Review: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Tightening Orions Belt

Pros:
+Zero-G combat brings in a new breath of fresh air for Call of Duty as a franchise
+80’s retro zombies is a hilarious adventure
+Flying missions are a blast
+Mission selection from Black Ops II is back.
+PlayStation 4 Pro enhancements are extremely noticeable in both 4k and Non-4k
+Operates at an astonishing 60FPS solid on PS4 Pro

Cons:
-Campaign at times feels as if it’s lost telling its story


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2016 has been a roller coaster ride for first-person shooters. We’ve been through the Hell of war with Battlefield 1 and through a metal-driven ride through Hell with id Softwares DOOM, which re-imagined the franchise as it should have been. With our review of Titanfall in the works, it’s hard to say that this year hasn’t been busy. It’s been busier than all Hell for many of us. Even though many of the stories we’ve played didn’t touch our hearts in same way like Battlefield 1, which took us on the more human-esque approach about what war is.

Among these titles sits Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which I’ve been outspoken about. I’ve been loud, I’ve been negative, and I’ve called it a wretched idea from the beginning. Sure a lot of it was due to the marketing strategy with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered being locked to the disc and the purchase of the legacy edition. However, the inevitable question will be: How does it live up to the franchise? Does it continue on rather well or does it drop us off in the vacuum of space in order to die in-the-end? Does it compete against the titles that are in competition of each other by capturing fans?

In recent years, Call of Duty has seen a steady decline in where the single player narratives have gone, but that has easily changed with Infinite Warfare. The game takes a familiar turn when it comes to Call of Duty. Humanity has moved away from the colonization of our own planet, we have moved past our planet to among the stars. We have risen to the challenges of finding a home among our solar system. As the expansion grew, there was distaste for the stretch of the United Nations themselves. In retaliation to this, a new group had been founded and silently working in secrecy: the Settlement Defense Front or the SDF.

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Much to our luck, the campaign takes a narrative focus on this conflict as our game opens up with the SDF attacking a group of the UN’s agents on the Jupiter moon Europa. Soon after they launch a surprise attack on the United Nation’s Fleet, leaving much of Earths forces reeling due to this, and only leaving very few of Earth’s defense forces to protect it. This is where we also enter our leading protagonist, Nick Reyes (Briam Bloom), partners Lt. Nora Salter (Jamie Gray Hyder), ETH.3n (Jeffrey Nordling) and Sgt. Omar (David Harewood) take their parts int he games overall narrative.

Due to the casualties taken in the SDF’s attack, Reyes is thrust into his new position as the commander of one of Earth’s last starships named Retribution, which sustained heavy damages during the SDFs assault. This element is a far departure from Call of Duty’s story elements that took us back to World War II starting back in 2003. Much like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III the game once more flings us further into the sci-fi fantasy approach than ever before as players, not long after starting the game, are flung into a vast array of missions that come in highly diverse formulas from one another. While the campaign uniquely takes after that of Call of Duty: Black Ops II on how missions work, Infinite Warfare is one that offers up a even more unique twist to how this system worked.

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Much as one would expect, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare follows familiar mechanics that fans should be rather comfortable with by now. With boosters for jump being available, run sliding, and even wall running – they’re all here in their full glory. While it may be discouraging from the fans such as myself who overly enjoyed past titles using the same first name moniker followed with World at War and Black Ops. Both games offered up unique stories, revolutionary mechanics, and even the capabilities of classic CoD games while moving forward in the same fashion.

Here, we’ve got the opportunity to travel across the stars, enjoy aerial space battles, and even see advances in space travel that we would never have imagined. While we do get to see the moons of Jupiter and take to the skies across space stations that serve as a home to millions, sometimes the story feels empty, losing itself in this civil war that spans across our solar system.

While it’s a reasonably long campaign (on Veteran, I’m running 29 hours played before completion) the game provided unique benefits for the franchise to improve upon and returns to the uniqueness that made Call of Duty captivate me the way it once did back in the old days. Hopefully this is a formula they consider in future titles whether it is futuristic or not as having a voiced protagonist inside and outside of cut scenes makes the immersion even deeper than before.

How does the multiplayer benefit from all of this, however? Does it stay alive and fun as ever or does it flush itself down the drain and seal itself away from the rest of the series?

Multiplayer

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Over the years Call of Duty has been on a steady decline in how the multiplayer feels. It feels as if it has lost its idea of what direction it wants to go through. On one side where we have Call of Duty: Ghosts we got a good feel for a solid title, one that offered a true feel for the franchise by returning to its roots, and even a solid story; to Advanced Warfare, which shed all identity the series had for a futuristic turn where science has advanced technology. Where Call of Duty: Ghosts offered one of the most customizable character appeals in any titles to date in the franchise, it also gave a heavy nod towards combat pacing, which could have easily returned the series to its World at War glory.

