Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4 Review

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a first-person shooter game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. The Call of Duty series originated on October 29th 2003 with the release of the very first Call of Duty on PC in which the Call of Duty brand has since spanned numerous console generations and become one of the most successful and highest grossing entertainment franchises of all time as proved by over 250 million units sold, alongside the billions of hours of online multiplayer gameplay logged across the entire Call of Duty series prior to the release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.

Call of Duty made its home console debut with the release of Call of Duty: Finest Hour on PS2 in November 2004 followed by Call of Duty 2: Big Red One for PS2 in November 2005, although both games actually provided a back story to the PC games rather than direct ports. Call of Duty 3 also received a release on PS2 in November 2006, while Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts released in November 2008 featuring its own set of single player missions as the final Call of Duty game on PS2. Call of Duty made its PS3 debut in November 2006 with Call of Duty 3 followed by the story arcs of Modern Warfare trilogy, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare as well as World at War and the Black Ops trilogy until November 2015. Call of Duty began on PS4 with a port of Call of Duty: Ghosts in November 2013 followed by every game in the series thus far up to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Call of Duty has had its portable releases in the past with the standouts being both PlayStation releases including Call of Duty: Roads to Victory for PSP in March 2007 and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified on Vita in November 2012.

The major question entering Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare must be if the game can bring anything new to the table to continue the attempts of reinventing the series to differentiate Infinite Warfare from the other games in the long-standing blockbuster series.

The story revolves around a conflict instigated by Settlement Defense Front (SDF) against the United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) and the Solar Associated Treaty Organisation (SATO) as SDF believe they are the deserved inheritors of the entire solar system as their way of life is superior and far purer than anyone on planet Earth even though they are willing to destroy and conquer anyone who opposes them.

The story campaign is as compelling as ever; spanning seven main missions and nine side missions comprising of five Jackal side missions and four ship boarding side missions. Further activities include a most wanted bounties board of 30 villains who must be found and brought to justice between SDF officers, commanders and pilots. There are no longer intel packages scattered throughout the levels to collect, although the computer in the Captain’s office contains some back story via audio recordings and documentation.

Zombies in Spaceland revolves around a director of horror films who had retired but wants to make a comeback to create a new horror film starring three young actors and an actress who have to take on hordes of zombies for real with a story set in the 1980s that is told through cartoon stylised cutscenes. If you have played the zombies mode in a previous Call of Duty, then the core gameplay is pretty similar such as earning in-game currency for killing zombies, having to pay a fee to open up a new area, finding a generator to switch the power back on and needing to barricade entrances to slow down the incoming onslaught of zombies. There are ten perk stations spread throughout Spaceland that provide new abilities for a fee, allowing players to carry up to five perks, although you will lose all perks and have to repurchase them if your character is killed by the hordes of zombies, while some zombies will drop ammo or temporary power-ups after you have killed them. A deck of Fate and Fortune cards provide certain additional abilities such as your grenade slot regenerating over time, regenerating health faster, sniper rifle hits always producing critical hits and much more besides, but you can only utilise an ability when you have filled your Fate and Fortune Meter. The Magic Wheel awards a random weapon to players in exchange for a small fee with some weapons unavailable outside of the Magic Wheel, although caution is advised as the Magic Wheel will award a consolation prize when it feels like it. Depending upon how far you have progressed into Spaceland; players will be given the opportunity to visit the Afterlife Arcade to earn a soul token to revive your character and continue your journey into Spaceland if you are successful in the arcade or retro game you select with a fantastic choice between an arcade shooting gallery, Barnstorming, Black Hole, Bowling for Planets, Chopper Command, Cosmic Commuter, Cryptid Attack, Demon Attack, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, Rings of Saturn, River Raid II, Robot Tank, Spider Fighter and Zombie Zoom.

