Call of Duty is back for another yearly instalment. Last year was the first time the franchise added verticality to level design, this year it’s time for another first as Infinite Warfare leaves Earth (and Gravity) behind and heads out for some big action space adventures. Whilst not perfect, the single player campaign does has it’s moments of brilliance, mostly in the epic space battles but more on that later. It’s also worth noting up front that this review is solely focussed on Infinite Warfare, not Modern Warfare Remastered.
So let’s get straight into it shall we? We all know that Call of Duty lives to serve the Multiplayer world but I’m going to make you all read about the campaign first. After all if I talked about the Multiplayer first you may not read the rest.
Call of Duty campaigns remind me a lot of a big action Hollywood Blockbuster. The plot may be cliche and serves purely as a mechanism to bring forth those epic, cinematic moments fused with fast paced player controlled sequences that will require quick reflexes and fast thinking to avoid near death that awaits throughout.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Infinite Warfare is the first Call of Duty game to go beyond Earth and take the War to space. Infinite Warfare’s campaign sees the UNSA Special Forces (the heroes) wage war with the SDF (the villains). The game opens with the UNSA heading off to Europa to investigate and SDF attack and bring back some highly sophisticated and super secret weaponry. The team manages to half complete the mission before the SDF show up and under the orders of their leader, Admiral Kotch execute the UNSA team. From there we are taken to Earth and put in the shoes of our Protagonist, Captain Nick Reyes who will take the fight to the SDF and do his darnedest to stop the SDF.
It’s one of those scenarios that seems absurd yet given our track record as a Human Race, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that one day we will be technologically advanced enough to explore the Solar System and wage war with one another in the massive vacuum that is Space. Throw in the fact that we love consuming our own natural resources and the fictional story being told here could well end up being a prediction for our distant future.
Infinite Warfare takes a slightly different approach to gameplay which is afforded by taking the game off Earth. After the initial setup missions you’ll be able to choose which missions you want to partake in across the Solar System and in what order you want to complete them. It is a small piece of freedom that is welcome yet never actually has tangible consequences to the story. So despite you’re ability to pick and choose the order of missions, you are always kept on track to reach the same end point. That’s not to say that the missions aren’t fun, some missions are completed from the Cockpit of your Jackal spacecraft fighter plane, others are space firefights that occur in Zero G space and others are from the ground or inside spacecraft which takes the shooting action back to what we are used to from Call of Duty.
When inside the Jackal, most of the action is off rails so you’ll be able to fly it yourself, pick your targets, engage them and take them down. There are a few moments when autopilot kicks in and you are on rails but that is generally when the action draws to a close and the cinematics kick in. The flight controls are intuitive enough that anyone while be able to jump in and take out enemy craft with relative ease.
For anyone who has played previous Call of Duty games, the gameplay mechanisms when inside spacecraft and on ground are the same as in previous years so I’m not going to touch on those too much. Suffice it to say the control scheme is what you’ve come to expect from Call of Duty and the action is fast paced and at times relentless. Where it gets interesting is when the firefights occur in Space at Zero G’s. You have the ability to grapple on to objects or enemies which results in a very fast takedown. Outside of that you have control of your space suit to control yourself, for the most part the Zero G firefights are probably the most entertaining part of the campaign although it is also an area where the gameplay needs some work. It is possible to rotate your character in while in space which is an important aspect when dealing with Zero Gravity, however what Infinite Warfare shows is that this is a difficult aspect to incorporate into gameplay. Often times the rotation or re-orientating your character can lead to disorientation making Captain Reyes an easy target for the AI.
