Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is Confirmed as an Online Only Experience

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is ditching the singleplayer model altogether and will be leaving fans with online modes such as Battle Royale, Zombies, and the standard PvP modes they have played quite a few times before.

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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.

Opinion: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Sales Will be Great, but Not Because of Infinite Warfare

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When publishing a new game on an annual release schedule, it’s not hard for development teams to try for the next big thing, and Call of Duty is one that certainly attempts to do that. It’s not uncommon to see the series follow the trends on new things such as exo-suits, which exist, and even modern combat tactics. However, what was far-fetched? Is exo-suit abilities like what Advanced Warfare had. While Advanced Warfare’s campaign was enjoyable, multiplayer was abysmal, it was convoluted on what it wanted to be, and even seemed to question itself with the addition of the zombies campaign it received. Hell, even the campaign had suffered by making players the camera man to the legendary actor, Kevin Spacey.

Recently, Infinite Warfare seems to be following in its steps after the recent announcement on social media. Its announcement was received with heavy sighs of distress as players once more found the series was going from the direction they wanted, which was a sequel to the well-ended Modern Warfare 3, which left players with a cliff hanger as to what Captain Price would do next. Instead, we’re seeing a new frontier open as players prepare to head into the futuristic world that seems almost derived from the likes of titles like Halo meets Robocop meets Advanced Warfare. While the idea would be sound, it’s not what Call of Duty needed, nor was it a leap that it needed. This shows in the picture below on what fans of the franchise through the official Call of Duty YouTube Channel.

Infinite_Warfare_Dislikes.pngAs you can see from a direct screen capture, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare has not been happily met by fans, with almost 2.4 million dislikes and almost breaking 385,000 dislikes, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is not the blockbuster it seems it will be. Even with the dislikes, Infinite Warfare will still succeed, but not because of the title itself, but the game coming packaged titled Cal of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered. To get it, fans will have to purchase the Infinite Warfare with MSRP versions at $79.99 USD and $129.99 USD. The issue? It’s evident that fans aren’t after Infinite Warfare. Unfortunately? It doesn’t seem Activision has plans to release the title separately at this time.

It’s a Perfect Marketing Ploy

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If you’re like me, you already pre-ordered only to see this on your actual screen.

While it’s not uncommon knowledge among the fans, Call of Duty has been in a steady decline since its rocky performance with both Call of Duty Ghosts and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare only to see those numbers go up with sales of Call of Duty Black Ops III, which is rumoured to have outperformed the later two titles by a landslide. While Black Ops is one of the most beloved trilogies to-date till the next one comes out, if there is a next one, which may seem likely if Infinite Warfare’s sales for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare don’t show a higher play count than Infinite Warfare itself.

While it’s odd to see Activision pull a marketing stunt like this, it isn’t the first time they’ve had questionable practices, even when it came to releases regarding their sales totals for Advanced Warfare and Ghosts (You can see the Forbes article here: Activision Smokescreens ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ Sales, Continuing A Trend). The issue? These numbers for Infinite Warfare will pad the titles sales and allow Activision to please their investors since Call of Duty’s steady decline could once more get worse without the bolstered sales of Modern Warfare 4 combo packs. Unfortunately, it’s a perfect marketing ploy that’ll bring in more game sales than intended than before. While this may seem good for investors, it’s unfortunate bad news for fans who just wanted Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is set to release on November 4th, 2016. Stay tuned for our review.


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.

 

 

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Announced for Next Gen Consoles

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If anyone has been awaiting for announcements for Call of Duty, we know it’s the fans. Especially after the accidental leaks by Sony on the store that revealed Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare as the next entry in the series. While the game was at first seemingly going to take place purely in space, many players began to denounce it. However, today, Activision has confirmed that Infinite Warfare will be the first title in the Call of Duty franchise to venture past the realms of earth, and into the possible future of man and space in our very own solar system. While the game isn’t deploying the idea of a science fiction approach or even massive space battle approach, Infinite Warfare is at its core a Call of Duty. This means boots will be on the ground with infantry combat on the ground as well as in the depths of space.

While piloting vehicle in combat will happen, the game will approach space as a plausible battleground. With that, players will be taking to never before seen war zones. While the team has been heavily focusing on the games story, they are looking at how to push the boundaries for online combat. Maps will be in never-before seen locales while also using new mechanics to play. This will allow for fun, frantic combat in each multiplayer occasion.

For those of you who prefer Zombies, Infinity Ward has announced that a all new cooperative Zombies mode will be there as players take on a new story with new features. More about that, however, will be released at a later date. As with Black Ops III by Treyarch, the map packs will be exclusive to PS4 for 30 days.

Along with the games announcement, they’ve confirmed that the most critically acclaimed title in the franchise will be heading to PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One for the first time ever. In the Legacy Edition they have announced that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered will be included and was produced by Infinity Ward while being fully developed with Raven. The title will include all previous content including maps, story, and even a graphical upgrade to modern standards for next gen consoles. You can head to the the official site and plan your November 4th for a day of Call of Duty.


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.

Wait, B.A.T.G.R. Where’s Your Call of Duty Black Ops III Review and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Review?

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When working on processing what games we will review, we have to sit down as a team and discuss the games we wish to review, we feel we need to review and ultimately what titles get to go through the review process. Unfortunately for some games we do cut them out of our list of titles to review while others manage to slip in and make the review priority list.

