Call of Duty is a truly global franchise which has, no doubt, helped the gaming industry become what it is today. It has gone from strength to strength, and love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it is a truly huge release and a massive deal whenever one is announced. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare was no different in that regard – the announcement generated a load of controversy and it caught a lot of flak from journalists, fans, and gamers in general.
The super-futuristic vibe was a stark contrast to Battlefield 1’s trench warfare, and fans were outraged, upset, and disappointed that this year would bring another boost-jumping, space-age Call of Duty rather than the boots on the ground CoDs of old – like Call of Duty 4. Luckily for these dedicated fans, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare – if you bought the right edition – came with a remastered version of Modern Warfare; arguably the game which propelled Call of Duty, and Infinity Ward, onto the world stage.
As Call of Duty has evolved as a franchise, the content released with each iteration has evolved with it. Fans have come to expect a high-quality, incredibly polished campaign (which, might I add, often goes unappreciated), a tight multiplayer mode with in-depth progression and fast paced action, and also a co-operative mode – often in the form of an undead horde. Yes, zombies. Many Call of Duty fans would buy CoD zombies as a standalone game. The mode offers endless waves of increasingly difficult enemies, as you fight and earn points to unlock better gear. More on that later though.
At this point, I’ll add that when Infinite Warfare was announced, I was kind of disappointed – I was hoping that Infinity Ward would be returning to their roots so to speak, and make another boots on the ground Call of Duty game with weapons, abilities, and conflicts based mostly in reality. However, as I played through the Infinite Warfare campaign, the game grew more and more on me. As a game developer, you want to use your imagination and skillset to the fullest potential, so why not have huge space warships? Why not have boost rigs to aid soldiers to gain aerial advantages? Why not expand out from the Earth and experiment with the entire solar system?
With that out of the way, let’s get into the campaign.
In the campaign, you’ll be playing as Nick Reyes – a SCAR special operations agent with a long history of successful ops. Without spoiling anything, you will end up at the helm of the UNSC Retribution, the largest carrier in Earth’s fleet. You will embark upon main missions spanning all over the solar system – progressing the story and usually having some graphically stunning cutscenes thrown in for good measure.
Aside from these main missions, you have side objectives which are optional, but flesh out the campaign nicely and are good fun. They are heavily incentivised by unlocking perks and attachments that you can use throughout the rest of the campaign. This ultimately means that by the end of the game you’ll have a plethora of weapon options and perks to assist you in the final stages, but you don’t ever feel overpowered – unless you’re playing on Recruit!
The ship boarding missions were a personal favourite of mine. In these missions you will usually be accompanied by Lt. Salter – your close friend and partner. You will be tasked with boarding an enemy ship and completing an objective, which could be to disable the ship from the inside, steal some weapon prototypes or save hostages.
The Jackal based missions will have you taking off from the Retribution and engaging enemies in air-to-air combat. The way that the ship is controlled, and the space combat in general, are some of the best I’ve experienced in a game. It’s simplistic, yet challenging, and above all it’s good fun to see entire enemy squadrons obliterated as you fly off.
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare takes a lot of inspiration from other games. This would be dangerous, had it not been executed so well. To select a mission, you’ll have to head to the bridge of the Retribution and select it from a holographic map of the solar system, in a way that is similar to Mass Effect. The space combat mimics games such as Halo or Ace Combat. But all aspects still feel unique enough to stand apart from those games, which makes the Infinite Warfare campaign a real joy to play through.
The game’s storyline is compelling, only a little cliché at times. My main gripe was that the antagonist – Admiral Salen Kotch, leader of the SDF, wasn’t developed well enough as a character. There were no real motivations that were apparent, it pretty much just throws you in the midst of a war and says “here you go, hate this guy!”
All in all though, Infinite Warfare has a fantastic campaign offering which is probably my favourite since Black Ops 2 – it is not to be missed. I was incredibly surprised at the quality of the campaign, and although it’s not the longest, at around 6-8 hours depending on skill and how much you like to explore, it’s a story well worth experiencing.
So, from the least appreciated mode to arguably the most played mode – Multiplayer.
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare does what no other Call of Duty game has done before – it adds context and a bit of backstory. How does it do this? Through a new system called “Mission Teams” you will be able to select a taskforce, which will set you objectives for each and every game that you play. The initial team you join offer the simplest tasks, with you being able to choose your team and level up your rank within that particular team later on. Other teams offer more specific challenges – like specialist technology kills or similar. Before each match you will select a challenge, and when it is complete, you are awarded some mission xp, eventually leading to team specific guns and skins. It’s a really nice addition which incentivises you to play a little bit differently and learn new techniques.