Infinite Warfare’s possesses a mixture of modern and futuristic weaponry including energy weapons such as Erad are futuristic rapid fire weaponry with a dispersion muzzle reducing recoil and producing high accuracy, while R.A.W. utilises a strong fire rate and high-capacity power cell for maintained output. Secondary weaponry includes an EMC semi-auto energy pistol and a ballistic pistol named Hailstorm delivers a 3 round burst through a triple chamber stack. A Seeker Grenade looks foreboding as it is reminiscent of a robotic spider that scans for nearby enemies before exploding, while a Plasma Grenade sprays burning plasma in all directions and a Flechette Grenade splinters into multiple grenades on impact which is also accompanied by a range of gadgets and perks. When onboard your ship; you can test the recommended and further available weapon loadouts in a virtual reality firing range against projected enemies in a style reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions. A hook can be utilised to not only latch onto a ledge on a distant object in outer space, but to also pull enemies towards you before a quick melee attack finishes them off. Infinite Warfare replaces intel package collectibles with weapons focused collectibles that are scanned the first time you collect them and are added to the weaponry within your armoury for loadout selections prior to starting a new mission.

Character design is exceptional as every character from a villain to your character’s arch nemesis through to Captain Nick Reyes and his close team of allies are believable. A robot named Ethan is assigned to Captain Nick Reyes’ team and is endearing as he is clearly attempting to be a team player despite doubts from one or two members that are assisting their team.

Environment design during the story campaign of Infinite Warfare has really been elevated to another level of diversity as you will find Captain Nick Reyes on Earth during a celebratory festival before being catapulted into outer space during aerial dogfights and zero-gravity combat.

The Jackal spacecraft is the main star of Infinite Warfare’s vehicles and quite possibly from every Call of Duty game. The Jackal spacecraft produces some of the most engaging space combat in recent years of videogames, while taking players into outer space at unbelievable speeds and effective movement in flight.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered features as a huge part of the downloadable content as it is exclusive to the Legacy Edition of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare which when purchased at retail includes a single use redeem code for Modern Warfare Remastered and Infinite Warfare must be simultaneously installed in order to be able to play Modern Warfare Remastered. There is a free downloadable Jackal Assault PlayStation VR experience that was developed in collaboration between Infinity Ward and VR developer Paper Crane Games which sees the player fully immersed in a cockpit view when piloting a Jackal fighter during a training exercise that turns into a mission of survival when your Jackal fighter comes under fire. There will be downloadable content available in the year following the release of the game with a season pass available to effectively pre-order each of the four content packs at a cheaper bundled price of £39.99 including new multiplayer maps, zombie maps and much more such as the possibility of new characters and weaponry, therefore it would be great to see a return to something along the lines of the star studded Call of the Dead downloadable content from Black Ops.

Call of Duty has previously made an appearance on Vita in the form of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified and even the PSP with Call of Duty: Roads to Victory, although there has never been a port of a home console Call of Duty game, but at least there is remote play as a consolation for players who want a home console Call of Duty experience on Vita. Infinite Warfare’s performance during remote play is stunning as it possesses the same quality of graphics, audio and general performance as the PS4 home console release. There are plenty of positive optimisations that make the controls feel as natural as the DualShock 4 controller as aiming has moved from L2 to L and shooting has been re-mapped to R instead of R2 which was important for two of the fundamental areas of the control scheme, while throwing tactical and lethal grenades is now mapped to the bottom left and right of the touch screen respectively, alongside L3 for sprinting now being re-mapped to holding the left of the rear touch pad, using the right of the rear touch pad to perform a melee attack and tapping the touch screen to produce the scoreboard during multiplayer. Control scheme optimisations have made for a comfortable and exciting remote play experience, while even the space combat performs like a dream as it reflects the optimised control scheme of the on-foot controls to make piloting the Jackal spacecraft a really unique experience, especially on Vita.

The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the default control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire a weapon; pressing L2 to aim down sight; pressing R1 to throw a frag grenade or use equipment; pressing L1 to use tactical equipment; pressing X to jump or pressing X again at the peak of your jump to perform a boost jump; pressing square to reload or use an object such as opening an unlocked door, breaching a locked door or entering a vehicle; pressing O to crouch, slide or go prone; pressing triangle to switch between your primary and secondary weapons; pressing up on the d-pad to enter Jackal aiming; pressing down on the d-pad to switch to the underbarrel attachment of a weapon; pressing L3 to sprint or hold breath; pressing R3 to melee an enemy or change the zoom of your scoped weapon; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move forward or backward and strafe left or right; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look up or down and rotating left or right; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad displays the scoreboard in split-screen or online multiplayer games, while the DualShock 4 vibrates for every bullet wound inflicted upon your character, heavy impact landings, explosions and the recoil of your weapon as it is fired, alongside light bar implementation which produces some vibrant colours at times during multiplayer, although it would have been more appropriate to produce various tones of green through yellow, orange and red to show your health conditioning along with flashing red for near death.

