Another year and another Call of Duty. This is something we gamers expect to be the case, but this year it’s all been different. With Infinity Ward back on this one taking the job as lead developer, helped by High Moon Studios and Raven Software. There were big questions from the now infamous reveal. The space setting was received as a step too far into the future by many fans, even before anyone played it. So as I started getting this Call of Duty Infinite Warfare review together, I realised the game this year was under a magnifying glass.
In light of the success of classic shooter Battlefield 1 and the outstanding Titanfall 2 coming before it. There was added pressure on COD this year. Plus early releases in Overwatch and Doom have all combined to make this one of the best years in the FPS market
So how does Infinite Warfare stack up? Well you’ll get my full review here and as someone who was sceptical of the space setting; you’ll find me eating many a slice of humble pie along the way.
Don’t forget to leave me some of your thoughts on this most controversial COD at the end of the article, under the scores, using Disqus and Facebook Comments.
Look and Feel – Soldiers in Space
Call of Duty always comes with a solid presentation, last year Black Ops 3 was excellent graphically. Here the game once again looks sharp in its overall graphical performance. The stand out feature of Infinite Warfare however is the facial capture and animations of the characters. Plus the well designed spacecraft and equipment.
From the moment you start the game you are treated to some of the very clever visuals that capture the “soldiers in space” type design of the game. The large ships are very much adapted aircraft carriers in space and look like they’ve gone through an evolution of changes. But they still reflect their current day equivalents. The same is said of the Jackals you pilot, might like a fighter jet today.
Design wise I really do think everything worked very nicely here. Plus the graphics are sharp and bring in a good sense of detail on all the different environments you visit.
But the facial capture here is amazing. Kit Harrington stars as the antagonist, who appears right in your face after the opening mission is rendered incredibly. But that’s not the end of it, Brian Bloom as Nick Reyes the protagonist is also incredible as is his supporting cast. More on those in the next section.
Through single player and multiplayer the game looks great. Everything is really well detailed designed and there was not even a hint of a bug at any point in my playtime. A thoroughly well-oiled and beautiful game.
Single Player – “Our World Is Just Beginning”
There is somewhat of a misconception that Call of Duty, and other shooters, are solely focused on their multiplayer. But the past two games in this series, including Advanced Warfare that heavily featured Kevin Spacey; this has not been the case. Infinite Warfare puts a massive focus on this year’s campaign, one that I enjoyed from start to finish and would actually play through again.
The story here is one of separation between different cultures of the human race. Those part of the Settlement Defence Front community on Mars have led a separate way of life to the people of earth. Their leaders, represented by Rear Admiral Salen Kotch are ready to start a war to take the solar system as theirs. They start this by taking over a weapon facility in the early part of the game, then they attack earth.
During this attack, which is very classic Call of Duty in a lot of ways, you are tasked with restoring the balance of the fight and taking down the SDF. You do this as Nick Reyes, an officer promoted to commander of the Carrier Retribution following the death of its captain in the assault.
You take on missions to weaken the SDF and ultimately take down Kotch and his massive warship Olympus. A monster ship that packs quite the wallop as Scotty would say. These missions vary from ground or spacecraft FPS combat. Dogfights and Zero-G spacewalks too, all of which are fun. Plus you can choose side missions here too and take on what you want to do, in whatever order you prefer.
They plot is as good as it needs to be to keep things going, what I like is how it doesn’t try to be too clever with twists and turns everywhere. It makes it more a human story by focusing in on really good characters.
Band of Brothers. And Sisters. And Robots.
Your team consists of Lt. Salter, Sgt. Omar and E3N or Ethan that is you friendly robot of the piece. He’s pretty cool too and talks just like a human soldier with a bit of banter along the way.
All characters and other supporting cast members play excellent roles in the game with some top class film, TV and game actors on show. Including Claudia Black, Jamie Hyder and the outstanding David Harewood. Kit is there too of course but this was not like Kevin Spacey’s involvement in AW. He’s used sparingly through the game and only appears at key moments.
It worked too. This built up the dislike for him more as you only saw him appear at intervals. Doing this probably saved them a bit of cash too.
He’s very good of course but I do think the game does a wonderful job of creating a set of characters you will enjoy the company of. I was worried the campaign was going to end on the cheesy side at one point. But it’s certainly worth seeing it right through, it’s excellent.
I also get the impression Infinity Ward’s decision at the end was in part a message too…
Multiplayer – Infinite Black Ops
The multiplayer is as expected more a reskin of last year’s Black Ops 3 mode than anything significantly different. In fairness, this was made clear early on in the release details but it is somewhat underwhelming to those who buy the game for this mode.
Still, the RIGs system and fun use of skills that are part of this Infinite Warfare universe do make for a lot of fun here.
Choosing your RIG has a big impact on the type of game you will play. It’s something I liked about the multiplayer mode in the game. My first game was with the assault class Warfighter, that came with a very cool perk weapon the Claw. But after many, many of my painfully bad deaths I moved onto Synaptic.
This Robot class proved to be pretty cool too with the dual pistols perk that went down nicely. More unlock as you progress and it’s worth getting these unlocked early to choose your preference.
After your rig and some mild customisable parts there are your loadouts with the usual grind required to unlock more. Playing single player helps know the benefits of ballistic VS energy weapons depending on the foe you face. But it’s all so fast it’s hard to really plan which weapon to use at times.
There are a number of maps at launch, 5 in fact and they are all typical tight spaced Call of Duty maps that make for fast action. The flowing movement at times can be so fast it’s easy to whip around behind spawn points so experienced players soon capitalise on those learning them, but other than that everything here is solid.
Don’t expect major changes here, its great fun and the added elements from Infinite Warfare’s universe are great. It’s just not a revolution or as impactful on the series as the single player is.
Gameplay – Boots On The Ground?
For a game that is all about a space based culture, it does a good job of keeping you on the ground for a significant portion of the game. Other parts are spent in your Jackal doing some dogfights and the occasional spacewalk, pulling yourself along with a grapple.
All of the above require you to forget most things you know about physics and forces in motion!
The shooting is fast and fun with many different weapons to scan and take control of. Plus the missions take you on a nice variety of different mechanics. On the ground shooting is really tight, there is a bit more shooting to be done at one enemy than your normal Call of Duty experience.
Standard enemies and robots can but put down in traditional style, but a number of difficult to kill opponents can take some time. This makes your use of tech and grenades key to victory here and less of a gimmick.
Tech like a hacking module and drones to support you come in very handy. While traditional and more inventive grenades help too. Seekers that crawl around and grab onto enemies and explode are my personal favourites.
In space combat your Jackal is agile and quick and very bouncy when it comes to bumping into debris. Your primary fire is a quick burst weapon and secondary of a cannon, with the addition rockets you can launch once locked onto an enemy.
In multiplayer, once again nothing here is revolutionary but there are some nice weapons and perks that make a very solid MP experience.
I find it hard to really criticise the game outside of the not so developed Multiplayer mode. But even then it’s got enough new things there to make it fun and it plays great with more maps and modes to come in time.
Single player wise they took some big risks and I enjoyed all of them throughout. The characters and the acting is so good you really will enjoy the experience throughout. Plus it was nice to play with no loading screens and get some choice. Side missions, primary missions all under my control was great.
With the extra fun Zombies mode that brings some laughs to the game too, the whole package is a great one. Traditional COD fans may have an issue getting past what they expect of a Call of Duty game. But what they have tried to do here has worked to make a very good shooter.
So screw the hate, go to space and have a blast!
Check out my scores below and don’t forget to leave me a quick comment.