Talking about Infinite Warfare without contextualizing its release within an important franchise such as Call of Duty that would be absolutely insane. To fully understand what this chapter means for the Activision series and for Infinity Ward, it is necessary not only to bring up the somewhat uncomfortable comparison with the saga-in-the-saga of Modern Warfare (especially in light of the parallel release of the Call of Duty 4 remastered), but also keep in mind the work done last year by Treyarch with Black Ops III and how "we broke up" with Infinity Ward herself, returning after the three-year sabbatical that followed a not very successful Call of Duty: Ghosts. In short, Infinite Warfare is a romance whose text would like to talk about revenge, about how the Californian studio wants to return to dictate the law in that series that gave birth and accompanied in its best moments. He certainly does not succeed fully (on the other hand, the music, like the arcade genre of the First Person Shooter, has changed in these three years), but certainly not for demerits from a playful point of view. Let's proceed in order.
Version tested: PlayStation 4
Jon Snow goes Nazi
The setting that is the background to the events is quite traditional from the point of view of Sci-Fi: the resources present on Earth are no longer enough and man is therefore forced to colonize space. The colonies, in a large-scale revival of the war of independence between Great Britain and the USA, however, decide to do battle with the earthlings, guilty in their opinion of having enjoyed a comfortable life that they, in deep space, could not make other than to envy. The influence of the Settlement Defense Front (or SetDef, abbreviated) from this point of view it is crucial, given that over the years those who are the antagonists of the campaign have put under the yoke of their discipline (a society where freedom is considered an obstacle rather than a right and obliged, at the age of 12, to perform compulsory military service up to 27) most of the colonies of the solar system. It springs from it a full-scale attack just on the day when the forces of the UNSA (United Nation Space Alliance) and the SATO (Solar Associated Treaty Organization), the "good guys" of the campaign, are celebrating with the traditional parade for the benefit of civilians where all the main ships from war of the union. The result? Only two elements in the arsenal, the Retribution and the Tigris, survive the destruction, and they will be tasked with buying time on the battlefield while the war effort on Earth focuses on rebuilding weapons.
Less explaining, more action: the campaign has been better than last year
As Captain Reyes, the campaign (lasting approximately six hours in total) it flows much smoother than what we saw a year ago in Black Ops III: either for the mission setting of most of the mode (from which one assumes command of the Retribution onwards, the player can decide with some freedom how to move, also addressing secondary missions), or for the absence of "explanations "That Treyarch used extensively in the last chapter, the final result is more solid and can be played without any problems, even putting on the plate some very cinematic moments and managing to deepen, albeit with a certain lightness, some aspects related to the psychology of characters. The figure of Reyes is contrasted by that of Admiral Kotch (played by Kit Harington, the Jon Snow of Game of Thrones), who manages to give the screen a few moments in which the ideals of SetDef are captured in all their rawness, although these are solutions already seen in large part and already tested by the genre (impossible not to see more than a few references to the Gundam series). It also ranges from a playful point of view: in fact - especially if you decide to play the secondary missions - you find yourself facing sections in which, before boarding the enemy ship on duty, you take part in a battle in space aboard the Jackal space fighters (whose mechanics are then also taken up by the content for PlayStation VR released for free stand-alone), made with the typical very arcade setting that Infinity Ward has accustomed us to in such scenarios but, ultimately, certainly fun to deal with. Even once in the heart of the enemy ship, then, the approaches are variable, since the enemies are divided into two categories (human, more sensitive to traditional blows, and robotic, vulnerable to energy attacks) and the available arsenal embraces different possibilities, from the spider-grenades that chase the target to the possibility of taking control, similar to what we saw in Black Ops III, of some enemy robotic troops for a few moments. Mecha enemies that act as tanks and enemies equipped with frontal shields (and therefore to be hit from behind) do the rest, giving a package that, even if it cannot play on equal terms with the fictional political plot of Modern Warfare narratively, on a playful level it envies very little of its illustrious predecessor, especially if you then analyze the offer that can be accessed after the first run. Once the experience is completed, you enter the Specialist mode, where the automatic recovery of health disappears and the game takes into account the damage suffered in the various parts of the body (do you get injured in the arm? Aiming becomes much more difficult), and the in-game interface is fully housed in the helmet, which can be destroyed if too many hits are received. Valuable addition, as on the other hand we can say for the YOLO mode (You Only Live Once, "you only live once") which introduces the concept of permadeath in the campaign. Too bad that, as mentioned, it is necessary to complete the game once to unlock Specialist and then complete the latter to play the second, and that both do not find a place in the playful offer outside the campaign itself.
True SurvivorInfinity Ward reinterprets a classic. Too bad the spec-ops are missing
From this point of view, in fact, it is unfortunate that, in a certain sense, for once it is Infinity Ward to follow Treyarch as regards the second course of the title: with Infinite Warfare the Californian team proposes its own version of the now iconic Zombie mode, abandoning (more in the concept than in the mechanics, but we'll get to it in a few lines) the Extinction proposed in Ghosts and above all the Special Operations "to Modern Warfare 2", which in a frame like the one presented in the main campaign (especially in Specialist mode) would have represented a damn satisfying experience to play in cooperative, local or online, since compared to the last chapter the campaign can only be tackled alone. As mentioned, however, Infinity Ward reinterprets the typical plot of the mode, which rather than focusing on the survival elements tries to make the four unfortunates play (they take on the role of actors called to shoot a distinctly 80s Zombie film, with stereotypes such as the nerd, the rapper and the football player) with the rifle in hand, in search of the necessary points to unlock the various locations of the haunted amusement park that is the background to the events and to activate the Fate and Fortune cards, modifiers that confer bonuses during the course of the game. In the case of Game Over, it is then possible to return to the field by accumulating enough spirit energy by playing the various minigames present in the amusement park arcade, which range from Skeet Ball to some vintage cabinets where the Activision logo is displayed. Pad in hand, in short, you have fun in this case too (and you can only appreciate, given the very 80s setting, the cameo of David Hasselhoff in the role of the DJ of the park), but there remains a bit of a bitterness in the mouth to see that this year Infinity Ward has decided to follow Treyarch sitting at his game table, rather than looking for a stronger and more precise identity for Infinite Warfare.
