Hey, guys. The Meh here.
Look, I already made the "Pre-DLC" review and I know exactly what everyone is going to think I will say in regards to it in post-DLC. So... y'know what? I think I'm just gonna get this post out of the way and state pretty much everything I've said these past few months, given it being here, over Xbox, or anywhere else. I'll say what I've wanted to say, what I mean to say, everything. Nothing will be juxtaposed in my belief.
The short way of saying things? This game was a joke. A goddamn joke wrapped up like a present - bow and all - with Modern Warfare Remastered, which, in comparison, would have been better off releasing this year ON ITS OWN than being paired with the shameful Black Ops III/Advanced Warfare crack baby copy-paste offspring that Infinite Warfare truly is. Infinite Warfare has become the game that completely destroyed my trust in Infinity Ward's delivery of Call of Duty, and, likely because of this, I won't be buying for their seasons... I simply won't. At least, not before its release. Not before I know what I'm to expect.
This game, it's gone as far as to effect how I feel about the future of Call of Duty, whereas I've already pre-ordered WWII (speaking of, why do we want this if we've got like 10 games from back in the day about it... I don't understand that one... but hey, hype train amirite), and yet I have a doubt that Sledgehammer won't deliver, and this will just be worse than Advanced Warfare, where, albeit belief, I though was a solid game... with issues, yes, but it was not a bad game.
I wouldn't want to give Infinite Warfare a shitty time here, though, so I'm going to do this the way I did for the last review and go by category... and, hey, if you'd like to read the pre-DLC review, I'll link it here for you. But, yeah... let's do this.
Yonder a year ago or so, the Infinite Warfare reveal trailer was posted, and, in the description, it reads the following:
"Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare returns to the roots of the franchise where large-scale war and cinematic, immersive military storytelling take center stage. Prepare for a gripping war story in which players fight against the Settlement Defense Front to defend our very way of life."
While I don't completely agree with the addition of the words "returns to the roots of the franchise"... I don't think it's the most wrong statement. For a while now, actually, a lot of the campaigns we've been playing have a gripping story to them, and they all play out rather well. The full Modern Warfare series, while not entirely my favorite (minus MW2 - you can't beat that), is exactly what they are referring to if they mean to recall their roots. Not that it was - they used to do WWII games and storytelling was awful... and I played Call of Duty 2 on my Xbox recently. It's not that great. It's almost cheesy. Off-topic, anyways, the point is that Campaign has definitely been in the forefront of Call of Duty for a while now, and a lot of them are great... Advanced Warfare was even good, y'know?
All that being said, I still feel confident in saying that the Campaign of this Call of Duty is great. It may even be the best of this series yet. I'm sure that somewhere out there, they say that the heart of darkness is made of gold, and I agree with them. This Campaign is exactly what I would have wanted to see in this game if we went this far... and their execution of it was perfect. They used the new environments space provided to their advantage and made most missions feel unique. Their storytelling was echelons above normal, actually going as far as environmental storytelling at times, and building characters that you grow to have a likable bond with, and uses that psychological storytelling very much to their advantage.
The Campaign, at the end of the day, is like a diamond in the rough. I'll probably go on to say how shitty the rest of the game is, but I would never tell you this Campaign is bad. Never. The Campaign, by far, is what you NEED to play for this game. It is an experience that, for a while now in CoD, has been unmatched among others. I'm definitely an advocate for it.
But... unfortunately, that cannot save the game, can it...
I did not play this game much. I still don't play this game much. This is because, after the campaign is done, what's left but to try these other modes? Honestly, while the campaign was good, its replayability is... sparse. So, given, you'd play multiplayer.
Just... don't play multiplayer.
How could Infinity Ward FUCK UP a multiplayer? They're the masterminds of the mode compared to others! They do it right! How do they fuck it up?
They take the couple of ideas before it that broke it down and implemented them:
Gun variants and supply drops.
Admittedly, nobody outright likes gun variants. They are a cool concept, yes, and can work, but you can't outright make them OP and the only gun people use (*cough* ASM1 - Speakeasy *cough* Bal-27 - Obsidian Steed *cough*), then not fix them. That being said... they never do. Infinity Ward definitely doesn't seem to have, and, if I've heard right, still has issues with everyone and their mothers using the NV4 - Flatline variant.
Also, fuck supply drops. Honestly. They're not better here. They're much, much worse. In fact, I'm more than certain they only promote their lack of balanced gun play even selling them. I mean, what the fuck are Mark II variants supposed to be?
Honestly, I'll only ever give credit to Sledgehammer for doing supply drops, since they were the ones that introduced them, and kind of did them right (and wrong at times, but generally right, if not at least correctly). Not here though.
Anyways, let's move on. The more I talk about this multiplayer, the less I want to write this shit. Case point, it sucks. It's always gonna suck. Nothing will ever suck more... unless you are referring to "particular" characters from Shadows of Evil, then maybe it has competition. But otherwise, no. This multiplayer is worse than that old retro E.T. game that caused a video game market crash in the first place back in the day. I thought we were better than this.
