Published on January 17th, 2017 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Review
Editor’s Note: Activision provided a copy of the game for review purposes
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition is a complicated game to review. Infinity Ward seems lost in the direction they want to take Activision’s popular franchise. Infinite Warfare’s game modes are drastically different in tones to give you the impression of getting three different games for one price. This could be either good or bad on how you look at it. Being a causal Call of Duty player, having such different game modes hurts the overall experience of the game.
I have played all of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty single player campaigns. Typically, narratives are told through quick intermediate cut scenes well the next level during loading times. Dramatic and memorable sequences were done in short first person perspectives where players have very little control to create a powerful emotional impact. Remember being bonded and jammed into a car to get executed or snipping the helicopter to have it crash on top of you to start Modern Warfare 4? Or the controversial airport scene in Modern Warfare 2? These are just some of the moments you remember when somebody mentions the Call of Duty franchise.
The new story-driven single player narrative is a great way to bring something new to the franchise. I have great respect for Infinity Ward trying to advance the story and gameplay out of the old Call of Duty formula. However, it is evident Infinity Ward took a number of story elements from a number of successful games. In particularly, the narrative is similar to Mass Effect. It is essentially an inferior version of Mass Effect. Without spoiling any story points, you take control of a spaceship in which you can explore the galaxy and have access to a quest map that includes both main mission and optional side quest missions located on a number of different planets. The change between first person gameplay to third person cinematics ruin the entire narrative. The narrative is now told through third person cinematics . Prespectives change at awkward moments; for example going through doors. There is no break or transition. In addition, the cut scenes are not done with in-game assets which makes the transition more alarming.
Another new addition is ability to customize your loadouts before each mission. I absolute love this addition. Choosing different weapons changes the way you play the level providing great replay ability. Load-out weapon selection is determined by the different weapons you come across during any weapon you come across within the campaign. When you pick up a new weapon, you scan the weapon and it gets loaded into your load outs. Other options for your load outs, such as weapon attachments, are gained by completing side missions which is a pretty good incentive to play the additional levels.
A shining light of the campaign is the weapon variety. You have your traditional Call of Duty weapons but you also have the weapons that is simply a blast to play with. For example, one of my favorite weapons is the ability to hack your robot enemies. Once you hack them, your perspective switches to that enemy. The AI is not aware of the hacking until you start attacking them so you have the option to attack large number of enemies from behind or, my favorite, position yourself to a certain group of enemies and self-destruct to take them all out with them even knowing. Hacking is extremely satisfying.
Being able to customize your load out is a great addition. However this addition is buried under the repetitive actions of walking to the armory, taking an elevator ride, and having pointless dialogue. After the choosing your loadout, again you take a familiar trip on an elevator to the ship hanger, and find your jackal, and take off to your chosen planet. This sequence is done almost on every mission. It is unneeded gameplay “fluff” that could have been better handled. Other gameplay fluff include the jackal sequences.
The jackal sequences, air combat sequences, reminds me of a mix of Destiny and a stripped down version of Star Wars Battlefront. There is a jackal sequence in almost every mission once you unlock the mission map. Jackal sequences are basic air dog fighting either in the beginning of the mission or at the end to escape. Including an air fighting sequence in almost every mission is unnecessary and devalues the moments where these type of missions would provide an solid break to the traditional FPS shooter gameplay.
The single player campaign has a great narrative, excellent capture performance, and voice acting. However, I have experienced a similar story in a number of past games whom executed it better. This campaign is a awkward mix of arcade FPS and action RPG. If you are expecting to play a traditional Call of Duty single player campaign, you will be disappointed with this one.
Zombies in Spaceland
Zombie mode is included in this year’s Call of Duty and it is a breath of fresh air. So much love and care was put into this mode and it shows as soon as you start the game. Titled “Zombies in Spaceland,” the mode opens up with a wonderful and charming animation that sets up the 1980’s story of four actors going into an audition to be wrapped into the movie itself. Gameplay, setting, and voice acting are superb.
The story for Zombies in Spaceland is original and fun. I wish Infinity Ward took a greater risk and used the Zombie in Spaceland story and look as the main single player campaign. The story could have been centered around a theme park setting divided into different themed lands such as space and western against rogue animatronics/theme park workers. Having a theme park setting would allow Infinity Ward to experiment with a number of different genre’s they could focus on for their next Call of Duty installment. Then in turn, the zombie mode would be a more serious approach in space creating a more horror environment such as Dead Space or Alien Isolation.
With my experience with past Zombie modes, this year’s seems easier to pick up and play for newcomers. The map can be easily unlocked. Each new section has a lot of space to run around the zombies if needed. Each section has a narrow area for you to filter the horde of zombies to get a bunch of headshots for easy points/cash to unlock more of the park or weapon upgrades.
The theme park level design is excellent. The park is filled with different attractions that can be used to trap and kill hordes of zombies once you get the correct power on. There are 80s’ nodes almost everywhere you look. You can even pick up 80s’ sun glasses to change the filter on the game. The levels are perfectly complimented with the songs. Infinity Ward got the licenses for a number of great 80s’ songs and a little headshot of David Hassleoff pops up with the song title and artist.
Zombie modes are typically enjoyed with a full party but I thoroughly enjoyed Zombies in Spaceland as a single player experience as well. I do not know if the Infinity Ward made the Zombie mode easier or it is just credit to the level design but Zombie in Spaceland is not an overwhelming single player experience unlike past zombie modes
Modern Warfare 4 Remastered
To round off the single player content, the Legacy edition includes the remastered version of Modern Warfare 4. Modern Warfare 4 has been completely rebuilt with the same engine as Infinite Warfare. The game simply looks amazing. I had a great time playing through MW4 again.
There is something about Modern Warfare 4 that makes this game special. From the opening level, your are sucked into the moment. gameplay takes you from stealth missions to surviving waves of enemies. The gameplay is perfectly complimented with the level designs. Each level strategically uses each weapon with purpose and weight.
The Remastered edition comes with the full campaign and ten levels of multiplayer maps. The game is not included on the disc. Once you install the disc, you will be prompted to download a 52 GB “update” which is MW4. The disc is required to play Modern Warfare 4 because Infinity Ward treated the game as DLC other than a totally separate game. I have no issue with MW4 being treated as DLC instead of a standalone game.
The Final Truth: Infinity Ward has released a number of great content in the Infinite Ward package to please a wide variety of gamers. If it is intense sci-fi heavy single player campaign, 1980s’ inspired zombie mode, the familiar multiplayer, or want to play a classic Call of Duty game, there is something that will keep you coming back to the game. The $80 price point is worth the money simply based on the amount of content. The single player campaign is a basic RPG shooter clone. I did not like the campaign but love Zombie and Spaceland and Modern Warfare 4 Remastered. Despite Infinity Ward seeming lost on how to advance the Call of Duty franchise, Infinite Warfare definitely is worth a play through.
Post Release Thoughts: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare was the best shooter available versus Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2.Almost three months after the release of all three shooters, I am amazed on how much content you get out of the latest Call of Duty. The campaign mode I revisited less frequently in the past month or so to complete the side missions after finishing the campaign. However, I continue to replay Modern Warfare 4 Remastered and Zombie’s in Spaceland. Modern Warfare 4 Remastered continues to be an amazing fun game. There is a nostalgic feeling replaying levels like Charlie Don’t Surf. Zombie’s in Spaceland is simply a joy every time I play it. Add the new DLC packages, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a package that keeps on giving.