For years the Call of Duty franchise has dominated the FPS scene. With an annual release for the last decade the franchise has grown to the point where three major studios now produce games under the Call of Duty banner. Competition for ‘shooter of the year’ is tougher than ever this year with massive IPs like Doom, TitanFall 2 and Battlefield 1 all battling it out for your hard-earned cash. That’s why Infinity Ward is taking Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to the final frontier, space.
This is Major Tom to ground control
I was able to go to a review event in London to finish the game prior to release and the first thing I want to touch on is the campaign. Call of Duty campaigns are famous for being an all-out roller-coaster ride that doesn’t let up until the final credits crawl up the screen. Infinite Warfare stays true to this pedigree of being an entertaining bullet romp but it manages to take its action-packed narrative to a level that rivals a Hollywood summer blockbuster that would make Michael Bay blush. You play as Nick Reyes, an all American hero that wants nothing more than to wave his country’s flag high. At the start of the game you are thrust into battle as Earth is attacked by the Settlement Defense Front. The SDF are basically space pirates except instead of having Matt Damon as a Captain they have Admiral Salen Kotch played by Kit Harington who you might recognise from his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.
Earth has run out of natural resources and has established several other colonies around the solar system to get whatever resources they can find, while at the same time drawing a massive bulls-eye on their foreheads for opportunistic thieves. It’s not long before the United Nations Space Alliance, which is basically the United Nations of space travel, comes under fire by rogue militants in a Pearl Harbour-style attack that forces the UNSA to take to the stars to try and stop Jon Snow… I mean Salen Kotch and his evil plans for planetary domination.
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads
You are given command of your own battleship soon after the attack on Earth, called the Retribution, and from there the game starts to break away from the traditional linear path and side quests are opened. From the planetary map you can decide to either carry on with the main objective or try to weaken the bad guys by attacking their ships orbiting nearby planets. I took a crack at a side quest mission that took place near Pluto where I had to assassinate a key commander of the SDF and was very surprised at how well it played out. The side quest missions are varied in gameplay and this particular mission required me to steal an enemy uniform and infiltrate the battleship using stealth. I must say that I enjoyed some of the side quest missions more than the ones in the main story so they are certainly not just tacked on and are very well thought out.
[pullquote_right]Infinity Ward threw the kitchen sink at the single player campaign this year with more celebrity cameos than an anti-Donald Trump video and for the most part it paid off.[/pullquote_right]However, what I found myself enjoying the most about the campaign was the ability to pilot the Jackal in the various arena battles that take place. The Jackal doesn’t handle like a traditional fighter, in that strafing plays a massive role in moving around and you are able to lock onto targets and dispatch them with either your rocket payload or minigun. All of the Jackal sequences were intense and I in particular enjoyed the parts where you got to disembark from your fighter to battle in zero gravity. Infinity Ward threw the kitchen sink at the single player campaign this year with more celebrity cameos than an anti-Donald Trump video and for the most part it paid off.
Something borrowed, something new
Just like previous Call of Duty titles the real fun starts when you jump online with the multiplayer. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare keeps gameplay very similar to the multiplayer seen in Black Ops 3 and I think the reason for this is to try and standardise the multiplayer to break into the esports scene. Does it make sense for esports, absolutely, but sadly it isn’t much different to last year’s Call of Duty multiplayer outing. I enjoyed the Rigs system which is basically a class system with special abilities for each class, but it’s not enough to make the experience feel fresh. The one new addition that I did like was a very light RPG system in the form of the prototype weapons that they have added that unlock common, rare and epic weapons in loot crates. These weapons have special abilities and can give you a big advantage in a multiplayer game. What that means for balance only time will tell, but I enjoyed playing with it because it certainly gave me an edge.
David Hasselhoff can shoot!
[pullquote_left]How can you not have fun fighting alongside David Hasselhoff while the Knight Rider theme plays in the background?[/pullquote_left]Now onto the Zombie mode, which for me was the high point with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. I have played every single zombie mode since World at War and I can tell you now that Zombies in Spaceland is pure zombie-killing bliss at its finest. The ’80s inspired soundtrack is one of the best things to happen to Call of Duty zombies since its inception. How can you not have fun fighting alongside David Hasselhoff while the Knight Rider theme plays in the background?
The legacy edition of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare comes with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and I must say it’s easily one of the best remastered games I have ever played. The original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was around 8.5 gigs in size. The remastered version hits the 40 gig mark and that alone tells you that there have been some big improvements. The whole game feels like it was built from the ground up for a new generation and if you enjoyed the original Modern Warfare the remastered version is a must play.
Let’s do this
The multiplayer in Modern Warfare Remastered is a massive change in pace compared to Infinite Warfare‘s multiplayer. The action is much slower but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an absolute blast. I had to use some of my old tricks from 2007 to get an edge on my opponents since speed coupled with wall-running and sliding is not an option. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the online player base for Modern Warfare Remastered matches the size of Infinite Warfare, because it really is just so much fun to jump back into classic maps like Crash and Overgrown and it will test your skill as getting a good K/D in the original was no easy task.
Call of Duty games have always been excellent value for money and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Legacy Edition takes first prize in that regard . In fact, the legacy edition can easily be compared to the Orange Box in terms of value because you are getting so much content in one package that it’s easy to justify the premium. Even if you decide to go for the standard edition of Infinite Warfare you won’t be disappointed, however I feel that this year there are better shooters out on the market, so if your budget is tight Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare might not scratch your shooting itch quite the same way it did in previous years.