Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review

2016 has delivered the best shooters I've played in a long time. Doom, Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, etc.  All of the previously mentioned shined because of their unique settings, crisp mechanics, and gorgeous visuals. That said, the final AAA First-Person-Shooter has been released, and it happens to be the latest entry in the most popular video game franchise. Infinite Warfare is out, and here's what I think about it:

First off, hardcore COD fans will feel right at home, both for better and worse. On one side, the majestic presentation and performance are still there. Visuals are jaw-dropping (particularly in cutscenes), animation and facial assets are extremely impressive, and I experience no frame drops or bugs. Furthermore, gunplay is still impeccable, with weapons sounding, looking, and firing like their real-life counterparts.

Having said that, certain elements of Infinite Warfare feel familiar. Perhaps too much. First off, I gradually began to grow tired of the futuristic setting in video games a couple of years ago (even more in the Call of Duty franchise). IW does nothing to differentiate itself from the environment found in Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3. This undeniable feeling of 'Déjà vu' is only aggravated by interesting and original locations found in other shooters that have recently been released (Battlefield 1 and Gears of War 4). While the game does nothing to innovate at its core, the single-player experience has been considerably ameliorated.

To be perfectly honest, I had skipped several COD campaigns since the Modern Warfare glory days, jumping straight into multiplayer. Having said that, the narrative in Infinite Warfare is absolutely worth your time. First off, Infinity Ward created a set of well-crafted, fun, human-like characters to help you on your quest. Previously, I was indifferent to the fate of the people I encounter throughout the campaign since I didn't connect with them. That isn't the case here. Dialogue is pretty good. The cast has very natural conversation between them, joking around like regular human beings. Omar is rough on the outside, but he genuinely cares about his crew. Salter is our protagonist's closest thing to a love interest. Ethan is the lovable goof who happens to be a robot. You establish a real rapport with each character, which is only enhanced by the equally improved plot.

In the past, the series' storylines have mostly focused on the gore and violence found in war. Those elements are definitely present in IW, but there is an unprecedented focus on the pain and mental stress every soldier carries into the battlefield. Whenever one of your allies falls, you truly feel for them. Surprisingly, the story pulled my heartstrings a couple of times. Even though my thoughts on the campaign are overwhelmingly positive, I do believe the villain could have been better. He's your typical silent, undeveloped douche who wants to destroy the world. You don't have enough personal interactions for you to actually hate him.

Mission-wise, the game does a great job at dropping you into varied chaotic scenarios. Each one of them has its own feel and memorable sections. Nevertheless, a ton of unnecessary interactions are included before entering each battle. Before taking off, you spend several minutes choosing your loadout and walking to elevators that take you to your ship. To be perfectly honest, I could have done without those features, as I was only interested in the pure gameplay.

Once you do enter a mission, a major gameplay addition has been added. Space combat. You hop into a military ship called a Jackal and proceed to have big fights in outer orbit. For the most part, it's a blast! Aerial controls are simple, smooth, and responsive. The single-player mode also offers side-missions which upgrade your soldier's guns and gear, which is a first for the series. The missions themselves aren't diverse enough for me to recommend them to you, but they are a noble effort to add variety to the formula.

Once you're done with the single-player formalities, this year's COD has a massive amount of content for you to pour dozens of hours into. Multiplayer is as good as it has ever been, keeping many of the alterations found in BO3 (Pick Ten System, Hovering) while also decreasing the speed of the game. Zombies is also back, and it's probably my favorite mode in the game. Once again, no significant changes have been done, but it's an extremely entertaining and addictive experience. If that isn't enough for you, the Legacy edition will include a digital code for the Modern Warfare remaster, which features the campaign fully working multiplayer.

Verdict: This year's Call of Duty presents an improved narrative, majestic presentation, and enough content for you to keep the game for months. It's more than enough to justify the purchase, even though no consequential innovations are truly made.

The Good
- Majestic Presentation/Controls
- Improved Narrative
- Multiplayer and Zombies Are a Blast
- Aerial Combat

The Bad
- Same Old Setting
- Underdeveloped Villain

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