Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is set to release in a few weeks, but recently the community got a chance to test out the newest multiplayer component of this upcoming title. Given that the online portions have always served as the backbone for this franchise it was imperative that the competitive section delivers solid, hectic matches while simultaneously feeling new. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue, but with Battlefield 1 looking to crush any competition, all eyes are now on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
After spending a few hours with the multiplayer beta, it’s clear early on that this might be one of the smoothest multiplayer games in recent memory. During my time I experienced zero pop-ups, glitches, or crashes which is impressive given that this title is still in beta and the multiplayer was played by thousands of players. That being said, there was the occasional laggy match due to one person’s connection in the lobby, but this is something we’ve come to expect with multiplayer in general.
Though connecting to actual matches became the biggest issue with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, as the wait time between rounds were horrendous. In my time with the beta, I ended up waiting around 15 to 20 minutes everytime I began searching for a match. Now this time frame shortened to around 5 minutes once I got into an actual server, but if this problem isn;t addressed it will be a massive issue for the online portion of this title. It’s also important to note that some players have been reporting nearly an hour wait between rounds, which shows the inconsistencies with the servers.
The moment to moment combat within Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare hasn’t really changed and is still offering the same fast paced action that the series has been built on. While this franchise has always played around with a futuristic setting, this feels like the first game to actually embrace this concept fully. This is much to the game’s benefit as they have never fully committed to going full science fiction until recently, which helps this new Call of Duty feel a bit different from its predecessors. Now there is little doubt that the demand for going back to a World War setting is there, especially after Battlefield 1, but the distant future setting for CoD works just fine.
In terms of the actual gameplay and map design, it’s top notch as all of the levels offer multiple attack routes and good cover for those willing to defend objectives. It’s fairly clear that close quarters combat is the focus this time around as all of the maps feel quite claustrophobic and don’t offer a lot of long sight lines or open spaces. Guns are responsive and fun to fire, which allows the combat to feel fluid and enjoyable. The core mechanics of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare are rock solid thanks to the series constantly updating and refining it’s general multiplayer ideas.
However, the actual problem with this newest title comes in the form of the various classes that you are offered to play as. Not that there is anything wrong with adding some diversity to the gameplay, but these feel like a complete afterthought. These classes come in the form of RIGs, which act as templates for classic archetypes that we’ve seen in other class-based shooters such as Overwatch or Team Fortress 2. These classes ranged from the large, slow damage dealing Merc that uses heavy weapons to suppress targets to a nimble close quarters robot known as Synaptic.
This change could have helped breath new life into Call of Duty, yet none of the classes feel truly unique thanks to player’s ability to use any weapon, from any arsenal with them. This makes them blend together, as these different RIG types don’t differentiate themselves enough since their base stats and health haven’t really changed. The slow, heavy armored Merc can take just as many hits as the well-rounded Warfighter, which causes the Merc’s slower movement speed to feel like a liability. There’s no point to building a class around using suppressive fire when 90% of firefights are over before they began.
Now there is nothing wrong with fast paced action, DOOM has had a large amount of success because of this. However, the problem is that CoD’s attempted implementation of classes and class specific traits gives the game an identity crisis. The maps and game modes don’t exactly support this type of teamwork as the lone wolf mentality has always been a part of this game’s online component. Instead of offering different refinements to Kill Streaks, customizing your class, or the trait system, these classes just feel tacked on.
There’s a nugget of a good idea with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s class system, but it’s buried under the fast paced, take no prisoners ideology surrounding the online portion. This class system barely worked in the last title, so with them bringing it back there was a chance to add some real depth to this system. However, as it stands now, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a solid online shooter, but it still lacks the complexity and nuance that it seems to desperately crave.