LTTP: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Campaign Review (PS4)

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I gave Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty titles a couple of chances after the studio’s implosion in 2010. The single player campaigns in Modern Warfare 3 and Ghosts failed to garner any lasting impression but Infinity Ward’s output continues to intrigue me. Although I initially passed on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for its lacking multiplayer, the glowing impressions from its single player kept reborn Infinity Ward’s third game in the back of my mind. So a year and a deep discount later, I finally saw what the fuss was about. Infinite Warfare is one of the best Call of Duty campaigns – I might go as far as to say it’s Infinity Ward’s best work since Modern Warfare.

The tale told in Infinite Warfare was a tale as old as the USMC we know today – but now it’s told in space. It’s not going to surprise anyone to discover Martian born colonists are upset at Terrans. Faithful fans of the series should not be shocked to see playable protagonists and regular NPCs perish. The shock comes from how these Call of Duty studios build up to those moments and for the first time in a long time, I felt Infinite Warfare put in an effort to earn its fatal moments. They invested more time giving side characters screen time and roles throughout the game. I started to realize the crew around me were sticking around for more than a few missions which gave their inevitable demise some weight. I knew the good guys were going to win, I wasn’t surprised by Reyes’ sacrifice, but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to go down.

They put Mass Effect in my Call of Duty. I loved the ability to choose my next mission and explore the little bit of the ship available. I could progress from story mission to story mission but I wouldn’t be getting the added perks/upgrades from completing side missions. I also wouldn’t be taking down all the most wanted SDF “scum” laid out on the whiteboard in Reyes’ quarters.

The actual moment to moment game found in Infinite Warfare is well worn territory. I still find it entertaining in spurts and the gadgets and twists added in this release add enough of a wrinkle to differentiate itself from its brethren in the franchise. Pretenders have come and gone but nobody does bombastic campaigns like the Call of Duty franchise.

I did find this campaign a lot more terrifying than other games primarily because of the setting. Space is terrifying. Being sucked out into the darkness of space is unsettling enough but seeing countless others and Reyes himself struggle with retaining oxygen within their spacesuits was enough of a reminder that space is frighteningly dangerous. I found the moment when they decided to breach and clear the bridge of an SDF carrier to be especially cruel. I may have been playing as the “good guys” but these people are ruthless.

I really appreciated the time they took to transition between different facets of a mission. The take off and landing sequence bookending each dogfight was a grounding touch that I enjoyed despite the fact that it was easy. Details like this brought me into their universe and any game that spends time balancing ridiculous action with the mundane deserves praise in my books.

I also have to give a nod to their use of guest stars. While I didn’t find it as captivating as Spacey’s performance in Advanced Warfare, I did find Kit Harrington’s performance to be solid. I even thought the inclusion of Lewis Hamilton in a minor bit role cute. Colin McGregor slotted in his minor role surprisingly well. In fact, I think his was the most natural – perhaps it’s due to the fact that these games tend to feature a lot of roles for angry Caucasians.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare gave me a glimpse at a very plausible future for humans. Old stories and conflicts will undoubtedly repeat themselves once humans stretch out across our solar system and beyond. While I would like to imagine a Mass Effect or Star Trek styled future, the reality is that we’ll likely still be firing bullets at one another in vacuum of space. But unlike Infinite Warfare, I doubt reality will be anywhere as pretty as Infinity Ward envisioned though.

 

Verdict:
I liked it

Ratings Guide

Introducing Sledgehammer Games, the third CoD developer

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activision-logoActivision Blizzard added a third developer into the Call of Duty rotation. Starting next year, Sledgehammer Games will be releasing their very own Call of Duty game.

The good news is that Treyarch and Infinity Ward will be given additional time to work on their next Call of Duty instalments. The bad news is that I will have to wait until 2015 before we see Treyarch’s version.

Sledgehammer Games, lead by Dead Space creator Glen Schofield, worked on Modern Warfare 3’s campaign which wasn’t anything special. I’m skeptical but I’m also curious what they will introduce in their own title. Will it be more of the same or will they introduce their own twists and improvements?

Best of luck, Sledgehammer Games. You’ll need it if you’re going to rid us of the disappointment of Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS4) Review

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I have an illness and it involves me buying Infinity Ward developed Call of Duty games despite my disappointment with their previous instalments. The combination of $40 price tag, high trade-in value and short campaign helps rationalizes such purchases but I usually have a singular reason that convinces me to pull the trigger. What was the tipping point this time? It’s a Call of Duty game for next generation platforms and they finally added dedicated servers for console players.

I didn’t invest much time into the multiplayer but it was what I expected. The foundation was strong. Net code seemed to be on point and the game ran at 1080p resolution and mostly 60FPS. However, I longed for Black Ops 2’s feature set. In many ways Ghosts’ multiplayer felt like a step backwards with the lack of Gun Game or other party modes. It’s ludicrous that such a divide exists; each Call of Duty title should be building upon the features that the previous instalment introduced.

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Ghosts will support dedicated servers for all platforms

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

activision-logoI suspected as much. There was no way one of the industry’s biggest franchises from one of the world’s largest publishers was going to stuff a fundamental feature to just two versions of the game.

Infinity Ward’s Mark Rubin confirmed on Twitter today that “dedicated servers will be used on current gen, next gen and PC” versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts. That’s great news for Call of Duty fans and it only took an additional two months to get that bullet point confirmed.

Why did it take so long though? According to Mr. Rubin, he was not allowed to “call out other platforms by name”. By whom? Microsoft? Would they be that petty? Apparently so.

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