Infinite Warfare Offers a Surprisingly Familiar CoD Experience
The three biggest AAA shooters of 2016 have now all arrived, with the latest annual Call Of Duty entry arriving last. By now everyone has seen all the white hot fan rage in the dueling between Battlefield, Titanfall, and Infinite Warfare, so we'll skip all that and instead just focus on how this game stacks up against other COD entries (you can read our full comparison of Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare vs. Battlefield if you really want to continue the debate).
Infinite Warfare Campaign Review
The very first thing that struck me when playing Infinite Warfare's campaign was how intensely familiar it all feels. The guns in particular feel directly lifted from any CoD game in the past, and the characters move and point their weapons in exactly the same way they did in the Modern Warfare/Ghosts entries.
Oh sure, there's more emphasis on cut scenes now instead of storytelling within the missions like in the Modern Warfare days, and there's the Black Ops III / Advanced Warfare type stuff like flying and wall running. Overall though, Infinite Warfare plays very much like a standard CoD campaign – for the most part.
There are some great additions I wasn't expecting, like how much fun it is to use that insane compact F-SPAR prototype weapon against a giant mech in the opening level.
Being able to take out specific parts of larger robotic enemies is also a plus, letting you focus on destroying weapon systems first or going for the legs to immobilize a mechanical behemoth. Of course the new spaceship piloting segments are the biggest departure, and they are a welcome addition to the series -- even if they could use a few tweaks and changes in future games.
There's also a bit of a Mass Effect feel in selecting side missions across the galaxy, and I'm a big fan of the missions that combine space combat with infiltrating a ship and then stealthing towards an objective before going guns hot. Remember those multi-genre missions from Unreal Tournament 2004? It's a bit like that, but much more polished.
The newly available anti-grav and seeker grenades are really cool additions. The seeker grenade in particular is kind of amazing, both in how it twitches while you hold it and in how it runs at an enemy so you don't have to worry about it rolling back towards you.
Don't let any of this get you thinking the sci-fi setting is way beyond what fans are used to though. Infinity Ward was clearly cognizant of what fans were saying when the game was first announced and all the hate that arrived with that first trailer.
With Infinite Warfare you literally get both. It's a new setting, but the gameplay and characters are essentially the exact same. I can't help but think the hate train is going to keep on rollin' anyway.
There's actually an achievement called Boots On The Ground you get for not boosting or wall jumping for two minutes in any mission, and much of the game plays just like anything in Call Of Duty's past.
The weird thing is, all the upset fans and internet detractors sort of got exactly what they wanted with this entry. For a long time the complaint was that COD is the same thing every year and fans wanted something different. Then when the series went futuristic and sci-fi, the complaint was that it wasn't the same thing and fans wanted boots on the ground.
Well, with Infinite Warfare you literally get both. It's a new setting, but the gameplay and characters are essentially the exact same. I can't help but think the hate train is going to keep on rollin' anyway.
Infinite Warfare multiplayer review
Don't care at all about the campaign missions? Let's dive into the Infinite Warfare multiplayer experience instead then. Overall you are getting essentially what came before, just with some added window dressing and slightly changed maps.
The ability to unlock new combat rigs (classes), weapons, emblems, etc. and being able to create new items through Salvage just like in Gears Of War 4 is cool, but other than those slight changes, the actual gameplay itself in multiplayer is nearly identical to any previous COD entry. Run around in cramped corridors looking for a good spot, fire wildly, get a quick kill or die, then rinse and repeat.
One difference is that each combat rig has a specialty weapon that can't be used straight off the bat and is slowly unlocked in each match by earning kills. The War Fighter's claw gun in particular is a joy to shoot at people with, although it's intensely frustrating to finally unlock it and then get sniped before you even get a chance to pull the trigger.
So far I haven't been a huge fan of the maps with their limited options and small player cap. The train station map in particular is really odd with its baseball field and bowling alley, feeling incredibly out of place and way too bright and happy for a futuristic warfare game.
Anyone who has played more recent multiplayer shooters will immediately recognize the randomized, card-based nature of unlocking items. This time around they're called Supply Drops and are bought with Keys earned in-game for completing matches (or bought outright with real money).
The Bottom Line
While Infinite Warfare certainly didn't revolutionize the FPS genre, it did add in some fun changes and a much needed shake up on the setting and story front, while still remaining essentially the same game you've known and loved for a decade or more now.
The single player campaign is easily the highlight, with the Infinite Warfare multiplayer options feeling a bit lackluster and by-the-numbers, but on the whole any fan of previous Call Of Duty games is going to have a good time here.