Well, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has finally arrived and to many veteran fans of the premier first-person shooter series, this is a make-or-break game. Infinity Ward, back in the driver's seat for the first time since 2013, scrapped the Call of Duty: Ghosts series after just one game and has returned with a future-based game in Infinite Warfare - or, as I call it, Call of Duty: Star Wars.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the plot is a fairly simple mix of post-apocalyptic and science fiction. Long story short, we've milked this planet for more than it could give us, so the United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) is formed so that we can do the same to other planets. Even in the future, we're doing Christopher Columbus and our ancestors proud! For the majority of the game, you play as Captain Nick Reyes, voiced and modeled by Brian Bloom - who Batman fans may remember as playing Black Mask in some of the Arkham games.
For reference, I am playing the "Legacy" edition on the PlayStation 4 which comes with the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered bonus and for those interested, I wrote about that last month. This impressions post primarily focuses on gameplay for the campaign (with very slight spoilers) and the Zombie mode, as I have discussed multiplayer in the past as well.
Without any further waiting, grab your customized gun, your hacking device, and your seekers so that we can get down to business. Again, there are slight spoilers for the campaign, so be aware.
- If you don't watch yourself, then the AI is going to absolutely destroy you. Seriously, there actually is artificial intelligence in the AI this year as when you're in a firefight, the AI will have no problems throwing grenades or sneaking around to find you instead of just camping as in previous games.
- I really want to give the developers credit for how they designed the opening level, of all things. Rather than a simple training mission or a tutorial full of exposition, you're literally thrown right into the fray after an opening cinematic that explains what's going on, but all you know during your first mission is what your fellow soldiers tell you. There are no unnecessary scenes that explain who or what you are, no war movie cliches with the one guy who's afraid to fight; this is just an old-fashioned war level where you go in, kill some guys, and fight a boss at the end. And speaking of that boss...
- The C12 robot is something straight out of a nightmare, what with the rocket launcher on one arm and a minigun on the other. Have fun dealing with that if you're not properly prepared because it will rip you to pieces.
- I think the new trend for this game is going to be using the anti-gravity grenades, throwing your opponent into the air with them having zero ability to fight back, and shooting them in the groin over and over again. Is it childish? Yes. Is it fun? Maliciously.
- When I reviewed the multiplayer beta, I mentioned there was clearly an influence taken from Star Wars. That still stands, but I've also seen a bit of Halo, The Last of Us, and even bit of Saints Row in the campaign.
- At one point in the campaign mode, you're asked to board an air transport with a female officer with a "square/x" button appearing on screen to open the door. If you just stand there, the female officer keeps her arms crossed and looks at you with this stare that says, "I can't believe we're this far into the future and this guy thinks that chivalry died." This moment has absolutely zero impact on the story but it is just such a funny occurrence that I couldn't resist mentioning it.
- Another oddity from that level, and this one is a bit darker. After surviving a crash landing, you're tasked to run through a burning city fighting enemy soldiers and robots. As the city lays in ruin, one civilian is just standing there looking totally calm and not bothered in the least bit by anything.
- Graphically, flying looks beautiful. How it feels, however, is a bit less pretty as the controls feel a bit stiff and it can often be a pain to fly; I'd think that in 2016, we'd have flying combat near-mastered, but I'm just not a fan of how the flying plays in this game. I will say, though, that the lock-on system when you fly gets an easy nod of approval.
- Speaking of space combat, using the grapple technique on an opponent is amazing as it will draw them forward, leaving them defenseless as you either break their helmet - leaving them to suffocate without air - or set off one of the grenades they have on their chest! There are few things better than when a game adds a sadistic element to it.
- Honestly, I can't help but think to myself that this is what last year's Star Wars: Battlefront should have been. Not only is there an original story mode that actually adds something memorable to the franchise's lore, but you have the ability to do side missions that have an impact on the story and actually give you meaningful upgrades to your weapons and armor.
- Speaking of adding something memorable, I just love so many of the characters added to this year's game. I may do an article on the campaign in the future with my full thoughts, but my favorite characters besides Reyes are easily Ethan (Jeffrey Nording), and Omar (David Harewood). If you haven't played the game yet, just imagine Ethan as Bender from Futurama with even more snark but less of a reliance on drinking, while Omar, ironically, is a bit like Stringer Bell from The Wire.
- While it was a bit hard to get into a main session of Zombies, I still had fun in a solo session. I can't tell you the last time I played a zombie game and was actually feeling both chills and the urge to laugh...maybe The Last of Us? Then again, The Last of Us' humor came from Ellie's snark about porn magazines, not because of some insane director that cuts his hand with a dagger.
- Paul Reubens is wonderful as Willard Wyler, though I regret to inform you that even with Seth Green's presence, there's still no secret word.
- I need help with something. When you complete a level in Zombies, there's this musical cue that plays and it's a remix of an 80's song, but I can't figure out which. Can someone please let me know in the comments because it's really bothering me.
- A.J., the jock in Zombies, has some great, cliched lines. After securing a fence, he said, "That should stop their running game." Can you please coach the Jets?
- SpaceLand looks awesome. I mean, can you really argue that you wouldn't want to kill zombies in a place like this?
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is now available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC and is rated M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes). Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is available in the Legacy and Digital Deluxe Editions of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The title is executive produced by Infinity Ward and developed by Raven Software, Beenox, and Certain Affinity, and is rated M for Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language).
[Featured Image by Activision]