Dislikes be Damned: My Hands-On Impression of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

By Blair Nokes on September 7, 2016, 11:15AM EDT

"‹I was given the privilege of trying out Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare this weekend at the Call of Duty XP media event in Los Angeles. The event is taking place at The Forum Club, and gave a chance for players to test the reveal of the Multiplayer, Playstation VR, and of course the new Zombies mode. Advanced Warfare really set the bar high for me with the inclusion of the EXO-suit and dynamic change to your character's movement. Black Ops 3 elevated the experience with far more open levels to play around with the game's boost jumping and wall running mechanics, a fine tuning of the boost-jumping ability and overall manoeuvrability and with its shift to having character-specific Specialists that all offer a wide array of abilities and mechanics unique to one another. This year, Infinity Ward aimed to really take the classic formula in bold new directions, while still maintaining Call of Duty's essence.

"‹Similar to Black Ops 3's Specialists, Infinite Warfare's multiplayer lets you control one of six possible Combat Rigs. Combat Rigs are essentially suits worn by the player in multiplayer matches, each with their own effective way to hone in on certain play styles. Warfighter is the typical Mid-range assault class, Stryker offers tactical support, Phantom is the marksman, Merc is the heavy assault class, FTL is the assassin, and Synaptic focuses purely on close quarters combat. One of the better improvements is, unlike BO3's Specialists, you may swap these Rigs on the fly mid-match. This really lets you focus and strategize what you or your team may need depending on the flow of the game. Each Rig contains "˜payloads' and "˜traits' to personalize and customize your loadout. Payloads may be either powerful weapons or abilities, where traits act as activited or triggered abilities, or overcharged enhancements. Players will select one payload and one trait to bring into the match. I mainly used FTL during most of my experience with the multiplayer, and they had two we were able to use for the preview: Eraser is a compact energy based handgun that vaporizes enemies in a very satisfying manner. FTL Jump is a burst that lets you move a short distance forward. The idea is to get a synergy between a payload and trait to better suit your Combat Rig. FTL's most impressive trait is "˜Perception' which notifies you when off-screen enemies are looking in your direction. In a sense, it makes what is typically a disadvantageous situation more advantageous, allowing you that extra second of reaction time to spin around.

Weapon variety has always been a staple for Call of Duty, however this time around we're given a crafting system to create some devastating prototypes on established weapons. "˜Salvage' is a crafting currency earned in a match, which can be used to craft these prototype weapons. There are four tiers of crafted weapons: common, rare, legendary, and epic. The weapons themselves are designed with futuristic takes on modern weapons, with the Pick 10 system implemented so you can customize your weapons and loadouts to your liking.

With what Infinite Warfare is setting out to do in its campaign, it was exciting to see where Infinity Ward would take us for the maps' settings in multiplayer. This is a game that has interstellar dogfights, zero-gravity missions as well as classic boot-on-soil warfare we've come to know and love in a Call of Duty title, and the maps displayed at this year's XP event do a tremendous job at showcasing the diversity in its environments. Frontier is a small section of a giant space station in orbit around the planet Neptune, with the bulk of the action funnelled in one long corridor. Throwback is a 1950s style main street USA locale that actually sits on a giant rotating Taurus-shaped space station. Frost is research facility set atop the frozen surface of Europa. These are just a taste of what to expect in the sheer variety of locales we'll expect in the full version of the game when it launches November 4, 2016. Expect the classic Call of Duty online modes to return in full force, with the addition of two new modes: Defender and Frontline. While Frontline wasn't revealed yet, Defender plays like a high stakes game of keep-away. Teams must collect and control a drone and gain points the longer you have possession of it. It's very teamwork heavy and looks like it will be a lot of fun.

Since Activision has partnered with Playstation for Call of Duty, we were able to test drive a totally immersive VR experience, set inside the cockpit of a Jackal. This is no on-rails experience; you can fully manoeuvre the ship with complete freedom, and your head's movement will act as a targeting system for the ship's homing missiles. It was a jaw-dropping experience to pilot a ship and look around to take in the map you're flying around. It's a simple mini-game where you need to kill as many enemy ships in a certain amount of time, and of course using the homing missiles is the most effective way, but you also get to use basic artillery fire while your missiles recharge. As a bonus incentive to all players, this beautiful demonstration of the Playstation VR's capabilities will be included with the full release of Infinite Warfare.

Since World at War, no Call of Duty is complete without some form of cooperative Zombies mode, and Infinity Ward has made sure to elevate this experience in a way we haven't seen before. For the first time, their zombie component was playable before launch, and they're calling it Zombies in Spaceland. It's a wonderfully goofy 80s-themed Zombie mode, with a colourful cast of characters with Seth Green portraying the nerd, Ike Barinholtz playing as the Jock, Jay Pharoah is the rapper and Sasheer Zamata is the Valley Girl. They're all caricatures of their stereotypical portrayal and it's hilarious. Additionally, there's a DJ in this theme park you're in, and it's portrayed by none other than David Hasselhoff. If that's not enough, the main antagonist for Zombies in Spaceland is voiced by Peewee Herman; you heard it right, Paul Reubens portrays Willard Wyler who invites these four aspiring actors to this mysterious movie theater for an audition, when they suddenly transform into Wyler's film. This is very self-aware of what it is, from the silliness of their melee (the nerd pathetically slaps as a melee attack), to the kooky designs of this theme park you're trapped in, this is sure to be a classic Zombies mode players will adore for years to come. When players die, they'll be transported

I'll be honest; I was skeptical of Infinite Warfare when it debuted. The negative feedback that the E3 trailer received only added to my skepticism. All of that was immediately nullified the moment I actually got to sit down and play the game. The controls build on Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3's faster paced, more dynamically fluid mobility, the Rigs are a great way to add variety to individual play styles, and the new mechanics we got a taste of shows considerable promise. Above all else, the game sounds like its sheer value out of the box; not only are you getting Infinite Warfare with its Campaign and Multiplayer, you also get an insane Zombies mode which could very well be a standalone title, and a neat VR demo that's a blast to play. And of course, there's the remastering of Modern Warfare, complete with its 16 multiplayer maps. You're getting all of that in one package, which might make it the most content-heavy Call of Duty to date. I'm looking forward to the full release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare this November.

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