Published on November 4th, 2016 | by Andrew Bistak0
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Review
Summary: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is the perfect sci-fi first person shooter in every way!
Keeping a franchise fresh and unique while giving players (both new and old) an engaging experience can be a challenge, especially with Call of Duty as it’s quite a high calibre series. However Activision and developers Infinity Ward have succeeded in their latest title on the PC, PlayStation 4 and XBox One with Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Like with previous Call of Duty instalments, Infinite Warfare delivers gamers a fantastic narrative with the campaign mode plus some really enjoyable multiplayer components.
However the challenge that the developers faced with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was creating something new, yet still remaining loyal to what made this franchise great and as a fan of this series, I can happily report that they have accomplished this by giving us one of the best blockbuster first person shooters of the year. Add in almost flawless gaming mechanics, superior graphics which is melded together by audio and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare works on all levels and more importantly is thoroughly enjoyable.
The campaign mode is set in the distant future that has seen mankind finally conquer space and allowed them to explore other planets in our solar system in order to bring back precious resources to Earth and help cement a better life thanks to the United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA). Unfortunately not everyone is pleased with the status quo and there is a splinter faction from the UNSA called the Settlement Defence Front (SDF) who have broken away from the alliance during a war of secession. The fanatical SDF is run by the ruthless Admiral Koch (Kit Harrington) that is a collection of militant radicals who vow to do anything to take down the existing power base and this is where you come into the picture.
You play as Captain Nick Reyes (Brian Bloom), a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot who has been given control of the Retribution, one of the UNSA’s last remaining warships. Your job won’t be simple (it’s going to be tough) and unfortunately traditional mechanisms won’t work against these military fascists who threaten all who oppose them, including civilians. Although players must follow the narrative of Infinite Warfare, the developers have given you some freedom in how you complete your missions, what side missions you choose and some very emotive scenes to help you walk in the shoes of Captain Reyes.
So as soon as you step into the campaign mode, you immediately feel like you are in some sci-fi blockbuster as the creators carefully tell an emotional, powerful and realistic story of this futuristic war among humans. Given that Infinite Warfare is a first person shooter, so telling an interactive and engaging story can sometimes go south but this is not the case because of the realism employed by the narrative team, especially the actors. You feel their pain, their emotions and the repercussions of these choices which is a real highlight to the single-player campaign. Thankfully this is backed up by the amazing gameplay which helps in your transformation.
Apart from the military trained and lawful protagonist Nick Reyes, the creators introduce a handful of genuine characters that include Lieutenant Nora Salter (Jamie Gray Hyder), Staff Sergeant Omar (David Harewood), Corporal Brooks (Jason Barry) and robot squad member ETH.3n (Jeffrey Nordling) who create this almost virtual Band of Brothers experience that really tugs at your emotional heartstrings. For example, the first part of the game sets up the brutal nature behind Koch and what makes him such a powerful antagonist is that he actually believes his vision for mankind is correct and this aspect of his psyche is quite dangerous… for everyone.
His polar opposite is of course Reyes, a military trained soldier who never falters from his cause but when he comes up against Koch, he needs to decide whether his own morals and training is enough to take down this madman or does he need to mirror the man he faces. It’s quite an interesting dilemma that you face and some interesting choices are given to you in order to solve this problem.
Another highlight of the campaign mode and the emotional tethers to the player is E3N (Ethan), an AI bot who has been created to be the perfect squadmate who does adapt ‘his’ behaviour to become part of the team. As a result, Reyes and Ethan become brothers and seeing this bot evolve over the course of the story is quite engaging and thankfully this character didn’t become another robot cliché in Infinite Warfare. Speaking of ‘bots’, you can actually hack bots in the game which gives you a break from all the maiming and killings you’ll be doing.
Without spoiling the story, your mission takes you throughout the solar system as you fight on Earth, in space and on planets such as Mars, Venus and even Saturn’s Moon Titan. Another enjoyable aspect about the campaign mode is that there are also side missions that do have ties to the central story but helps expand this rich and diverse universe created by the Infinity Ward. Furthermore to help with the immersion factor, loading times are basically non-existent as it flawlessly switches between cutscenes and then giving back control to the player that helps put you into the head space of Nick Reyes without any distractions.
The combat of Infinite Warfare feels like a Call of Duty game, even with its futuristic setting so whether you’re engaging in the clever cover mechanics, taking on an enemy squad or going ‘man to man’ or man to ‘crazed robot’ with one the bosses, it feels just right. Though the game is set in the future, the tweaks added by the creators does set it apart from previous Call of Duty titles which is how it should be. This includes elements such as wall runs or using your boost pack on the battlefield to get the edge on your opponent.
