Jun 01 2017

Late Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. Yes, the game’s trailer is still the 2nd most disliked video on YouTube and yes, I did jump on the hilarious bandwagon at the time in disliking it, but having since played it, now regret putting down one of the best COD games released in aeons.

My brother purchased this game around release and I did play a few matches with him in team deathmatch via splitscreen as we used to when we were much younger. I enjoyed what I played of it then, and really liked the structure of the maps. My bro then tried to get me into this iteration’s zombie mode, which I’ve never been able to get into since the original in Black Ops and even then, only the 2D version of the game.

Fast forward a few months and I borrowed my brother’s copy to play the campaign which did look interesting beforehand. I was expecting Kevin Spacey to turn up, but I think I got my wires crossed with BO3, which I’ve yet to still get round to playing. We instead got Kit Harrington, who was a bit of a letdown as the producers made him only recite boring battle cries that made not an ounce of sense just to make him resemble his Jon Snow character, also his death was pretty anti-climatic for what it had been building upto, much like Vaas from Far Cry 3.

The game starts with you being sent onto Europa as a small unit of UNSA, tasked with recovering a secret weapon prototype and destroying its harbouring facility whilst the plant is under attack from the SDF, a military group that wants to take over the Solar System. With the Solar System having been colonized by humans, many humans are now born on these strange planets and can no longer call Earth their home, so have risen against the leadership of Earth and formed the SDF, involved in a massive war years ago before the two sides settled on a peace agreement. But tensions are rising and the SDF are now attacking colonies. Though your team does manage to destroy the Europa facility, you do not recover the prototype and are caught and executed by Admiral Kotch, Kit Harrington’s character.

Back on Earth, your new ‘permanent’ character, Lieutenant Reyes warns Admiral Raines that the SDF attack is an act of war and that the UNSA should ready a retaliation. Raines explains though that they do not want to escalate the situation during the army’s celebration week. Your dismissed to then meet up with your wingman of many years, Salter and a new robot companion called ‘Ethan’, a military combat robot with a big American accent and everybody’s best mate. As your walking and talking with them through the celebrations, the Earth’s defense turrets suddenly fire on its own ships in the sky, causing havoc as the SDF ships fly in to unleash an attack on Earth, causing mass destruction to the Earth’s military in minutes. As Reyes, you battle your way to the turret control tower, shutting down the turrets and apprehend the spy responsible for the sabotage. You then jump into your fighter ship to go after the fleeing SDF fleet in space, though the SDF’s most powerful flagship containing both Admiral Kotch and its new weapon arrives, destroying most of Earth’s fleet before retreating. This leaves the Earth with only two battleships, the Retribution and the Tigris.

When landing upon the Retribution, Reyes learns that the ship’s captain is dead, and as you’re the highest ranking officer on board, are made captain. You’re sent out to retake a cargo port on the Moon from the SDF, containing vital supplies and ship building facilities for Earth. Upon completion, you’re then tasked with trying to delay the SDF for as long as possible whilst Earth tries to rebuild its fleet. At this point, you can embark on a number of different missions around the Solar System, attacking SDF facilities and ships.

The missions are really fun to play out, each set in a different location of the galaxy such as planets and their moons. You can just carry on with the main campaign levels, probably completing the main game in under 2-3 hours, but the fun of the game lies in completing the side missions which also contributes to unlocking guns, attachments and achievements. The missions can range from having to infiltrate a base, experiencing the harsh conditions of the planet whilst shooting npcs and deadly robots, to flying around in your fighter jet, engaged in dog fights with the enemies’ aces and taking down destroyers whilst evading oncoming missiles. Alot of these missions have very unique aspects, constantly keeping the action fresh as one mission may require you to use ‘X-ray’ vision to help stake out a room and use stealth to take the enemies out, one mission might just be purely sniping, whilst another is using off-screen mortar fire to take out 20″ high robots. Some missions require you to jump in and out of your fighter jet as you switch between on-foot missions and aerial fights. Honestly, this really does make this one of the best titles in the COD series in a long while for just being awesomely action packed.

