Another year and another Call of Duty title has been released. This time around space is a big focus; with gamers able to shoot it out in space from a single player perspective, via online multiplayer and cooperatively take on endless waves of zombies. This distinct change of setting shifts Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare away from previous installments in the franchise: a welcome alteration that unfortunately isn’t as fully revolutionary as it could have been.
Infinite Warfare takes place after the resources on Earth have started to diminish. In turn, humans have looked to the stars and started to colonize other worlds. Alas, it seems Earth has only exchanged feuds over parts of the planet to interplanetary disputes. The Settlement Defense Front is the enemy this time around and show their hand of cruelty early on to the main protagonist, Nick Reyes.
The story takes shape from here and follows Reyes as he traverses some spectacular planet locations and pilots a Jackal spacecraft, dog-fighting his way to saving the world(s). The Jackal scenes do add something different to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. However, it shows how the normal Call of Duty format has been followed, adding in a vehicle section to add gameplay variety, with a space based twist. This being said, the Jackal is more of a change when compared to vehicles previously used in the franchise and is also part of some awesome missions.
Gamers often knock the Call of Duty storylines, yet they never try to be something they aren’t. Staying true to the series, the story is full of the epicness, explosions and, unfortunately, even the lack of depth of an action blockbuster straight out of Hollywood. This concept is only bolstered with the inclusion of Kit Harrington, whose rather loud, and slightly brash, character is often simply shouting towards the camera.
Harrington, despite his Game of Thrones based fame, is not the real star of the storyline show and doesn’t quite live up to the performance put in last year by Kevin Spacey. The star, or stars, of the show are the brilliantly voice acted squad members and the awesome robot E3N ‘Ethan’, whom make the journey that bit more entertaining between the inevitable gun fire.
Many players will skip the singleplayer story completely, although they will be missing out, in favor for the fast paced multiplayer action. In keeping with the franchise, the multiplayer maps are carefully designed environments each with their own look and feel. They are mostly small in overall size, whilst offering plenty of tightly knit walkways, each offering distinctive objects or themes to enable teammates to use quick callouts.
As always this style of map design means players are only ever a few seconds away from the next lot of action. Be it down a couple of corridors or across an open area, the maps are quick to traverse. Player are therefore able to quickly respond to what the enemy is doing, again forcing opposing players into conflict and maintaining the action. Individual maps seem to benefit differing play styles with camping, regrettably, not only easier but beneficial in places. On the other hand, there are some brilliant locations for the franchises infamous ‘360 no-scope’ shots.
There hasn’t been a huge overhaul in the multiplayer element, with the six combat rigs being this year’s new major addition. While they are supposed to enable players to further tweak and customize their character, to their playstyle, they seem to take the place of another perk rather than being anything ground breaking. The most useful and obvious change has to be new hit marker system. The hit markers previously were always white. In Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare the hit marker changes color depending on the amount of damage inflicted. White for minor damage, yellow for major damage and red for a confirmed kill.
Despite being set in space, aliens are nowhere to be found in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Instead, zombies make a colorful return. These space zombies offer one of the fastest paced zombie experiences to date; all packaged into an 80’s styled neon amusement park. A peculiar setting but one that sets the cooperative mode away from the rest of the title. This creates a more wacky and fun feeling mode, far flung from the competitive multiplayer scene that Call of Duty games strive for. To me it seems an odd decision not to bring back the alien horde mode, due to the space setting, nevertheless zombies are always fun to kill.
Overall, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare attempts to take the series to new heights, however it is bugged with a constant feeling of familiarity. The multiplayer element which normally makes the yearly Call of Duty titles king of the FPS hill has numerous challengers, most notably in the form of Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2. While the maps are well designed the gameplay simply hasn’t advanced enough: resulting in the mode feeling like a re-textured version of previous titles in the series.
The surprising element has to be the storyline, which I would encourage everyone who likes an action packed game to try. It is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s ‘hidden’ gem, hidden only due to the amount of players whom will most likely completely skip it. Infinite Warfare is by no means a bad game and I expect to sink many hours into the multiplayer and cooperative modes but it feels like a game that could have offered more.
[Editor’s Note: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was reviewed on PlayStation 4. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review,