Then you have the wonderful new weapons added to the game which includes both primary and secondary ones that help create that sci-fi blockbuster atmosphere from standard hand guns to more powerful submachine guns to my personal favourite, an energy shield that can even be used as a melee weapon. Add in executions and some really challenging boss battles against powerful bots which does require you to find and exploit their weakness, the campaign mode in Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is damn impressive and is easily one of my favourite games of the year.
Upping the ante of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, players can engage in dog fights both planet side and in space which feels like it is part of the game. There were no disconnects between the fighting in first person or jumping into a Jackal, one of the space fighters that you control. I was really surprised that when I climbed into the cockpit of this craft for the first time, it didn’t feel like a separate game but was part of the first person shooter engine. Controlling the Jackal was also perfect as I performed rolls, shot off flares, locked onto targets, shooting heavy duty ammunition rounds plus firing missiles. There are even times where you actually land the Jackal on warships and when you exit the craft, you’re back in first person mode. It’s just a perfect experience, especially when added to the first person shooter mechanics.
Enemies are also quite varied from standard soldiers to bots like Ethan and some really powerful bosses to help spice things up. There are plenty of weapons to discover in the game like assault rifles such as the NV4 or the KBAR-32 to the sniper rifles like the KBS Longbow or the Widowmaker which allows you to go all Rambo against your foes!
I almost forgot to mention that Infinite Warfare has the best and I mean BEST zero-gravity combat in a game ever! That’s right, you can fight in space as you easily move through weightlessness and use a grapple to navigate. The grapple can even be used on your enemies in order to bring them closer to you and then perform an execution. At first, I didn’t know how Infinity Ward would pull this feature off but they did and it’s a fun experience, just like throwing those zero gravity grenades to cause some chaos. Lastly if you’re a hardcore gamer and complete the campaign made, the game opens up YOLO which is you only live once and is permadeath.
Then you can challenge other players from around the world in the current Infinite Warfare universe which features the same sturdy gaming mechanics as the campaign mode. However before I discuss that aspect, this game also comes with Zombies in Spaceland that is a really entertaining, clichéd and hilarious multiplayer experience of up to four players. Set in the 1980’s, this game thrives on the horror clichés of this period as you and three other teammates attempt to survive the ever growing zombie horde and their ‘bosses’ in order to restore this theme park.
This mode starts slow and by killing zombies, you are awarded money that is used to purchase additional weapons. There are also bonuses to be found like nukes, unlimited ammunition and other fun elements to really make this a fun multiplayer experience and best of all, it features a killer 80’s soundtrack as you take on enemies from zombie police offers to even crazy zombie clowns. If your character is injured, another player can revive them but if they die, they go to a mystical arcade and play classic Activision games. By winning on these games, it helps restore your soul back to the living, provided your buddies are still alive.
But the heart of the multiplayer component is based in this futuristic world that allows for all the levelling, bonuses and thoroughly enjoyable online fun plus Combat Rigs which are basically the ‘classes’ in the game. These Combat Rigs have their own pros and cons, including the ability to customise your characters which gives the player some great ownership. Each rig focuses on a different type of combat, including payloads plus the ability of traits which give you bonuses on the ‘battlefield’. So depending on your play style, e.g. if you’re a gun runner or prefer a stealthier approach, there’s a rig that can be tailored for you. Another new feature incorporated is Mission Teams which allows teams to be ranked and even awards them with bonuses and additional XP, including unique items.
Additionally, there’s a wealth of gameplay modes such as Frontline where you work together as a team to eliminate your opposing team to Domination where you need to capture and defend designated areas in order to gain points. Add in the very entertaining Kill Confirmed where both teams need to eliminate each other in order to collect dog tags or just to be annoying, let them think they killed your ally and then kill them to not only collect their dogs tags and your fallen teammate to deny their kill. It’s priceless fun!
It does feature all the classics like Infected, Team Death Match and Free for All plus Gun Game which gives the player a new and more powerful gun each time they kill. Needless to say, the sniper rife can be a little tricky if your enemies have more powerful weapons. Another interesting addition is crafting which allows you up upgrade your weapons from the in-game currency, including adding some cosmetics as well. For example in the prototype lab you can choose between assault rifle, submachine gun, light machine gun, sniper rifle, shotgun and handgun. Once in this area, you simply select the weapon you want to upgrade such as the R3K assault rifle which may allow you to upgrade to a more powerful rifle such as the Eclipse or the Gambit. It’s quite a useful feature as it increases the accuracy, damage, range, fire rate and mobility of the weapon which really adds to the overall multiplayer game.
