With Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 both jostling for FPS supremacy last month, you might say Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has come too late in the day to really make its mark. Despite flinging the franchise even further afield than before, what with its Star Trek-like hyperspace jumps and the like, it feels very much like Infinity Ward’s playing catch up this year, and the game’s futuristic space setting can’t help but feel a little stale by comparison.
This is a shame, as Call of Duty is arguably better suited to this kind of sci-fi setting than either of its rivals, allowing its developers to go all out with its over the top weapons, themes and epic space battles. Games such as Battlefield 1 are grounded in reality, while Call of Duty can really go to town with its absurdity.
Throughout the campaign you’re firing laser guns and double jumping all over the place, shooting at robots and using devices such as the crab-like seeker grenade that can attach itself to enemies faces and detonate like something out of Alien. It’s a testament to the team that a lot of this stuff doesn’t actually feel too far-fetched or out of place, and it almost feels like a natural progression of what we may well see in real-world wars of the future.
Sadly, despite its creative array of weapons, the six-odd hour campaign is pretty run of the mill fare. It’s your usual good guys versus bad guys conflict, you shoot plenty of guns, there’s a lot of explosions, and that’s about it. Set in an alternate future reality where we’ve colonised Mars and other planets in our solar system, the Martian humans aren’t happy and launch attacks on Earth’s space defense fleet, which you try to stop.
One thing I really liked about the campaign, though, was Infinite Warfare’s approach to tackling missions. While the main story-based missions obviously have to be done in a particular order, its side missions can be picked up on the fly, Mass Effect-style. These side missions are really superb, the best being an on-foot (or should that be on-space?) stealth mission approaching an enemy cruiser around an asteroid field. It’s tense and really turns the series’ rather tired stealth gameplay on its head.
There’s also the spaceship-only missions, too, which are by far the biggest new highlight here. Space combat is exhilarating, especially when you’re taking out enemy ships, cruisers and ace pilots at breakneck speed. Sure, it’s by no means as complex as, say, Star Citizen, but it adds some exciting moments to what’s overall a fairly bland campaign. I just wish we had a space fighter combat mode in the Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer.
Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer experience doesn’t reinvent the wheel either, but I’ve still spent countless hours dispatching hundreds of enemies in some of the coolest ways possible. Combat is incredibly fast-paced, and each match is breathtaking. No other game makes you feel like such a futuristic space-age badass, and I can definitely see myself pumping even more of my time into Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer offering going forward.
However, put Infinite Warfare next to Titanfall 2, which is better in pretty much every aspect, and Infinity Ward’s new entry in the series really falls short. If you’re after a top-notch single-player campaign, stick with EA’s mech shooter, but if you want a fantastic multiplayer experience you can sink an ungodly amount of hours into, I couldn’t recommend Infinite Warfare enough. Pair that with a whimsical zombies mode whose tone sets itself far away from everything else the game has to offer and there’s plenty of content to keep you going ‘till next year.