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Review: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered

by onNovember 13, 2016
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When Modern Warfare first hit, it was a phenomenon. I tried it at a cybercafé with some friends and I hated it. I couldn’t figure out the movement, the realistic shaking of the gun when I ran was disorienting, jumping made no sense, the quick TTK meant that I was getting one-shotted in seconds; in short, I didn’t like it that much. Of course, I actually enjoyed Call of Duty’s campaigns, especially those of Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. But in terms of multiplayer (which was actually a whole other animal), I disliked Call of Duty. Eventually, I fell in with the critics that derided Call of Duty as a derivative and simplistic shooter. After all, I didn’t even want the whole realistic urban, gritty modern warfare setting. I wanted jetpacks and laser guns, like in Quake and Unreal Tournament. Call of Duty continued to break record after record, with each new Call of Duty title shattering the sales record set by its predecessor.

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And then they announced Advanced Warfare. All of a sudden Call of Duty was this futuristic shooter where you could dash around and double jump through the air. And I realized I really wanted to try that. So I got Advanced Warfare and I was hooked. Of course, just my luck, Advanced Warfare was not a welcome change for fans of the franchise. Sure, it sold amazingly and people learned to love it, but it seemed like people weren’t as enthusiastic. Black Ops III was even better for me because it added wallrunning and specialists, and it turned so chaotic that it barely resembled Call of Duty. I kept seeing Call of Duty fans becoming less and less excited for it, and I thought ‘Is it finally happening? Is the global mega franchise finally declining?’. After Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s trailer set new dislike records on YouTube and Battlefield 1 ended up getting all the hype, it seemed like Call of Duty had finally hit a snag.

But here I still am, a fan of the new Call of Duty titles with their jet boosts and wall-running, and the much more futuristic arcade action shooting. So how does Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare hold up? Well, first of all, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare plays it safe. Its campaign ticks all the right boxes: Soldier goes to war for noble cause, soldier ends up in horrific accident, soldier encounters demented yet charismatic villain played by someone famous (Jon Snow – or Kit Harington – in this instance) and something super tragic happens that shows us the horrors of war first-hand. Except this time it’s in space.

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After Modern Warfare, I think many gamers were less appreciative of the Call of Duty campaigns. They became much shorter, and felt much more ‘by the numbers’ for lack of a better term. As such, I’ve never really taken them seriously, and while I played through a bit of the campaign in Advanced and Black Ops III, I didn’t bother finishing it. I played through Infinite’s campaign, and it wasn’t all that different. The thing is, with all its spectacle and its grandeur, Call of Duty’s campaign mode is linear to a fault. I mean normally we think of linear as meaning ‘it’s not an open world’ but in Call of Duty’s case it’s much more ‘you follow a very specific path and a very specific sequence of events unfolds. The set-pieces feel choreographed, and as I mentioned before they no longer surprised me. Kit Harrington does a surprisingly good job as the villain, but other than that I didn’t click with many of the characters in the storyline. The game’s title is ‘Infinite’ warfare but the scope of the campaign is as limited as ever. While you’re meant to be fighting in outer space, the space sections are really the minority; most of it is pretty vanilla Call of Duty.

Now for the main attraction: the multiplayer. As usual, Call of Duty has tweaked some things and changed some things. The jet boosters are still there, albeit much weaker for some reason. You can still wall-run, but now wall-running is much smoother and there are much bigger stretches to wall-run through. The levels are much, much better this time around. Black Ops III’ levels felt tiny and they just didn’t connect with me. Conversely, Infinite Warfare’s levels feel larger and much more vibrant. All things considered, Call of Duty maps have always had a ton going on visually.

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In terms of visuals, however, the colorful and varied group of specialists in Call of Duty: Black Ops III has been replaced with a bunch of guys in robot armor. The design is frankly ugly and it actually looks kind of cheap, and the multiplayer characters no longer feel unique in any way. Of course they still have special weapons that charge throughout the match, but the weapons are also much less creative. Basically you just get an overpowered gun, but the guns here feel less creative. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun to use, but you don’t have the same range of special weapons as you did in BOIII. However, your regular weapons this time around are much better. The weapons seem to have a lot of kick, and there’s the usual smattering of smg’s and assault rifles, although more of the weapons now are futuristic.

If one thing doesn’t change in terms of quality and that is the Zombie mode, and the Call of Duty Infinite Warfare edition is fantastic as always. This time it offers a deliciously 1980s synthesizer tunes, with all the flashy and fluorescent neon colors of that era, set in the middle of an amusement.

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A quick rundown on this scenario straight from hell. It all starts with a good comic book plot whose pencil stroke will make you think of Scooby-Doo and the gang. Four young stereotyped actors (the bimbo, the geek, the jock and the rapper) are called for casting trials by an internationally renowned eccentric director, a certain Willard Wyler. The latter welcomes them in his studio and sets them in a projection room where he starts showing off his recent films, and little do they know, our four characters are sucked into the universe of one of Wyler’s space film, now filled with an army of Zombies of course.

The base concept of Zombies is still the same, even Infinity Ward are holding the reins (instead of Treyarch). You (and up to three friends) must defeat zombie waves after waves, which will help you gain more money to spend on ammunition, better weapons and use on interactive elements such as traps and doors to other areas of the game.

