Since Call of Duty: Ghosts released in the beginning of this generation’s life cycle in 2013, the franchise has struggled to preserve the fanfare that is usually associated with it. Even with two solid releases after it — Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (developed by Sledgehammer) and Call Of Duty: Black Ops III (developed by Treyarch) — the negative sentiment left from Ghosts is still prevalent with Infinity Ward’s latest iteration, Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Despite the adverse feelings towards it, Infinite Warfare is another solid shooter with a compelling campaign, and an acceptable multiplayer suite.
Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s campaign is not compelling due to its one-note story about a violent separatist movement from one of Earth’s off-planet colonies led by Jon Snow. Its deviation from linearity as well as interesting and new gameplay mechanics are where the intrigue derives from. While the the first few missions are linear, Infinite Warfare opens up once you take command of the UNSA warship Retribution as Nick Reyes, an expert Jackal pilot turned Commander after some unfortunate events that occur in the beginning of the game.
Once you take command of the Retribution, you are given your own quarters where you can track down wanted targets and listen to voice recordings from fellow soldiers or your worst adversaries. The story is one-note, but this content fleshes out the characters giving them a hint of personality that you can connect with. It isn’t much, but the characters have more personality than most of Infinite Warfare‘s predecessors have ever achieved.
The Retribution also has a mission select screen in the form of a galactic map. The map presents you with primary missions that will continue the story and side missions — which are new to the franchise — that will unlock new equipment for your mission loadouts. The side missions provide a nice getaway from the primary mission that showcase some of the unique features in Infinite Warfare which includes zero gravity shooting and Jackal fights. Not only do these missions give you access to new equipment, but eliminates targets from the wanted enemies board located in your quarters on the Retribution. Eliminating targets from the board really has no purpose, but it provides a satisfying sense of progression as each target is eradicated.
Whether you embark on a primary or side mission, terminating these targets may require a Jackal; the standard fighter jet capable of escaping Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Flying the Jackal isn’t as convoluted as you may think. In fact, it’s incredibly accessible to anyone who has played a shooter. Chasing an enemy pilot is as easy as locking onto them and pointing your reticle where your targeting system recommends you to aim. The actual movement and chasing is automatic once you lock onto your enemy. While these sections provide a fun deviation from the standard shooting missions, more effort could have been put into deviating those levels instead of adding an entirely different option like the Jackal. For instance, there are areas throughout the game that have you free-floating in space using a grapple hook to reel you into meteors for cover or bring in enemies closer for a melee kill. These sections demonstrate that you don’t need to get into a vehicle to create variety. Nonetheless, the Jackal sections are simple and exhilarating enough to enjoy.
Loadouts have also found there way into the campaign. These apply for both the Jackal and your own firearms. Before every mission, you are given a recommended option or you can customize up to three different loadouts. Typically, using the recommended loadout yielded easier results, but if you are more comfortable using a semi-automatic rifle than a sniper rifle, that option is their for you. You also have the ability to customize your Jackal with different guns, perks, and livery. Unlocking new weaponry is as easy as picking up a new gun during a mission. When you acquire a new gun in-mission, you will automatically scan the weapon, allowing you to use it presently as well as in a future loadout. The campaign truly caters to you and how you want to experience the game. Whether you want to go in every mission guns blazing with an SMG and frag grenades, or strategically takeout your enemies with a sniper rifle and anti-gravs, that is your prerogative.
Zombies in Spaceland is Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s new iteration of the beloved zombie mode. The 80’s inspired cooperative mode features a cast of goofy characters in a neon lit theme park as it gets overwhelmed by a zombie invasion. Before you begin, you have to choose a set of fate and fortune cards. These cards allow you to gain temporary power-ups that will aid you when you are in a pinch. As you murder the undead and rebuild fortifications in the adequately large park, you will receive cash that you can use to unlock new areas of the park, perks, and weaponry. Zombies in Spaceland promotes replayability due to the various fate and fortune cards you can unlock as well as its fun and unique weaponry.
To no one’s surprise, the competitive multiplayer modes are just as solid as they have ever been. This year’s multiplayer is analogous to last year’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops III. All of the acrobatic abilities introduced last year — like wall-running and double jumping — is back and is vastly improved. Although I think these movements can be improved (particularly the wall-running), I no longer mistakenly run up to a wall only to find myself dead in a never ending abyss. Those moments have decreased significantly. It helps that the maps are not entirely reliant on these mechanics.
Additionally, the character classes are back with six unique classes to choose from, each with their own special abilities. I spent most of my time as the synaptic class. The power-up that has been advertised for that specific class is the one where you go on all fours and muscle your way through enemies. That specific power-up actually has to be unlocked once you have leveled up that class. The first power-up available for that class are dual machine guns built into your suit. They were extremely effective, but I never felt they were over-powered. That goes for all of the classes. Any time my power-up was available to use, I never felt it would change the tide of battle. You still needed some skill to get the kills.
The gameplay in all of this iteration’s modes is as smooth as you would expect from Call Of Duty. The series has always boasted it tight 60 frames per second gameplay in conjunction with great shooting mechanics; that mentality is not lost here. From a mechanics perspective, Call of Duty is still the gold standard for the modern shooter.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a solid addition to the franchise. The new mission structure allows you to complete the campaign at your own pace without restricting you to just the story. The Jackal sections are arbitrary, but provides some mission variety, even if that effort could have been used to put more variety in the excellent gameplay that is already in place. The addition of custom loadouts and side missions in campaign truly let you customize your experience like no other Call Of Duty game has. The various multiplayer modes, whether they be competitive or cooperative, promote a tremendous amount of replayability until the series inevitable release next November. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the video game equivalent of comfort food with added improvements that produce an exceptional experience.