|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Infinity Ward|
|Release: November 4, 2016|
|Players: Single-player, Multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Not yet rated|
by Jenni Lada
I’m running through a prison bunker. I wish I could explore its nooks and crannies, maybe go “in” some of the “out” ways. In an ideal situation, I’d jump to higher ground and survey the area, see what there is to see and all that. But again, I don't have that luxury. I'm involved in a Deathmatch in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Taking a moment to think, plan, or appreciate the sights can, and will, get you killed.
I found myself playing a sampling of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer matches at Call of Duty XP, going through three different kinds of maps in three different spaces. The first, as I mentioned, was Deathmatch on the Breakout map. It sent me to a prison on a frigid planet, forced to do all I could to survive while also taking out as many enemies as I possibly could. It honestly felt like a very traditional Call of Duty multiplayer experience, speed aside.
Everything is a flurry of motion in this installment. Which made my initial exposure even more ironic. Breakout is a linear, three lane map that’s supposed to be one of the slower-paced matches, but that wasn’t my experience here. Everyone was moving, running, shooting, throwing bombs, leaping to new areas, and taking everyone out. We were constantly in each other’s faces. We never had a moment of peace to think or plan.
It was that way with each of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare maps and modes I tried. A Domination match on the Frontier map put me on a circular space station, attempting to help my team take and hold three designated places. A small, tight map, I found myself equally in action and respawning, due to the rushing, switching tides of battle. Though, there were also a few, brief, zero-gravity moments, as defeated players would begin floating.
Probably of most interest was the time spent in the new Defender match, taking place on the Frost map. This new mode is a form of keep-away. A drone is in play, and your goal is to grab and hold it for your team for a minute, if possible. Manage that, and it will reset and go to a starting place. It was almost like playing football within Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The drone was frequently changing hands, in part because the game displayed an indicator saying where it was and if it was or wasn’t being help by a member of my team. If the icon was red and said, “Kill,” I was on an interception mission. If it said, “Defend,” I needed to be there for my team. Again, it was a frantically paced experience where you don’t think – you do.
Really, the only time where I did have the luxury to sit and plan was when I was able to “Create a Class” between matches. Players can choose from six different Rigs, combat suits that determine abilities and tactics, before or during a fight. Before heading into a battle, you can put things together. A Warfighter is considered the standard Call of Duty veteran soldier. Phantoms are snipers, Synaptics run and gun, and FTLs are constantly able to bound around maps. Though I experimented with the Striker, a supporting unit that allowed me to deploy a Micro Turret as my Payload ability and have a Trophy Drone that would defend against a lethal grenade once, I found myself most comfortable with the Merc Rig.
The Merc is a more defensive unit, which worked well for me in a world where everyone else was far faster and more adept at dealing with the situations at hand. While I could choose between the Steel Dragon or Bull Charge as my Payload ability, I ended up favoring the shielded physical rush, which I could use as a panic mode, over the beam gun. All three of the possible Trait abilities were equally friendly to someone who wanted a little more stability as she held an area for her allies. I went with Shockwave Press, which would let me press the circle button for a damaging ground pound when I was in the air, but I could also have chosen Infusion, which would have allowed me to regenerate health faster, or Man at Arms, which would increase ammo capacity and keep weapons from slowing me down.
I feel like the key to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer will be adapting to the pace and making your enemies move at the speed you want them to. Controlling the flow of battle is going to be critical. Especially since each of the maps I played through were designed to get us in each other’s faces. I feel like someone who learns the nuances of their Rigs and can adapt to the situation at hand will be able to easily handle the challenges presented by the more immediate, intense combat situations this installment will provide.
Date: September 6, 2016