The Call of Duty franchise has always reminded me of Malibu Stacy from The Simpsons, each year a marginal change to the style, yet mass hysteria follows and millions of units are shipped (this year she comes with a new hat!). 2016's offering is the most ambitious yet, Infinite Warfare sees the franchise activate warp speed and fly into space.
Going into the Playstation 4 exclusive beta I was a little hesitant, I'm a Call of Duty fan from way back, going from the original trilogy into in my opinion, the best series, Modern Warfare. I've spent 100s of hours with the franchise over the years, forever honing that K/D ratio. sadly the love I had for the series has faded due to some lackluster recent releases.
After 4 hours of in game play time (and some painful server issues) I can say I was impressed with Infinite Warfare, imagine the love child of Ghosts and Black Ops III, merging the traditional tried and tested systems with the futuristic enhanced, frenetic movement systems from the last CoD offering. The biggest surprise was that movement was a lot slower than I expected, a welcome addition that classic CoD fans will love.
The beta currently has three maps on offer: Throwback, Frost, and Frontier, which seem to cater to CoD players old and new. There’s many wall-running platforms and such throughout the maps, but it isn’t as exaggerated as previous games. The maps in the previous two titles were made strictly around the new movement, so as the player you were forced to adapt to the new style of gameplay regardless. From my my early impressions I can confidently say Infinite Warfare mixes both classic and new Call of Duty gameplay styles extremely well.
Three game modes are available in the current beta state. FPS classics such as Team Deathmatch and Domination make their annual return, as well as a new mode called Defender, which was last seen in Modern Warfare 3. Defender sees players with commandeering a drone and defending it for as long as possible. The three modes on hand provided a lot of variety, which is impressive for a beta.
I won't go into too much detail regarding weapons and equipment as they locked out the vast majority of the weapons. On hand were two choices per weapon type, with the ability to go with the more nimble close quarter style of the submachine gun, or if you want a little distance the ever familiar assault rifle is available. I'm usually an SMG guy so I was right at home with the FHR-40, delivering a great combination of accuracy and damage.
There is the ability to customize your character, weapons and your calling card to your liking, it hasn't evolved much from previous titles (not a bad thing) and gives copious design options for how you want your character and guns to look on screen.
Infinite Warfare has also brought in a new system known as Combat Rigs. You can easily compare them to the Specialist classes from Black Ops III. These Combat Rigs have a meter which gradually fills up during the game, once full it allows you to activate a special ability. The beta allows you to try three of the Combat Rigs. I spent most of my time using the Warfighter Rig, whichgrants you a mini turret, which when activated saw the body count quickly pile up, it's on a very short timer so placement is key for this little death dealer. The other two available were Merc and Synaptic, the latter sees you control a extremely elusive droid designed for melee combat, which I had a tonne of fun controlling.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare releases on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 4th, 2016.