(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 5 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 4 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Highly Recommended
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Street Date:
- November 4th, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Brian Hoss
- Review Date:1
- November 3rd, 2016
- Game Release Year:
- Infinity Ward
'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Legacy Edition' PS4 disc version reviewed using a standard PS4. Review copy was provided by the publisher. This version should not be confused with the 'Legacy Pro Edition.'
It's 2016, and Activision's triple-headed 'Call of Duty' developer strategy means that it's Infinity Ward's turn to deliver. 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' promises a swathe of 'CoD' content, including a futuristic campaign which includes space combat on foot and in the Jackal space fighter, a new Combat Rig powered multiplayer mode, and a new Zombie mode, which features the very 80's 'Zombies in Spaceland.' But for November 2016, there is even more 'Call of Duty' in store. The 'Legacy Edition' of 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' includes Infinite Ward's opus, 'Modern Warfare' which returns as 'Modern Warfare Remastered,' complete with the full campaign and multiplayer modes.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'Call of Duty' is a huge franchise, and it's been with us for a staggering 13 years. For me, what started with the original on PC, continued in 'Modern Warfare,' and that is excellent gameplay and a memorable campaign. There have been other campaigns since 'CoD 4' which have be great and memorable, but over the past few years, I just had to take it for granted that the thrill of 'Modern Warfare's campaign would not ever be equaled.
The 'Infinite Warfare' story and campaign don't eclipse 'Modern Warfare,' but in some ways, it goes one better. It's a new direction, a new story, and yet, it's as familiar as classics like 'Patton' and 'A Bridge Too Far.' Even better, as I pointed out in my Campaign impressions, favorites of mine like 'Space: Above and Beyond' and 'Starship Troopers' shape the beats found within 'Infinite Warfare.'
With the 'Legacy Edition' it's easy to recall what I thought almost a decade ago about 'Modern Warfare,' they really did take a big screen war drama like 'Black Hawk Down' and dispel it into an original story with ground-breaking gameplay. 'Modern Warfare Remastered,' with its restoration-like facelift proves how well good gameplay, a gripping story, and welcome, war movie-like characters (shallow but endearing) can endure.
It's impossible for me to play the 'Infinite Warfare' campaign, hopping from my space carrier, 'Retribution,' into my Jackal class space fighter, joining a fur ball of operatic space dog-fighting, and then getting out and continuing the fight on foot, whether it's on an enemy ship, planet side or in some mix of natural and man-made facility in space, without thinking of the many, many sci-fi space pilot soldiers I've seen across of the range of TV, movies, books, and games.
But with such a promising premise, I'm relieved and happy to find that it wasn't wasted. It's still an action-focused game, which is no more obvious than when fighting in the Jackal. But along with the missions and the combat- along with me and my squad finding new and improved ways of taking the fight to the enemy, there are moments of calm. These moments include checking out the new weapons and gear that I co-opted for my next loadout or for my Jackal, they include wandering into the crews rec area and watching news updates on the war effort, and they include see which enemy aces I've taken down and which have eluded me.
This is a story with good guys and bad guys, and the bad guys look like us, but their hearts have gone dark. (It's not just a few bad apples either.) Where the story has grey coloring is when it comes to the price and the fates of the named combatants. Honestly, the enemy's identity is clear cut, and it isn't a lark that there will be blood. This a major difference from the recent trend of 'Call of Duty' games, and even other bigtime titles. The heroes aren't kids and the plot isn't some mess that snakes in on itself or even jumps aimlessly through years.
I loved having side missions that feel tactical, and I loved that I could recover upgrades that helped me make each mission feel more personal. In my first side mission, I took one other SCAR operative with me, infiltrated an enemy warship, and ended a meeting of ship commanders by way of poisonous gas. Altogether, it was an excellent taste of stealth gameplay and one of the rare moments where I brought everyone back alive.
While I enjoyed the War World II feel in sci-fi clothing of the plot, I would have liked for that post-mission high of success without casualties of that side mission to be more ubiquitous. The theme of costly action is strongly applied.
Likewise, the story ended more abruptly than I would have liked. There were plenty of missions, yet it feels like the cat and mouse of space fleets ought to take years.
I think that Infinity Ward and the half dozen other studios that worked on the campaign did a great job making fresh gameplay and more gameplay-intensive set pieces. Still, there were a few elements, like with the robots and mechs, that were overly familiar.
Zombies in Spaceland
I'm a sucker for the Zombies mode of 'Call of Duty,' but this year, 'Zombies in Spaceland' takes the cake. It's kind of like the NES Classic Edition in that it preys upon my love of the 80's and of creepy amusement parks. If we never get 'Left 4 Dead 3' (or if it's not good), then 'Zombies in Spaceland' proves that the spirit will live on. I dare anyone to face an onslaught of squeaking, exploding zombie clowns, while 'Tainted Love' plays or Hasselhoff looks on or N31L issues a crazy challenge, and not smile in enjoyment.
