The annual release of the new Call of Duty title has become a sort of a weird tradition. It’s always interesting hearing what fans have to say, and seeing all the small innovations the developers introduce. However, it’s been awhile since a game pushed the series forward in the same way the Modern Warfare subseries did, and the initial fan reaction to the latest entry was less than stellar. Still, this did not deter Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare from trying to take the series to the stars and the action to the level by bringing its signature military combat to space. For the most part, it succeeds.
Infinite Warfare does a good job bring the Call of Duty franchise to space. The deep space combat are visually interesting to look at, and still feels like it belongs in a Call of Duty game. There are moments where I found myself comparing Infinite Warfare to Halo and even Star Wars solely based on the presentation. There are moments where the game seamlessly transitions from on the ground combat to space dogfights, making every part of the mission feel connected to one big epic battle. In addition, the sounds of war still echo throughout each mission, lending a very over-the-top, Michael Bay-esque feel to almost every part of the game.
The Call of Duty series isn’t known for its single-player campaigns, but Infinite Warfare’s story sets it apart from other games in the franchise. It’s the future, and all resources on Earth are depleted. Thus, the United Nations Space Alliance is formed to ensure that mining outposts from all around the solar system keep Earth supplied and sustained. Naturally, not everyone on these off-world colonies is pleased with this arrangement, and some have taken arms against the UNSA. You assume the role of Captain Nick Reyes, in charge of defending the UNSA against the Settlement Defense Force that seeks to destroy it.
While the overall story is pretty similar to what we saw in previous entries in the series, it is much more memorable and exciting, mostly thanks to the characters. Where previous Call of Duty games relied on over-the-top action and clichés to deliver a story, Infinite Warfare has a more restrained approach, as characters never seem to overreact or exaggerate the challenges they are facing. Granted, this isn’t as deep a narrative as some more story-driven games out there, but the cast of characters make Infinite Warfare’s narrative a refreshing tale to experience in a Call of Duty campaign.
Unlike most Call of Duty games, Infinite Warfare follows a non-linear story structure, and missions can be played in the order of your choosing, and they even include side-missions that unlock new items and story details, or raids on hostile spaceships. Since you play as a Captain, the campaign puts you in command of the UNSA Warship Retribution which serves as your base-of-operations. You’ll spend a lot of time on the ship’s bridge, where you will decide on which mission to go next, and talk to your crew members. It almost feels like Infinity Ward has gone for a sort of Mass Effect vibe, which kind of works, though the story and characters are nowhere near as developed.
If you’re looking for an extra challenge during the campaign, you can try the new difficulty level YOLO. As the name suggests, if you die once during your run, you’ll have to start the whole campaign from the beginning. It’s always great to see a franchise try to go into a different direction, and while it still has a way to go, I love the direction the Call of Duty series is taking. You argue about the sci-fi setting, but the new campaign is exciting, memorable and very challenging if you choose to go with the YOLO option.
On the other hand, the multiplayer in Infinite Warfare is a bit disappointing, as it’s basically a reskin of Black Ops 3. Operatives are now Combat Rigs, and fulfill pretty much the same purpose. Each rig has its own specialty, whether it’s running-and-gunning, squad support, heavy defense, or long-range stealth. Of course, there are new weapons to be found in-game and the increased mobility, which seems to now be a permanent feature in Call of Duty multiplayer, also makes a return with jump packs, sliding and wall running.
Overall, if you’ve played Black Ops 3 you know what to expect, for better or worse. It would have been nice if the multiplayer would’ve taken advantage of the sci-fi settings and the gameplay from the campaign, and produce something new. Just image a mode where you jump into a spaceship and blast each other to bits in space dogfights. Unfortunately, Infinite Warfare chooses to play it safe, and a bit boring. Oh well, there’s always the DLC…
You can’t wrap up a Call of Duty review without mentioning Zombies. This time around we have Zombies in Spaceland, where four actors band together to survive a classic 80’s horror movie and discover the mysterious of the Spaceland theme park. The whole experience is enjoyable as the previous Zombie modes, but it’s catered more towards newcomers as it’s much easier than before. Players can share money with each other, and even death isn’t the end as you can and complete several old-school arcade games to get a second wind. The zombie mode is not much of a challenge, but it is fun, and the visual design is great.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare pushes some boundaries, while maintaining the status quo in others. The single-player campaign goes on a bold new direction I hope the series will continue on in the future, with character-driven gameplay that is actually enjoyable. The multiplayer, however, stays exactly the same as last year’s entry, so if you care about the multiplayer you might be disappointed, especially if you didn’t like what Treyarch introduced in Black Ops 3. Infinite Warfare is still very much a Call of Duty game, but it does take that one small step that might rise the series back to greatness.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.