Lastly, this release comes with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered in true high definition which boasts some very detailed graphics that include physically based rendering, high-dynamic range lighting and a wealth of other features to allow you to re-experience this classic game. However after playing Infinite Warfare, it does take a little time in familiarising yourself with the control system of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered that does not include fun things like booster packs or wall runs. Nonetheless it’s still worth the play, especially if you’re a fan. Our full review can be found right here!
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is one of the most visual and detailed games of 2016. On the PlayStation 4, the attention to detail is insane and whether that’s the realistic textures on the characters or the subtle controls on a computer panel to the methane rain on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn, it’s that meticulous. At first, I thought Infinite Warfare was just another sci-fi first person shooter but the developers have successfully created a variety of different environments that all feel different.
So when whether you’re on Earth, on board a space station near Mercury as you attempt to dodge the dangerous rays of the sun, it feels like you are actually there. Add in some extraordinary special effects, realistic lighting and realistic weather effects, especially on other planets and Infinity Ward should be commended on such a visually outstanding title. Of course, the developers didn’t stop there because this game also supports the PS4 Pro and seeing the game on that high-end console is a true “holy #@$” moment. Just to set things straight, I finished Infinite Warfare on the PlayStation 4 but had the chance to see the game in operation on the PRO so for upcoming owners of this mid-generation console, you’re going to be in for a real treat!
The soundtrack of Infinite Warfare is created by Sarah Schacher who was responsible for the very memorable music in Assassin’s Creed Unity. In Infinite Warfare, she brings forth a stunning score that suits the emotional story well and once again, pulls at your emotional heartstrings. When linked with the story, characters and gameplay, the musical score of Infinite Warfare is quite integral to your experience that of course triggers your adrenaline when the action commences.
The sound effects of the game are great, particularly the background sounds and the powerful noises of the various weaponry at your disposal when you engage the enemy. It’s one game that really needs to be played with either surround sound speakers or a high quality headset. The voice acting is very professional and features some excellent actors such as Brian Bloom, Claudia Black and David Harewood who help get into the mindset of each of the characters that they play. So yeah… the graphics and audio truly complement the game to create the best first person shooter of 2016!
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is another first person shooter in this overcrowded market but what it offers is one of the most unique experiences of this genre in 2016 which includes exceptional gameplay, a fantastic story and truly riveting multiplayer. It’s definitely my favourite Call of Duty to date and Infinity Ward hasn’t pulled any punches when it came to the creation of this game. At times, the single-player is quite emotional and even bittersweet to an extent but where it excels is through its powerful narrative, direction and excellent cast. So once you’ve finished the excellent single-player campaign, you’ve got hours upon hours of multiplayer fun left to take you well into 2017.
Wow… what an experience!
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Cast
- Brian Bloom – Captain Nick Reyes
- Claudia Christian – Captain Maureen Ferran
- Claudia L Black – Chief Engineer Audrey MaCallum
- David M Harewood – Staff Sergeant Usef Omar
- Eric S Ladin – Private First Class Todd Kashima
- Jamie Gray Hyder – Lieutenant Nora Salter
- Jason P Barry – Corporal Sean Brooks
- Jeffrey Nordling – Petty Officer First Class Ethan (enhanced tactical humanoid 3rd revision)
- Jim H Pirri – Akeel Min Riah
- Joanna Sotomura – Evelynn Sotomura (Boatswain, nickname “Boats”)
- John Marshall Jones – Admiral Raines
- Kit Harrington – Admiral Salen Kotch
- Misty L Dini – Laura Gibson (Air Boss)
- Omid Abtahi – Victor “Gator” Diallo
- Robert Baker – Maynard “Griff” Griffin (Armory)
- Yetide Badaki – Ebele Yetide (Dropship Officer)
- Conor A McGregor – Captain 3rd Rank Bradley Fillion
- Lewis Hamilton – Electro-technical Officer Carl Hamilton
Primary Format – Games – Playstation 4
Game Genre – Shooter
Rating – MA15+
Consumer Advice – Strong themes and violence, VR and online interactivity
Game Developer – Infinity Ward
Game Publisher – Activision