Call of Duty has been called many names – "the definitive first person shooter", "the epitome of FPS multiplayer", "a masterpiece" and a few other. And by all means, it is consistently at the top of the best selling, most popular titles lists and it was always able to generate significant buzz when a new one was announced. Reading about the franchise today, you get the feeling of fatigue setting in with Call od Duty sequels being pumped out every year, with little to no improvement, and we see that franchise is slowly burning out. This is nothing new to Call Of Duty as the franchise was once already faced with the same problem back when it was all about World War II. and being reinvigorated with the release of Modern Warfare.
So does Infinite Warfare represent the leap for the franchise that Modern Warfare was in comparison to the World War II era of Call of Duty games and how does it stack up to the heavy competition this time around? Let's break it down.
Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare is available on Amazon for $30,75.
Infinite Warfare lets you take control of Captain Nick Reyes, a military pilot in the distant future where Earth has been stripped of its natural resources, prompting the Earths nations to unite under the UNSA (United Nations Space Alliance) moniker and start colonizing the solar system while mining planetary and other celestial bodies for resources. This, of course, leads to militants recognizing the value of those resources, separating from the UNSA and seeking to destroy them and attain independence. The most prominent faction to gain power is the SDA (Settlement Defense Front) which starts the solar system war and the game's campaign. The story is fairly standard military science fiction and the beginning of the games sets a desperate last stance tone that never lets go, which makes the ending quite predictable. Character-wise, the game is a mixed bag as most of them are walking, talking clichés talking in military, but there are some who are surprisingly deep and fun, and not in a way that's in your face, but more subtle, untypical of the usual Call Of Duty formula.
After a mandatory introduction mission that introduces the face of the SDA and the main villain (played by Kit Harrington) who attacks the UNSA fleet – you take to space and get access to a ship called Retribution. Retribution serves as your hub world where you change your gear, read about your progress and other trivia and info, converse with other characters and chose in which order you want to tackle the story missions.
Call Of Duty is still despite the new setting, a hand holding experience. In singleplayer you do missions, usually with a couple of fellow soldiers who move the narrative, but ironically can't move unless you open the door for them. Everything is still heavily scripted and per usual, when a level seems open and you get the idea of approaching it in another way, you get a generic message to return to the mission area. The game tries very hard to disguise its linear nature but often fails miserably. All the above is not to say that the campaign is not fun as it is the best singleplayer portion of the game since Modern Warfare trilogy. It is still a short but sweet experience, clocking in at around 5 to 6 hours that pack a surprising amount of variety.
There's standard run and gun missions, stealth segments and even fully controllable space fighter flying segments that freshen up the formula as the previous Call Of Duty entries had vehicles that were mostly on rails. The flying is easy, accessible and fun but this ain't no Elite Dangerous so don't expect much depth in it. The game takes advantage of its space setting so you can expect a lot of zero gravity shootouts, oxygen and heat management and other troubles that come with space warfare. All in all, the single-player campaign is surprisingly fun and sometimes even the best part of Infinite Warfare despite the predictable and cliched story. This may come as a surprise as singleplayer in a Call Of Duty games has always been about setting the tone and introducing features for the multiplayer portion but more on that in the next section.
As I said, Call Of Duty has always mostly been about multiplayer. It's a fast-paced, tight and addictive affair that has drawn players in, sequel after sequel. Critics of the series often say that every Call Of Duty is a blatant copy and a reskin of the previous entry, while fans eagerly await new multiplayer content dressed in a new and interesting setting.
This year, the story is much the same, multiplayer is a hard hitting fast action filled with a wide variety of weapons and gear coupled with the always special Zombies mod for co-op shootouts with friends. There is your standard, team deathmatch, free for all, capture the flag, domination and other variations on the said modes. Since the story of the game takes another step forward in time following Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare the theme is very familiar with traversal for example being directly taken from Black Ops 3. You can run on walls, make double jumps and slide using the impossible technology of the future This lack of improvement or innovation leaves a negative impression, helped by the fact that the maps don't feel optimized for that type of movement like they are in Black Ops 3 or Titanfall 2 for example. Sure, they can offer plenty of fun moments but don't exactly offer any freedom when you want to be creative with your movement skills.
Most first person shooters with a multiplayer component nowadays offer a robust system of progression with plenty of unlockables and Infinite Warfare is no different. The system tracks plenty of statistics and rewards you for nearly everything you do. Defend a point? Get a new skin. Got a kill streak? Unlock new weapon. You get the idea. It's a familiar system that's changed only to accommodate the new futuristic setting. If you played Black Ops 3, there is basically nothing new for you here. If you are new to the series, however, this game still offers a great and addicting multiplayer nonetheless. The important thing to keep in mind is that the Steam version, which I reviewed is not overly populated so matchmaking can take a good deal of time and some modes hardly have anyone playing at all. I also experienced some crashes when waiting for more than a couple minutes for the game to pair me up with other players, so patience is a virtue.
The Zombies mode is here again and is as fun as ever. An already established concept where 4 players survive wave after wave of monsters while performing missions around the map. I found enemies a bit easier to kill this time around and the map seemed to be better designed than in the previous entries. All in all, it's a stylish and atmospheric mode that's good fun. You might think it easy, but survive beyond wave 10 and the difficulty will spike, but so will the frenetic fun.
Graphics and sound
Infinite Warfare, much to the disappointment of many fans still runs on an IW Engine that debuted with Call Of Duty 2. In this 7th iteration, there are some improvements in lighting and shading as well as physics, AI system and animation. With that being said, the game looks good but it pales in comparison with the competition as Battlefield 1 absolutely takes the cake in this regard. There are plenty of graphics options and they can be tweaked to make the game run fairly smooth across many configurations and smoothness is the name of the game as the speed of the multiplayer doesn't allow for any lagging if you want to stay competitive.
The sound is what you can expect from a Call Of Duty game, a heroic military soundtrack with solid voice performances. Weapon sounds are varied as are the weapons themselves and if you played previous entries that were more grounded in reality – you'll be able to almost recognize from which modern weapon the one you are using evolved. Unless it's a super futuristic energy rifle of course.
|+ Fun singleplayer missions||+ Predictable and clichéd story|
|+ Plenty of content||+ Stale multiplayer|
|+ Great multiplayer for newcomers||+ More of the same|