Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare review

War has always been a part of human history. From the time we began picking up rocks and sticks, most major conflicts have always been decided with violence. And as weaponry evolved from sticks and rocks to swords and shields and eventually bombs and guns, so has warfare itself. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, by Activision and Infinity Ward, takes us to a distant future where factions are at war for resources, and the battle goes beyond Earth. A first for the franchise, Infinite Warfare introduces combat in space by fighter jets and even in zero gravity. Despite all the changes and futuristic setting, the game feels and plays like most Call of Duty games. The action and drama the series is known for is alive and well, even in the future.

One thing I want to say is this: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is two entirely different games rolled into one. Three, if you count zombies, but that’s a different story. The Campaign and Multiplayer are so different that it isn’t fair to give one score that affects both aspects of the game. So, I will have the review broken down for the Campaign and for the Multiplayer.

Campaign

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Infinite Warfare was developed by Infinity Ward, and they really stepped up their game when it came to the campaign. Rather than just throw soldiers in space, they went above and beyond (pun intended) by recreating the gameplay while staying true to the franchise. Infinity Ward also keeps the gameplay down to a realistic level. There are no laser blasters, no cliched, over-the-top dictator with fancy space armor, and no super-powered weapon of mass destruction that threatens all life. Everyone uses the same weapons, the same armor, the same robots and even the same type of ships and weaponry. All are fighting for the will to survive and control of valuable resources that’ll have any man go to great lengths to conquer. The gameplay itself pushes innovation and really shows what Infinity Ward is really capable of. You’ll find yourself in situations where even gravity can influence how you play. In one mission you chase down a space station and hop out of your fighter jet while fighting off other troops as you are free floating your way into the ship in the middle of a space battle. The only thing keep you from floating away is your booster pack and grappling hook, which can be used as a weapon as well. And while you free float you can literally turn 360 degrees, just like enemies. It’s a clever way to dodge bullets.

With Infinity Ward’s attempt at keeping future combat feel more realistic, the weapons don’t feel far-fetched. They handle just like weapons in previous Call of Duty games. They could’ve pushed into a more science fiction feel, but instead only slightly enhance what they are capable of. For example, a gun can either use actual bullets or a Directed-Energy Weapon, which is similar to rail gun technology. And each weapon can be customized such as outlined targets in a scope. Plus the usual suppressor and reflex slight options are available. Space combat using fighter jets just adds to the futuristic setting with a hover-style jet. And some missions even have you jump into space just after combat, which is a really neat feature as you break the Earths atmosphere and into space.

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The main story goes far beyond simple politics and war for oil. Three factions make up the big federations that influence humanities quest for resources. The United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) handles space travel, trade, land and colonization. Their military is made up of the Solar Associated Treaty Organization or SATO. The international armed force acts as the main defense for Earth. You control Lt Reyes, who is a part of a smaller faction, Special Combat Air Recon, or SCAR. Reyes leads the fight against the Settlement Defense Force, SDF, which is led by Admiral Salen Kotch (who is played by Jon Snow actor Kit Harrington). The story begins with Admiral Kotch leading an attack on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons that houses a facility for the USNA that houses a weapon. The counterattack to retrieve the weapon fails with a feed showing the SDF claiming Europa as their own by staking claim with their flag. Reyes sees that as a declaration of war by SDF and urges counter measures to attack. Admiral Raines informs Reyes of the UNSA’s stance on not wanting to escalate the situation, which happens to be during Fleet Week, a celebration that has all USNA ships travel to Geneva. During the celebration the USNA’s defense cannons target the ships and manage to take several of them down while an attack escalates among the civilians.

The growing conflict leads Reyes on a battle that tests his abilities and allegiances among his own team as some fall in the fight against the SDF. This is where the campaign shines as each mission pushes the drama of being successful. Decisions you make feel as if they can change the overall outcome, but mainly the story remains linear from start to finish. Call of Duty has always been known for its great storytelling, and Infinite Warfare is no exception. The franchise is mainly successful for its multiplayer, but the campaign in Infinite Warfare is more than worth the trip.

Campaign Rating: 5/5 Atoms

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Multiplayer

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Infinite Warfare’s campaign has been taken to new levels of innovation while remaining true to Call of Duty. The multiplayer aspect, however, has largely remained the same. Rather than carry over the same gameplay that the campaign will be remembered by, Infinite Ward has instead kept the same formula, almost to the point of just reskinning a previous Call of Duty game. Sliding remains as with previous Call of Duty games and so does wall running like Black Ops 3. What’s missing is the zero/low gravity atmosphere from the maps, with the only sign of being in space is the background or when dying and your body floats upward. Other than that, it’s still Call of Duty with the weapons of Infinite Warfare. And that’s a shame, seeing as some maps could’ve been on the edge of a ship while the two sides battle while free floating and utilizing their grappling hooks. Fighter jet combat is really fun and battling against each other on Earth or in space would be insane against 15 other people.

Instead, here’s the focus for multiplayer:

Combat Rigs, similar to the Specialist system in Black Ops 3, that are meant to handle different types of play styles: Warfighter, Merc, FTL, Stryker, Phantom and Synaptic, each with different payloads, weapons and abilities. Despite their attempt at focusing on different play styles, like stealth for the Phantom rig, it doesn’t translate well in multiplayer seeing as most players just run and gun, even with a sniper (and insanely accurate as well).

The maps appear to be modeled in the same timeline as Infinite Warfare but aren’t as dynamic as the campaign maps. They are filled with areas to hide behind, to jump into, and to wall climb, but the atmosphere isn’t fully the same. As with most Call of Duty multiplayer modes, you level up and unlock more perks and weapon additions to better aid your skills. Supply drops make a return that can unlock stronger weapons. Salvage points can be collected as well to purchase more weapons. It provides a means to for each player to be the best while unlocking the best weapons possible. Overall, if you’ve played any Call of Duty multiplayer, you’ve played them all. Infinite Warfare should’ve been the exception but instead took a safe route. Hopefully, if there is an Infinite Warfare 2, the space elements transition into multiplayer as well.

Multiplayer Rating – 3.5/5 Atoms

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

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