Infinity Ward’s tri-yearly shot at the franchise delivers the single-player goods but stumbles with multiplayer.
Before it was even released, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was subject to scrutiny. The general COD fan base had soured on futuristic combat, resulting in the reveal trailer becoming the second most disliked YouTube video of all time. Now that it’s finally here, how do you boil down the good, bad and ugly of Infinity Ward’s latest magnum opus?
The campaign, surprisingly enough, is a lot of fun. Players take control of Nick Reyes of the UNSA which must battle the Settlement Defense Force. The SDF are off-world settlers with plans for universal domination and with the Retribution at his command, it’s up to Reyes to settle the score for the UNSA.
In terms of gun mechanics, Infinite Warfare is pretty much like previous titles but with pretty space locales, side-missions and seamless transition from the home base to missions. The gameplay has been significantly revamped though with zero-G combat, grappling hooks, new abilities and dogfighting sequences with the new Jackal. Say what you will about the story-telling or villain (played rather lamely by Kit Harington of Game of Thrones fame) but the campaign is good stuff all-around.
This is further aided by the new Zombies mode. Zombies in Spaceland is a fun, kitschy throwback to the 80s with some excellent quality of life changes (multiplayer and Zombies ranks are now shared). The variety of traps and new enemy types work great and David Hasselhoff as the mysterious DJ is just icing on the cake.
How about that multiplayer though? Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare features many of the same tropes from Black Ops 3. Specialists are now Combat Rigs, restricting some special perks to traits and abilities. Wall-running and boost-jumping are still inherent to movement and it’s as erratic as ever. Map design is claustrophobic some times, scattered and frustrating at other times. Terminal will quickly become one of your most hated maps and everything fails to really mesh together like Battlefield 1 or Titanfall 2. The addition of modes like Defender and Frontline don’t help.
Once again, for a franchise that’s all about multiplayer, Infinite Warfare is the series’ weakest showing in years. The Salvage and Prototype system, with the former gathered to craft different variants of Prototype weapons, isn’t pay-to-win. However, the drop rate on Salvage can be pretty shabby. Then there are issues like hybrid servers which can bring tons of lag when falling back on P2P connections, host migration, poor tick-rate and just an all-round showing of movement snafus and glitches. Did we mention how terrible Terminal is as a map?
There’s plenty good about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare but its shelf-life as a multiplayer title – not counting previous superior competitors like Overwatch – is limited. Pick it up for the single-player and Zombies mode if you really want your yearly dose of COD. Those who think they can stomach the multiplayer are truly made of stronger stuff.
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