When Activision announced Infinite Warfare and its space battles, I was psyched. As an avid science-fiction fan, I felt that this was a step in the right direction, especially since regular warfare has been exhausted by previous Call of Duty titles. However, after playing the game for a good 20 hours, I feel that Infinite Warfare could have done a lot better. That isn’t to say that Infinite Warfare is a weak game. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed my time with the game.
The game’s campaign wastes no time. With the intro sequences out of the way, the protagonist of the game is promoted and is in charge of a battleship. As you attempt to fight against the SDF (antagonistic colonists who threaten life on Earth, naturally), you meet characters like Ethan, a witty well-written robot who assists you through the campaign; and Noah, a fellow soldier who used to be a partner, but is now at a lower rank than the protagonist, offering some tension during interactions. The characters don’t help much in making the story any good though. It’s your generic good vs. evil story, except that the villains are very generic. They’re black-and-white and don’t add much to the story. I wasn’t expecting there to be a great narrative for a first-person shooter, but I was still disappointed nonetheless.
The battleship that the protagonist commands reminded me of Battlestar Galactica. Every time I entered the bridge and heard the crew say, “Captain on the bridge”, I couldn’t help but feel like Captain Adama. I came to like the ship and call it my own. In fact, it was difficult not to especially since you return to the ship and interact with it between missions. However, this pause from the adrenaline filled gameplay was irksome at times, and made the pacing feel weird. These sequences felt like fillers, and although it was nice to interact with characters during these quiet moments, I felt like I was just wasting my time.
Space battles are also something that reminded me of Battlestar Galactica. It’s fun to fly around in your ship and shoot enemies. The freedom in movement feels liberating and fresh, but over a (short) period of time, the charm wears off. Halfway through the game, I no longer looked forward to these battles for two reasons. Firstly, I would feel disoriented. The freedom in movement that I enjoyed at first, later seemed overwhelming and hard to follow. The HUD doesn’t do a good job of making flying easier for you. Secondly, the battles, though on a large scale, felt insignificant. Since I was mostly flying around shooting at enemies and watching them blow up, over and over again, I didn’t see the point. Despite the freedom in movement, there’s not much of a strategic aspect to space battles.
This doesn’t mean that they’re not cool though. I might have gotten bored of the space battles, but I sure felt cool while flying my ship. Where the gameplay really shines is the regular ground combat. The fast-paced Call of Duty gameplay is as fluid and fun as ever. With new futuristic weapons, and classic rifles of old, the ground combat offers enough variety and action to keep you hooked. Cover mechanics have been improved, and the single player level design takes advantage of this. I enjoyed having to decide whether I wanted to just go in guns blazing or take cover and play this more strategically. Both options were equally satisfying.
The game looks stunning. Activision has outdone itself with the graphics this time. I played the game on a regular PS4 and switched to the PS4 Pro after a while. There is a definitely a difference in visuals, though not entirely obvious unless you do a side-by-side comparison.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer is fun, but doesn’t bring much to the table. In a year where we have received first-person shooters that have set themselves apart from each other, Infinite Warfare seems to have missed the memo. It’s your regular fast-paced shooter, with only some minor improvements. You are allowed to select Rigs, which is another way of saying ‘character class’. Each Rig plays slightly different, and you need to use your advantages to counter your opponents and their play style. Though enjoyable, the multiplayer is a missed opportunity. For a science fiction game, the multiplayer lacks the science fiction element. There are no grand space battles in the multiplayer mode (where I personally think they would fit best). Instead, you are given ground based maps to play with.
Ground maps are aesthetically pleasing, but not very well thought out. They’re simple, but too much simplicity isn’t always good. There are limited ways to use maps to your advantage or figure out a good strategy since the maps feel linear. It’s still satisfying to play because of its fluid combat, but I wish I could be given the opportunity to utilize the map structure to my advantage.
Most of my time playing Infinite Warfare with my friends was in the Zombies mode. This is arguably one of the best Zombies mode in any Call of Duty. It’s a mix of Zombieland and Left4Dead, offering hours of entertainment. The mode puts you in a movie/cartoon-esque setting in a theme park against hordes of zombies. The mode has a great visual style that is both amusing and tense, but most definitely appreciated. The best part is that there is a lot to think about, and a constant desire to be helpful to your team. Want to open a door? Well, you’ll have to sacrifice some money and not be able to get a new gun. Want to save a dying teammate? Well, you’ll have to risk yourself and the rest of your teammates. Zombies made me think more about strategy and gave me the most enjoyment than both the multiplayer and campaign combined, and I think that in itself is a reason to buy the game.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is available now for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. It was developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision. This review covers the PS4 version of the game.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review (PS4)
My time with Infinite Warfare was a mix of pure adrenaline goodness coupled with some frustrations. Activision has delivered a solid shooter, but doesn't add much to the genre. Infinite Warfare is not something I'll be playing often, but the Zombie mode is another story entirely.