Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is Infinity Ward’s latest entry into the Call of Duty franchise. They have chosen to go a bit more sci-fi this time around with combat both on Earth and in space. The story told throughout the campaign is a powerful one and I definitely teared up a bit at the end listening to something that I won’t spoil here. This is definitely a game where there aren’t always happy endings as people get killed and sacrifices are made. Then you have your standard Call of Duty multiplayer suite. It has everything Call of Duty players have come to expect. It is quick, adrenaline fueled mayhem with Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Domination and much more. Then you have the third pillar of the game which is its zombies mode. Zombie mode in this year’s Call of Duty is “Zombies in Spaceland” and features a theme park set in the 1980’s that is being overrun with zombies. There are some nice easter eggs in here to find and you will definitely need some good teamwork if you want to survive.
The campaign starts out with you conducting a top secret mission on a distant planet. It isn’t long before things go awry though and you find yourself in a lot of trouble. Once that mission ends you find yourself back on Earth and while you are travelling to your destination a big attack takes place and you find yourself fighting for your survival. Someone has attacked Earth and seemed to have honed in on your location in Geneva. There is a reason for that of course but I don’t want to post any spoilers. I had a tremendous amount of fun going through this campaign. In addition to the main storyline missions there is optional content as well. You can dogfight in space in a Jackal or try to board an enemy ship to accomplish your objective. You can generally choose the order in which you do things. The main missions are linear in terms of mission A obviously has to take place before mission B, however, the optional content can be done however you want. I definitely recommend going through all of the content in the campaign as it helps with the game’s overall pacing and keeps everything fresh. There are times where you might be dogfighting in space and other times where you need to use stealth to intercept a ship to take out high value targets and another time where you need to push the enemy out of a refinery on one of Saturn’s moons. The development team over at Infinity Ward clearly used some other franchises in games and movies for some of their inspiration here and did a great job of adapting it to the Call of Duty formula. The story that is told has some familiar beats to it but at the same time is really well done and can be pretty exciting. One complaint I have about the story though is the lack of use of the main villain. You see him during the opening mission in the campaign and that is the most exposure you really get with him. You’ll see him in videos and stuff at some points in the campaign but otherwise it is almost like you are fighting a faceless enemy by fighting this huge army with an absentee leader.
The Call of Duty gameplay is exactly what you have come to expect over the years. The gameplay mechanics are exquisite. The game runs exceptionally well and the moment to moment gunplay feels great. It feels really good throwing out a seeker grenade and letting it track down an enemy for you while you concentrate on something else. If you time it just right your seeker grenade will take out a group of people for you. Other nice weapons include the anti gravity grenades which causes your enemy to float in the air for a small amount of time so it is easier for you to kill them. As far as guns go you have your typical machine guns and sniper rifles and shotguns and such, in addition to some more weapons that lean more to the sci fi side of things, such as weapons that utilize energy. There are a bunch of different weapons to use throughout the course of the game and each time you pick up a new one it gets scanned. There are achievements for scanning each weapon in the game and things of that nature so you will want to try and pay attention to what you have and have not done. Aesthetically Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looks pretty remarkable. There were many times where I would stop and take a screenshot of a location I was in whether it had Saturn in the background or maybe a shot of the Earth from up above or any number of the other locations that stood out. The audio in the game is also fantastic with the music helping get your adrenaline flowing as well as utilizing a bit of foreshadowing. The voice over work was also done really well and the characters looked very life like. Overall it was a great effort by Infinity Ward.
Moving over to the multiplayer side of things everything seemed to run really well. The online gameplay was fast and fluid and I didn’t suffer any lag at all. With Infinite Warfare multiplayer there are a number of things that will feel very familiar but also some new additions and ideas as well. When you first start out you will be placed on the JTF Wolverines team. The JFT Wolverines are a mercenary group and while you play the multiplayer modes you will be tasked with missions to complete. These missions range from earning one kill with a sidearm or launcher to earning a scorestreak to earning 5 kills while using the Merc combat rig and much more. As you level up you will be able to choose another group if you so desire with Orion Interactive being unlocked at level 15, Sabre Team Seven being unlocked at level 30 and Wraith being unlocked at level 45.
