Infinite Warfare Multiplayer Hands On Impressions: Fast, fun, yet strikingly familiar
Editor’s Note: Activision paid for our travel, hotel, and access to the Call of Duty XP event.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer mode is finally revealed. We got to play Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer at the Call of Duty XP press event and are ready to share some of our impressions of the game.
One of the easiest ways to describe Infinite Warfare multiplayer is that it brings together a lot of features from one different Call of Duty titles into a singular experience that is fun in its own way, fast-paced, and exciting to play. Another way to talk about this game is how strikingly (like, seriously) similar some of it is to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Infinity Ward’s key focus for this title, as stated by Infinity Ward’s Multiplayer Lead, Joe Cecot: “With a focus on driving front line combat engagements and rewards players of all play styles.” One of their key idea in this game is to redefine the player and the play-space that players interact with.
The movement system in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is almost identical to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s movement system. The players get a boost meter on their screen, which indicates how high you can jump, how far you can boost slide, and yes, wall-running is back.
Unlike Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s movement is more tightly controlled and less ‘fluid’ in terms of chaining-up. Going from running to wall running sometimes feels like you are doing separate movements, versus in Black Ops 3, and at points, there is a delay in the boost sliding quickly experience. At some points in the matches, it feels as if the movement system is unnecessary — there are certain instances when playing when you want to boost jump, but feel like it will put you at a disadvantage in the play space.
This is still a early build of the game, not the final version, so hopefully Infinity Ward address some of the inconsistencies that exist with the movement system.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare features the new Combat Rigs, which is basically Infinity Ward’s take on Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s Specialist system.
In an interview with charlieINTEL, Infinity Ward’s Multiplayer Project Director Jordan Hirsh stated that the idea for Combat Rigs came from giving players the equipment they need to play in the different scenery and environments. “Rigs came in pretty early in development. Through that process, we pulled that back and allowed more flexibility. We need to put players in suits essentially that worked in space. So it worked naturally to put players in this cool armor systems,” said Hirsh.
The characters are different from Specialists from Black Ops 3 in that the different weapon and abilities are combined under a Payload category, and there is another option that players have to select for each Combat Rig called Traits. Payload and Traits vary between each character and cater to a wide variety of play styles. The Traits are additional perks that each character can have for the length of the game. Certain traits can only be used once per life in game, while others are consistently active throughout the length of the match.
The Combat Rigs do not have any particular story or connection to the campaign in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. While some might seem overpowered in the description of them, from what we played, it seems Infinity Ward is putting big focus on ensuring balance in the gameplay style.
A huge difference from Specialists and Combat Rigs: Combat Rigs can actually be changed mid-match in-game via the start menu. You do not have to select a rig and be stuck with it the entire game, so if a certain rig just does not work out for you in a specific match, you have the ability to adjust and change whenever. But, when players change the rig mid-match, the payload meter in the bottom left does reset to adjust to the new selection. This is a welcome addition, as it allows you as a player to adapt as the match progresses. Even more so, it helps with adapting in-game to the enemies’ play style.
The Pick 10 system is back in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. This system is almost identical to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, but it does have some differences. There’s no specific wildcards, and certain items may cost more points than others. Infinity Ward did not go into major detail on this yet, but stated that it is similar to past Pick 10 iterations. Scorestreaks are not part of the Pick 10; players must pick a set of streaks that will remain consistent across all classes.
The Play Space — Map Design:
Infinity Ward has a variety of maps in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Infinity Ward listed some of their focuses in redefining the player space:
- Fast time to combat
- Force head to head engagements
- Never before seen environments (space station, other planets moon)
- Varied layout designs — high replay-ability
Some maps are the classic, three lane Call of Duty maps, while there are larger maps to cater for those play-styles. Breakdown map takes place on Earth and is a map catered to the larger style of play, while still maintaining the 3 lane structure.
Another one of the maps shown, Frontier, is one of the smallest maps we have ever seen in Call of Duty. It features only 2 lanes, fast paced action which is a ton of fun. The map takes place on a space station orbiting around Neptune but is completely enclosed.
The maps are designed beautifully, both aesthetically and style of play. One of the best modes we got to play was Defender on Frontier. Being such a small map, Frontier allowed for an incredibly fast paced, action packed game of Defender. The map is lined up with close quarter engagements, with enemies around every corner. Even more, when an individual is taken out, their bodies actually float to match the outside environment of the space.
We also got to play Terminal, the fan favorite preorder bonus map for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Terminal’s layout is exactly the same as it was in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. There are some differences, however. In the plane, there are no seats anymore, leaving no cover in the plane as you try to run through. In addition, in the main hallway and select other areas of the maps, glass windows that were in MW2 have been replaced with hard cover that cannot be breached.
As a side note: there are no maps in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer that takes place in zero-gravity, Infinity Ward confirmed to us. They wanted to focus on retaining the classic Call of Duty style and decided against those player spaces.
Another change to the overall HUD of the screen and player space is that in-game, in-match every single player has a little icon above their head which shows their health level. This is a first for Call of Duty, although it has been in other FPS games. It is helpful in identifying how many more shots you need to take out enemies and is not that obtrusive to your HUD. In addition, Infinity Ward has added a brand new feature under the mini-map, which is basically a callout section. It tells you where the action is, and in Hardpoint, will even list the current Hardpoint’s location. Infinity Ward said this is to emphasize and help with player communication. During our playtime, we did not actually notice this being that helpful, as it is kinda small on screen and not that relevant to consistently see and be aware of.
Infinity Ward has brought back a wide variety of weapons, alongside brand new weapons. The game features Assault Rifles, SMGs, LMGs, Shotguns, Snipers, Directed Energy Weapons, and more. And for the first time ever, there’s a selection of Classic weapons, which are fan favorite weapons from older Call of Duty games brought back. The classic weapons were not available for us to play with at Call of Duty XP.
In terms of balance, there is a wide variety of weapons in Infinite Warfare. In Black Ops 3, there seemed to be limited variety in terms of how varied the weapons are, but Infinity Ward has really altered and changed up the style of weapons in each category in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. There needs to be some balancing to adjust some of the weapons, as certain SMGs and ARs felt overpowered, but overall the weapon direction is more using modern weapons, where some have a futuristic twist.
There is a lot going for Infinity Ward with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. One of the simplest was I could describe this game is: it incorporates elements from all previous Call of Duty titles, while trying to be fresh, fun, and new. As a side note, yes, we realize that the gameplay does look awfully familiar to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. And it sorta does play like Black Ops 3, but faster. It is almost like an upgraded, better version of Black Ops 3, adjusting for balance, and being cautious of the casual play styles.
One thing’s for sure, Infinity Ward has learned a lot from their mistakes in Call of Duty: Ghosts’ MP, but until we play the final version, it is not clear if this vision will work with the fans.