Developer: Infinity Ward
Release Date: 11/04/2016
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Every time I play a Call of Duty game I expect less and less each time. The game is designed from the ground up for the lowest common denominator and people who have never played games before. Infinite Warfare is no exception being the third game from Infinity Ward this console cycle. I have the give Infinite Warfare some credit as it did surprise me more than the series has since Modern Warfare 2 and that’s saying a lot. The game has excellent acting and surprisingly interesting characters that you kind of care for which scared me coming from such a mindless series.
You play Lieutenant Reyes who is part of the USDA trying to protect Earth from the SDF who are a bunch of rebels living on Mars and want to wipe out all of Earth. It’s a typical war plot with basic objectives, but the chatter in between is quite entertaining and kept me hooked. I actually sat through the entire game in two long playthroughs which I have never done for a Call of Duty. They usually get boring after the second mission or so. I do have to mention that the use of Kit Harrington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) is wasted on a villain that is rarely seen in the game and whose character never evolves or gets the potential to grow. Why did they use him for a half dozen lines of dialog? I know Call of Duty is famous for using celebrities in its games (Ghosts being the worst use) but this seemed rather pointless with having almost no face time.
Reyes’s partner, Lieutenant Salter, creates a strong duo that helps drive the game forward. I actually was able to figure out what was going on at all times and the story never got convoluted or overly complicated. The game also changes pace quite often which keeps it from getting boring despite these changes being the same and just shuffled. Outside of boots-on-the-ground combat, there is some zero-G combat and space combat in a jet. The space combat is great and the Jackal has buttery smooth controls and feels very cinematic and challenging. The only objectives here are to destroy other fighters and larger ships while keeping missiles off of you and staying out of danger. Locking onto other jets puts you in an auto-pilot mode where the game will automatically follow the jet and you just have to shoot it down.
Zero-G combat is used the least but is still quite fun. You can tether to objects for cover or grapple enemies and initiate pretty awesome melee kills. The environments are rather beautiful with a lot of detail and massive objects in the background. This is not an ugly game by any means. Once you get indoors though the game is boring and stale with metallic corridors, generic monitors, and the same crap we’ve seen over and over again. There are a few small moments outside of all this such as when you can call in certain weapons or airstrikes to turn the tide. It feels good to use them and they always come in handy right at the last moment.
One thing that really surprised me was the use of side missions that you could optionally go to. According to the Trophy listing, most people never played these as they are rare achievements, but it helps divert people away from the main story if they just want to finish real quick and move on. These missions include a few stealth ops as well as flying the Jackal and rescuing hostages. This was a nice mixed bag of gameplay that was fun to play through. The main reason to go through these is to take down top officers from the SDF that is part of the “card system” which is a series of “hits”. It’s pretty meaningless and just one more reason to unlock an achievement.
Once you finish the campaign (about 6 hours) there is the multiplayer suite, and honestly, the campaign is stronger this time around. The multiplayer is very safe and doesn’t do a single thing different from what we’ve seen before with the same type of maps and modes that we’re used to. Is it worth grinding through Prestige levels? Probably not, but there is Zombies mode which is even starting to show its teeth these days.
Sadly, Infinite Warfare just doesn’t have any personality despite all the pluses it brings to the series. At its core, it’s still a generic space shooter that has strayed so far away from what made Modern Warfare great that it’s laughable. With the fake made-up guns (which are actually interesting) robots, and spaceships this could have been any other name and it would have still been a good game. The Call of Duty branding seems to only hurt the game more than help it these days.
With that said, Infinite Warfare doesn’t’ deserve the flack it has gotten from fans and is surprisingly smart and entertaining and at least tries to do some new stuff that we haven’t seen before. The multiplayer is passable, but at a bargain bin price, you are in for an entertaining day of shooting robots and saving the planet.