It’s quite a clever strategy from Activision this year. With Call of Duty sales starting to stutter somewhat, why not try and sell the next game on nostalgia. So on top of the future space world of Infinite Warfare you get the addition of Modern Warfare remastered, only available in the Legacy Edition. Well, only available for now packed in, if you want my prediction then it’ll be available solo next Christmas while Activision try the same trick twice and package in another classic COD in remastered form. If it works for pre-orders then who’s to blame them?
Dipping into both campaigns has been an interesting experience. Because while the series has taken certain steps forward, there are still ways in which it hasn’t changed. The field of war may be different but Infinite Warfare still features the words “Follow” and “Support” pasted above your allies’ heads. The series also wanting to at least shock you with the outcomes of certain missions, while there’s no way they could possibly top the “nuke” moment or more notable “No Russian” that still doesn’t stop the game attempting to surprise. Though in the case of Infinite Warfare it falls someway short of doing that.
However, swapping between both games intermittently made me garner a lot more respect for the companies tasked with bringing a new game every year. At its core it’s a spectacle driven FPS, and if we call COD4: Modern Warfare the beginning of this era then making a new game each year for nine straight years and trying to make it feel at least a little different is a mammoth task. Sometimes it falters, sometimes it shines.
When it comes to the feel of the game there’s a definite difference between MW and IW. Weighty, real life weapons dominate the Modern Warfare world whereas the light, futuristic energy weapons found in Infinite Warfare do lack a certain power ad recoil. And really that’s where the classic COD campaigns can be a better experience. Each bullet hit feels powerful, enemies aren’t bullet sponges due to the lack of future tech armour and robotics and a headshot feels like an accomplishment. On the flip side with IW you may need to empty half a clip into some enemies before they fall with most enemies having helmets so one shot head kills are out of the question.
That’s not to say gameplay improvements haven’t been made since the olden days, the revolving door of soldiers that plagued the early COD campaigns forcing you to constantly push forward unless you feel like shooting an endless stream of enemies are a thing of the past. So feel free to take cover and attack from a safe distance instead of constantly looking for that opening to rush forward.
Multiplayer has seen more of an evolution over the years, for better or worse. I may be the only one, but the purity of Call of Duty 2’s multiplayer shenanigans will always hold a special place in my heart. No kill streaks, no perks or upgrades, just pure shooting and I loved it. On the other end of the scale, IW has everything you’d expect from a more modern shooter, including loot boxes which are all the rage these days. It’s a little overwhelming for someone like myself who doesn’t rush out and buy a COD game year after year. It makes me think I’m getting too old for this *bleep*.
That’s not to say it doesn’t play well. It’s faster, with boost jumps and all the other future tech you’d want to use and does have a decent variety of maps and game modes. But there’s something about the simpler nature of MW that drags me back to that game just as often if not more. It’s a more slow, methodical approach to combat as you sneak around corners rather than boost jump through windows and run across walls.
While the series has evolved over the years, it has been more of an evolution than a revolution. The set pieces have become more bombastic, the actors are more mainstream, and the options in multiplayer have increased. But is bigger really better? Not really. There may be more to do but the majority of my time was still spent in the classic Team Deathmatch arena. Maybe because I’m not exactly a team player and being shouted at by twelve year olds for not rushing to the objective isn’t exactly my idea of fun.
The Legacy Edition then was quite a nice way of remembering the olden days with the new. I can’t really consider either to be better than the other, but what I can say is that they are the perfect complement to each other. And it makes me curious as to what Activision do next year, something I didn’t think was possible again.