campaign; even now, fans consider it the most solid installation in the series. I knew of the game and had played through a demo of the “War Pig” mission some years before becoming a post-secondary student, but my interest in the game only was piqued after I found videos of the “All Ghillied Up” mission. By late May/early June of 2012, a friend had asked me a favour, to help him idle for items in Team Fortress 2 while he was on vacation. This only took the course of a day, and I had other days of the week available to play some of the games in the account.

  • During the late spring of 2012, I was enrolled in a physics course, and was also preparing for the MCAT. It was the first and only time I took a spring course as a post-secondary student; back then, my days consisted of studying for physics, and studying for the MCAT. I had eschewed my research that summer to do well on both, although it led to many melancholy days where I wished I was back at the lab, instead of sitting at a desk re-learning Newtonian mechanics while the weather was warm and pleasant.

  • I will return to this story in a bit more detail at a later date: the outcome of that summer was that, for all of the time I spent at my desk rather than building 3D visualisations of biological systems and under the summer sun, I learned to take exams in ways I never thought possible. For the present, we return to Modern Warfare, where I’ve cleared out the path leading to a transformer station. The game’s suggestions includes making use of the M203 here to clear out groups of enemies: it’s modestly effective in the campaign, but in the multiplayer, the relative ease that one can utilise this attachment as a primary weapon to get kills resulted in the M203 becoming dubbed as the “n00b tube”.

  • The last part of “Blackout” is something that I’ve not mentioned in my earlier talks: Soap and the others storm a building shrouded in darkness, making use of their night vision goggles to maintain visibility. The AN/PEQ-2A’s use becomes apparent here: it allows for players to hip-fire with exceptional accuracy, and in a matter of moments, the building is cleared, allowing Nikolai to be extracted.

  • The second mission in Act I, titled “Charlie Don’t Surf”, has a completely different feel to it in the remaster: it looks brilliant. Compared to the flat, drab textures of the original, everything in the remaster pops out with the same visual fidelity as that of a contemporary title. The mission’s name is derived from the Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now, where one of the characters justifies why they are taking a beach so American forces can surf: the Charlie refers to the Viet Cong (Victor Charlie in NATO phonetic).

  • In this mission, players step into the shoes of Sargent Paul Jackson, under the command of Lieutenant Vasquez. The objective is to capture Al-Asad, who is suspected to be broadcasting from a TV station in a Middle Eastern city. USMC forces storm the city, fast-rope down onto the dusty streets below and make their way to the TV station in a manner reminiscent of the events of Black Hawk Down. When I first played through Modern Warfare, the missions set in the Middle East always came across as being a little uninspired, perhaps being a bit plain, but the remastered version brings everything to life and also gives me incentive to explore these levels, in turn resulting in more screenshots.

  • While it’s possible to go through the most of the campaign to Modern Warfare without ever switching out one’s starting weapons, some missions will necessitate this. Here, I prepare to make my way up to the top floors of the TV station after clearing out a central room filled with desks and screens: I imagine that the Stock Exchange in Modern Warfare 3‘s “Black Tuesday” mission was largely inspired by this section of the game. However, after shooting through a host of enemies and reaching the top floor, it turns out to be a pre-recorded broadcast, and Al-Asad is nowhere to be found.

  • The next mission is also set in the Middle East: it’s titled “The Bog”, involving the reaching and defense of an M1 Abrams tank stuck in difficult terrain. Jackson start with the M4A1 Grenadier, which features a holosight with an uncommonly high magnification. This is the mission that is available for the trial version of Modern Warfare: I played through it and found it unremarkable back during 2008, when I predominantly spent my time in Sim City 4 and the Halo CE Trial, but looking back, this mission is quite enjoyable for its hectic combat in an urban setting, also introducing players to the FGM-148 Javelin, a potent anti-tank weapon in the game.

  • While I’m still generally more fond of the missions set in the Caucasus Mountains, Modern Warfare Remastered brings in a new incentive to stop and take a look at just how well-done the new graphics and visual effects are. I’ve swapped out my side-arm for a Dragunov marksman rifle here: a Soviet weapon designated the SVD-63, it is the most common long-range solution in the campaign and can be found carried by ultra-nationalist forces. I generally prefer sticking to a long-range and medium range weapon, counting on automatic hip-fire to save me from certain death in close quarters.