But it's still the same game!
Call of Duty fans will have by now lost count of the times they have heard from someone how the series, basically, proposes itself the same every year without adding new substance. This statement is undoubtedly false (and this year we have the counter-proof since it is enough to start Modern Warfare Remastered, but we will talk more about it in the review dedicated to the title), that this year, on the other hand, cannot be denied is going to materialize. From the point of view of the game mechanics, in fact, Infinite Warfare is a very close relative of Black Ops III, re-proposing its structure in most part and leaving very little room for changes and adjustments.
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Call of Duty: Black Ops III
The gameplay is basically the same as seen last year in Black Ops III
So the now abused Pick 10 returns, which allows you to create the equipment with which the player takes to the battlefields proposed this year by spending ten skill points as he sees fit rather than forcing him to choose primary, secondary weapon, grenades and passive perks. Fields that, it must be said, compared to last year do not have the annoying invisible walls, and, on the design front, alternate more claustrophobic situations along the lines of the Arena trend with spaces with a wider scope. Signs of progress, which, however, do not make it less evident that the gameplay is going to reproduce the scenario of last year practically in full.: very high pace, time to kill generally very low (crossing an opponent means that most likely one of the two will be killed in a few moments), all in all quite classic arsenal even with some new entries to peep out and, above all, the presence of Battle Kits, roughly similar to Black Ops III Specialists. The six characters proposed are in fact equipped with a Super ability that is activated after accumulating a certain number of points, as well as two passive abilities that slightly alter the experience of the base soldier. The rest of the arsenal, with the only constraint of having to unlock the weapons, is freely usable regardless of the Kit chosen, thus basically leaving only the "trio" of exclusive skills to make the difference between one or the other class. The Specter, for example, embodies the classic sniper (in our opinion, not very useful in a game as mobile and frenetic as Infinite Warfare) capable of concealing and effective over long distances, while the mercenary acts in practice as a Tank with his heavy weapon and possibility, unlocked a particular skill, to use a syringe to accelerate the restoration of health. The Guerrilla, on the other hand, is the classic excellent compromise on medium distance, especially since with his Super Ability he can hit enemies even with the bounce of his bullets on the playing surfaces; Sinapsi, finally, is a class more based on hit and run, being able to take advantage of its two very fast machine guns or the ability of Rewind. Taking inspiration from other shooters, then, in-game it is also possible to face some team missions, which bestow rewards for playing by completing particular tasks (for example, killing enemies with a number of different weapons). Nothing new in short, but, if you liked last year's soup, you will hardly get up from the Infinity Ward table dissatisfied, if not for the lack of courage of the aforementioned team. Especially since, like last year, the crafting system (the one on which in practice the dreaded microtransactions will impact) does not seem to have such an all-encompassing impact in the game: yes, weapons in practice appear in their common, rare incarnation. or legendary, but the statistics do not increase (in most cases) so drastically and, considering that, as mentioned, the time-to-kill tends to be lower, the current balance seems safe enough.
Mars AeternumFluidity, as usual, beats visual impact
From a technical point of view, Infinite Warfare forces us to open this last paragraph with a sore point: after being back in vogue last year with Black Ops III, local multiplayer for four players, as confirmed on the official forum of the series, back on the bench again and does not find its place in the offer packaged by Infinity Ward. A pity, which undoubtedly takes away some points of appeal from this year's chapter and gives it to the past edition edited by Treyarch. The visual side instead, as usual, does not impress and does not want to impress (although there are some interesting glimpses both during the campaign and in the pre-game videos dedicated to the various online maps), focusing strongly (as it should be) on the fluidity of the maneuver, essential even more so today given the direction that the brand (and the arcade genre of the shooter in general) is deciding to undertake, going to borrow and overlap aspects that a few years ago crowded the various Arena shooters such as Quake and Unreal.Verdict 8/10 You know nothing, Admiral Kotch Comment Undoubtedly better than Ghosts then, but overall a little too pro-Black Ops III: Infinity Ward this year decides to play it safe enough, not inventing anything and re-proposing in large part the same mechanics seen in the Treyarch chapter. A winning team does not change, and it must be said that in fact, net of these considerations, everything works. On the contrary: from the point of view of the campaign mode (as much as we regret the Special Operations seen in Modern Warfare are missing), everything certainly works better, although there is no possibility to play the story together with other friends. In short, not the relaunch in grand style that a longtime fan would have liked to see, but in any case a solid and fun product to play, even if the news are still very few. Pros and cons ✓ The campaign works
✓ As usual, lots of contents
✓ Specialist mode guessed ... x ... But to be unlocked
x Few news
x Removed the split screen for 4