Another year, another Call of Duty hands-on article. Everyone should be, by now, familiar with the basics of the Call of Duty series and Infinite Warfare doesn’t change the fundamentals of the franchise. It still feels like the Call of Duty you’ve come to expect, and many to resent. For that reason, we’re just going to fire out some of the notable changes we spotted in our hands-on session at EGX 2016 rather than regurgitating what you already know.
The first thing we spotted when getting ready to head into battle was how you can now equip up to six attachments to your primary weapon without the need for any wildcards. As has become custom for the series in recent years, you have a set amount of points to use and every item is worth either one of two of these points. Maximising our spend of these points, we built ourselves a really nifty killing machine: an assault rifle loaded with a red-dot sight, silencer, quick-draw, FMJ, extended mags and a foregrip. As you can imagine, we certainly racked up the kills in a satisfying way but in return we literally had nothing else in our class; no secondary weapon and no perks.
Killstreaks are no longer a part of your class selection and are instead a separate entity as they once were. This means you can set them before the match and change class as many times as you want during it and you’ll always have the same set. We found this very useful given we sacrificed everything for a beefed-up weapon and still got the standard three killstreaks, which wouldn’t have been possible in the likes of Advanced Warfare.
The classic UAV returns, of course, with a handful of other recognisable killstreaks under slightly different names. We managed to claim all three of our streaks during the demo; first was the aforementioned UAV, the second was essentially an airstrike but its line of attack almost stretched the entire length of the map, and the final was a predator-like missile that had several smaller rockets fall off of it. These streaks were quite fitting given that the original three from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare were a UAV, predator and airstrike, and that Infinite Warfare is shipping with a remastered version of that game. It’s also been announced that the tactical nuke will make a welcomed return. For those that are unfamiliar, previously in the franchise you could get a game-ending nuke for 25 consecutive kills.
Your jetpack also returns, although it does feel quite toned down in that players in our demo weren’t constantly doing their best Superman impressions all over the place. Wall-running and sliding are also returning, but this time around it feels as though these advanced traversal skills are just for getting around rather than to give players a combat advantage; fights feel far more grounded than in the past. We’ve all come across those people that bounce around all over the place and immediately fly upwards when you start shooting them. Shame on you, if you’re one of these players.
In Black Ops III you could build up a power meter to unleash a devastating attack depending on which character you’d chosen before the match. In Infinite Warfare that meter returns and for our valiant efforts we were given a limited use of a weapon called The Claw. The Claw is a machine gun that not only fires forwards, like a gun, but also ninety degrees to the right and to the left. If that wasn’t enough, the bullets also ricochet and bounce off the walls. In the demo we were playing the Hardpoint game mode, where each team has to fight to capture a certain area. One of these areas was inside a building, so you can imagine the chaos we caused when we went storming into a small room of enemies and rapidly fired bouncing bullets in every direction.
When putting together your character you get to choose one from a list of play-style-specific perks for the first time. One of these stopped our killstreak from resetting on death, however, we could only use each killstreak once per match. This is a very interesting addition as if you’re one of those players that gets a lot of kills, but not in succession, you can equip this and cause utter chaos towards the end of a match.
One of the biggest complaints about Black Ops III was how there was a large range of killstreaks to choose from, but none of them felt powerful enough to warrant their kill price. Thankfully, Infinity Ward has gone back to basics and stripped out the tame streaks and replaced them with some that can seriously change the pace of a match. From large attack helicopters to a sentry robot that watches your back, it’s safe to say that the gloves are now off and you better run and hide when reinforcements are called in.
As ever, the Call of Duty franchise keeps moving forward while at the same time playing it safe by keeping a lot of things mostly the same. Similar to games like FIFA, each new iteration is more like a tweak than a reinvention but that’s not always a bad thing. We personally found these new additions useful and are looking forward to seeing how they’re used when the game is shipped. That being said, Call of Duty has some stiff competition this year, with both Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 being released around the same time, so will these new features be enough to compete? We’ll find out when the game launches on November 4.