Apart from mission teams… there’s not much else new going on. Sure, you’ve got your rig to choose which leads to an ultimate ability, but that was the same as Black Ops 3. There are obviously new weapons, and new maps – a wide variety of both. But there’s not a great deal of change to be seen in Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer. It’s just fine. If you hated Black Ops 3 multiplayer, you’ll hate Infinite Warfare’s. Personally I prefer longer gun fights and engagements. The time to kill in Infinite Warfare is probably the lowest I’ve experienced in a CoD game. Maybe I’m just getting slow in my old age.
One final word about the multiplayer: Supply Drops are very much integrated in Infinite Warfare. If you’re unaware, Supply Drops are microtransactions in the Call of Duty universe, allowing players to unlock new guns and skins. If you’re not a fan of the grind to unlock elite tiers of weapons (which adds bonus perks to the weapons), then you can simply purchase these random containers to try your luck. If you’re averse to microtransactions you could be saving up salvage, the crafting currency, for weeks.
Let’s move onto Zombies, the ultimate time-sink. Unlike other modes in Infinite Warfare, you retain normal movement – not a boost rig in sight. An animated short movie sets the scene as four aspiring actors are invited to Willard Wyler’s personal cinema, believing they are auditioning for a new film. Little do they know they are about to be transported to Spaceland and chased down by zombies. You will take control of one of four characters and face endless waves of zombies and exploding killer clowns until they eventually overrun you and tear you apart, limb from limb, feasting on your flesh.
The core gameplay of zombies is the same as always; run, survive, shoot zombies. Fate or Fortune cards are selectable at the start of each match, and you will have to fill up different metres before you can activate them. You start off with five cards, however you can find more cards as you progress. These offer unique perks which can help you out when you’re in danger of being overrun, for example you might choose to activate the Med Kit card to help you get revived faster.
If you do happen to bleed out in Spaceland, you’ll be transported to the afterlife, which, miraculously aligning with my own beliefs, happens to be an arcade. You can play arcade games to refill your soul power and earn yourself a self-revive. This is a really cool mechanic which takes the stress and guilt out of dying and letting your team down – so long as you’re good at arcade games.
Once you restore the power, you’ll notice that 80’s songs are pumped out across the theme park. Not only is it hilarious to shoot rampant, exploding clowns while Frankie goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” is playing, it’s also worth your while to pay a visit to the park’s DJ… I won’t say any more than that.
Zombies is one of those great gaming experiences which is only made better by teaming up with friends and surviving the onslaught. It’s got a new lick of paint and has an incredibly high polish in Infinite Warfare and, like the campaign, is one of the strongest in years.
Overall, Infinite Warfare is innovative and has the strongest campaign offering in years. The Zombies mode is another highlight and rivals the original World at War zombies mode. It’s a shame that the multiplayer isn’t more different than Black Ops 3; it felt too similar to make any real distinction between the two, which lets the multiplayer mode down. Sometimes I completely forgot that I was playing a Call of Duty game – I’m not sure if that’s a mark of the game being good, or if it means they’ve gone too far from what players identify Call of Duty as. There’s no doubt in my mind that Infinite Warfare was, shall we say, a risky move, however if you can see through the internet’s hate for Call of Duty in general you’ll find a real gem of a game.
And so… Modern Warfare Remastered.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is perhaps my most played game of all time. There wasn’t much else you’d ever see me playing back in the day. I remember running around playing Michael Myers on Bloc, or trying to glitch out of the map on Backlot to evade my bloodthirsty friend, running around with a knife with our names on it.
Safe to say, I was incredibly excited to get my hands on Modern Warfare Remastered. It does not disappoint. It’s crazy to see how Call of Duty has evolved, and playing through the Modern Warfare campaign resonated that. Call of Duty is not just about “Soap” MacTavish or cigar smoking Captain Price any more, it’s a global game which has ambitions bigger than an SAS unit. Though saying that, the campaign story holds up incredibly well, and the multiplayer maps are, as they always have been, balanced and fun to play.
The graphical update to the campaign brings it in line with any other AAA release game. Taking part in conflicts all over the world, the settings are always visually stunning and immersive. The game is a lot simpler, more barebones than the more recent iterations. There is no wall running, double jumping, or any energy weapon in sight. Instead, you play as a modern soldier with suitable weapons at your disposal. The game is well balanced, and nothing feels overpowered or underpowered. The great thing about keeping it simple is that there’s no convoluted stuff to distract you from the core gameplay. Even the killstreaks require minimal input; you call in your airstrike and place it where you want it. It just works.
There’s not much to say about Modern Warfare: Remastered, other than it is a masterpiece, remastered. There are 10 multiplayer maps currently, and a full campaign. It’s a great incentive to buy Infinite Warfare, although I can’t help but feel that it would’ve been fairer to offer the game as a standalone too, for nostalgic people like me who just want to play Modern Warfare again – that being said, Infinite Warfare is damn good too.
But if I had to choose, I’d be on Modern Warfare multiplayer in a heartbeat.