  • One of the more amusing things about Call of Duty and Battlefield is that being meleed by an enemy is instant death regardless of difficulty. It’s an aspect that I’m not too accustomed to, since inmost of the games I’ve played previously (except for maybe SUPERHOT), hits usually just cause an impact, but not instant death. This mechanic is likely to discourage players from pushing forwards too aggressively into a group of enemies to take them out.

  • After a fierce firefight at the bog, and the elimination of an anti-air gun allows friendlies to land, the second of the Middle Eastern missions in the First Act draws to a close. Here’s a bit of trivia: back in 2012, I played through Modern Warfare at the 1024 by 768 resolution. The effects of having a smaller screen area are especially noticeable, and what this looked like can be seen in my first Call of Duty “Chernobyl Diaries” mini-series posts, or at my old website (which I’ve stopped maintaining ever since Gundam Unicorn‘s finale concluded).

  • Back in the Caucaus Mountains, the extraction goes pear-shaped in the mission “Hunted”: Soap’s helicopter is hit by a Stinger missile and crashes into the countryside, necessitating a plan B. While the pilots and some of the soldiers die, Captain Price, Soap, Nikolai and a few others survive. They must evade ultranationalist patrols while awaiting close-air support from an AC-130. Some folks wonder why an AC-130 would be available to British SAS operators, but it’s been made clear that the US and UK have been running joint operations.

  • While Soap starts with only a M1911 following the crash, it is wiser to pick up the G36C, which has a good stopping power and for which ammunition is plentiful. A reasonably powerful weapon, the G36C has exceptional hip fire accuracy in the campaign and would be an excellent weapon to go loud with. However, it shares ammunition with the M4A1, making it advisable to select another weapon such that one does not run out during the most inopportune of moments.

  • A staple in almost any shooter, the AK-47 is perhaps the most recognisable weapon in existence, known for its legendary durability and reliability. In Modern Warfare‘s campaign, the AK-47 offers superior stopping power compared to most weapons, but is offset by its high recoil. This pattern is similar to that of CS:GO, where the AK-47 is one of the most popular weapons amongst players for its exceptional damage model (one headshot is an instant-kill even against opponents with a helmet), relatively low price and decent accuracy when tap-firing (the weapon’s recoil increases when fired on automatic for long periods).

  • “Hunted” marks the first bit of stealth in Modern Warfare: ultranationalist helicopters armed with spotlights patrol the countryside with the aim of finding Soap and his team, requiring a bit of sneaking around between the farmhouses and barns across open countryside. The fields have enough vegetation so that it is possible to get quite far just by sneaking around, and the cover of darkness is an immensely useful ally even if it means the screenshots I’ve got are much darker than usual.

  • After reaching a barn just ahead of a tailing helicopter, Soap finds a cache of FIM-92 Stinger missiles and a launcher. It’s time to turn the tables against the enemy helicopters: the Stinger only appears in the campaign, and must acquire a lock before the missiles can be fired. It took me several attempts to get it right, but in the end, one of my shots connected, downing the helicopter. Later incarnations of Modern Warfare make the singer available in the multiplayer, as well, but it is intended for use against killstreak bonuses rather than other players.

  • Reaching the end of the level, the AC-130 arrives and provides heavy fire support, demolishing buildings close to Soap and the other’s position: the fireball illuminates the night sky. Players may then wonder, what would it be like to be helming the AC-130’s guns? The answer to this is found subsequently: “Hunted” draws to a close here, and players have the chance to play the role of a Thermal Imaging TV operator on board the AC-130, sitting high above the battlefield to provide some serious firepower for Soap and the others.

