I remember my first Call of Duty game back in the early 2000s with tender fondness. The sound of digital gunfire, with digital bullets ripping through digital flesh, was almost therapeutic and was my way of letting off some steam.

My next games in the franchise were Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Ghosts, and Advanced Warfare, each one not so different from the last. All of them had lots of gunfire, lots of explosions, and lots of dead bodies. It's getting old and people are starting to notice. So I can't really blame developer Infinity Ward for trying out something different with the newest installment, Infinite Warfare.

My friends were almost as critical as other people when talking about the game's setting. When you think Call of Duty, you think about World War II, where a special operations unit traverses through jungles and lays waste to everything that comes to their way. And Call of Duty has indeed covered that era, with Call of Duty: World at War, by Treyarch.

Sure, the franchise jumps ahead a few years every now and then, but Infinite Warfare takes a huge leap forward. It is more Killzone than a Call of Duty entry. Set in space, this futuristic setting explores new territories where you can blow things up. Does that make it less fun? Not at all! It's still a fun game to play.

However, it is not the gameplay or the graphics that make this game stand out. It is the strong writing. It follows one simple, basic storyline that doesn't try to impress anyone.

Fleshed out characters are what make war movies a delight to watch. I used to sit cross-legged on my aunt's La-Z-Boy chair and have movie marathons of Hamburger Hill, When Trumpets Fade, Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Pianist, and so on. Beneath all that macho-bravado, there is sensitivity, camaraderie, moral choices, and everything that makes you care about the people involved in war.

Infinite Warfare succeeds in that. I cared about the characters. I got hurt when some of them got blown out into space. Infinity Ward did a great job, period.

The space setting opened a lot more avenues for the developers to show off their creativity both graphically and gameplay-wise. For instance: in the asteroid mission, the day-night cycle shifts every half a minute or so, which is a visual spectacle. There are also a ton of action-packed scenarios where you board enemy ships and blast each other while in zero-G. There is really nothing to complain about the campaign.

While single-player offered a lot of creativity and fun, the multiplayer was a different story. It just didn't seem too different from the Black Ops 3 experience. Jump boosts, wall running, and all that were there. It's still a fun experience, but one that hasn't drastically changed over the past year.

Zombies in Spaceland

Zombies is back. While everything in the futuristic campaign is dead serious, Zombies in Spaceland takes place in the 1980s, with four aspiring actors and actresses invited to star in the next horror film.

It's amusing to take on this semi-serious side of Infinite Warfare as an ice breaker that shatters the tension built up by the main campaign. There's a lot of helpful tutorials that pop up every now and then, guiding players along the way and letting them know what can and cannot be done. While bothersome at first, at least you'll be able get all the basics right away.

Compared to past incarnations, Infinite Warfare's version of the undead mode is easier to survive, giving ample time for players to stock up until the hordes drop and everyone begins to scream their brains out.

The bottom line is that Infinite Warfare never deserved all the hate it got from its marketing attempts. If you remember, the trailer video got a ton of hate for challenging the normal Call of Duty formula to make something different. It's just sad that the multiplayer and Zombies mode didn't get as much attention as the single-player campaign. 

About the author: Karen Benitez

Skater, musician, carpenter, gamer. Karen is interested in culture, science fiction, and Cthulhu. She participated in MMA bouts, got her ass kicked many times, and ended up with broken bones. Life is good.

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