Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Crikey, it’s November already and we have the 14th game in the Call of Duty franchise out in time for Christmas 2016. This is Infinity Ward’s first CoD title since Jason West and Vince Zampella left the studio after the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts and formed Respawn Entertainment.
From the humble PC beginnings with the first game and its superb expansion, United Offensive, with the medipacks to the sequel which also came out on original Xbox, including the introduction of healing through hiding in cover. The game has become increasingly popular with each entry in the series, crossing numerous hardware generations and selling millions of copies every year.
For Infinite Warfare, as you will have seen from the trailer on TV and on Youtube, it’s time to go to space, with the live-action style trailers used over the past few year with the players using real weapons.
Thankfully this time around, unlike Treyarch’s bonkers Black Ops series (BO3 at least), things are a bit more refined. This feels a little like Sledgehammer’s Advanced Warfare, which happened to be the last title I actually *liked* in the series since the very first game.
The writing and campaign are surprisingly good. You are part of a coalition whose job it is to save the solar system and the Earth from the SDF (Settlement Defense Front) led by Admiral Salen Kotch. The opening mission sees you setting out to destroy a weapon, but end up getting caught in the last moments by the enemy and, Call of Duty-style, the three-man team is wiped out. Then you head to earth where there is a parade. The automatic defences start firing on your own ships and the Captain gets killed on the Retribution, which in turn puts you in charge of the whole operation. Now it is up to you to run various missions, capturing and destroying enemy strong points and inevitably take out Kotch.
The Retribution serves as a hub, as such. You visit the armoury before each mission, where you can select the standard load-out or put something together from what you have unlocked so far. Then it’s off to the mission, then return and select the next one, and so on. The mission structure on Infinite Warfare is pretty good, but the main ones each lead you through various corridors, either by stealth or out-and-out force depending on the mission. There are also space combat battles which are best described as Wing Commander-Lite – you just lock onto a target and shoot at the reticule that is in front of the tracked ship. These are fun and a welcome change of style and pace from the main boots-on-the-ground assignments. There are also extra missions which are optional, such as destroying chemical weapons on a ship, assassination of SDF leaders, taking out squadrons which are attacking stations and so on. These add a bit more depth to the story and can unlock extra perks for you during play, I must admit I have enjoyed doing them as they tie-in nicely.
All in all, I feel there has been a good amount of work put into the campaign which is a welcome change after the past few releases which just felt tacked-on in the last few months of development. Memorable moments this time round are the small section of sniping while floating and hiding through an asteroid field, then getting into the ship, sneaking through after getting a uniform to then inevitably being discovered and fighting your way out.
The visuals are really nice – plenty of varied locations you’ll visit throughout the missions, the space ones being decent, too, with different backdrops. The framerate feels stable and fluent with no noticeable stutter, whether you are in a room full of enemies, or shots and missiles are being fired from both sides during the space combat sections. It is exactly what you would expect to see from a CoD game – corridors leading to larger open spaces with flanking positions.
Audio is what you would expect from a AAA release, too: guns all sounding like they have a decent thud behind them, regardless of whether they are ballistic or energy-based. Everything has full voice acting with an option to enable subtitles if you need to be in a quieter environment. It also includes an all-star cast featuring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones, Spooks: The Greater Good, Silent Hill Revelation 3D), Brian Bloom (The A-Team reboot), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5) and David Harewood (Homeland, The Night Manager) to name just a few. And you even have David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider) who voices the DJ in the Zombies mode!
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game.