The space walk missions are the best, using nothing but a small boost pack, magnetic boots and a grappling hook to pull you through the debris of space as you silently encroach on enemies from behind, to either puncture their pressurised suits, snap necks or set off their equipped explosives, kicking them away from you as they float towards their comrades and take out an entire unit. These space fights can be fought in any direction, with a full 3D environment to move and rotate around in. Latching onto floating ship debris to use as cover is brilliant, as the debris slowly rotates in space, you rotate with it, shooting enemies that appear to be spinning in an arc in your vision. With no direct reference points of gravity as your normally used to when fighting in an Earth atmosphere, there’s no sense now of what’s upside down, so fighting from any orientation feels natural. The same also applies to your fighter jet in space, with no reference points but the enemies you’re chasing, and are able to use any and all sized gaps in passing ships and debris as cover from enemy fire. The jets fly on a sixpence, with absolute control over forward, backward and side to side movement as well as rotation. Usually when flying a jet, you always have to be flying in a forward direction to ensure the jet remains in the air, which usually then results in large arcs as you try to turn, but with these in-game jets, their capable of going in any direction and even on Earth, don’t need a forward speed to maintain altitude as they just default into hovering otherwise.

The crew aboard your ship are pleasant enough to listen into their conversations, hearing of what’s going on back on Earth and learning abit of the in-game history of the past 100 years. The team you take with you on your recces, keep the game interesting as they engage your character in conversation during the slower part of the missions. Salter, having been your wingman for a number of years, a hard ass and respected by many isn’t scared to defy her captain’s orders, which you’re not always happy about, though you come round to see her sense; Is there something between Salter and Reyes? Who knows. Ethan, the robot who comes with a smart mouth has been programmed to try to reduce hostility from humans to AI robots, can also hack terminals, robots and download data on the fly. The game does get a bit too sentimental over this robot, trying to make out its your best friend even though we have to remind ourselves, it’s just a robot at the end of the day. Omar, the Staff Sergeant of the Marines aboard your ship. Though he might not always see eye to eye with Reyes, the man is military down to the bone, and always ensures to get the job done. Many celebrities voice the main characters in the game, and you also see F1’s Lewis Hamilton kicking around in the background for some reason. To be honest, he was the only thing that ruined the game, wearing his stupid red hat and saying something in his stupid voice, in which I’d be like, “Is this really Lewis Hamilton?” And my immersion in the game would be broken as I would have to pull out my phone to google it. No idea why he’s there.

Not to give too much away about the rest of the story, but I just can’t refrain from bringing up Kit Harrington and his boring death. For whatever reason that game studios do this, you go from a massive, intense fire fight to then pretty much watching a cutscene of the bad-ass second-in-command-boss-who-should-have-really-been-the-final-overall-boss-in-the-entire-game essentially just bleed out after they say their final few words. When it comes to capturing Admiral Kotch, he’s locked himself in the bridge with his men, with no way inside. Outside of the door, you hack one of the service bots that are inside the bridge, in which you then get it to go after Kotch. When the robot gets to Kotch, it smashes his head into the console and then self destructs to take out the rest of the enemies in the room, giving you a minute to get into the room and have a final word with Kotch before he bleeds out. The problem though is that when you first take control of this bot, one of the enemies that runs towards you to disengage you, you kick into a glass table which was a much cooler animation than when you grab Kotch and smash his head into a console. They should have swapped these two guys around for the end death to have been much more gripping and justifying for Kit Harrington’s character to have gone out on.

The end missions are good, it does manage to keep the action tight with essentially everyone dying around you. Overall, it took me about 6 hours to complete which is a good time for a game to ensure it doesn’t feel like it’s getting repetitive, unlike many campaigns I’ve played recently. I did learn that this game took 3 years to be developed, and I really do think that it shows through. The story is spot on alongside it’s characters, the action and mechanics are a real win and I’m glad they chose space as a theme, considering there are far too many shooters set on Earth, and considering that this is a video game that we are playing, it’s a shame that triple A title developers don’t make use of this media to its full potential and take us to places we have absolutely no chance of ever going to. I’d take rainbow candy land or lava filled dragonbone graveyards any day over running around Los Santos in GTA.

