Infinite Warfare should have been just as revolutionary as Call of Duty 4 • Eurogamer.net
There is a mission at the start of the Infinite Warfare campaign in which you attack the moon. Most shooters would think the assault on the moon is a pretty grand premise for 30 minutes of glowing virtual heads. But in Operation Port Armor, the assault on the moon is just the beginning. After clearing the SDF soldiers’ lunar gateway (which you can do by blowing the spaceport windows, sucking your enemies into space), you then board your Jackal battleship and hop into lunar orbit for a prolonged aerial combat with SDF fighters launching from a nearby Destroyer.
But the mission does not end there. Once the enemy fighters are on the ground (or up – it’s space after all), you land your Jackal for a Zero-G assault on the destroyer itself, floating along its hull before drill a hole in the deck and evacuate the remaining crew from inside. All of this is delivered in a single sequence, from exiting the vehicle bay of the capital vessel Retribution to blowing the last SDF soldiers out of the destroyer’s airlock.
Operation Port Armor is possibly the best individual Call of Duty mission since Modern Warfare’s “All Ghillied Up,” and one of the many reasons Infinite Warfare is my favorite Call of Duty of the past decade. Call of Duty has spent years struggling to escape the shadow of the historic 2007 first-person shooter, with results ranging from Black Ops madness to Ghosts misery. In Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward delivered a daring and imaginative sci-fi adventure that broke new ground in ways the series had never seen before, and thanks to the surprisingly negative response to these innovations, it didn’t. not seen since.
Infinite Warfare is set in 2187, giving players a vision of the future similar to that of Expanse. Humanity has reached beyond the Earth but not the sun, colonizing Mars and establishing border-like outposts on distant moons such as Europe and Titan. The spread of humanity gave rise to new political factions and tensions beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, culminating in the formation of the Colonial Defense Force, or SDF.
The campaign begins when these tensions turn into outright war. After the Army botched a reconnaissance mission to a darkened Europa research center, SDF chief Salen Kotch launched a full-scale attack on a Naval Fleet Parada in Geneva. Your character, Captain Reyes, is on the ground at the time of the attack and must fight through the bombed-out city to regain control of its defense systems.
In terms of spectacle and linearity, Black Sky is a familiar Call of Duty affair. But even at this early stage, Infinite Warfare strives to stand out from previous games in the series. Black Sky is considerably longer than your average Call of Duty mission, letting Infinity Ward build Geneva like a space and giving you time to understand the game’s vision for the future. The level also introduces a bunch of new gadgets and mechanics, like researcher drones that attach to enemies before exploding, hacking devices that allow you to take control of enemy robots and use them to attack your enemies by behind.
It already sounds more unusual and adventurous, but these are just tastes of what’s to come. For the first time in nearly a decade, Infinite Warfare is introducing entirely new combat systems to Call of Duty. Space duels let you fight enemy spaceships in your Jackal, blast fighters and destroyers with missiles and heavy cannons, while Zero-G combat sees you float through asteroid fields and the along the exteriors of spaceships, using jet thrusters and a grappling hook to scour the environments, searching for chunks of trash to use as cover in the void of dangerously exposed space. Above all, these weren’t disposable gadgets, which dominated the games that followed Modern Warfare. These are fundamental elements at the heart of the multifaceted missions of the campaign.
And what are these missions. The larger web of the solar system allows Infinity Ward’s imagination to run wild. After Operation Port Armor, Reyes and his crew travel to Titan to sabotage a SDF supply station. Here, they weave through the yellow-tinted canyons of Saturn’s largest moon as methane rain trickles down their helmets and the vast ringed planet looms on the horizon. This is followed by my favorite personal mission, a search and rescue operation on an asteroid spinning on a collision course with the sun. Here you have to rush between the shelters to avoid being incinerated by the 900-degree surface temperatures as you investigate why the asteroid’s mining facility has turned dark. It really brings the horror and hostility of space exploration through, and that’s before you start being attacked by armies of mad robots.
Call of Duty has always been a series of globetrotters, and therefore the ability to expand beyond the globe suits it perfectly. Yet despite the vast geographic leaps, Infinite Warfare is arguably the most cohesive Call of Duty campaign. Unlike every other game in the series, Infinite Warfare simulates the connective tissue between levels. Most missions are preceded by a preparation stage, where you head to the Retribution armory to select your loadout, then take the elevator to the docking bay to board your ship. Likewise, they end with your return to the Retribution before heading to the bridge for the next briefing. Infinite Warfare even represents a journey between planets, with dramatic “warp” sequences reminiscent of the Enterprise crew swinging in their chairs in Star Trek. All of this helps to sell you the fiction, to make the future portrayal of Infinite Warfare cohesive and believable.
The whole experience is more ambitious than any Call of Duty before or since Modern Warfare. Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. I don’t mind the story of Infinite Warfare. He’s got some pretty sympathetic characters, including David Harewood’s gruff Staff Sergeant and a comedic murderous robot called Ethan. But it is undermined by a weak enemy. When I first played it I thought the problem was Kit Harington’s disappointing performance as Salen Kotch. But the problem is wider than that. The motives and beliefs of the homeless are thinner than the atmosphere of Mars. Unlike Expanse, Infinite Warfare has no real interest in exploring the politics behind its sci-fi warfare.
But Infinite Warfare’s biggest problem, and what separates it the most from Call of Duty 4, is that its ideas and innovations don’t translate into multiplayer. While the campaign features Zero-G spaceships and combat and a plethora of spellbinding locations, multiplayer essentially adds wall races and double jumps to the existing Call of Duty model. It’s incredibly conservative, and Infinity Ward’s reluctance to push the boundaries here represents one of the biggest missed opportunities in the series.
If Infinite Warfare had replicated its multiplayer ambitions, it would undoubtedly be more appreciated today, and Call of Duty as a series would look very different, pushing into new spaces rather than regurgitating old glories. Make no mistake, WWII 2017 and Modern Warfare 2019 were both games well done, while the latter served as a springboard for Warzone, by far the most exciting thing Call of Duty has done in years. chandeliers. But the games themselves were born out of nostalgia, limited in what new they could bring.
Hopefully Infinite Ward brings Infinite Warfare back at some point and gives the Jackals a second outing. But even if they don’t, I think the reputation of the game will only improve over time. The joys of Call of Duty multiplayer are fleeting and only last until the next entry in the series. It’s the single-player mode that continues, and the Infinite Warfare campaign is one of the best in Call of Duty.