Fortune cards are a novelty of this Zombie mode and fit perfectly into the universe of this fun fair of the Devil but especially as it will add some spice to the endless experience. These magical cards will give you an extra boost like enemies instantly getting torched by touching you, and it’s up to you to unlock them by progressing in the levels or by completing challenges. Before each game you will be able to select five of these Fortune cards .

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The 1980s also means the beginning of arcade gaming and Zombies in Spaceland uses that perfectly. The map is filled with small arcade mini-games, in which you will be able to play activities to earn tickets, which will allow you to respawn when you die. Rather practical, they also add variety to the experience with weird challenges involving Basketball, Target shooting, that enhances immersion with the 1980s Arcade vibe (plus an extra appearance by David Hasselhoff if you get enough tickets).

All in all, Infinity Ward didn’t have to redo the recipe, they just needed to have fun with it, and Zombies in Spaceland is that exactly. It’s hilariously fun, challenging yet easier to pick for newcomers, and has some great 1980s pop-culture and comedy references.

If I had to put my finger on the biggest failing of Infinite Warfare, I’d say it feels too futuristic and lacks the modern military shooter feel that previous Call of Duty titles had. Black Ops 3 managed to feel like a futuristic take on Black Ops, but Infinite Warfare is a whole other animal. While I enjoyed the excursion, it’s probably not as great for fans of the series.

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This annual release of Call of Duty also marked the start of a brand new repackaged title, with the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. This “remastered” version of the 2007 title, is the work of Raven Software (a company part of the Activision group, and worked previously on Ghost and other Call of Duty title DLC and elements), giving this classic a visual makeover but also adding some new bonuses.

If some innovations won’t stand out as others, the most important change in this version is obviously the switch to a 1080p resolution with constant 60fps, adding so much crisp details and fluidity to the 2007 game. It’s not just a real success in terms of remastered titles, but on the technical front because it provides an overall enhanced rendering, from improved textures, cleaner settings, neater pixels, more detailed facial features and better shadows and subtle lights… Clearly the cult Infinity Ward game has gotten the royal face lift treatment, and looks as neat as some of the current generation games.

While I’m not going to go deep into the story of the campaign, all you need to know is that you embody Sergeant “Soap” MacTavish, who landed in the base of the 22nd SAS at Hereford to lead a fictional war against a terrorist organization. If this episode has become the cult FPS that most gamers remember it to be is partly because it offers an immersive single player experience with a perfect rhythm, in which the numerous settings visited (ranging from the Middle East, to Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine) offer sumptuous landscapes and variety.

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As for multiplayer, it offers a rich and updated release of how I discovered the first online Call of Duty, with the arrival of popular “Kill Confirmed” modes, in addition to the conventional Search and Destroy, TDM, Capture the flag, etc. This novelty is a pleasing one, especially considering that it reduces the camping ratio that players used to abuse back in the days on those maps. Speaking of which, there’s only 10 maps available now, and the other 6 original will land later in December.

On the front of mechanics, you’ll find the fun “old-school” gameplay system of the original game which will probably annoy or make a lot of gamers happy. After going through 3 different episodes, many players will struggle to go back to the heavier and slower pace of Modern Warfare, without the dynamism, wall runs and vertical gameplay offered by the current episodes of this recent generation (Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare). In my opinion, I prefer this old gameplay style, which is indeed more “realistic,” removing all sorts of “sci-fi” shenanigans like the double-jumps, jetpacks and more.

Purists will certainly be delighted to return to something more demanding and that sticks to the DNA of the franchise. Incidentally, the defects of the original game are still there, including those related to these imbalanced Killstreaks… That said, again, it was we had to endure back in the days, and I am almost delighted to find this sensation of yesteryear.

Finally, several positive points that will delight fans noteworthy of mentioning. The “Killcam”, absent on the original game, has been added to the remastered version, and we can now face AI bots in private parties. Several details that are important and yet refined a little more this remastered version.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered was reviewed using a PC downloadable and Xbox One downloadable code provided by Activision. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare core game was tested by Mazen Abdallah on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM, and Zombies in Spaceland as well as Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered was reviewed by Nazih Fares on Xbox One. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 in digital and retail releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

• A less linear story than the usual
• Fighting in zero gravity and spaceships
• Lots of secondary missions
• Zombies in Spaceland
• Plenty of multiplayer content

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

• A proper remaster as it should be
• Good ol’ classic Call of Duty
• A multiplayer mode that is almost perfect

What is not fun

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

• Story character are rather bland
• Technically lagging behind
• A little safe when it comes to previous versions
• Maps are not that great in multiplayer

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

• Same issues from the original game like unbalanced killstreaks
• Sold only with Infinite Warfare

Editor Rating
 
Concept
7.5

 
Graphics
8.3

 
Sound
8.2

 
Playability
8.5

 
Entertainment
8.0

 
Replay Value
8.0

Final Score
8.1


Our final verdict
 

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is a one small step for the series but one giant leap for the fans, and it’s not necessarily a leap they’re willing to take. While its core gameplay is still the Call of Duty action we’ve come to know and love, the new setting and futuristic mechanics aren’t going to be liked by classic fans. While they sweetened the deal with Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered, this is a tough sell for fans looking for a more classic Call of Duty experience.

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