The graphics are absolutely beautiful. All the levels are discreetly given enough time to load behind elevator loading screens etc and it just engorges the eyeballs for every small detail to look at. There’s no popping in of visuals, no fog, no bad textures, it works great and looks perfect on my ageing PS4. Character models are really high def, with great amounts of tessellations capturing every facial and body movement. Space looks fantastic, deep blacks throughout and planets look realistic. In-game weapons are 3D printed back at base, with hundreds of combinations of primary and secondary weapons plus attachments. Some of the weapons seem as though they’ve been pulled out of Doom, which works great as enemies explode into a million droplets of blood. Ships have been imagined to the highest calibre, in which they have been built from the ground up with a great reflection of the technology at the time, with the inside of the ships baring its pipes and wires, not all hidden behind white panels as any other game would pretend it all would be. The game has a great human built feel to it, gritty, but with a perseverance that actually would get us out into the Solar System to build on-world facilities etc. Robots look amazing, menacing and most importantly, realistic, with hydraulics inside metal frames with nothing but a bit of lightweight, baggy elastic cloth to protect components from the weather. Lighting and shadows are used fantastically, most prominently during the mission in which you board an asteroid orbiting the Sun, having to use shade to avoid the death rays of the Sun.

They really pushed the hardware on the PS4 to its maximum, I thought my PS4’s fan was going to explode at some point and the room sure did increase a few degrees in what is already a hot early summer, but it’s easily ignorable cracking a window open and turning the surround speakers up a few notches.

There is the multiplayer side of things, which for some people is the only thing that matters when it comes to a COD game. I’ve played around in a few matches and even though I’m trying to stay away from online shooters as I’ve put far too many hours in them over the years, this one is really strong with many of the COD features that we all know and love, with some great maps, instant respawning to get back in the action, some interesting weapons, double jump features and slides which are always fun and just a great fast pace feel to it, which over Battlefield 1 that has a hundred year old weapons that take 5 minutes to reload and Overwatch that takes you 10 minutes to run back from the spawn location into the action, I think I would rather get into this COD if I was to get back into online shooters, even though Battlefield used to always win it for me due to the use of tanks and large maps, but these days I’d take a 5 minute match over camping for an hour.

I can’t comment much on Zombies, I always found the side game a bit ludicrous even from the first ever one, and wish they had mixed it up after the first iteration, maybe including a racing game instead but there is a big fan community out there that now needs catering to, so they gobble this stuff up now and all the season passes for the maps, but once you’ve played one map of training zombies, you’ve played them all. I always prefered the 2D version anyway. Something which I find absolutely ludicrous are the easter eggs and people spending weeks and months trying to decode them. For all the effort of that, they could probably put their heads together to rid the world of cancer, but instead forums are filled with people trying to unearth what some garbled beeps could mean. This is where I would become a concerned parent if I had kids and be like “Why the fuck is your head stuck to the TV speaker with the volume on max? Go outside and kick a ball, you sad bastard.”

I will be making a comparison later of this game against Battlefield 1 in time once I’ve completed the BF1 campaign, which I can so far say, has been pretty rubbish and very far from even realistic as the game tries to use our respect of the war to sell itself on. I was hoping for gameplay closer to Medal of Honour but BF1 just gets stupid, Dice probably realised half way through development that they had nothing to work with and just started throwing everything and anything at it, but I’m getting ahead of myself, we’ll save this rant for another day.

Overall, Infinite Warfare on all fronts has been a really good game to play, and though it came with a copy of Modern Warfare, which we’ve barely played other than a few games online, didn’t have to sell itself so short. Infinite Warfare doesn’t need to be carried on the back of MW, and it’s a shame the trailer got so much hate for its space theme considering it seems to have actually resulted in a brilliant game. I apologise for having jumped on the bandwagon at the time. Technically, it’s still actually one of their most liked videos as well, but I can confirm that when the next Battlefield trailer is released, I’m going to spitefully dislike it to re-level the playing field. I have since changed my rating to a like, but how much good will that do now. Even though I should always know better, I’m definitely hyped for COD:WW2 and will be looking to get that at release.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thelategamer.com/video-game-review/late-call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-review/

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