There are a number of alternative control schemes to change the feel of the controls to specifically how you prefer them with six options for the stick layout and ten choices for the button layout which is an excellent design choice as it provides the player with the confidence of knowing that there is a definitive control scheme that will perfectly match their play style.

Graphically, Infinite Warfare’s story campaign pushes the visual quality of the series to another level with an incredible lifelike feel to your allies and enemies even to the point of there being a certain expression of emotion contained within the eyes that is lacking in most games. Infinite Warfare produces a performance of excellent flawless consistency at 60 frames-per-second on PS4, while PS4 Pro utilises various techniques to achieve 4K output.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, mission select menu, zombies menus, multiplayer menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. The background of the main menu reinforces the anticipation of an advanced futuristic battle in outer space by displaying ever moving shapes that resemble an advanced piloting heads-up display.

Brian Bloom voices Captain Nick Reyes having previously provided sensational performances voicing the heroic lead character William ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz in Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood with an equal measure of quality carrying over to his performance as Captain Nick Reyes, while Jamie Gray Hyder voices your sidekick Lieutenant Nora Salter having previously voiced Echo in Killzone: Shadow Fall. David Harewood convincingly portrays the diplomatic Sergeant Omar having performed as Joel Steadman in The Night Manager and J’onn J’onzz, Hank Henshaw and Cyborg Superman in Supergirl. Claudia Black voices Audrey ‘Mac’ MaCallum having previously voiced Chloe Frazer in the Uncharted 2, 3, multiplayer in 4 and Lost Legacy, Queen Marwen in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Admiral Daro’Xen vas Moreh and Matriarch Aethyta in Mass Effect 2 and 3 as well as television series such as Farscape, Stargate SG-1 and Containment. Claudia Christian voices Captain Maureen Ferran having previously voiced Desdemona, Mrs. Whitfield and Mistress Mysterious in Fallout 4, Aela the Huntress, Legate Rikke and Adrianne Avenicci in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and starred in television series Babylon 5 as Susan Ivanova. Kit Harrington voices the villainous Admiral Salen Kotch being known for his performance as Jon Snow in the television series Game of Thrones. There are also appearances from multi-time F1 Driver’s World Champion Lewis Hamilton as Officer Carl Hamilton and UFC World Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor as Captain Bradley Fillion. Zombies in Spaceland has a different line-up of voice-over talent such as David Hasselhoff as DJ having starred in television series including Baywatch and Knight Rider, while Paul Reubens voicing Willard Wyler having previously starred as Elijah Van Dahl in Gotham and Batman Returns as Penguin’s father, voicing Ivor in Minecraft: Story Mode and starring as Pee-Wee Herman, alongside Seth Green voicing Poindexter having previously voiced dozens of characters in Robot Chicken, Chris Griffin in Family Guy and starring as Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is so much talent in performance capture and voice-overs spread throughout the entire cast even to the point of Craig Fairbrass who previously voiced Gaz, Ghost and Walcroft from the Modern Warfare trilogy return to provide additional voice-overs.

Sound effects include walking, running, wall-running, boost jumping, reloading, shooting at enemies and enemies returning fire and explosions as well as Jackal space combat sounds such as engaging engine thrusters, shooting missiles and cannons, ejecting flares, explosions and more besides, alongside atmospheric and climactic music that increases the tension or provides a cinematic impact when it needs to. The DualShock 4 speaker produces sound effects such as beeps when sending or receiving radio transmissions when particularly in a Jackal spacecraft and when oxygen has depleted during the story campaign or counting down to the start of a multiplayer match and receiving a perk.

