Infinite Warfare launches the Call of Duty series into the far future where humanity has expanded outwards building colonies to sustain its needs. Those very colonies have come together as the Settlement Defense Front and seem to despise Earth for whatever reason launching an assault on the planet. This strikes at the core of the Earth fleet as it was fleet week so all the ships were in one spot conveniently.
The strike is devastating leaving only two ships that are in critical condition and you end up as commander of one. You are then tasked with a series of missions across the solar system in order to take the fight to them that barely fit together. There were many open ends created within the story that never really tied together and some side missions that were brief, yet somewhat different to play. The levels are long featuring breathtaking environments, it's just that they lacked life being thrown into a morbid campaign.
Civilians were killed at every chance and while Infinity Ward usually goes for shock value, it's never in this grand a number. While some might say it better depicts war, I felt this aspect coupled with the numerous close deaths along the way made what should have been important moments just another body to the pile. The only person I even ended up caring for or liking was Ethan the prototype killing bot as I never saw anyone hang around long enough to get attached to them.
That aside the cinematics were golden and there were so many crazy action scenes, but this felt more like style than substance with the story being a boring romp across the solar system. It was longer than I had anticipated though about the same length as usual Call of Duty campaigns and I didn't feel any deliverance from the supposed big moments. The strongest elements were the shots of wonder flying to planets or first touching down on them, when it instead should have focused on the events unfolding.
The portion of the series that gets the most attention is always the multiplayer aspect where I've sunken days of my life into the multiple entries. With this game supposedly carrying a return to ground based warfare I was in absolute awe of how crazy multiplayer is. From the first few moments of entering multiplayer I was in shock of how odd it was and definitely leaving any sort of traditional combat. It was mostly silly with laser shots soaring by and terminator robots acting like dogs across the battlefield. Some might like this, but it doesn't feel tactical and instead carries a parody type design.
The maps also seem to lack directional flow with random elements of the poor wall running system in place along with a random choice of whether you can reach high points by booster jumping or not. They don't seem to carry any organized design aside from the environments which were top notch and every map has random elements in place. It's almost like they couldn't decide what each map would be focused on attempting to squash a bit of everything into them and it didn't work. The modes also follow this direction as they've removed all objective based playlists aside from Search opting for Team Deathmatch playlists with slight variations.
The class system returns with expanded options offering rig types that change how you move and certain payload type items to complement it. You also have a weighting system to deal with as you swap out weapons, perks or other tactical gear to fit your play style. This continues to be a fine refinement on the original concept and while it might seem overwhelming at first, the amount of depth is appreciated. As with all Call of Duty titles you level up unlocking new weapons, perks and items while eventually working towards a prestige where you can start over. They've also brought over the emblem selection along with call signs and other small customization options to make your soldier unique.
After the disappointing mess that was the Aliens type mode Infinity Ward tried with Ghosts they've now jumped on the Zombies bandwagon. Playing as some hip 80's type characters you fight in this area that feels like a VHS film amusement park. The map is absolutely massive in scale offering almost too freedom honestly. It's well formed with many unique areas to explore, items to collect and special playing cards to take advantage of. I was actually stunned at the amount of depth present within zombies and it's going to take a long time to get a good hold of this map.
Aside from retro zombies there's also boss creatures, terrifying suicidal clowns and a fun after death type mini game place to earn a ticket back into the game. It's been greatly expanded upon and being a big fan of zombies this is a strong element of the game. You can also level to unlock better equipment, collect tickets to get items in-game or build things to get bonuses in the current match. With all of this available it does feel overwhelming at times and I can see newer players having trouble getting into things. I've also had friends somewhat give up on it based on how much is going on, but I'm quite a fan of this area of the game. Looking forward to fully getting a grasp on this type of zombies and can't wait to see where the DLC takes it.
This is not at all a ground based Call of Duty title, instead opting for the exact same system in place during Black Ops 3. It throws away any chance of being a traditional game with lasers, weirdly awesome grenades and a boosting system. There's also some increased mobility options with the boost shoes and wall running which feels like an awkward attempt at emulating Titanfall in a small environment, it doesn't work well. The core structure feels the same as your typical Call of Duty, but it's impossible to strip it down from the futuristic type items and it's just odd.
The worlds are absolutely stunning no matter what portion of the game you play and I must say these are cutting edge environments. The characters have never felt so alive and the landscapes have never been so filled with wonder. Each planet is just magical to explore or hop through, I just wish they were better designed for the new type of equipment we have. They should be working towards open spaces and instead continue to opt for mostly linear and tight corridors that don't work with the new movement system.
For many this is just another year for Call of Duty, bringing another season of multiplayer action. That's there of course though the heart that once brought exciting action just doesn't burn as bright as it used to. The campaign was decent in concept, but lacked enough depth not coming together well instead attempting to bring shock value emotion instead of being genuine.
Every level was just a repeat of running around on the ground killing people and robots that blend together, then just go fly around in your spaceship. I was hoping there'd be more variation than that and it was tiring constantly fighting in a ship. While those segments were exciting, I felt there were too many of them as it didn't need to be incorporated in basically every mission.
The multiplayer feels absolutely bland carrying forward the Black Ops 3 design while having no cohesive map design. The addicting prestige system is back along with all the fancy class customization you could ask for. I felt it was awkward most of the time with a weird mix of people flying around in tight maps and not something that felt exciting anymore.
The Zombies in Spaceland was great offering an open world of zombie slaying that had just a ton of depth to it. I feel it'll be hard for some players to get into right away, but if time is spent playing and learning the map it'll be a rewarding experience. The retro feel is a lot of fun and while they don't add their own flair to it, I still felt Infinity Ward did a good job with the zombies.
Overall this package feels like a typical Call of Duty title that's once again gotten out of hand and has completely forgotten what once made the series so addicting. I was always fascinated with the idea of a completely futuristic CoD, but the rough journey here has completely burned this franchise out.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review on Xbox One