HXR Review - Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Infinite Warfare has had a right rough time running up to release, I think everyone knows that by now. The reveal trailer getting a stupid amount of dislikes, the Modern Warfare remaster not being sold separately, and not forgetting the recent beta being utter trash in the eyes of many who gave it a go, this was doomed before it was even given a chance. I'm typing this part of the review on its opening weekend, so am still unaware of the number or where it charted in the first week of sales, but will still be surprised if it doesn't chart somewhere in the top ten.

If anything I have learned over the years that COD fans are mostly words followed by no action. meaning that they say "oh I'm not buying this garbage" almost every year, but sure enough, they end up with the game in their hands by the end of the first week of release, or at least on their Xmas list. While the MP beta honestly wasn't that great, I still held out some hope that the single player and maybe even zombies would be worth giving the game a look still. And hell, maybe they would have taken feedback from the poor beta and improved on it somehow (I never held out much hope out for this mind you).

Single Player: Like I said above, I'm one of those weird gamers who look forward to these campaigns before I feel any excitement for the MP portions of them. I don't go in for the stories like I guess most of you do, but I just go in hoping for a good time, with the hope I come out the other end feeling like I've been part of a Summer blockbuster movie. Infinite Warfare does that easily, with the story this time around being taken to space, and the game coming out feeling like a mix between games such as Halo, Mass Effect, and COD (obviously).

You play the role of a Captain Nick Reyes (well captain once things get going anyway), with the game opening on a failed mission in which you see a team wiped out by that guy from the Game Of Thrones and his bodyguard Conor McGregor, because why the f not. Soon enough crap hits the fan with an attack on a fleet celebration that's going on, and you find yourself as the captain of a ship known as Retribution, clearing out waves of robots and faceless enemies as you progress in the story

This ship plays as your central hub in which you can choose what main mission and side missions to do next, as well as having an office, an armoury, and also a most wanted list full of high-value targets. While playing the campaign, I did say on twitter that this is where I got my Mass Effect vibe from. Going to the control room (see image above & below) and looking down at what main mission or side quest you wanted to go to next, gave me the same feeling that I got when I was in control of Shepard back on the Normandy, all be it not as grand an adventure once we got there.

I found myself attracted to these side missions with my first playthrough, with these extra quests coming in either ship assault or Jackal strike form, both of which offering something a little different. A ship assault sees you getting yourself onto an enemies vessel and taking it down from the inside. Where a Jackal strike is taking the fight to the skies in which you must take down numerous enemy ships on top of the main ship/ships for that side quest. When doing any of the side quests you will also find yourself earning something for dong so, this could be either some sort of perk, or in a Jackal strike earning something for your ship.

While the ship assault plays like a shortened story mission, the jackal strikes offer you the chance of putting in some time with the aerial combat in the game, and it's pretty decent too. I wouldn't go as far as saying it was the best that it could have been, but it's good enough to make it an enjoyable mix of pace over the standard face to face ground combat you expect to find in the normal COD story missions.

Finishing the campaign now I've come out of it happy. While it may be the standard COD experience all be in it set in space, it entertained me enough to want to keep coming back when I put the game down. Without a doubt the cameos of both McGregor and F1 star, Lewis Hamilton are a massive waste of money, as they add nothing to the overall story. But roles such as team mate Salter and Robot sidekick Ethan really made me invest in these and the main cast, making moments that take place within the story mean something, making it something more than a game version of an exploding Michael Bay summer action flick. Sure the story wouldn't win an oscar anytime soon, but as COD stories go it was a good one. In a nutshell, a fun and enjoyable experience that is totally worth giving a look.

Zombies In Spaceland: I've never been a big fan of COD zombie stuff in the past in all honesty, with the most time I've ever spent on the mode being the one found in Black Ops 2, for no other reason that a bunch of people I gamed with had it too. It's a big deal now thanks to numerous big YouTubers making it their thing on the platform, with a how-to-guide never far away whenever a new zombie game/DLC drops for the game these days. I hadn't really read up or watch anything to do with this mode leading up to the release, as in all truth I expected to only give it a quick blast and find it wasn't for me like always, turns out I was wrong.

Set in a 1980's theme park, with David Hasselhoff as the DJ, you do the standard thing of lasting as many rounds against ever-growing and more powerful hordes of zombies, as you earn cash by killing them and also putting back any blockages where they can get in. Killing zombies who at times look like extras from thriller music video, while the 80's classic that is The Final Countdown blares from the speakers in the background, may just be the most fun I've had with this mode ever.

You also have things to collect like coins and tickets that will give you items, as well as saving up that kill cash to open up new areas and buy new guns, and as with every zombie mode it always has some sort of story to get you invested. Above all of this, it's just a really fun mode to stick on and kill some time with, be that alone or with a bunch of friends. But not with random people though as they suck all the fun out as they try going lone wolf.

On top of the stuff I've spoken about above, this is just a great pick up and play mode for the novice like myself. For the pro players out there the chance of beating it and finding new easter eggs within it make it a mode that you will keep coming back too. That and when dying you get to play in the afterlife arcade, in which you play classics like Pitfall to earn soul power to get yourself back into the game. I didn't want to leave.
Multiplayer: Where do I begin with this? This is perhaps the reason many of you out there have skipped the game this year after the recent beta was less than a success shall we say. You have to give the full release a chance though I thought, but nope it's still the poorest MP of any of the recent shooters that we've seen come out in recent weeks. It's not that the MP is absolutely terrible, as at times I've found myself having an enjoyable time with it, all be it in small doses. Just something about how the game plays this year though doesn't sit right with me, with gun battles now seeming to be more about luck than player skill. Shooting an opponent for a huge amount time only to find yourself dead after taking two bullets, can become so infuriating that it just makes you try less in  future matches. So what you're left with is hope that it's your turn for that dose of good luck this time around.

If you played the beta you know what to expect, with this year being about combat rigs that you can equip. Each rig is built for different styles of play, with ones that will be better for the guys who run and gun, to those who like nothing more than sitting on a ledge far away and sniping, because that's enjoyable to some. The game starts of with three of these rigs to choose from, but three more become available to you by playing the game and ranking up. I'm still yet to find my favourite rig out of the opening three to be honest, with me swaying more to the Synaptic rig at the moment and its equaliser payload. The video below covers all these rigs way better than I can in words, so see which one will suit your playstyle below.

Enough content is here to keep any previous COD fan happy, even though the game itself is somewhat of a letdown. Gun progression, unlocks, modes, and maps all do their job (well some maps do anyway, as spawn issues need to be addressed very soon). It's just the game itself is nowhere near on par with previous years, and because of this, I can't see it being one I stink that much time into once this review is posted.

Overall: I really enjoyed my time with both the campaign and what time I've put into the zombie mode so far, so It's a shame that this year the one portion many buy the game for is sadly not going to be for everyone.

Do you buy the game? Well, this kind of rests on what you want from it. Single player offers a decent enough time but is of course not a mode you will be playing a lot of once you've finished it off. Zombies offers replay value and is one of the most fun zombie experiences I've had in a long time. While being fun it does leave the question of how long before it gets repetitive when running around the same area over and over again as time goes on. MP is just not my cup of tea this year, but others out there are clearly getting something out of it judging by me not having any issues in finding games to play. I've had people tell me they like it, while having others saying they hate it. So this year is all down to personal taste it seems. It's worth giving the game a look for the campaign and zombies no matter what, so a try before you buy (rental) is perhaps the way to go before parting with cash.