So the latest Call of Duty is upon us, #InfiniteWarfare released November 4th and we’ve just had an unprecedented 5 day trial in December letting us try out the campaign, zombies and multiplayer respectively. This leads me to believe this a ploy to drum up further sales as the title hasn’t sold as well as expected selling less than previous entry 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’. The game has still sold insanely well, but less than it has in the past, publisher Activision have said it’s because it’s a new entry to the series being the first 'Infinite Warfare’ and not a known brand such as the Modern Warfare or Black Ops series, I think it’s because the game has been shoved down our throats with iterative rehashes every November since the boom of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007!
Before I go through my thoughts I must be honest and preface this with the fact I’m very jaded by the Call of Duty franchise and haven’t enjoyed it for some time, listen to 'The Unashamed Gamers podcast' on SoundCloud or iTunes and you’ll hear why on many, many episodes.
We got to play a short burst of the single player which isn’t surprising as I doubt the campaign is more than 6 hours and isn’t exactly the draw for players. I’m not saying people don’t play for the story but it’s not the series bread and butter. This story stars forgettable protagonist Jon Snow, er, Kit Harrington and world renowned face puncher Connor McGreggor and is sponsored by Mountain Dew and Doritos… Okay, I made the sponsorship deal up but it wouldn’t surprise me! Connor McGreggor is certainly good at fighting and surprisingly entertaining at a press conference but an actor, video game or otherwise he is not. Clearly hired to inspire a purchase or two, what little we saw of both him and Kit was rather inconsequential. The campaign was its usual shooting gallery escorted by NPC's who are hard to differentiate from the enemy and don’t actually appear to shoot anyone. The graphics are so-so but I’m not a much of a graphics man, I prefer functionality and fun mechanics over pretty visuals. The big draw this year is space combat and I’d read reviews saying this is the best campaign in years but I just didn’t feel that in my play through. It was the same old, walk to this room of 10 dudes to shoot, hold X to open door, walk to next room and 15 dudes to shoot, wait while NPC opens next door! Lather, rinse, repeat, lather, rinse, jam soap in my eyes, anything but another short, cookie cutter campaign.
The space combat was very much like the recent Star Wars: Battlefront’s space combat in that it was just a case of pressing LT/L2 to lock on the enemy ship then holding down fire till the enemy ship exploded, it just didn’t thrill me but then I personally think Call of Duty has no business in space, it made its name in being a World War shooter and became the biggest selling franchise by bringing modern war to the forefront. Now we’re in space running on walls, shooting robots wielding bright pink guns, what happened?!
The multiplayer doesn’t fare much better! Upon loading the game you’re greeted by a colonel or captain or sergeant; an old, experienced war dude who welcomes you to the faction the JTF Wolverines, much like the #Xmen of similar name you’re then thrown in to menu of the game that just won’t die. Layout familiar as ever, I was instructed to select a 'War Rig’ a specially designed suit to explain my inexplicable ability to double jump, wall run and slide for days…
We’ve seen these War Rigs before of course, they’re a combo of the exo suits from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and one is a #Chappie like robot we’ve seen in the more recent Black Ops 3.
In terms of gameplay a War Rig is just a 'specialist’ from Black Ops 3; a character you pick that after getting some in game points you get to use a certain perk or weapon to continue your carnival of war.
One character, the Chappie like robot can transform from standing to galloping on all fours like a dog to wipe out enemies by clawing at them for an instant one hit kill. To say this is overpowered is an understatement.
If you enjoyed the immediate Call of Duty’s preceding it you may well find a lot of enjoyment to be had but there isn’t really anything new here but a rearrangement of previous games, it’s iteration is almost offensive and the game is very deserving of the comments that it’s 'just a Black Ops 3 map pack!’ which is doubly hilarious when you know that Black Ops developers Treyarch have announced they’re going to support BO3 with new content in 2017 which has never happened before. They previously have always stopped developing on a game when the next arrives. This stinks of a company realising their product is inferior but still trying to push it on people.
Considering the games space themed setting and campaign it’s strange how little it seems to affect the multiplayer apart from the visuals, such as maps set on space stations and when you die on some maps your corpse floats away due to a lack of gravity, otherwise this looks and plays like the last 2 games from the series.
It’s popular to hate on #CallofDuty but numbers don’t lie, the game is a huge seller, easily the biggest shooter on console and they do say: 'if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and why would you when people are willing to spend 80 pounds for a reworked sequel and remake of a 10 year old game?! And that’s before the DLC and the god awful 'Supply Drops’, which unfortunately return.
Even hardened fans will be lying to themselves this year if they don’t feel a tad disappointed as this honestly feels up there with Call of Duty: Ghosts as a series low.
The only vague enjoyment I can attest to was a few rounds of 'Gun Game’ the mode where you start with pistols and each kill you cycle to a new gun and the first to work their way through all the guns wins the round. I even got tired of that but my enjoyment was mainly because that is the only mode where there seems to be any skill involved in the game, the skill gap compression is huge and clearly at play in this game with low TTK’s(time to kill), random spawns and overpowered killstreaks but then this is what the franchise has become; the McDonalds takeaway of video games, it’s alright now and again but you gain no real enjoyment…
I’d hoped this was the year it would all change but as each year passes a whole bunch of older gamers wake up just as a new bunch of younger gamers come of age and replace the leavers, the undying will live on for a while yet it would seem.
Upon reading this back I sound bitter but I’m mostly just disappointed for the fall of this once great game series, hopefully the rumour of a game set in Vietnam next year are true and we can get some of that World at War style brutality.
I do think the games title is apt though because this warfare feels infinite, I feel like we’ve been playing it for eternity!