The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 37 bronze trophies, 12 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Boots on the Ground bronze trophy for going two minutes without double jumping or wall running in a mission where these abilities are available which should be earned naturally during the first mission; the New Gun Collector bronze trophy for scanning your first weapon; and the Captain’s Log bronze trophy for using the computer in the Captain’s office which is possible immediately after the second mission. The hardest trophy includes The Longest Day gold trophy for completing every main mission and side mission on veteran difficulty. There is a single online multiplayer trophy including the Dominion bronze trophy for winning five online multiplayer matches. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.

There are four difficulty levels including recruit, regular, hardened and veteran with the major differences between each difficulty level being less efficient in combat, although still fairly capable all the way through to a devastatingly accurate shoot on sight policy, flanking and sneaking up behind you, throwing a grenade in front of you to make you concentrate on immediate evasive action instead of the imminent gunfire and even reacting to noise and nearby gunfire to quickly engage in further combat. Completing the story campaign on any difficulty level unlocks Specialist Mode which increases the realism beyond that of veteran difficulty by introducing a range of modifiers. Modifiers include no longer automatically regenerating health instead having to find NanoShots to partially replenish your health and heal injuries, while a helmet protects the player from a headshot, although the helmet will deteriorate after receiving a few headshots in which case it will need to be replaced otherwise the player will be susceptible to a headshot or could even suffocate when without air. Further changes include reactions to being shot in the left arm resulting in slower reloading and no longer being able to aim down sights after receiving severe damage, while being shot in the right arm will increase weapon sway regardless of firing from the hip or aiming down sights. Damage to the legs may result in players falling to the ground after being shot or when positioned close to an explosion with severe damage potentially leading to prone or crouched movement, while danger close explosions or stray bullets making contact with the player’s weapon or hand may result in the weapon being dropped which will trigger a quick time event sequence to retrieve it from mid-air or attaining it from the ground. However, it does not quite end there; as if players have the skills to complete the entirety of the story campaign on Special Mode, then you will be rewarded with YOLO Mode which intensifies the realism to that of a permadeath experience in which players only have a single life to complete the story campaign and if that life is lost, then you must restart the story campaign from the very beginning.

The two player split-screen multiplayer performs flawlessly even when the maximum capacity of ten bots in individual competition or five per team in team based competition is on-screen simultaneously with elements of destruction such as cars that can be destroyed after receiving a few bullets and everything happening at a frantic pace. The online multiplayer performs the same even during split-screen online multiplayer with just as much destruction taking place at any given time with a maximum of 18 players participating in the same game.

The local multiplayer and online multiplayer components consist of a distinctly less than usual 10 maps with some based upon areas from the story campaign. Unfortunately, the maps do not live up to the single player environments as they are mostly restricted to ground combat situated in scientific laboratories which are quite reminiscent to those from Infinite Warfare’s predecessors that are positioned on an asteroid or a different planet with more of an emphasis on the interior than exploring the exterior. This conflicts with the style of the single player story campaign that is all about going to far distance places in outer space as stepping foot outside a barrier will immediately produce a rather harsh three second countdown warning for you to return to the combat area or your character will be killed instead of automatically respawning resulting in not being able to engage in combat next to the volcanic activity taking place on the surface of Scorch. A lack of exploration is also further emphasised by the roofs of structures or buildings that can clearly be reached; suddenly presenting an invisible barrier reducing your freedom of movement despite a double boost jump and the ability of wall-running. A map such as Skydock should really allow players to drift into outer space for a strategic sniper kill as the map is clearly positioned in outer space instead of within a planet’s gravity or Scorch set on the surface of an asteroid near the sun with lava and magma being produced; yet they are still all about metallic scientific laboratories instead of space exploration and there is absolutely no sign of zero-gravity during multiplayer gameplay. The disappointment at the lack of zero-gravity even when maps are set in outer space is compounded by the lack of any vehicular space combat as the Jackal spacecraft is nowhere to be seen or piloted during multiplayer which is a shame as it would have really elevated Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer gameplay and variety to a diversity never before seen in the Call of Duty series.

