Prior to writing this review I looked back at the six Call of Duty games I’ve played and I realised something.
All of my good memories of CoD can be traced back to the Modern Warfare games. I could discuss how ‘All Ghillied Up’ is an all-time great level or the pros and cons of ‘No Russian’, for days. Sadly, bar a dog in Ghosts and a now inappropriate turn by Kevin Spacey in Advanced, nothing comes to mind from this generation’s entries. The same old stuff but with characters I don’t care about. Played a Call of Duty game? You’ve played all of them. It’s just different scenery.
To be fair, Infinite Warfare does provide some cool scenery. The main reason I borrowed the game is that I had the chance to do ‘space stuff’. The transition to space from the ground is pleasingly seamless, and the Jackals you tear around in look cool. The only issue I have with them is that they move much like people. They don’t feel mechanical in their movement and there’s sense acceleration/deceleration. The cast all look very life-like, with some impressive motion capture, but my favourite character was a robot. Take from that what you will. Everything else is as you’d expect; lots of acronyms, the odd oohrah, and a bad guy that isn’t fleshed out at all.
Infinite does what CoD does, which is take a passing glance at deeper ideas as it shoves you towards the next set piece
It took me roughly 8 hours to finish the campaign. As the credits rolled I was given the option to play messages from characters I lost through the story. These messages, to each comrade’s loved ones, are a pretty heavy way to wrap up the game. This would be a very emotional ending if the game had done anything to deserve it. There’s a lot of talk about duty and loss but none of it hits home. I expect a bit of drama in these games, and maybe a character I’ll miss. But Infinite does what CoD does, which is take a passing glance at deeper ideas as it shoves you towards the next set piece, leading to something intended to be emotionally charged coming across as a late and heavy-handed grab at emotion.
In 2014 Activision arranged a new rotational cycle to give developers Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games more time to work on games yet keep up the yearly release. A sound plan right? Judging by Infinite Warfare—a pretty and competent game that is as deep as a puddle—it hasn’t helped.
Note – I didn’t play the multiplayer part of Infinite Warfare. I borrowed the game from a friend and had no intention of getting into online play with Battlefront II on the horizon!