Does it deserve a purchase?
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has received quite a wallop both before, and after release. Personally, I thought the idea behind it looked cool, possibly making it the first Call of Duty title I would have purchased since the original Call of Duty: Black Ops.
After sitting down with the game and playing it for a while, I have to say, it’s intriguing to say the least.
Welcome To The Future
With the announcement and release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II (as well as Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III), I was admittedly skeptical. The push of the franchise into the future seemed like a bad move in my opinion, shedding any sense of realism for gadgetry and military magic.
Infinite Warfare seems to have doubled-down on this trend, attempting to create a plausible universe without care to keep it grounded in any sort of reality.
For instance, space elevators exist, but spacecraft fly in a vacuum like aircraft in an atmosphere. Firearms work flawlessly in both the freezing temperatures of Europa, as well as outer space. Space fighters move with six degrees of freedom, yet ignore inertia.
But let’s ignore the clear lack of care for the basic laws of physics. It’s just a game, yeah?
The setting is at least pretty interesting, touching on topics like how a humanity spreading across the solar system would operate.
However, aside from the neat considerations given about interplanetary politics and how things would play out, the story is appears to be from the Call of Duty cookie cutter.
The bad guys are foreign sounding and are part of a separatist movement that is mobilizing for war against the good guys. The villains are also obviously evil, showing an incredible contempt for human life; civilian, enemy, or allied. It’s as if Infinity Ward wants to really hammer home that Settlement Defense Front (SDF) are the enemy and deserve to die in all manners of horrible ways, while deserving it. This one-dimensional type of villain comes across as a lazy trope.
Being a bit of a gun nut myself, I’ve noticed some other laziness as well. In an age of space battles, robots, and lasers; somehow, weapons look suspiciously like modern counterparts.
The Rack-9? That’s a TOZ-194, Russian pump action shotgun. The Karma-45? That’s a Kriss Vector .45 with an extra magazine added. The FHR-40? It’s an FN P-90 with the front end shaved off. Oh, and the Volk, the main weapon of the bad guys? That’s an AK model rifle with a different barrel, which is fitting I suppose since the enemies sound Russian.
Sure, this all sounds like nitpicking, and maybe it is. It just feels lazy to me.
It Sure Looks Pretty Though
I still found myself having a few wow moments while playing. Infinity Ward has shown itself perfectly capable of making their games look incredible at times. They’re effectively a showcase for gaming, similar to titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall. Just like Killzone though, they lack substance. They are the Michael Bay movies of video games.
The Star Of The Show
Surprisingly enough, the acting is pretty good. Ethan, your AI companion, is the star of the show in my opinion. Whoever wrote the lines for this character did a great job, and the writing and acting quality definitely spilled over into the rest of the game. For example, despite being one-dimensional, the main villain is expertly executed. He’s established as a extremely cold individual early on, and sets the tone for the SDF.
This is more or less the pattern for the acting and writing. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare more than proves its competence in this regard.
Enough To Win Me Over?
Sadly, no. I toyed with the idea of expanding this into a full review, but I feel that would be unfair without being able to spend more time with it. Given my current stance on the game however, I don’t plan on springing for a copy of the game this year.
The fact of the matter is what gives these games legs are the multiplayer components. It’s sad to say that even that hasn’t evolved much. Considering that the single player campaign is a one-off affair, that’s really the unique property to sell me on. Since the single player is such a short experience, and the multiplayer is so similar to past entries, it’s difficult to consider for a purchase.
The unfortunate truth about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is that while it tries some new things and has certainly made a case for itself, it isn’t nearly creative enough in the single player or multiplayer to justify buying, in my opinion.
Maybe next year…
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