Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Multiplayer Beta Impressions

October 24, 2016

With the closed multiplayer beta for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare taking place last week, I was able to go hands on with what many will consider to be the most important aspect of the game. I haven’t played a Call of Duty game since the original Black Ops on Xbox 360, so it was a bit of a shock coming back to find so many differences, and similarities, in Infinite Warfare. Gameplay is still as fast and furious as ever, but the new mobility mechanics detract from the overall experience.

With no campaign missions available in the beta, the focus was well and truly on the multiplayer and how that functioned. The usual levelling system, which was popularised by earlier Call of Duty games, is back and still serves as an excellent overarching progression point, even in what was a relatively small chunk of time and content. Classes are back (this time called Combat Rigs), each with their own super ability which charges with kills and assists, and each can be further customised with multiple loadouts. You also have the ability to craft items to customise your guns, adding an additional loop into your progression in the game.



Once you’ve chosen your Combat Rig and fiddled with your loadouts, it’s time to jump into some matches. There were three different modes in the beta, a simple Team Death Match mode, another which had you collecting a drone and attempting to hold it for a certain period of time and a third mode which had you changing weapons automatically each time you got a kill. Once you’re in a match, you get into the real minute to minute action of Infinite Warfare. Shooting mechanics are refined, as you would expect, feeling highly responsive and tight. Every gun feels different and are incredibly satisfying to use. The special abilities of each Combat Rig, which you may only get to use once or twice in a match, were interesting but ultimately felt unsatisfying to use. Firing a giant laser is interesting to look at, but with regular weapons already killing enemies pretty quickly the benefit to the special abilities didn’t feel large enough. With shooting mechanics that feel so good, and are so fun to use, it makes the disappointment of the movement mechanics so much worse.



Infinite Warfare has a movement system that feels almost like Titanfall, with a jetpack boost instead of a double jump and some less refined wall running mechanics. A big issue with the movement mechanics is that the map design throughout the beta didn’t make much use of verticality or gaps, largely leaving them unused. While you could use them to get some altitude when going around corners or jump onto vehicles for a slight height advantage, there is no real advantage to doing this. As such, I largely ignored them except for the few times I was absolutely required to. This is the same as the wall running mechanics, which unlike in Titanfall feels incredibly slow and cumbersome. I appreciate that Infinity Ward are trying to push the series forwards, but the mechanics aren’t focused on enough from a design point of view and aren’t refined or satisfying enough to transcend this.

Overall, the excellent shooting mechanics and poor movement mechanics, combined with an otherwise standard gameplay loop left me feeling underwhelmed by the multiplayer beta for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. While the campaign of Infinite Warfare looks to be one of the most interesting in the franchise, the multiplayer is shaping up to be a lacklustre affair.