Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Takes Multiplayer To A New Frontier [Preview]
Much of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s battle comes off the success of Black Ops III. Speed, momentum, double jumps and parkour figure into gunfights just as heavily. Sliding, jumping and surprising your opponents with elevation as you engage around corners is paramount to being the best. Though we’ve seen a lot of outside action in the trailers, Infinite Warfare’s Multiplayer won’t be putting players in cockpits and have them engaging in dogfights above the battlefield. This is still a foundation built upon players winning the war on the ground with superior map knowledge, fast reflexes and the best run n’ gun tactics.
The biggest addition to the game comes in the form of Rigs. Much like Black Ops III's operators, Rigs are different soldiers, each armed with several equippable payloads that are charged during matches via scoring. For instance, the Warfighter is built for offense, speed and aggression. Their first payload is the Claw --- a fully automatic weapon that fires projectiles in a wide spread that will bounce off walls. Their second payload is the Overdrive, which Black Ops III players will recognize as an ability that allows the player to move much faster for a short time.
Contrast this with the Stryker. The Stryker’s first payload is the Gravity Vortex Gun, which fires projectiles that emit black hole generating fields. The Stryker’s second payload is the Mini Turret, which works much like a directional Sentry Gun in most other Call of Duty games. Both of these abilities, and much of the Stryker’s gameplay for that matter, are built towards suppressing key areas and supporting teammates. That said, these are just two of the six Rigs, each offering its own offensive and defensive payload capabilities.
Payloads aren’t the only thing that make Rigs unique. Players will also have access to one of three traits for each Rig. Traits offer persistent passive and activated abilities to each Rig. The Warfighter has access to the Persistence trait that allows them to keep progress towards killstreaks even after dying at the trade-off of having to pay more for each killstreak. Meanwhile, the Stryker’s Trophy Drone follows the Stryker and intercepts one grenade per Stryker spawn. Each Rig has three traits and mixing them with payloads allows for tailored customization, though we found some to have a bit steeper of a learning curve. For instance, the Phantom’s Ballista EM3 is a massive rifle that can penetrate more than one soldier with each shot, but it reloads extremely slow, making it more difficult to handle than the Warfighter’s Claw, but traits work to offset the more difficult payloads and ensure each Rig fills a unique and applicable niche.
Infinite Warfare also features its own wealth of weapons, which should be expected from a Call of Duty game. Each gun falls between ballistic or energy weapons, each with their own specific customizable parts, but the real meat of the loadouts lie in weapon crafting. Throughout Multiplayer play, players will earn salvage. This salvage can be used to produce four new “prototype” tiers of any gun. Not only that, but finishing certain challenges in the game can grant a player access to special and unique variants that are otherwise unobtainable.
Tiers run from Common to Epic that feature multiple additional benefits. An Uncommon prototype might feature weapon stability or rate of fire perks whereas Rare variants feature unique abilities. One of the Epic pistols we saw featured a perk that allows it to fire seven shots at once where an Epic shotgun featured a bayonet that could be stabbed into enemies before firing. Every weapon has prototype variants and each player will seek the best, making Infinite Warfare’s Multiplayer a massively evolving experience as players build bigger and better weapons.
Tactical and lethal equipment has also seen an update to go with Infinite Warfare’s futuristic style. Standard grenades and flashbangs still exist, but implements like the Seeker Grenade and Cryo Mine bring new angles to equipment that will create new opportunities. When enemies approach, the Seeker will jump up and give chase before exploding. Throw one onto an unwary enemy and it will latch on and blow them to kingdom come. If you’re looking to buy time, you might want the Cryo Mine. This device will activate after a moment or when an enemy approaches. It will then disperse a fog of freezing air that slows enemies caught in its clutches to a crawling pace, buying a precious escape from a losing fight --- or setting a trap for wary enemies to get gunned down in the open.
Of course, you’re going to want to take all this weaponry and gear to some interesting maps and Infinity Ward seems prepared to deliver. Much of Infinite Warfare’s maps run the gamut across numerous planetary and interplanetary installations, mostly borrowed from the single-player campaign. Each map features several-lane gameplay built towards pushing players toward engagement at key chokepoints, though each also contains unique twists and turns to bring out the best in various styles of close and long-range combat.
Frontier is a claustrophobic romp through a space station orbiting Neptune. It features three main lanes of tight corridors with interconnecting rooms for outmaneuvering and flanking, as well as an underground maintenance tunnel that takes player from one corner of the map to the other. Frost is another three-lane map, but this one is set at an advanced research facility on the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Under the glow of the massive gas giant, players will fight to gain control of mining facilities, laboratories, wide-open platforms and narrow rocky crevices. Each map brought unique challenges that catered to the bevy of playstyles we employed during our time with the game.
What we saw during our time with Infinite Warfare’s Multiplayer was pretty spectacular. It may be grounded, but the sheer amount of customization in both Rigs, gear and weaponry along with some slick level design are making for an experience that takes everything we know about the fast-paced, first-person shooter far beyond its norms. The game offers numerous options that are sure to keep professional and casual alike guessing at what continues to be the most effective build for engagement in an evolving arena.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be available Nov. 4, 2016.
This preview was completed at Call of Duty XP 2016. Travel and accommodations for Call of Duty XP were provided by the publisher.