Somehow 'Zombies in Spaceland' is more straightforward (restoring power, opening up new areas, using vending machines, etc.), while still building up to a big challenge. Plus, I love the built-in arcade games that help to rebuild Soul Power if dead mid-scene.
There is the kitschy look of the neon park with its fading paint and letter jackets, but the co-op fun and eventual teamwork that can be had is hugely worthwhile. As ever, I immediately want to dive into the zombie mode. I can't wait to see what comes in later episodes.
Infinite Warfare Multiplayer
I am not an intense 'Call of Duty' multiplayer. I enjoy it, and I can get into it when it comes to learning maps, weapons, and techniques, but I play it for fun. I dip in and I dip out. With 'Infinite Warfare,' I know that it's a welcome step forward from 'Black Ops III.' Using the different War Rigs, or things like the Shield Bash (which is awesome) make for a welcome mode, and the maps and game types continue to prove that a certain split level, split path design works, but generally the action is kept close enough that players should never be lost or without a target.
As much as the campaign brings back fond memories of 'Mass Effect 3,' the 'Infinite Warfare' multiplayer brings back not so fond memories of the 'Mass Effect 3' multiplayer microtransactions. While I enjoyed opening supply drops and getting new stuff, (like the cosmetic items), getting unusable (until level 40+) weapons just reminds me that I'm not one with the current multiplayer economy trends. That said, I do really like the mission team objectives. (I like them too much my teammates might say.)
Legacy Modern Warfare Remastered
I've had campaign access on the PS4 to 'Modern Warfare Remastered' for some time now (see here), and I think players would mostly be nuts not to want it.
They could have called it 'Modern Warfare: Soap Rides Again Phantom Menance Style' and I would have been excited for it, but the results are practically made to order. I need to put some more time into the multiplayer, but again, I don't know how anyone could look at the 'Legacy Edition' or 'Digital Legacy Edition' or 'Digital Deluxe' and be like, "Nah, I don't really want 'Modern Warfare Remastered.'"
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Infinite Warfare' can really be beautiful. The space battles and planet vistas are a '2001' fan's dream, and the more central aspects, the characters, weapons, vehicles, and HUD elements are tops. All of this is on a regular PS4. I'm sure that pushing up the resolution on a PS4 Pro or as I've seen on a PC, brings out even more to like in the art design, but what's here is not subpar, neither is it rough. The worst offense that I can think of isn't ugly level corners, or crashes (I had none), or even installs (again another surprise, the game was ready to go quick), but the death animations for enemy robots. They often slump in place in a way that seems unnatural even for them.
'Modern Warfare Remastered' has been carefully updated, and the result is more like an early (but good-looking) PS4 game. It looks stunning in parts, and just smart in others, but it's not 'Infinite Warfare.' (Check out comparison shots here.)
I mentioned before that 'Zombies in Spaceland' has this great crummy fair look, but I mean this in a good way. I do have an issue with the 'Infinite Warfare' multiplayer maps, and that is that some of the sci-fi settings just look so much better (not unlike 'Destiny) than the more pedestrian settings.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The visuals are great demo material for sure, but the audio is right there. Voice-acting is very good, and the epic setting of space is carried through well (yes there is sound). The one complaint is that the chatter is a bit hyper. I don't always need Reyes to say "he's bugging out" when I'm on an enemy spacecraft's six. Likewise, his squadmates can be a little impatient during missions.
In another key 'Space: Above and Beyond' connection, James Morrison is featured in the 'Infinite Warfare' multiplayer. (He is great as always.)
In multiplayer, the characters actually say useful things which is great. The voice-acting in the Zombies episode sells the camp setting without going too far, which I hope people check out for themselves.
'Modern Warfare Remastered' maintains its frequently bombastic setting, and I would expect nothing less.
Even though the 'Infinite Warfare' campaign uses a lot of ship interior for its side missions, I couldn't help but want more. There are several cool ways to approach the campaign after beating it (like Specialist and YOLO), and thankfully, this is a campaign that is fun to revisit. The 'Infinite Warfare' appears to have enough stuff to RNG through to last hours upon hours.
'Zombies in Spaceland' is the stuff of the late night friend challenges. If you play until you are too tired to be effective, and then keep playing until you get mostly better again, you might know what I mean here.
'Modern Warfare Remastered' is one of the more obvious enduring classics in gaming, and certainly in the world of FPSs.
The pairing of 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' with 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered' has been one of the more talked about moves in the industry these past few months. 'Infinite Warfare's campaign is can't-miss for any sci-fi warrior, while 'Zombies in Spaceland' is a sweet surprise like late night cable from yesteryear. Nabbing the whole package, including one of the biggest multiplayer draws in gaming, along with a newly spritzed last-gen classic is like a wish list approach for me.
- Online Co-op
- Online Versus
- Offline Co-op
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