In Call of Duty tradition; maps are accompanied by an absolute plethora of game modes spread across a variety of categories including standard modes and alternate modes. If you are familiar with the multiplayer component in the Call of Duty series, then you will already know the classic modes such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, Search and Destroy and Kill Confirmed to eSports favourites such as Uplink, Capture the Flag and Hardpoint as well as standard modes such as Free-for-all and Search and Rescue which all feel incredibly different to one another in their approach and potential play styles. There are however some multiplayer modes from previous Call of Duty games that have not been retained including Momentum from Advanced Warfare which saw players attempting to capture all of the flags to win, although killing enemies would increase the speed of capturing flags and Safeguard from Black Ops III in which the offensive team would guide a robot to a designated point, although the defensive team would attempt to disable the robot before the offensive team completed their objective.

Deathmatch style modes include Free-for-all in which it is every man for himself with the first player to reach the score limit ending the game or otherwise the highest scores are counted after the time limit has expired with the top three players on the podium being classed as successful in the match; Team Deathmatch is a team based version of Free-for-all in which both teams are attempting to win the game by reaching the score limit or having the most kills when the time limit expires; and Kill Confirmed sees everyone attempting to recover dog tags to score for your team and deny the enemy from scoring. Capture the Flag variants such as the original Capture the Flag mode sees both teams vying to claim the enemy team’s flag, take it to their base and complete the capture by touching the enemy’s flag back at their base; Domination sees you attempting to capture and hold the designated positions to gain points against the competing team; Hardpoint sees two teams attempting to capture and hold hardpoints; and Defender in which both teams attempt to capture and hold the drone to upload data. Mission objective based modes include Uplink that sees both teams throwing or carrying the Satellite Drone to the Uplink Station; Search and Destroy in which both teams take turns to defend and destroy an objective; Search and Rescue which sees both teams take turns to defend and destroy an objective with the twist being the recovery of dog tags allowing or preventing respawns; and Reinforce sees both teams attempting to capture every point in order to win the round with an added incentive being placed on players capturing points to revive fallen teammates. Alternate modes include Gun Game which tasks every player with the objective of being the first player to score a kill with each of the provided weapons, while Drop Zone sees players maintaining control of the Drop Zone to earn points and drone packages. Further modes have been patched into Infinite Warfare post-launch such as Frontline which is a variation of Team Deathmatch with the main difference involving both teams spawning on the opposite side of the map, while Infected is a mode previously seen in Advanced Warfare which sees eliminated survivors become infected with the aim being to infect every player in the game or survive the longest duration of the game to win.

There are six Combat Rigs available in split-screen and online multiplayer gameplay that are effectively classes focused on specific areas of combat containing 8 sets of pre-set loadouts. The Warfighter rig is an assault class that is suited to all-round combat scenarios; Merc class rig provides heavy defense and suppressive fire; Synaptic is a C6 class remote controlled robot optimised for speed and close quarters combat; FTL is a prototype class which utilises state of the art technology to provide an advantage in combat; Stryker class equipped for squad support via suppressive fire upon enemies; and Phantom class specialising in long-range combat from cover.

The only negatives of the entire multiplayer component is that the split-screen multiplayer is for only two players; despite the complaints regarding the reduction of four player split-screen to just two players since Call of Duty: Ghosts brought the series to the PS4, while Black Ops III’s co-operative multiplayer story campaign has been dropped. However, there is two player split-screen online multiplayer across all game modes which certainly helps to retain a social aspect of the multiplayer component; regardless of if you want to play in a private lobby and invite people into it from your friends list or search for a game online.

The replayability is strong throughout the game including quite possibly the best story campaign with world class performances from an incredible cast, four difficulty levels to adjust the experience appropriately to your skill level in addition to the unlockable Specialist Mode and YOLO Mode, unpredictability of chaotic multiplayer with over a dozen multiplayer modes and the latest Zombies co-operative multiplayer story.

 

Analysis

  • Title: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • Developer: Infinity Ward
  • Publisher: Activision
  • System: PS4
  • Format: Retail/PSN Download
  • Cross-Buy: No
  • Cross-Play: No
  • Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer)/2-18 (Online or Split-Screen Online Multiplayer)
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 49GB
Jason

Jason

Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel.Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

So what do you think?

%d bloggers like this: