Warning: This is a first impressions article. So no hard feelings?
Recently, I returned to a game series that I had long since pushed to one side and vowed to never touch again. It was a series that had been declared dead by so many over so many iterations but kept on going. It kept trudging along, getting slower and slower every time, whilst fewer people would stop to watch.
I could give you INFINITE and you’d still only need one.
(Maybe two if you remembered Assassin’s Creed first though)
Yes, you got it, I’m talking about the newest Call of Duty game, “Infinite Warfare”.
Now, I’ll preface this by saying I was never a hardcore fan of this series and just by writing this I know there’s the potential to piss some people off (My mom is the only one who will probably read this, she’s the biggest COD player going). Jokes aside though, this game got me quite interested in giving COD a chance again, as I haven’t touched the games since the original Black Ops. The interest I had however, wasn’t exactly coming from a positive place.
See, for me, Call of Duty was this gem of a series that I discovered around the time of World At War’s release and loved until the end of the life cycle of Black Ops 1. It was the go to game when I came home from a long day of being at school. I’d jump on with the lads and I knew I was in for a night of both fun and raging at the ridiculous cheap deaths.
Then I started to get into gaming even harder. I played more sophisticated games, with story and depth to the gameplay that COD really didn’t seem to offer, so whilst I would enjoy the casual nature of those games, I started to crave something more. I played all the Mass Effect games, went back and played Bioshock 1 & 2, absolutely adored playing through the campaign of Knights of the Old Republic and got heavily into Guitar Hero. This was a new awakening for me, as my taste became more mature and I was growing as a person. So I shelved Call of Duty. I did what a lot of people seemed to do and just give up on the game. I decided it was too boring, repetitive and only appealed to the lowest common denominator. I got snobby. Very snobby.
Now, with my life story out-of-the-way, let’s get onto the reveal of Infinite Warfare. I had kept up to date with the series throughout the years and I had heard a lot of negatives. So when the initial trailer dropped for Infinite Warfare, I gave it a cheeky look and I had the same reaction as usual. “Same old, same old”. So I was intending on ignoring this game too, however, it intrigued me purely because of the amount of backlash from the community on one side, but their absolute joy to see Modern Warfare Remastered (a game which I had never played). So I kept my eye on the game and decided to give it a chance. So I pre-ordered the Legacy edition.
I was pleasantly surprised. In a way.
Infinite Warfare is by no means a BAD game. It just seems very lazy in some ways. Now, I can’t speak for the campaign as I haven’t even touched it yet, but the multiplayer is pretty solid and works the way I expect it was intended to. Everyone runs around, jumping with boosts and wall running to feel like they’re the coolest player ever, killing the enemies and trying to not die. Standard. Extremely quick time to kill and rewards for kill streaks are just the normal ride in a COD multiplayer experience. This game does that well. So well in fact that I may have accidentally played around 12 hours on release day.
This isn’t going to keep people playing however. There will always be the core audience who will stick with the game through thick and thin until the next release. There will always be the esports teams who have to play it to be able to compete. However, this doesn’t excuse the lazy approach to game making. Where is the passion? Why does there feel like there’s absolutely nothing original about this experience? I was led to believe the whole purpose of this game was to add some cool features centered around space. There are so many possibilities they could have capitalized on.
- Spaceship combat? (Imagine if they blew Battlefront out of the water)
- Zero gravity areas/maps?
- Sci-fi weapon varieties?
Those were only three options out of many possible ones, but just imagine if there were elements of those in the game. It would have so much more potential to stay alive and active over the year and possibly even beyond that. Maybe, if there were some interesting game mechanics and incentives to play beyond “look it’s the new Call of Duty game”, the PC population wouldn’t be so dire. As of writing this, the all time peak since release was 15,312. That was the highest number of players online at once. On release weekend. Unless there’s a significant update at some point which brings new players, that will stay the same. After seeing that, I dread to think what the Windows Store numbers are. Especially considering it got so bad they had to refund people who complained that the online services were so empty that multiplayer was worthless. Speaking of that, who’s idea was it to have Steam and the Windows store have separate multiplayer servers, dividing the player base of PC gamers?!)
So to bring these ramblings to a close, I think Infinite Warfare had the potential to be a revitalisation for the series. It impressed in subtle ways I didn’t expect (such as having fun), but could’ve been so much more to so many more. I think that unless there’s something big planned for the next game, Call of Duty needs to be put to rest and enjoy the success of a big return in a few years. Ubisoft learned their lesson with AC, maybe it’s time for Activision to do the same.