- Release date: November 4, 2016
- Format(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Developer: Infinity Ward
- Price: $59.99 / £54.99
Judging by the likes-to-dislikes ratio on its reveal trailer, you’d think that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was some kind of affront to humanity – but everything shown since its debut is making this look like a pretty solid entry in the everlasting FPS franchise. After Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 went all-in on high-tech firefights, Infinite Warfare takes things a step further by shooting the tried-and-true COD gameplay into space. Here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about Infinity Ward’s latest Call of Duty.
The campaign follows a battle throughout the solar system
There aren’t any friendly aliens in sight, but Infinite Warfare’s story has a faint Mass Effect vibe to it, starring a ship’s captain who isn’t afraid to join the fight on the ground. You play as Nick Reyes, a Lieutenant with Special Combat Air Recon (SCAR) who’s suddenly field-promoted to Captain, after his commanding officer is killed in a sneak attack targeting civilians on Earth- and Moon-based colonies. Along with your crewmates on the SS Retribution warship, including crack pilot Lt. Nora Salter and a sardonic android named Ethan, you’ll fight back against the Settlement Defense Front among the stars.
Battlefield environments we’ve seen thus far span the Earth, Moon, and stations located on colossal asteroids. Even with the sci-fi setting, it looks like some levels feature the kinds of military skirmishes we’re used to on solid ground – but the outer-space shootouts incorporate some new hazards to mix things up, like zero-gravity firefights and skirmishes where you have to stay in the shade, lest you get cooked alive by the heat rays of a nearby sun.
Jon Snow is your mortal enemy
Like Kevin Spacey as not-Frank Underwood in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, this is one of those instances where it’s all but impossible to disassociate a digitized actor from their most famous role. Kit Harington, who you probably know as Jon Snow in HBO’s Game of Thrones, is lending his voice and mo-capped face to the role of Salen Koch, the main villain of Infinite Warfare. You may also remember a creepy-looking bald guy from early Infinite Warfare teasers; that would be Caleb Thies, a conspirator of Koch and his extremist crew.
Admiral Koch holds a serious grudge against Earth’s military protectors (perhaps related to the big ol’ scar across his right eye), and leads the fascist forces of the Settlement Defense Front (or SetDef for short) in a crusade against the United Nation Space Alliance you’re fighting for. SetDef is made up of insurgents who see themselves as the rightful heirs to Earth after a war of secession with the UNSA; in essence, Infinite Warfare’s story sounds a bit like the American Civil War in the space age, with SetDef taking the place of the Confederacy.
The Jackal jetfighter adds some outer-space dogfighting into the campaign
With Infinite Warfare, there’s finally a Call of Duty game that lets you pretend you’re piloting an X-Wing. Certain missions feature the Jackal, a space-ready fighter jet (complete with a first-person cockpit view) in chaotic aerial combat. It’s a massive departure from the FPS encounters you’re used to, as you twist and turn around gigantic battleships and bits of debris to get a bead on your enemy targets. The Jackal isn’t just a one-off vehicle, either: it’ll stick with you throughout the campaign, and can be upgraded and customized to your liking over the course of the story.
To that end, the SS Retribution warship that houses your Jackal is also a recurring ship, acting as a central hub that you’ll revisit between each mission. You’ll be able to explore its decks in first-person, chatting with NPCs or key characters who will have more to say as the story deepens – the kind of persistence that should help make Reyes feel like an actual Captain. Also, if you’re a PS4 player who owns a PlayStation VR headset, you’ll be able to pilot the Jackal in first-person VR with a free side-mission.
Multiplayer introduces Combat Rig classes and crafting
On the multiplayer front, Infinite Warfare ditches the named characters of Black Ops 3, but retains the framework where players choose from preset roles that best suit their FPS playstyle. There are six distinct Combat Rigs available: Warfighter (traditional mid-range assault), FTL (speedy, shotgunning scout), Merc (heavy weapons tank), Phantom (stealth-equipped sniper), Stryker (tactical support), and Synaptic (SMG and melee specialist). After you’ve picked a Combat Rig, you can further specialize via Payloads and Traits, active and passive enhancements (with three possible choices each) that differ based on your Rig.
In addition to the traditional multiplayer progression system featuring dozens of weapons and Scorestreaks, factions have been added in the form of Mission Teams, and there’s also a crafting system which might raise some eyebrows. By accruing salvage after each round, you’ll be able to craft Prototype weapons, which in come in four levels of rarity. Depending on your gun’s rarity – Common, Rare, Legendary, or Epic – you might have access to a full suite of perks, like bonus score on kills or even something as powerful as highlighting low-health enemies. Hopefully the crafting system doesn’t throw off the balance of the game, where time played becomes directly proportional to power regardless of your skill level. PS4 players who pre-order get first dibs on the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer beta, which starts on October 14th.
Zombies in Spaceland is one giant ’80s homage
Call of Duty’s recurring Zombies horde mode has always reveled in some good-natured goofiness (gunning down the undead as Richard Nixon or a mustachioed Jeff Goldblum comes to mind), but Infinite Warfare really ramps up the camp. Set in a ’80s theme park, Zombies in Spaceland follows four purposefully stereotypical teens as they blast wave after wave of zombies clad in neon nylon windbreakers and acid washed jeans.
In keeping with the celebrity cameos from previous Zombies modes, Spaceland features voicework from Seth Green (Poindexter), Sasheer Zamata (Sally), Jay Pharoah (Andre), and Ike Barinholtz (A.J.) as our heroes, facing off against the villainous film director Willard Wyler (played by Paul Reubens). Oh, and don’t forget the piece de resistance of ’80s iconography: David Hasselhoff himself, DJing the whole shindig from the safety of a sound studio.
The Legacy and Digital Deluxe Editions come with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
This may just be the primary reason some players buy Infinite Warfare at all. Activision’s sweetening the deal of the premium editions with a copy of Modern Warfare Remastered packed in. The revamped version of what’s often regarded as the pinnacle of the entire Call of Duty series features entirely rebuilt environments and spruced-up visuals, along with 10 multiplayer maps that’ll let you relive your 2007 glory days online.
Those who pre-order the Legacy Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition of Infinite Warfare on PS4 can play the Modern Warfare Remastered campaign as early as right now – but the Xbox One and PC versions, along with the multiplayer servers, are locked out until launch.