Upon its first trailer on YouTube, the latest Call of Duty entry was hated almost universally where every channel was too quick to bash the game and trying hard to focus on the negativity as well as spelling death to the entire franchise. However, the community over-reacted at best and at worst just made videos regurgitating points made by others while not really telling us as consumers why we should not try the game out. While the YouTubers I watch told me to avoid the game, I was still curious as to where the series would go with the new setting therefore, I waited for more information and content describing the new entry.
I am a dedicated Call of Duty player starting from the very first game released in 2003 up to Infinite Warfare; even bought Advanced Warfare in 2015 twice for myself and as a gift to a Steam friend. I enjoyed all entries in the long-running franchise of the highly popular shooters that started in World War 2 and went to the far future, a step hated by a good number of CoD players; even though few of them say why exactly they hate that step to begin with.
So after several months, I purchased the game and played it for a good number of hours till hitting rank 55 and getting the 1st prestige, I realized that there was a lot to like in the package while very little to complain about. To summarize, Infinite Warfare felt like a mix between Call of Duty (semi-realistic guns and kill-streaks) and Unreal Tournament. (Emphasis on fast movement and acrobatics) Being a fan of both games, this is a nice change of pace from the “boots on the ground” affair from previous entries such as Modern Warfare 2.
So What’s New?
Aside from the far future setting and interstellar landscapes to fight through, the game has a varied arsenal of projectile and energy weapons. They also have variants/alternative versions of existing guns but with minor attributes such as a higher rate of fire or higher head shot damage; obtainable from supply drops or via the in-game crafting system using salvage; both can be obtained by playing the game and completing challenges. This system was also present in Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare.
While this system was among the primarily features that is heavily criticized by the community, it isn’t what most people claim that it is: “the game is pay-to-win.” This is a good feature to me because it provides variety to the game where the guns handle differently thus giving more tactical choices to load-outs; choosing different gun variants while creating new play styles through exploration.
As for the “pay-to-win” argument, it isn’t because the variants are obtainable through game play and in the end, it’s all down to keyboard dexterity, aim and situational awareness if you want to win a fight; I took out players who had weapon variants using standard versions in my first ever match.
Another feature in the game are the special classes a.k.a “rigs” the player selects as a part of their load-out where each has their own ability that is controlled by a meter that fills up in-game and activated when its full; akin to ultimate abilities in games like DoTA 2 or League of Legends. These abilities are also varied with 4 per rig alongside “traits” which effectively, are perks for the rig.
This feature was first seen in Black Ops 3 as “specialist abilities.” Here, each rig has a degree of skill required to dominate the match but at the same time keeping the game balanced because now the game is more about movement and dodging than in previous games, therefore, giving players more control over their battlefield survival chances. There are rigs that focus on movement, close-quarters combat, defense and precision fire while carrying special equipment that deepens the experience where some rigs stop grenades and others recon the area with radars.
The final new addition is the multiplayer factions the player joins where each of them provides missions and bonuses on their completion which include weapon variants and cosmetic items. Each faction is a mercenary group with their own mood and feel seen the types of missions given to the cut-scenes seen as the player joins one. There are factions that require a more tactical approach and there are those that focus on brute force.
To summarize, Infinite Warfare progresses further from previous entries by giving more tools to the player to develop his play-style alongside more options to stay alive when in a difficult situation. This time around, load-out choices have more weight while the ability to use the tools determines victory; to me, this is a mark of a skill-based game where you have to know what works for you and go with it while exploring other options.
Multiplayer First Impressions
In my first ever match within Infinite Warfare, I went with a “Warfighter” rig whose role is to cause damage and move fast while equipping an assault rifle, handgun setup. Initially, I was somewhat concerned coming away from Black Ops 2 where sniper rifles are overpowered in a way that a shot can nearly miss you and the game counts that as a one-hit kill regardless. However, my first match went well where every time I got killed I could see that it was my mistake as opposed to a lucky shot that was supposed to be a miss. An example of this was when I charged into a wide-open space and took out an incoming enemy but before I could find some cover, I got mauled by another enemy that came out of an opening that I didn’t notice before.
Wall-running and double jumping are a bigger part of the game but it isn’t hard to master the movement because it comes almost naturally when you are thinking on your feet; anyone that played a game like Quake 3 Arena or Unreal Tournament knows that to survive one has to keep moving. Strafe-moving is especially important when taking out an enemy that has his rig ability active; coming up against a heavily-armored “Merc” rig who had a laser gun that splits into 2 beams when 2 enemies are on-target, I had to slide out of the way and hip-fire at close range in a micro-second decision.
It is clear that Infinite Warfare has expanded upon firefights from previous CoD games; most notably Black Ops 2 and Modern Warfare 2 in ways that they don’t have to end before they began; as soon as you see your enemy you either die instantly or you kill him; depending on your latency/connection and trigger finger. It’s more realistic sure but there is a line between realism and fun and it’s not fun falling the entire game is it?!
Finally, Infinite Warfare is good because it added more options and gave more control to the player hence making an all-action affair rather than the “safety-first” affair of its more realistic counterparts and prior games. Along with that, being a multiplayer-focused game, this attitude may attract more players and therefore, give the game more life and build incentive for developers to keep making features to the game.
Aside from the multiplayer component, the package also contains a single-player story campaign focusing on the missions of the SCAR squad of elite operators who fight back after their entire space navy has been destroyed unexpectedly by a saboteur from the SDF group of insurgents. The campaign this time has a non-linear approach after the first 2 missions where the player can choose how to progress the story with side-missions that break up from space dogfighting and destroying massive capital ships using a customize-able space fighter and ground combat with stealth and action sections.
The characters in the story are believable and memorable enough to build a setting that feels real enough to be a movie as the cast is well-acted and voiced. During the campaign, the player fights not only in ground combat but in zero-gravity in outer space while boarding ships for a sabotage mission and hunting down most-wanted targets; other elements to the campaign.
There is also the popular zombie mode that is set in a 1980’s backdrop in an arcade, cinema and theme parks with more fleshed-out characters and more mechanics such as a card system that gives the player passive bonuses. However, I will admit that I don’t really like this mode and never really could get into it ever since it’s debut in World at War from 2009; it gets repetitive for me too fast.
Overall, the latest CoD entry is good and still a fun shooter that is very playable due to the fact it allows the player to make more decisions; more than in prior games the way I see it. It also appealed to me because it feels a little like the arena shooter titans of old for it’s focus on movement and agility mixed in with some situational awareness, semi-realistic guns, and map knowledge; a better direction than the bigger focus on maps from the prior games. Along with this, there is more content in single-player and a zombie mode that is popular with many CoD fans, therefore, making this a good package that got too much hate too early to the point of knee-jerk reactions.