Call of Duty was once the king of video games. Being the biggest selling game of all time, it seemed everyone and their uncle was online shooting each other and insulting everyone’s mums. But following the Modern Warfare series, it seems the franchise has struggled to find a way to once again capture the large audience that once held. Infinite Warfare is Infinity Ward’s latest attempt to bring life back into the franchise, and it does so by making a military centric Star Wars.
Infinite Warfare takes place in a future where humanity has breached the final frontier and lives comfortably in space. Those who immigrated to Mars have suddenly decided that their harsh living conditions make them better than everyone else, and proceed to try and take over the galaxy using big spaceships and political trickery. They have a big spooky flag and have a leader who is a British man with a scar on his head.
In other words, It’s Star Wars! The bad guys are The Sith and the good guys are trying to protect the Republic. It was laughable how the opening hours to the game are the setting and storyline of Star Wars: The Force Awakens verbatim.
Once the shock of playing a military Star Wars game wears off, the actual story kicks in. The campaign follows All-American action hero, Captain Nick Reyes, leader of Special Combat Air Recon. AKA – SCAR (So manly) as he gets a birthday present in the form of a really fancy ship called The Retribution and takes it upon himself to play Captain Kirk and travel around the galaxy putting a stop to all the silly business the Mars people are up to.
It sounds daft on paper, but that’s because it’s even dafter in execution. The game tries far too hard to be a gritty and grounded war story, filled to the brim with bros and explosions that it becomes comical in most of its attempts to show “the horrors of war”. Every CoD game tries to portray the idealism that “war is hell”, but Infinite Warfare leaves the mindset of “War’s pretty bad, but at least you get to ride in spaceships with your bros and listen to 80’s music”.
The campaign itself doesn’t do anything too mind blowing. It’s a by the numbers story that feels lacking compared to the previous entries, but does nothing bad enough to warrant any real complaints. It’s the perfect representation of a passable story.
Getting to be in space and fly about is cool, and it controls incredibly well, but apart from that it’s a typical ground based adventure where you blast through compounds, sewers, tall buildings, and sometimes get to take part in door opening moments where your character can suddenly slow down time for no apparent reason. Yep, it’s by the colours CoD alright.
It would have worked better to accept and welcome the absurdity of everything that’s going on. The game tips it’s toe in silliness, allowing you to spray paint your ship with a unicorn and whatnot, so why not go all out and let me blast Kenny Loggins out the speakers as I mow down Martians. Letting go of its gruff and masculine domineer is exactly what the series needs to make it stand out from other space shooters of late.
Others walked past and thought I was playing Titanfall 2, and with the gun designs and level layouts, I don’t blame them. The game fits too comfortably into the generic genre of just “sci-fi shooter” and leaves it as that. Job done.
The multiplayer is pretty much what you’d expect from the series at this point, shoot people to level up so you can shoot more people with bigger guns. However, it does attempt to do something different by disguising old mechanics and trying to pass them as new ones. You can now pick a class, and depending on which class, you get different score streak bonuses, and each class has an ultimate that gives the player a super gun that can be used to take out large amounts of enemies (think Overwatch).
Again, the game plays it too safe, and whatever possible wacky ideas they could have put in were left out in favour of having a greyscale shooter that looks like everything else on the market.
The one stand out mode in the game is zombies. After becoming a mainstay since its creation way back in World at War, zombies has consistently grown in each game, slowly turning into something completely new.
The new zombies mode takes place in an 80’s theme park called “Spaceland” where each of the four characters plays the role of an 80’s movie stereotype. This is clearly where the company had free reign to do whatever they pleased, and boy does it show.
Zombies in Spaceland is by far one of the most expansive and enjoyable zombie maps yet. Filled with mini games, side quests, and more areas to explore than any other zombie map, it’s a joy to run around and see what crazy things you can find in this wonderfully crafted zombie epic.
A particularly lovely segment is that if you die during zombies, instead of simply waiting to come back in the next round, you’re now brought to an 80’s arcade where you can play Atari 2600 games or take part in fairground attractions. Doing so earns you souls you can cash in to come back into the game. This is by far one of the greatest inclusions in the zombies game mode, and makes the entire experience a lot more fun.
Infinite Warfare isn’t the franchise saving game some people may have wanted. It’s a safe and bland entry into the Call of Duty franchise that does little to capture the magic that made so many fall in love with it years ago. Thankfully it seems they took their time in making the zombies mode. And while zombies isn’t going to completely save the game, it does stop Infinite Warfare from just being a boxed collection of first person mediocrity.
Thanks to Activision for supplying a review copy