  • Sitting in the AC-130, raining death onto ultranationalists represents a solid change of pace from the shooting of previous missions. Here, the goal is to clear a path for Price and the others to the extraction point, firing only on authorised targets (typically, those not marked by a strobe). The frequent command to not fire on the church is an allusion to a real-world mission, where an AC-130 crew was ordered to not fire on a mosque to prevent civilian casualties, and caution must be exercised with the 105 mm howitzer, which deals massive damage. The best weapon is the 40 mm Bofors cannon, as it offers good damage and precision.

  • While the differences between the original and remastered versions might not be obvious in this mission, the details have improved in Modern Warfare Remastered: buildings collapse after sustaining enough damage, and the assets seem a lot sharper. I recall that, back during 2012, I played Zombie Gunship on iOS during evenings before turning in. The game offers a much more simplistic UI, and the goal is to rescue people while eliminating zombies. While this seems straightforwards enough, large monsters that can absorb multiple 105 shells appear later, making the game more challenging.

  • Perspective shifts back to the USMC soldiers after Price and his men are safely extracted: by this point in time, the tank crews are back in business, and it’s a fight to escort the functional M1 Abrams back to its main force, taking out Al-Asad’s forces along the way in “War Pig”. The urban combat is hectic and chaotic, featuring many close-quarters engagements. In spite of this, the secondary weapon that I carried with me in this mission was the SVD-63: having a good marksman weapon makes it easier to take out enemies from a safe distance, and in close quarters, the biggest disadvantage about a shotgun is the low firing rate. Even if I can down an enemy in one shot, there are multiple other enemies to be concerned with.

  • A cursory glance at the graphics of the original Modern Warfare really shows just how dated the original game looks when compared against modern titles. The missions set in rural areas have aged the most gracefully, but in urban environments, lower resolution textures, lessened environmental details and simpler lighting effects become more pronounced. There’s less clutter all around, giving the urban centers an emptier feeling: the remastered version gives the cities a much larger feel than comparable environments of the original.

  • Likewise, the rudimentary renderings of a Middle Eastern city in “Shock and Awe” have been replaced by a significantly more detailed environment. Jackson start the mission manning the Mark 19, an automatic 40 mm grenade launcher, to provide supporting fire and mop up ground elements threatening their crew. Half of the soldiers are dropped off at a target point, and subsequently, the USMC forces relieve a squad under fire. An aspect I’ve not mentioned until now is Lieutenant Vasquez’s voice: gruff but composed, he’s heard giving squad members orders throughout all of the missions where players are in Jackson’s shoes.

  • When one of the helicopters are shot down, it’s time to attempt a Black Hawk Down style rescue. I recall a classmate from primary school who had seen the movie Black Hawk Down shortly after it released in 2001; it’s a fantastic movie, and I had a chance to see it for myself four years ago. It’s definitely not suitable for children owing to its vivid depiction of warfare. While a dangerous gamble, Jackson’s helicopter touches down to rescue the downed chopper’s pilot. They are successful and appear to be home free, but amidst the radio chatter about a possible nuclear device, the weapon goes off.

  • Terrifying this moment was in Modern Warfare, to see it with improved visuals is even more sobering. The death of thirty thousand American soldiers here is what leads Modern Warfare 2‘s General Shepard to action. This brings the first act to a close, and I am moving through Modern Warfare Remastered at a reasonably quick pace. In the meantime, the spring 2017 anime season has just begun, so I don’t imagine there will be any posts until the three episode mark, unless something exceptional occurs. A talk on Gabriel Dropout is on the table.

So far, I am thoroughly enjoying the campaign in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered: although it is a 1:1 recreation of the original story and gameplay (complete with the occasional being stuck in level geometry and choppy movements) that I’ve experienced in full several times, to see all of the locales re-done with modern graphics was an absolute treat. Similarly, the new visual effects for the weapons, lighting, particle effects and animations breathe new life into a game that has aged surprisingly well. This year marks the ten year anniversary to when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare first released, and even after a decade, the original game still handles quite well when compared to modern titles. All together, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered is quite similar to Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary Edition – in retaining gameplay while giving the game a new coat of paint, both series’ respective remasters show that some older games are indeed timeless. Consequently, I am looking forwards to pushing through Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered to reach the missions set in Pripyat and see how they’ve been retouched.