This year you may notice we have a lot of absence regarding big name triple-a titles and even titles that aren’t as big. Before I continue on I must stress to you the readers that we are 100% unfunded by any company. We don’t have any paying backers willing to throw a few dollars our way to ensure that we can process reviews, afford to quit our jobs to focus solely on this project or even prioritize our time away from other things to guarantee their product will be reviewed. While we are lucky to work with as many studios and publishers as we do we don’t always get the opportunity to review the games we would like to or even afford them since a lot of our hardware, games and accessories are actually paid for by us through our every day jobs. While we would have loved to review Call of Duty Black Ops III, Rise of the Tomb Raider and even Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – we don’t have the money nor were we given the opportunity to by the publishers.

All we can do is be thankful for your time taken to read about the products we do cover as well as the titles we are fortunate enough to review when we do and we hope to see more of your feedback and support in the future.

-Dustin Murphy, President and Founder of Blast Away the Game Review

Opinion: Should Activision Blizzard Drop Call of Duty Campaigns Completely?

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Depending on how much you’ve followed Call of Duty many know that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops III will not be joining the set-list with a campaign. Instead, the two versions will feature Treyarch’s renowned multiplayer approach that has captured the hearts of fans around the globe. With this move, it struck a simple thought: What if Call of Duty went to a multiplayer only standard?

As someone who loves war based stories, I tend to lean towards games I’ve ventured into each Call of Duty since the days of Call of Duty back in 2003 on PC and PS2. As someone who has taken a delve into franchises such as Battlefield, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Socom, and many more, there’s always been a wonderment to what would happen if a renowned franchise stepped away from the campaign much like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six has in the latest entry into the Six franchise.

When looking at Call of Duty I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the series, while I understand the choice behind Black Ops III being focused as a “Next-Gen Only Game”, I decided to take a look at what potentially could be if Activision and its development teams would be if they departed from the classic approach to Call of Duty, which is a minimalist campaign (Modern Warfare 2 seemed to be where this stopped for many), and an approach that focused solely on the multiplayer in the long run.

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If you are familiar with the news of Call of Duty Online (this link will redirect you to Polygon’s article regarding this) in China, it’s not a bad sign for what things could be in things could be in this world if Activision just decided to drop the idea of campaigns all together and focus on their famed multiplayer element. While China’s version of Call of Duty will seem much different from what Western and even some Eastern gamers are used to, the game in itself is well balanced for the Chinese market and aims at giving them the title they need, but what if that title was released in the United States at the standard of being like Call of Duty Ghosts in graphics, but advanced in its gunplay as well as capabilities like Advanced Warfare and the upcoming Black Ops III?

In order to set the stage for the discussion, let us take a look at the ever-growing approach to free-to-play games that by standard, do have in-game charges to either access to new content such as weapons, maps, armors, character appearance, and other variants of paid options. The game that could be used as my prime example is one that I’ve played for quite a while and one that has seemed to grab a soft-spot in my heart: Warframe.

When it comes to Warframe the game is focused on several things that are namely cooperative play, content progression, and player connections. Through player connectivity, the game has grown to one of the titles that have become a fan-favored free to play and a success story to Digital Extremes (Dark Sector, Warframe), and has been a driving force within their offices. Thanks to Warframes ever-growing library of content that is made freely available behind paywalls or player dedication, Warframe is successful, and thus it has become a title that is fairly well known among online gamers.

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With those facts in mind, what would happen if Call of Duty took this approach in their marketing in order to help their game grow even more to those who get tired of purchasing a new game yearly, but instead can sign up for yearly season passes as the same price? This is something that would be a unique approach to how CoD is handled and would allow Activision to make extra revenue.

This move would also their studios such as Treyarch, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games to work together in a cohesive manner in order to bring out new modes, new weapons, new customizations, and even the capability of providing cross-platform play for PC and console users in order to tighten up the reigns on the professional leagues that the game keeps built into it.

Something many users were accommodated to with the League mode that was introduced to us with Call of Duty: Black Ops II back on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC only to be continued on future titles due to rising popularity. With the rise of Call of Duty being an online title, there is not a doubt or even speculation as to why Call of Duty has become an online phenomenon that draws players in year after year even though each title has little change or even little cause for change in what occurs in each of the titles aside from campaign and minor tweaks to game mechanics and graphics.

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With campaign gone, many players won’t be taking notice that the game would be following in the steps of titles like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, which has all, but removed any sign of a campaign within it aside from tactical commentated moments as well as communications voiced by Angela Basset as the head of Rainbow Six.

The question now is simple: what happens to games such as these if they focus solely on the multiplayer? Improved mechanics; the capability of adding, removing, or even creating new side-content that can be unlocked over time and even graphical fine-tuning that can be done through in-game updates much like Warframe as well as several other free-to-play titles have seen in the long run. It’s just a matter of how Activision Blizzard would handle such a transformation for Call of Duty if such a thing happened.

In truth, it’d probably bring in many new players for Call of Duty to take this route and shed its skin as a campaign and online title. Who wouldn’t mind a steady flow of yearly content featuring online multiplayer and online co-op modes such as Zombies, Extinction or even Spec Ops modes?

In truth, Call of Duty may be better off with the money being able to go into developmental resources and dedicated servers for all platforms while the current version(s) of Black Ops III will only see dedicated servers for the PC version of the game while PS4 and Xbox One will still be using a peer-to-peer connectivity client. This is a sign that Call of Duty truly should look at dropping campaigns all together as it would be an effective and cost-efficient approach for the future development of the fan-favorite franchise that proceeds to set new goals with each new launch.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One starting Nov. 6th, 2015. Pre-Order now at your local retailer or online at GameStop, Best Buy or Amazon and receive the pre-order bonus NUK3TOWN map available while supplies last.

What’re your thoughts on this? Would you like to see Call of Duty leave the campaign arena to focus on solely multiplayer and cooperative modes? Would you prefer Call of Duty to return to its roots with the focus on the campaign? Let us know your thoughts and opinions regarding this.


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 onTwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.