E3 2016: Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare Hands On Impressions

E3-2016-Call-of-Duty-Infinite-Warfare

I know what you’re saying right now, because I was probably saying it too. Many believe that the Call of Duty franchise is getting a bit played-out, especially since there are 3 studios churning these out now. The last 3 or 4 haven’t really blown my skirt up, and I’m one of those people who would be ok with a “break” in the series. Before I knew about anything that I was going to see for CoD: Infinite Warfare, I was actually more excited at the prospect of seeing something from Modern Warfare Remastered (which I did see, and I’ll talk about at the bottom of this article.)

Color me surprised

At the helm this year are the folks at Infinity Ward, and at first, I started thinking those same thoughts that I’m pretty sure many others had when the first details dropped: “oh, it’s in the future again”. And yes, it is in the future, but very quickly, the shift in focus was apparent. No longer does the story unfold from the viewpoint of the “grunt”, but instead, you play as Lt. Reyes, a seasoned veteran pilot who’s thrust into a leadership role after a vicious attack. It’s an interesting direction because it forces you to be a decision maker instead of just blindly following orders.

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The scope of the game has definitely grown, and similar to what we saw last year, your ship, the ‘Retribution’, acts as your hub throughout the story. The Retribution is a Navy carrier, but of course, it’s a spacecraft. What I noticed immediately though, was the move toward making things look and feel a bit more “real” and “gritty”. The developers on-hand talked about how they wanted to give you an experience through the eyes of someone who’s seen a lot of action, and compared it to the differences, or the “journey” from ‘Black Hawk Down’ to ‘Saving Private Ryan’. So now, you’re in charge, and you’re the one that will have to make the tough choices.

The demo we saw starts out after a surprise attack on a Fleet Week parade, perpetrated by separatists from Mars that call themselves the Settlement Defense Front. As in global politics, so too do the same type of things occur now that humans have moved outward across the solar system, so a new version of the UN, called the USNA, governs all space-based trade and travel. The attack that starts the game happens in Geneva, which houses the USNA HQ. During the ground battle, we saw some pretty typical CoD gameplay, and even though it’s “in the future” the gameplay still seemed rooted in the core gameplay from years past.

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One of your teammates though, looked a bit different than others, because he’s actually a prototype Mechanized Soldier called ETH.3n (Ethan). Unlike other drones though, ETH.3n has a personality construct built-in, and he’s quickly accepted by the other soldiers. Something I noticed about ETH.3n was that he always seemed to lead the charge to wherever the next objective was. Also, something I have to mention, I saw AMMO CRATES! At least in the early stages, ammo crates could be found in a decent amount of areas, and that made my day.

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Some other features we saw were a new arm-mounted shield that shows heat signatures through it, letting you setup your next shots. Then, an enemy troop carrier flew in, blocking the path. The player was able to lock-on to the craft and hack it, bringing it down. I do wonder though how this all works. What’s keeping me from hacking anything else? It’s a cool ability for sure, but I assume there’s either some kind of limitation to being able to use it. We also saw a remote spider-bot mine that can be sent into areas and take some of your in-cover enemies out.

The next part of the demo took us to the bridge of the Retribution, where a map showed some “optional” missions called Ship Assaults. These can be chosen in any sequence, and will garner ship upgrades, new parts, and other enhancements as well. Here’s where the game really opens up.

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You’ll have a persistent aircraft, called a Jackyl. It can fly like normal, but also in space, and it’s all free-roaming (with proximity limits I’m sure). The space combat is faster than what I’ve played in Eve Valkyrie, and what we saw was pretty intense. Flying through capital ships and around debris, you can attack these capital ships while dodging missiles that they fire on you, and at any point, you can fly up next to one, eject, then use a grappling hook to start more traditional FPS action over the surface of the ship. Make your way to the bridge to set a charge, which blows the windows open. Breach into the bridge, and start taking the occupants out. He made his way to the hangar, hit a switch to depressurize it by opening the main hatch. As soon as your team has taken control of the ship, drop through the open hatch, grapple to your Jackyl, and continue the battle in space. This entire sequence was completely seamless, with no loading at all!

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So far, I can’t believe how excited I am again for a Call of Duty game, as I haven’t really felt this way in years. To me, this is what I always wanted Descent Freespace and Wing Commander to be, and it’s finally something that I’ve wanted a Call of Duty set in the future to be. The seemingly deeper narrative is a welcome change, and the fact that you’re going through everything through the eyes of a leader should mix things up quite a bit. As usual, I’ll hold some of my enthusiasm back, since I’ve only seen a small portion of what’s there, but so far, this one is really looking like it’ll be great.

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Then as an added bonus, we were shown the opening section of the campaign from Modern Warfare Remastered. Instead of being a simple upconversion though, Raven Software is rebuilding player models, redrawn textures, and all new lighting. It’s been years since I’ve played the original game, but those memories quickly came rushing back, and boy did it look fantastic. I’ll be honest though, I really want this for multiplayer, but we didn’t get to see any of that. I’ll definitely get the correct edition of Infinite Warfare so I get the remaster, and it really did look better than I’d expected.

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • I was impressed with what they showed at the Sony conference. But it feels like this game shouldn’t be called “Call of Duty”. Feels very from it.