|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Infinity Ward|
|Release: November 4, 2016|
|Players: 1-2 Players Local and Online Multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug References, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
by Patrick Tretina
Infinity Ward’s decision to continue to take this franchise into the future as opposed to peeling back to the days of early modem combat, as did it’s biggest competitor, clearly shines through in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The choice to build a futuristic first-person shooter in a genre that’s flooded with them points to one thing - the famed publisher took the safe road as opposed to the one less traveled for this installment. Either that, or the corporate suits got the better of the design team once again. Regardless, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare feels a lot like the previous version with a few minor tweaks and a facelift. Perhaps featuring Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered alongside Infinite Warfare is a little more ironic than we initially thought.
The game’s overall direction is certainly perplexing. Gamers have been fawning over the idea of bringing back the World War II setting, one at which the franchise once excelled. However, Activision decided to go in a different direction and once again build a futuristic shooter. The community spoke via the massive amounts of dislikes on Infinite Warfare’s YouTube launch video and here we are today – still questioning the direction to once again offer a space odyssey. The good news is that the title certainly has a lot to offer, but you’ll have to bear with the feeling of watching a rerun of your favorite TV show that just doesn’t quite capture it’s initial awesomeness.
The Call of Duty franchise has always had two things going for it since day one - unmatched controls and beautiful landscapes. Infinite Warfare most certainly doesn’t deviate from is predecessors and boasts the most impressive visuals to ever grace the series. You can tell a lot of thought went into building the aesthetics as they feature an immense amount of detail in just about every piece of the landscapes. Everything from the moonlight reflecting off the brick pavers, the ricochet of debris from nearby bullets, the gear each squad member wears, to even the fully fleshed out details of the weapons make the visuals tops in my book. Stop and smell the roses; you might get killed in the process, but they were certainly worth eating a few bullets to marvel at their beauty.
The controls are and always will be the foundation of the franchise, regardless of how stunning or lifelike the game looks. This installment features yet again the best controls I’ve ever experienced from a Call of Duty title. You know the controls are good when they become the standard for the platform. I hate to do it, but I’ve consistently used Call of Duty’s mechanics as a benchmark for any first-person shooter. Battlefield 1, for instance, is a fantastic game with a lot to offer. However, the more I play through the title, the more I hate the controls. I consistently find myself wishing CoD mechanics would swoop in and save my backside from getting mowed down from afar, and Infinite Warfare continues this tradition of excellent controls.
The Campaign mode featured in just about every Call of Duty game over the last half-decade has always been a strong point for me personally. A solid storyline, excellent visuals, and just about everything in between that makes for a good story mode has been at the forefront of this fan favorite. However, most recently with Black Ops 3, the series has felt a bit stale. The same can be said for Infinite Warfare - it has all the makings of a phenomenal campaign, but it simply doesn’t deliver the way we know it can. The storyline is confusing at times with intertwining plot lines that either gas out too early or get extended beyond the point of interest. We don’t feel any emotional connection to the characters early on, or at any point for that matter, and we certainly feel the old winds of predictability as even "surprising" moments feel flat and repetitive.
On the positive side, if cohesive storylines and well defined character arcs aren't your thing, the mode is still a lot of fun to play. There’s nothing better than ripping down a hallway with your squad, wiping enemies out in a systematic fashion - it definitely channels my inner Neanderthal. Enemy AI has once again been upgraded along with an increase in destructive environments. Infinity Ward infused an excellent set of sightlines with numerous hotbeds that set up exciting firefights in a large-scale setting. The mix between close quarters and wide-open fighting zones is a nice change that we haven’t seen from the series in a while. It’s also cool to run around with Chappy, aka Ethan the robot sidekick, who shreds enemies and takes gunfire better than Rambo ever could. All the positives are neatly tied together by a seamless loading system that will have players engaged in a fire fight one moment and then flying a fighter jet the next, all without any visible cut sequences to mask the dreaded loading times.