I think Infinity Ward may have cracked it. With the Call of Duty franchise year after year locked in an annual feud with the mighty Battlefield, something had to be done to break the cycle. Well, through all the developers of Call of Duty’s gone by, Infinity Ward has done just that with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Sure, we saw it coming. It was only a matter of time before Call of Duty went into space, it’s done the future and the past, so why the hell not?
In the campaign you are Captain Nick Reyes played by Brian Bloom (Escape from Atlantis, The A Team) who gains command of the UNSA Warship Retribution to stop the Settlement Defence Force (SDF), who in turn want to do nothing but cause interstellar trouble and start a war. Mankind now have access to the entire Solar System and have found ways to harvest resources from our planetary neighbours. Within this lengthy campaign you will meet a fantastic cast of characters who will aid you on the battles ahead. Your female sidekick Lieutenant Salter played by Jamie Grey Hyder (True Blood, Graceland) and advisor and tough guy Sergeant Omar played by David Harewood (Homeland, Supergirl) are clear cut highlights who play blinder performances throughout. Nick Reyes is stern and humble. He, alongside robotic companion E3N (or Ethan), at times defy the odds that are heavily against them in some outstanding battle sequences that are typical Call of Duty that follow the tradition of topping these tense moments with some of the most epic cinematic sequences I’ve ever seen in the series.
Combat is solid in Infinite Warfare. Weapons like the Volt assault rifle, which looks like the AK47’s tougher brother, can dispatch robotic enemies with ease, or if you prefer better mobility, maybe the smaller Erad sub-machine gun is the gun of choice for you. Pesky and elusive enemies can be creatively taken care of using the interesting new grenade types. Frags break up into clusters, and Seeker grenades look like mechanical arachnids that attach to the nearest enemy before exploding.
Infinity Ward have nailed zero gravity warfare. Firefights in deep space whilst using a grappling hook to go from cover to cover is exhilarating stuff and creates incredible new challenges like hiding from patrolling ships between asteroids and turning enemy soldiers into eternal floaters.
The campaign is jam packed with incredible moments. Fighting on a spinning asteroid close to the Sun, chasing a carrier attempting to escape the atmosphere of Venus, and the first attack on Earth are by far the best. What would a game set in space be without space flight? Well, enter the Jackal, a fighter craft akin to the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. This thing can really move as you control its movement with the left thumb-stick and turn and aim with the right. Enemy fighters can be locked onto which holds your hand as you chase down your foe. Dog-fighting is superb, and missions involving the Jackal are incredibly fun. It’s the cinematic moments that make this campaign so great. Visual spectacles that demand your attention. And it’s one after another, even during the multiple side missions which you can choose to undertake if you do so wish. The spectacles aren’t only exclusive to tense scenes but also to the more solemn emotional scenes such as Nick and Ethan having a bit of a heart-to-heart whilst floating in deep space.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has the best campaign of the series. Its breathtaking locales, superb cast performances, and intense battles, both on the ground and in the air, kept my jaw firmly on the floor, and it’s worth picking up this game for the campaign alone.
Gaming Respawn writer Dom Richards has spent countless hours on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer component and gives his opinion below.
For the first time since Modern Warfare 2, I have actually enjoyed the multiplayer in a Call of Duty game. I have never been the greatest player when it comes to shooters, but I loved Modern Warfare 1 and 2 and spent an unholy amount of hours playing both titles. After that I played Call of Duty up until Advanced Warfare, but I really didn’t play it much or for long. Then I played such titles as Rainbow Six and Battlefield, but to be honest I didn’t really completely enjoy what I was playing. Why the hell was I playing these games then, I hear you ask? Because I enjoyed whom I was playing with. I would often just play these games because the guys I played with played them. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate what I was playing, but I would only really play when the other guys did, although this isn’t the case with Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer. For the first time since I first booted up Modern Warfare’s multiplayer mode, I am going solo. I only decided to get Infinite Warfare a day before release because I was desperate to play the campaign, but I decided to give multiplayer a quick bash, and within an hour I was hooked.
On the grand scale of things, not much has changed. Leveling up still works the same, the size of the maps are still the same, and the score streaks are still there. So for someone who hasn’t really played Call of Duty properly for a few years, it was easy to get back into. Leveling up is still fair, and even if you’re not the greatest player in the world (like me), you can still progress at a steady level and still feel like you are achieving something. You will also be given objectives while playing which can help you earn medals, and these can range from ‘killing five people with an assault rifle’ to ‘get 5 kills with 5 different weapons’. These help you focus throughout the game, and for people who get bored of just running and shooting (again like me), these objectives can help keep you entertained.
What has changed this year is the introduction of ‘Rigs’, which work as the traditional ‘classes’. There are six in total which are: Warfighter, FTL, Merc, Phantom, Stryker, and Synaptic. Each Rig has three ‘Payloads’ and three ‘Traits’ to choose from. Payloads are high powered weapons or abilities which last around 45 seconds, and Traits are permanent abilities which help you play the game how you want to play it. The six different Rigs and their Payloads and Traits are, of course, unlocked as level up. Choosing a Rig that matches your play style can really help you be a success in Infinite Warfare’s sometimes unforgivable multiplayer arenas. For example, the Warfighter’s initial Payload is a high powered, wide spread machine gun which can seriously rack up those kills, while the second Trait you unlock is called Persistence which is a serious game changer. When I play multiplayer, I die a lot. I can get a decent amount of kills, but my KDR (that’s kill/death ratio) is terrible, so the score streaks usually are out of reach for me. However, if I use the Persistence perk, then score streaks don’t reset after death, but the score to get them increases. To me this is great, this lets me play the game how I want to play it, which is sprint around like a maniac shooting whatever is in front of me. I will very rarely get 900 points without dying, but I can get 1,200 points overall. Some of the Payload weapons are incredible, like FTL’s ‘Eraser’ which lets you vaporize people with one shot.
One thing Infinity Ward have made a major error with though is not including a space combat Multiplayer Mode. As Ian mentioned earlier, the space combat in the Career Mode is incredible and so much fun. It is easy to fly the ships, and the battles are never boring. Perhaps this could feature in future DLC? But this is a huge oversight by them, unless of course, it will be in a DLC pack. But if they will include it in the future, they should have included it from the start. It wouldn’t be hard to create the ‘maps’ for them as there are eight planets in the Solar System, then there is also Pluto and the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, so really there are 10 possible space combat zones. Have 4 at release, then with the DLC packs release another 3 with the normal maps, easy.
Zombies are also back and possibly better than ever. This time it takes place in the space themed, 80s amusement park ‘Spaceland’. Four aspiring actors are tricked into going to the park as they believe they will be cast in obscure director Willard Wyler’s latest film. The park itself looks great with loads of vibrant, 80s neon inspired colours. It seems Infinity Ward wanted to create a more beginner friendly Zombies than the past games have had. You can quite easily get to level 9 without much trouble, and with the inclusion of perks it is more accessible to beginners than ever. Perks come in two forms: Fate and Fortune cards and Candy Perks. Candy Perks can be found throughout the map and give you such effects like the ability to build barriers more quickly and enhance your melee damage. Fate and Fortune cards can range from lasting a few seconds or until 10 zombies hit you. These enhance your overall abilities and range from having sniper rifle fire always registering as critical hits to regenerating health more quickly. You can stack up to five different cards in a game so you could become the ultimate warrior against the undead horde.
Developer: Infinity Ward
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 4th November 2016