November. A time of the year when we commemorate our loved ones, prepare our Christmas trees, and play another dose of the annual serving of Call of Duty. This time of the year is definitely more trying for the franchise as its popularity is starting to wane, and big titles are released along side it. But is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare the answer to end these woes?
Let’s play a game first before we start this review. Guess this game:
War broke between two planets, an ideological war between democracy and dictatorship. One planet is home to bitter people forced to live in an inhabitable planet, the other in a lush blue and green world. The war started when the war-like people invaded their brethren in a surprise attack. The player fights as a normal soldier defending his beloved planet, but with the abnormal circumstances, this same soldier gets promoted to an officer with his own space battleship having a single mission in his mind: revenge. What is this game?
Killzone? Yep! But no, it’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
How about another one? What is this game that has mechs and robots that fight alongside humans. The player is given a grappling hook to pull himself or others. Also, the player can run across walls and do a double jump with the help of boosters. What is this game?
Titanfall? God darn it, you’re so damn close! It’s still Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, mate.
Days when nothing could go wrong…
Without bamboozling around, I’ll give you a rundown of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s plot. Humanity is at war with each other. Two sides, the earth-bound SATO (Solar Associated Treaty Organization) and the Mars-based SDF (Settlement Defense Force), are at war with each other. As they are based in a different planet, the SDF seceded 30 years prior but wanted more of the cake, so harassing the SATO’s remaining space colonies is daily routine. Anyhow, in the present, Earth is celebrating ‘Fleet Day’, a festival in which the whole fleet of Earth parades around the city of Geneva. In this event, the SDF attacks and cripples the whole fleet, save two ships that remained. Futuristic Pearl Harbor, eh?
During these events, the player is in control of Nick Reyes, an ace pilot tasked with defending the Earth. Everything in Infinite Warfare, with its 5-8 hour campaign, happens in just one day. Play it and you’ll see that it’s ridiculous but fun nonetheless.
Jon Snow. Sitting on snow. In a snow planet. In a snow suit.
Gameplay-wise, the campaign is leaps above the previous offerings. It’s pretty straightforward with military logic applied in space-age conditions. Characters were given time to be fleshed out and there’s drama to be expected at the final stages of the game. However, the one-day limit still baffles me. I must admit that I didn’t have the stomach to finish the crowded and complex story of Black Ops 3 and the super simplistic Advanced Warfare. This one certainly stands above the previous offerings.
Space dog fights act as good breaks from the shooting
The campaign can be said to branch into two types of play: the traditional FPS and piloting a Jackal, a futuristic space fighter. The player can choose from a number of missions spread across the Solar System. Most of these missions are side quests that reward the player an advantage (in the form of attachments or passive perks) carried over to the shooting gallery missions.
The visuals and the scripting are, as expected, top-notch. Explosions are mainstays and seeing the player-character surviving harsh conditions is a usual occurrence.
Why the heck can’t we have space levels in multiplayer?
Nothing has changed. Like war as per Fallout. We still have customization features that have been touted as far as memory serves. Also, we again get different characters with play styles that favor offensive, speed, or other gimmicky methods. Progression is a feature of importance, with the player unlocking more powerful upgrades as he/she gets more experience or points. Making a career soldier in Infinite Warfare is of the same vein as making one in the previous installments.
Maps are so narrow that it feels unnatural.
For experience, I want to highlight the lack of innovation and creativity. Yes, it is a common dung flung at the game, but after seeing the great things happening in the singleplayer, the multiplayer appears to be less exciting and more of a chore. I also found it to be very annoying. Maps are so closely packed that some weapons appear to be difficult to handle, say the sniper rifle. Also, most of the game’s guns are too powerful. If an enemy has his/her sights lined up at you, chances are that you’ll more likely to be dead. Spawning is also one thing I wished could’ve been made better. Time and time again, I found myself getting killed after respawning from a respawn kill. Good times.
Already a mainstay in recent Call of Duty titles, but this time, The Zombies in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is set inside a space theme park. It can be played by up to four players and it pits them against waves upon waves of zombies. Aside from dealing with the undead horde, the players are expected to complete objectives to progress. Opening new areas also opens more powerful weapons and traps.
This time, exploding zombie clowns!
This game mode is something that you’ll probably find yourself playing when you’re tired of killing (or getting pawned) in multiplayer.
Should You Buy It?
Is there light at the end of Call of Duty’s tunnel?
This is a tricky one given that Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 are good offerings under the same genre. Reasons to get this could include having a good campaign, not too great but not too shabby. Also, this is the first time in a long while that I felt invested in the singleplayer mode in Call of Duty. It is short if you beeline across the main story missions. But if the side missions are added into the equation, the play time extends to about 8 hours.
I even remember playing a horror-like level that managed to slip a feel of unease. These moments make the single player campaign worth investing and trying. Sad that that part of the ship is tugged down by the weaker parts of the game.
Beautiful but not fun.
In contrast of the spark shown by the singleplayer campaign, the multiplayer is an insipid experience. It’s the same thing, a clone of a clone, a tired mess. However, if you prefer the more fast-paced FPS shooter with deep player customization, then this is a game that you’ve been waiting for. Or have been playing for the past x number of years.
Lastly, zombies is still a good fun. Still the same, but there’s kookiness that’s the opposite of the main game. If you’re tired from the usual servings, Zombie mode is there to spice things up.
All in all, three games in one. That’s good on paper. But in essence, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a tired affair. We have seen most of what the game has to offer and it’s quite sad that, despite some cool ideas implemented in its other half, none of those are found in the multiplayer. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare can be made into a great game again, but only if the developer choose to break out of their comfort zone and start going into the unknown. Same with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the game that started it all.
Now, lets get back to the question, should you buy it? As a game, it’s very good. But we’ve seen this coming every year. However, Call of Duty’s multiplayer (likely the deciding factor) is evidently different from recent titles. Call of Duty’s PvP is more fast-paced and dying in-game is a normal thing. If you want that experience, something that can be played in bursts, rather than half-hour long matches, then Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is for you.
IF you get the Legacy Edition. Then that’s a different story. Having the remastered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is an added plus. I recommend you buy it if you have yet to experience that game that started it all.
On a side note, the game runs perfectly well in the Sony PS4. I did not find it difficult to play and the frame rates are more consistent as opposed to the previous installment, Black Ops III.