To Infinity and Beyond
I’ll be honest with you. I look forward to Call of Duty every year and it’s not really for the multiplayer. I know what to expect when I jump online. After playing Call of Duty religiously for years while in junior high, highschool and early college, I’m just not interested in the twitch based shooting it offers anymore.
After playing Rainbow Six Siege for the past year I’m much more inclined for a slower paced game that requires teamwork and skill to succeed.
No, the main reason I look forward to Call of Duty each year is for the game’s campaign (surprisingly enough), and for the past few years I’ve come away mostly disappointed. Honestly, a Call of Duty campaign really hasn’t engrossed me since Modern Warfare 2, and unfortunately this year wasn’t much different.
The campaign in Infinite Warfare does away with the overly complex and confusing campaign structure of Black Ops 3. Instead the game takes the series back to the global (now interstellar) conflict the series was founded on, and it works in its favor. It’s simple, to the point and focuses more on building up its characters over trying to make you think too hard about complex issues, though they are there.
The question Infinity Ward chose to focus on in Infinite Warfare is: What’s more important? The mission or the lives of your soldiers?
Thankfully some great acting in Infinite Warfare drives this point home and made the campaign the most emotionally impactful Call of Duty campaign since Modern Warfare 2. Nick Reyes is the star in Infinite Warfare and you’ll see how each of the decisions he makes as the commanding officer of the Retribution weigh on him through the campaign. His supporting cast helps to sell the emotional tone of the campaign, and keeps you invested in the story of the Retribution crew.
Unfortunately, the larger overall plot is harder to enjoy. The main antagonists, the Settlement Defense Front, are pretty one dimensional and their motives are never really explained throughout the campaign. Kit Harrington also does very little to sell his character as this evil leader you’re supposed to want to take down, a far cry from the likes of someone like General Sheppard or Makarov in Modern Warfare 2.
The campaign will take you all over the Milky Way galaxy and provides some fantastic backdrops to the action as you fight through waves of enemies on a number of different planets. You’ll also be taking part in plenty of aerial and space combat sections in your personal Jackal which, while simple, adds some much needed diversity to Infinite Warfare’s combat sections which can be pretty lackluster when compared to other shooters this year.
The real surprise in Infinite Warfare’s single player offering is the amount of content on offer, something I’d never though I’d say regarding a Call of Duty campaign. In addition to the rather meaty main storyline, there’s a number of side missions that you can partake in. While quite a few of them are pretty similar to one another, there’s a few standout missions. Specifically one that has you stealthly traversing an asteroid field over Neptune, then boarding a Destroyer class space ship, stealing a Jackal and then engaging in space combat in the asteroid field you had previously stealthed through to get to the ship.
If you wanted to complete everything on offer in the single player portion of the game, it could easily take you 8-10 hours, which may not sound like a lot when compared to some of this year’s bigger games, but it’s definitely a step up from previous Call of Duty games.
Visually Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is quite impressive. There’s a lot of variation in the locale since you’re going to be fighting on a wide variety of different worlds, areas of space and one mission even takes place on an out-of-orbit asteroid. Character models are as good as ever and the amount of action happening on-screen while maintaining a steady 60 frames-per-second for the most part is quite impressive as always. Not to mention some of the worlds you’ll visit host some pretty impressive enviornmental effects as well.
Once again, however, the soundtrack is negated too much to the background for most of the game and honestly, isn’t all that great. There’s a few memorable tunes in there, but for the most part there’s not one track in the game that you’ll easily recall once you’ve finished, in my opinion. I’ve included what I consider the best track from the game just below for your listening pleasure as the first portion of the track really sells the “losing the war” tone the game goes for in its early hours.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for now, has taken the series back to the days of exploring major conflicts over trying to sell a more complex story, and it’s honestly better for it and allows the developers to get more creative. The characters and setting of Infinite Warfare’s campaign are where the campaign shines, but the overall story in the universe needs some work for the inevitable sequel.
We’ll see how Infinity Ward does three years from now, but for now the developers have proven themselves once again following the shoddy entry that was Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Summary | Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review
Note: We did not review the multiplayer or zombie sections of the game and thus did not factor them into the score.
Reviewed on the Xbox One with a copy provided by the publisher.
Developer: Infinity Ward | Publisher: Activision | Genre: FPS | Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC | PEGI/ESRB: 16+/M | Release Date: November 4, 2016