IW Zombies was supposed to be good. Let's be fair about that. It had a lot of potential. There was a lot they could have done right in a setting that can parody the genre as much as it can anything else, while even giving it the twist of music as it did. There was a lot it could have done and a lot that should have been done. But, in the end, it pains me to say it failed. It sucks, both in the perspective that this potential was wasted, and that this mode in general just isn't great. I've not felt the need to buy much in the line of DLC and that is because I know it won't yield a return of enjoyment for me. But I still experienced this for what it was. I have opinions, and I will voice them.
In the original post, I suppose I wasn't great with explaining my uncertainty with Zombies in Spaceland. Justifiably, it is a rather... difficult map to explain and discern. I'll do my best here:
Zombies in Spaceland is, indeed, your quintessential IW Zombies map. If you're trying to like this series of maps, you're essentially gonna start here. It's pretty much a cut and paste of the regular Zombies formula, but somehow they complicated it. Part of me would like to think it's a lack of depth or explanation of the world, or the mechanics and their difference (i.e. buildables and how you're meant to get them), but... it's honestly just boring after a while, either way. Kind of like the rest of the game. Funny. (Oh, and Mr. Hoff-9000 cannot save it. No amount of 80's retro will ever make Spaceland fun again, especially the Hoff himself.)
Rave in the Redwoods, in my eyes, was... admittedly supposed to be a good map, likely. It had a different set-up from its predecessor (admittedly, the 90's rave scene looked great), the lead-up actually looked relatively intriguing (if not lacking some depth), and it just seemed like a step up from Zombies in Spaceland in general... and, it was! For what gameplay I have seen, it looks like actual fun. From what "story" I've heard of this map, it's also kind of interesting, what with the story of Kevin Smith and the one other actor whose name leaves me at this moment. That being said... I've heard a lot about how easy the map is. My friend got to round 69 on the map, and all he did was stand in a single spot with crossbows... which, if I've heard right, are copy-paste bows from Der Eisendrache, an actually good map by comparison. Not every time does something like this feel as though it breaks the integrity of the map - we have seen examples before, mainly in Ascension and Revelations, albeit both having different issues - though, something like this certainly does exactly that.
Now, I wouldn't innately align my opinions on Rave in the Redwoods with that of a friend I play Xbox games with. While it is jarring, and while it does say a lot about the map, I cannot simply go and say that it fixates my opinions to "oh, this map's just a copy-paste high round map" (even though it probably is). At the end of the day, though, the map kinda just ruins the first impression... which, believe it or not, can be important. This map falls ever so short from grace, indeed.
Now... I feel odd moving forward, because, quite frankly, these next few maps are just odd in themselves by my standard and understanding. Nonetheless, I suppose I must talk of them. Oh well.
So, copy-paste Shadows *cough* I MEAN Shaolin Shuffle... is an interesting follow-up from Rave in the Redwoods. Given, the jump from 90's to 70's (I think) seems rather quick and strange, but that is kinda the shtick of IW Zombies. At least, at this point you should have realized this. That being said, the mechanic change and the way powers and such would work here actually seemed to look appealing. It actually, once again, fueled my intrigue. From what gameplay I've actually seen and what story I know, this map actually seems the most solid of them yet. The style and map on its own is a gimmick, yes, but the map looks to play very well. I'd go as far to say that it's the quintessential DLC map... next to a certain not-so-great one to come... but, hey, what do I know? The community probably understands the DLC better than me, which is fine. I'm not writing to boast, complain, or justify which side of mine should be correct - I'm just writing this because I want to, and... because I kinda got myself stuck doing it with the Pre-DLC Review. Anyways, I'm rambling. Moving on.
Ah... Attack of the Radioactive Thing. Acronym for "A.R.T.", if you think about it. Ironic. Self-righteous, too. Anyways... this is one I actually bought. Recently, too. I hadn't played IW in a very long while, and I pretty much told myself I didn't care, I had the money to waste. So, I bought it, and I played it... and, well...
Look at it this way. The style is meant to call back to that basic 40's/50's style, which, even then was its own kind of gimmick, and has aged. The style would not have been right either way, but they went with it. I can commend and respect that. That being said, I understand less why Elvira is in the map... minus whatever sense spells and shit makes, because I'm pretty sure that's what I've seen of her in this map, and I find it both fitting to her and strange to IW Zombies. But, at that point that statement is the same as all of what I've said so far about Zombies being strange in this game (to be fair, I do certainly see a certain level of strangeness and uncertainty with this game mode). At the end of the day, I don't think I would have asked for this map. I don't think I would have asked for mutated crabmen and crabzilla. I don't think I would have asked for a meth lab EE.
There's... a lot of things that I don't quite like about this map. Can't say I'll ever change my perspective on it.