One of the new features in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the use of rigs. There are six different rigs to choose from with the Warfighter, Merc, Synaptic, FTL, Stryker and Phantom. Each one has different abilities and different advantages. The Warfighter rig, for example, is an assault class battle rig while the Synaptic rig is all about being a C6 Class remote operated robot that is optimized for speed and close quarters combat. Once you choose what right you want you can select the payload you want to use as well as your combat focus and more. After that you will have to pick a trait such as using “ping”. The “ping” trait has kills and assists activate a minimap ping at the enemy’s location. Or you might want to go the “persistence” route which disables the reset of scorestreaks on death while making scorestreaks cost more. There are different things you can choose and different ways to customize your guy so he is just right.
Once you get all of that situated you can move on to the different multiplayer modes. There are five different playlists to choose from with “Featured,” “Standard,” “Harcore,” “Special” and “Competition”. A lot of people will probably gravitate towards the standard playlist which features modes like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Search and Destroy, Domination, Frontline and more. If you are into the “Hardcore” playlist you will have Team Deathmatch, Domination, Search and Destroy and Defender available to you. Different playlists will give you different modes and experiences which should help keep the experience fresh for everyone. If you get tired of a particular mode or playlist simply move on to another one. It should be noted that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer is like it has been the past couple of years. It is very frantic, very fast paced and you can do things like wall running. If you are an old school Call of Duty fan and haven’t played the series in a while this might be a big shock to you and you’ll have to kind of relearn how to play a bit. If you happen to prefer the more “grounded” approach then you can play the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remaster multiplayer that came with all of the versions above the basic standard version. It is a great package deal where you can play the more contemporary Call of Duty or go back for some nostalgic goodness with a bit more old school flavor. For me personally I enjoy both flavors and have enjoyed time playing both multiplayer suites.
The third mode in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the zombies mode. This is a zombie co-op survival mode where you need to work together with your team to battle the zombie horde or you won’t survive. The basic premise is that four unknown actors audition for a film but when they do they get sucked into the film itself and they essentially become the stars of the movie, Zombies in Spaceland. There are new things to do here in a zombie mode such as arcades and David Hasselhoff is the park’s DJ. The setting is a 1980s amusement park that is filled with various attractions, rides, an arcade and more. The cast of characters include a jock, a nerd, a valley girl and a rapper. As you take out the zombie horde you will need to unlock different areas of the theme park and restore the power. There are generator switches that you need to turn on in addition to finding a bunch of easter eggs. There is also something new called the “Fate and Fortune” cards. When you first start out you will only have access to five Fate cards and no fortune cards. You need to select them for your loadout before the match begins and they will help to achieve your goals. The way it works is that once you have your cards loaded into the match you will see a devil face with a meter. As you spend money and take out the horde the meter will fill. Once your meter is full it will glow and that is when you can have some fun. When you get to that point you can select which card you want to use. It can be the “Nade Party” where your grenade slot regenerates automatically or “Mana Up” which will regenerate your health quicker and a number of different things. As you level up in the Zombies mode you will earn more cards which will give you more perks.
The basic mechanics of past zombie modes are here as well. You need to keep the zombies back as much as possible. In the beginning, for example, they will try to fight their way into the theme park. You need to hold them back as much as you can and eliminate them quickly before they rip the boards off windows and start to enter the park. If they do start ripping those boards off you can quickly take out the zombies and then put the boards back for a little more protection. You’ll need to keep an eye on your ammunition as well as how your team is doing. If someone has gotten taken out you might be able to help them but you need to be wary about leaving your post because the zombies might advance in your absence, even if you are only gone for a brief period of time. There will also be different guns for you to buy as you earn money and you will eventually earn tickets which you and your teammates will have to use to open up different areas of the park. Keep in mind though that once you open up another area to the park that means there is a new way for the zombies to get to you as well. Teamwork is crucial as you get to the latter part of the map. If everyone is just out for themselves you might not last all the way to the ends whereas if you work together and watch everyone’s back you might just make it. The gameplay in this mode is also really fast and fluid just like the other modes in Infinite Warfare. During my time with Zombies in Spaceland I had a good amount of fun and really loved the look, feel and sound of this 80’s amusement park.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a lot of fun to play. It doesn’t matter if you are a campaign person, someone who just likes competitive multiplayer or someone who wants to work as a team in the Zombies mode. There is something for everyone in this game. The gameplay feels amazing which is definitely one of the things we expect to see in every Call of Duty title. The set pieces in the campaign look fantastic but I do wish the story did more with the main villain and perhaps explain his motives a bit more in-depth. Overall though this is another great Call of Duty game by Infinity Ward. Whether you are saving Earth, taking back an amusement park or playing online in competitive multiplayer, Infinite Warfare is an adrenaline fueled good time.