Here at E3 2016, Activision doesn’t have a proper booth on the show floor. They are, however, showing their games elsewhere. I headed upstairs to check out what the publisher brought for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
It was a video of gameplay. Live demoes, it seems, are going the way of the dodo, as they’ve been truly rare here at E3 this year. In fact, for the big games so far, and I’ve only seen a few, the one live demo was God of War behind closed doors.
So, right, Call of Duty. I saw three separate bits of gameplay. First, I saw a level I hadn’t seen before that took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Then, they showed the exact same demo they showed during Sony’s press conference. Following that, we saw the Modern Warfare level on the ship, only remastered, of course. That looked cool. It was Modern Warfare with better graphics, so Call of Duty fans know exactly what to expect.
Let’s start with the space combat and ship assault stuff. I’ve included the clip above so we’re all on the same page. It looks pretty interesting, doesn’t it? You’re commanding a ship, selecting where to go, piloting a combat ship in off-rails segments, fighting out in space with a grappling hook and using all sorts of zero-gravity tactics. They move inside, and the battle still seems unique with tight corridors and interesting segments that take advantage of the in-space setting.
I won’t lie, all of that stuff seems genuinely new and interesting, and it has me actually excited to see more of Infinite Warfare. It’s fresh, and I’m cool with that.
The Geneva, Switzerland level? I don’t know. Honestly, if you put that level and a bunch of other ones from recent, modern call of Duty games, in a line and made me watch them all together, I don’t think I’d be able to place this new level with the right game. It’s so stereotypically Call of Duty.
Some new gadgets and guns show up, like a shotgun that seems to trace target outlines for longer range precision. There’s a new spider robot grenade that crawls along the ground and actually attempts to mount enemies before exploding. The tech is neat, and the robotic enemies offer a little variety in combat.
I’m just tired of levels that feel exactly the same with these games. Big set piece explosion, lots of loud chaos, indistinguishable moments of conflict and rolling from fight to fight without even thinking about what’s actually happening. The space levels are new and exciting, but this on street stuff is entirely too pedestrian in an age where we’ve had so much Call of Duty to chew on over the years.
It comes down to this for me: how much I’ll likely enjoy Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare depends on the ratio of space stuff to ground stuff. If we only blast off for a few missions, I’m out. If we fight on the ground and then take the campaign to space for 75% of the game? I’m all aboard that train.
We’ll know more as we get closer. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare releases for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms on November 4, 2016.