But oh man. I think the worst offender from the previous map is the finding of the tapes that chronicle Extinction. While it kind of is a cool meta thing for them to do - the world of Extinction was made by Willard, so I suppose that means he is good at making movies then, yaaaaaaaay happy emojis and unicorns shitting rainbows infinitely - it essentially called for The Beast from Beyond. Which sounds fucking stupid. There's a reason remakes are bad, Willard. Haven't you learned from the way the box office works? I figured your retirement was because of the money you wouldn't be making. But yeah, "Beast from Beyond". I don't care what anyone says, and I don't care what the game says - I'd never call the Cryptids aliens. Nor would I imply they are, and I would NEVER choose to tear that name asunder from its pedestal by doing so. That pisses me off. It pisses me off that they decided it would be a good idea to put Cryptids into Zombies (which is called Zombies for a reason goddammit). While, say, Treyarch's rendition of Zombies with Black Ops III doesn't exactly do it any favors, adding Cthulhu-based monsters and occult shit, it does well to keep them within their bubble of the "Zombies atmosphere". I'd go as far to say they even fit their aesthetic.
It just ruins the experience, in my eyes, when they MAKE THE CHOICE to put something into a map that you can tell doesn't belong. It's insulting to me, as a Call of Duty player, to see the company that used to make the best games of its series insult one of the better non-Zombies survival modes by tearing the very fabric that made it unique to pieces and throwing it up to the wind. At this point, it reminds me less of the greatness that Extinction was, but more-so reminds me of how much better Ghosts 2 would have been if that were the game Infinity Ward made. It reminds me about how much I'd love to see Extinction return to form. It reminds me of how good Extinction was. But, unfortunately, that is not what they did. They chose, instead, to make this game, and to release this map, which taints the memory all the same. It taints the idea on its own, creating its own poison... and I want none of it.
Now, I honestly don't know how this map plays out in the EE or how it works with the Cryptids, as I've tried to ignore that. But, I do know how this map played out the ending of IW Zombies. I'd always thought that the coolest part of IW Zombies lore, admittedly, was the fact that all this was driven by the devil himself, Mephistopheles. That a simple producer like Willard had to make a deal with the devil and essentially collect souls for the devil to gain his fame. It was... well, an unoriginal idea, but something that gave the story an... admirably respectable form. Given all this, I'm sure the boss fight was good, too. But, I didn't think my last memory of IW Zombies would have to be Mephistopheles depicted in full demonic form like he just came out of MS Paint in an official cutscene.
Emphasis: OFFICIAL CUTSCENE.
I expected this:
But got this:
Jesus Christ... I guess, past that, though... not a bad ending to Zombies, I guess. Perhaps a little too open-ended for my liking. But... not bad.
I'd give an overall rating for Zombies here, but I think this next part will do better.
Shigeru Miyamoto once said that the "obvious objective of video games is to entertain people by surprising them with new experiences". I feel that something like this is important for us, as an entire community devoted to Call of Duty - Zombies specifically - should be thinking about in stride and live by in a more passionate sense. Infinite Warfare, by all standards, is not the perfect CoD, and is far from perfect by a longshot. With a Campaign that, on its own, would stand as a perfect set-up for a franchise outside of CoD's reaches, and a Multiplayer and Zombies mode that don't add anything to the experience, it would be safe to say that this game is a failure. Not only financially, as it probably did sell much less, but personally. I've never regretted choices when buying video games - most are good, most I play. This would be the first. I hope it's the only one.
If I were to rate by mode, it would be safer than not to say that the Campaign is due a good 8/10 for solid gameplay, actual choice of mission and course of action - something I loved from Black Ops II that I haven't seen since - and an overall compelling story that defines what duty means in the face of impossible odds. At least that is something that holds true to it.
Multiplayer would receive 2/10. I'm not evil, so it is not 0. But I fucking hate it. Y'know, the last time I felt this vehement about a CoD Multiplayer was Black Ops II, and my mind was honestly jaded when I considered why I hated that Multiplayer... in fact, all things considered, Black Ops II actually has my favorite Multiplayer now (next to Black Ops III - I know, I'm petty, but it is a fun time when you get into it... and ignore blaring sirens that form into Cryptokeys and Supply Drops).
Zombies... would be a 5/10. I feel indecisive when saying that, but that seems to be what it deserves. Like what Exo Zombies deserved (speaking of, I should do my post-DLC review for that too).
(So, overall, that's 15/30. 50% in a review? What would that tell you...)
At the end of the day, however, all things considered... I wouldn't ask you to ignore it blatantly. As I keep saying, the game is a bit of an experience of its own. You pretty much have to experience the Campaign to understand how good it is, and actually understand that Infinity Ward, on an overarching perspective, tried their hardest to deliver something that resembled a quality game (they went as far as to put the relatively typical thank you at the end of the credits... which is fine). I mean, if this were released before Black Ops II and had no ties to Call of Duty, would you consider the game to be bad? Hell, it could have become something great, with its own franchise behind it if it were good enough.
I'm rambling, though. My point is, while you shouldn't really buy this game, experience it for what it is if you DO end up buying it (that is, if you haven't already). Experience the almost unmatched stortytelling skills from Campaign, then experience the actual stupid shit after. Experience the bad to understand it, I suppose.
...yeah, I should end this post now.
What do you guys think? How did you like or dislike Infinite Warfare? Feel free to reply if you want.
Per aspera ad astra,