So how does Infinite Warfare fit into all this over the years? First, the combat will seem familiar to fans of Black Ops III. It’s fast, it’s furious, and guns are as cool as ever with some able to switch modes from say SMG to Assault Rifle or even as an Assault Rifle to very powerful akimbo SMG’s that will mow anyone in their path down with the right attachments. Weapons now variate between ammo types such as ballistic and energy. It’s a welcomed changed, but it’s not enough to keep Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in the loop as a major leap for the series.

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It fails to deliver a unique trend in a once-always-evolving multiplayer component. While modes such as “Frontline” offers some unique fun, it’s one that is troubled in the long run, and only offers up a “Team Deathmatch” like experience, but with kills helping accrue points while kills don’t mean near as much as before. However, this is the only thing new in the entire game. It re-uses much of the familiar systems from Black Ops III and fails to embrace its new futuristic route. With the chances to use zero-g to its benefit and thrusters, and even outer space maps, Infinite Warfare ignores the one thing it would have benefited from the most, and even fails to apply it deeper within the multiplayer itself.

Sure it’s fun to run across the starboard side of a starship as it’s being pulled into a black hole, the game also forgets several things that would have made this unique: creativity, uniqueness, and a sense of innovation. Sure, it would be easy to compare to Battlefield 1, which embedded the “War is Hell” persona within its very core, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare doesn’t quite make the push it needs in order to differentiate itself from the past two installments, and drops the ball on this part.

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CoD: Zombies in the Scifi 80’s Scene Anyone?

While multiplayer is fast, chaotic, and quite a bit of fun, its only real sense of depth is the customizable rigs, which feature unique traits, much like the customizable characters in Black Ops III. While you won’t see Battery, Prophet, or Seraph; FTL, Warfighter, and even Synaptic fill the empty space not having the aforementioned three leaves. They all offer up familiar abilities with Synaptic using Prophet’s rewind ability while Warfighter’s SMG could easily match that of Battery’s chaotic grenade launcher, and even FTL easily keeping up with Seraph in the essence of map control with his FTL Jump, which easily gives him map control.

While other abilities are present from the past game, Infinite Warfare‘s multiplayer feels like a heavy copy and paste job of Black Ops III and offers little innovation to the ever-growing-stagnancy that surrounds the multiplayer. If you can look past that, however, and enjoy the game – Infinite Warfare is a blast and offers up some amazing gameplay in both 4K and 1080p for PlayStation 4 Pro users. For Xbox One and PlayStation 4 standard users, the game is still a gorgeous example of next-gen graphics while also embracing the Call of Duty “photorealism” that was first introduced in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), and Xbox One 
Developer: Infinity Ward, Raven
Publisher: Activision
Cost: $59.99 Standard | $79.99 Legacy (feat. MW: Remastered)
Release Date: Now Available

Even with zombies (which takes place in the 80’s and features David Hasslehof), much remains unchanged even on that front, except for the card system, which offers up unique cards that benefit the player much like active perks. Even here, however, not much has changed enough to call the multiplayer unique, revolutionary, or even innovative. It’s pretty much the same-old-same-old cliche that the franchise has been on the same route of over the years.

Closing Thoughts – I’ll be Eating Crow for Dinner Now

While I’ve been on the steady path of calling the franchise horrible, attrocious, and a marketing ploy – it’s hard to say that Call of Duty isn’t fun. It carries nostalgia, enjoyment, and a unique way to bring friends back together that haven’t played together a while. Even then, however, Infinite Warfare is a tough purchase for those trying to justify the $79.99 just to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and excusing Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare as part of the equation. Even with 150GB’s required with all DLC including the remaster, it’s hard to justify such a thing as games are ever-growing in size, and 50GB’s has become the new norm for many of us.

If this is just too much for you, it’s highly suggested to wait till the sales on it start this holiday season, or just simply stick with Black Ops III, which will offer up much-of-the-same experience that you’ve already become used to over the years. Lets just hope with a years worth the DLC in front of us that Infinite Warfare will be ready to embrace the uniqueness of outer space and this latest installment and make it as unique as ever. Besides, who doesn’t want to see zero gravity battles while floating across space while using asteroids or meteors as fighting grounds? I know I sure as heck would. We can only dream, however, we can only dream.


Our review is based upon a retail version of the game we paid for ourselves. For our review, we also used a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200RPM HDD for our review.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 8 out of 10


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

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