Call of Duty of course is largely about the multiplayer. There would be a core base of fans out there who would argue that Call of Duty should just ditch Single Player and focus on multiplayer. Personally I think that despite the flaws and cliche plots that inevitably appear in the campaign, it is a mode that has value. Albeit for it’s over the top fast paced cinematic action. But enough on the campaign I know you want to hear about the Multiplayer side of the game so let’s get to it…
First off, the core Multiplayer gameplay is as you would expect from any Call of Duty game. It is incredibly fast paced and for the uninitiated can be quite daunting. I’m never going to be on an eSports team and see myself as just an average online player. I’m never going to top the Call of Duty leaderboards but I can still string together my share of kills and make a nuisance of myself. The best advice I could give to a noob venturing into Call of Duty’s multiplayer world is to stick with it. You will die a lot but there is plenty of fun to be had if you hang in there and spend the time learning what works and what doesn’t. I will say this though, there is one aspect of the game I don’t like and that is quickscoping. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice it basically means that someone with a Sniper Rifle can start to go into the aim and pull the trigger before focussing on their target and taking advantage of aim assists which will get your shot on target. The Sniper Rifle is a powerful weapon and yes quickscoping is a bit of a skill but it is a part of the game I wish wasn’t there.
When it comes to the maps and the modes available, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare offers plenty for new and seasoned veterans alike. The maps are well thought out and have enough variety in them to make each map interesting and getting to know well. Couple that with great gameplay mechanics and Infinite Warfare once again proves that Call of Duty is at its best as a multiplayer game. Things like wall running and double jumping are available in the campaign but really shine when deployed in multiplayer.
Loadouts are an all important part of the multiplayer experience and Infinite Warfare has once again done a good job here. The more you play the more XP and perks you will unlock but every available perk, weapon choice and mod comes with a trade off. You only have a certain amount of slots available for your loadout so if you want to take up all weapon slots on say your primary weapon that may mean you need to sacrifice a perk or two or take some kit off your secondary weapon in order to make the loadout work. This trade off system is a great way to maintain balance between players and ensure that no player ever becomes too powerful to avoid being killed. Sure some guys are just ridiculously talented and are near impossible to kill but that isn’t because they are over powered, it’s because they are just way too good at this game than an average bloke like me.
When it comes to the multiplayer modes there the main Call of Duty modes are all here, Team Deathmatch is as popular as ever. It’s highly competitive but is also the sort of mode that can be over within 10 minutes which makes it perfect for a quick lunchtime blast. Free for All pits every player against each other and then you’ve got your Hardpoint modes where capturing and holding positions is the name of the game. This type of mode tends to take longer than a Deathmatch but can create some seriously frantic moments, especially around the capture points.
Outside of that Infinite Warfare has an online Zombie survival mode as well which is more fun than it should be and has a really nice theme park style of map.
Graphically, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is fantastic. I review it on PS4 and bought myself the PS4 Pro, hence why the review has come out a little later. I wanted to put some time into checking it out on the PS4 Pro and I’m glad I did. The game looks and runs fine on the PS4 but on the PS4 Pro, Infinite Warfare is amazing. On my 4KTV there is a distinct visual upgrade thanks to the way it takes advantage of the PS4 Pro’s power to get a resolution up to that 4K mark. The environments contain additional textures and space looks absolutely amazing. The two screenshots I’ve included in the review are taken from the PS4 Pro but unfortunately when taking screen captures you lose the additional detail that you see while playing. Small details shine through like the seams on clothes or the little dents around the sights on weapons that show that this is a weapon that has been used in past battles. Get in space and witnessing explosions is stunning, the fire is bright and contrast greatly against the black void that is space. Even if you only have a 1080p TV playing on Infinite Warfare on the PS4 Pro will net you higher and more stable frame rates which is, in my opinion, more important than the visual upgrades when playing multiplayer.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is by no means a perfect game. The campaign mode is somewhat cliche and the gameplay mechanics when in Zero Gravity show that the dev’s struggled with finding the right balance with making firefights work in the vacuum of space. Switch to the Multiplayer side of the game though and Infinite Warfare shows that it knows how to create a near flawless gameplay experience.
- Fantastic Multiplayer Gameplay
- Visually Stunning, especially on PS4 Pro
- MP Weapon Loadout System maintains balance
- Zero Gravity Firefights can be disorientating