With the fall season upon us, we have four big first person shooters to review. The reviews for Modern Warfare Remastered, Battlefield One and Titanfall 2 will follow but first, it is time for the yearly installment of COD titled Infinite Warfare. Spoilers, it’s quite good.
Set in the future it seems like the last place for the franchise to go is into actual space. We are introduced to the usual macho characters in a story, that draws from many sources yet still manages to hold the interest of the player. Earth has used up its natural resources (again) and a sizeable amount of the population has headed off into space to look for more. While out there they have broken away from the ruling government of the earth and called themselves the SDF. Kit Harrington or Jon Snow to you and I has been installed as their leader with a name that wouldn’t sound out of place in the Killzone universe.
This sets the scene for the game to take us from earth right into the stars and back again and I must admit it is quite an exhilarating ride for an old COD veteran like me. The first thing to be said of recent COD games is they try too hard. People forever want to remember the absolute glory of the Modern Warfare campaign. It was long, brutal unforgiving and realistic. What followed in MW2 was more of the same except with the morally fantastic No Russian Mission. Unfortunately, there was too much pressure to keep the yearly updates coming and the quality suffered. Treyarch entered the scene as the secondary developer and the minds at Infinity Ward broke up forming Sledgehammer Games and Respawn. The first Black Ops was the COD that broke the mold and despite critical acclaim has led to the downfall of the series in my opinion. Every game since has tried to shoehorn as many things in as possible to the detriment of the campaign. The perfect COD should be a campaign of around 10 hrs on regular and an immersive multiplayer. Unfortunately, the Zombie mode and other aspects have diluted COD to what we have now. This game is no exception.
The storyline soon has you as Captain Reyes in charge of a large ‘Battlestar’ class spaceship. From this base of operations, you launch your strikes against the enemy until you defeat them and secure the survival of the human race. With the story out of the way, the mechanics of this game are a welcome surprise. You spend as much time in your Vulcan starfighter as on foot and some missions even combine the two.
In the Vulcan, there is a free VR mission for all PSVR owners. This is an excellent freebie but the main missions in the Vulcan are just as immersive. You have a simple boost and turning mechanic before catching up with an enemy and locking on. When you lock on the game switches to an auto-pilot mode leaving you to gun them down. It harkens back to the last criminally underrated Ace Combat game which used the mechanic better. When yu aren’t attacking ships you are blasting battlecruisers. This is straight from Star Wars or Galactica as you swoop close to the surface of the ship before unloading everything you have and flying through the flames. I even felt like calling myself Starbuck or Apollo in the middle of this. So say we all.
On foot, this feels slightly different to the usual COD games. You take the same amount of damage as always and a few hits will have you staring at the ceiling especially in veteran. Unfortunately, the enemies take a few more hits to die than usual. There are robot enemies that need to be taken down with energy weapons. The variety is good until you realize the energy weapons shred through humans just as effectively. Despite this ,the missions are well thought out and spectacular if very linear. There is still something very satisfying to the COD mechanic of shooting an enemy. It is slick and very impactful something Battlefield and others will never be.
In a Mass Effect style map room, you select your next mission. These boil down into two types, either you progress the main story in a longer mission or you strike at the SDF force in a strike mission. These strike missions are genuinely interesting if a bit repetitive due to the fact they are mostly all open to you from the beginning. They usually involve being jettisoned in space, having to shoot a few enemies in zero gravity then blasting your way onto a spaceship before your oxygen runs out to carry out whatever mission objective you have before escaping. These missions, reward you with perks, weapons and the chance to KIA another target on your most wanted deck of cards, viewable in your captains quarters. It gives you a purpose and drives you through without the grand scale of some of the story missions. A nice simple infiltration onto an enemy cruiser to disable the life-support while 3 high-value targets are meeting is a highlight that reminds you of ‘All Ghillied Up’.
The story missions, have the usual COD bombasticness and you will be just getting into the swing off everything when the campaign runs its course at around six hours. The fact you are left wanting more is a real sign that the campaign is doing something right. I haven’t wanted more in a COD campaign since MW2 and last years disjointed horrible Black-ops 3 was traded in after 2 hours. Unfortunately, the multiplayer and Zombie modes seem to have curtailed the campaign like previous years.
The multiplayer has descended from the perfectly balanced warfare of MW and MW2 to a kind of Titanfall minus the Titans. At the beginning, you pick your body type from normal assault class to heavy marine and the most annoying robot class. If you could pick the quintessential annoying person in COD multiplayer, who had full sprint on and dual shotguns then the robot class was ready made for them. They spam the boosted jump and slide around the level at unnatural angles, cutting shreds through the people who want to play this like old CODs. Safe to say I won’t be spending a lot of time with this mode or Indeed the next installment of Zombies. Zombies started off as a simple mode that needed little development time and united COD players who wanted to team up for once. It has now grown into its own entity on a scale similar to Borderlands only without the polish. It is overblown and pointless and should seriously return to the simple roots that started the craze in Black Ops 1.
Despite the flaws in Zombies and Multiplayer it is very easy to recommend the legacy edition of Infinite Warfare for one simple reason. It comes bundled with Modern Warfare Remastered. Despite an enjoyable change of pace and interesting campaign, the perfection of the old game being in the same package kills this one dead.
You can get the legacy edition here Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition (PS4)