As avid Call of Duty fans, we do the same thing every year. We deny that we loved the last one, but secretly we did as we 'prestiged' three times. We complain about how much it has changed, and that we are not going to buy the next one, but we do anyway. We also make sure that the we compare it to current shooters on the market, and make it quite clear that COD is the best. This year however, I cannot pretend to love Infinite Warfare, as the game is huge step back in the series after last year’s highly acclaimed Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
Black Ops III was genre defining in my opinion, all in a killer package that included two campaigns, an awesome zombie mode, and the fastest COD multiplayer that was not just fun, but bursting with personality. Unfortunately, Infinite Warfare’s best feature, is its zombie mode, while the campaign is dull and unmemorable, and the multiplayer lacks the Call of Duty flair we all love from the series.
Infinite Warfare Multiplayer – Overall
Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer is not the worst in history, we will keep that medal for Ghosts, but after a killer year in Black Ops III, everything from the server issues, to the dull maps, and unbalanced gameplay, has left a sour taste in my mouth. Taking a much slower route to the mode this year, Infinite Warfare is the closest we will get to the classic Modern Warfare MP. Everything you do is slower than BLOPS III, from pulling out a different gun, to sprinting, wall-running, and even aiming down your sights. It all paid tribute to the experience I had in Modern Warfare back in the day.
Infinite Warfare has taken the Specialist classes from Black Ops III, and implemented them into Combat Rigs. The difference between the two, is that unlike the Specialist classes which only had two options, you can now customize you Combat Rig’s perk, skill, and its special ability known as its Payload.
Each Combat Rigs feels different from the other, Stryker will opt for a more aggressive approach to a match with improved armour, another will sacrifice the ability to use score streaks twice in a match, in order to gain points at double the rate. Synaptic is a fast Combat Rig that has improved agility and other close combat abilities.
As you progress though the levels, you will gain access to more Combat Rigs, with other perks and skills. One of the better ones had me pull out a laser weapon as its Payload, but its range and rate of which I pulled it out, left me venerable to an attack. The Payload also charges at a much slower rate, so to get all the way to the top, only to die while pulling the gun out, was exhausting.
The best part of the weapon system in the game now, is the ability to find legendary and exotic weapons in crates which can buy with real money (obviously), as well as use keys you can get for just playing the game. These weapons have specific perks on them that range from gaining a scorestreak after a set amount of kill streaks, to increased accuracy while shooting legs.
There are tons of them in the game to obtain, each will either help you, or you will hate them, it all depends on your play style. The issue here, is that you can pump in a good R1000, and you can pay to win, as these guns drop in the boxes. It is a sad state of affairs in Activision’s part, as the in-game purchase are going beyond skins, and to weapons that will benefit paid players over others.
Infinite Warfare Multiplayer – Maps
Maps in Infinite Warfare are much smaller than Black Ops III, and with the game being slower I found myself running on walls much less than before, and there are less gaps to fall into and die. Instead, most of the maps are much more tightly packed, with less long corridors. That is to say the snipers are still as ridiculous as ever. Often I would be taking a point in Domination, for someone to stand in the doorway about 2 meters in front of me, and one-shot me in the chest with a sniper. There is just no possible way to counter this, as by the time you have raised your weapon to shoot, you are dead in one bullet. It just felt broken and unbalanced. We had issues with shotguns in Black Ops III, but it seems that Infinite Warfare will need some tweaking to make it fair for those who don’t want to run around with a sniper.
Maps are also dull, with bland colours and uninspiring visuals. After running around in a water park, and being shrunk down on a picnic table in Black Ops III, Infinite Warfare’s maps seem like something out of the ark. There are some clever design paths to them though, as players who can reach certain areas due to their Combat Rig abilities, could benefit from going up a ledge to a sniper spot.
There are specific areas that require being acrobatic to reach, but again it is just a matter of time before it becomes a central combat zone for everyone. Looking past the visuals of the maps, they have been cleverly put together, there is no doubt about that. Somewhat secret rooms, cars that explode right next to capture points, and other neat hiding places, might just tilt the tide of a match.
Infinite Warfare Multiplayer – The Little Things That Matter A Lot
Spawning is also a major issue I faced in the game as often the server had no idea where to place me. The slower pace of the game, means that players reach the other ends of the map much slower, so chances of you dying and respawning away from your team is high. Often I would spawn far away from my team, and walk a few steps and die from someone who spawned behind me. This was an even bigger issue on smaller maps as it was case of dying as soon as I spawned in.
Connection was horrendous most of the time, as the game makes use of P2P matchmaking. This we have not seen since Advanced Warfare, as Black Ops III used dedicated servers. Matches lagged out, I died from behind cover, and my opponents killed me before I went around a corner all the time. I run a 30Mbps line, so I knew it was not my connection. When I entered lobbies with more “ZA” PSN IDs, the connection was much better. Before you know it though, those players are onto something new, and we will all be forced to play laggy matches without any local hosting.
Living for the undead
Black Ops III had some great zombie maps, of which I played right up to last month’s latest addition, but none of them can come close to the Zombies in Spaceland map. The game mode at its core is still the same, survive as long as you can. You are placed in a cool 80s space theme amusement park, that is bigger than every zombie map ever. Mowing down crazed zombie clowns that explode in front of me, running to a vending machine to place in a coin in hopes of getting a firework trap, then being cornered with no other option than to spend the last money I have to open a path behind me.
It was fun, and the sheer amount of activities to do on the map, will keep you busy for hours on end. Going from riding a rollercoaster with a BB Gun, shooting targets along the way, tossing balls at teeth game in the arcade, to having a chat with David Hasslehoff who DJs the soundtrack while you are playing. All this while dragging one poor zombie along behind me as I prolonged the next wave from starting.
Burn Cards are the new gum from Black Ops III which grant you temporary powers like grenade refills, and the ability to burn zombies when shot. The Burn Cards are very helpful, especially in the darkest moments in the game. There are also traps to place down which you have buy using coins you gather, as well portal plugs, and other items in the map that help you get around. Each room is filled with at least one object, and it all depends on what you are trying to achieve, whether you will interact with them. Do cool things with the arcade machines, and you will get tickets to spend on items.
It was just like being a child again, but with crazy zombies trying to rip flesh off, and the odd kill clown chasing you across the arcade. The zombie mode is fun, and I know it is meant to be a survival mode, but I cannot help feel that there has to be and ending to these maps.
Once you have obtained all the items, the fun is over as you just sit in a corner and try and stay alive. You are not fighting for a goal anymore. Still, it is Call of Duty Zombies at its best.
Overall, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare just fails to make the splash I hoped for. I enjoy the series every year, but Infinite Warfare just seems like dangling a bloody piece of meat in a tank of sharks labelled Battlefield 1, and Titanfall 2.
There is just too much on offer this year to play the worst Call of Duty since Ghosts. For R1500, I just cannot justify playing any of its modes other than the Zombie Mode, even then it would be one hell of an expensive zombie game. You can check out some gameplay on the PS4 in the video below.