Monday, November 14, 2016

Unexpected feels

Country is still here? Check.

Internet still works? Check.

I can still type the work 'fuck' without getting a knock on the door? I'll let you know if a minute.

...

I let slip on the podcast that Call of Duty Infinite Warfare was the best campaign that the series has had since, oh I don't know, Black Ops. They all blend together and that is part of what makes Infinite Warfare special: it doesn't blend in with every Call of Duty since Modern Warfare. There is more to it than the change in time and venue but being in space certainly helps. Very good space dog fights also help. But Infinite Warfare is not just about shooting thing. It is about people and sacrifice and one man's struggle with what it means to be in command.

Spoilers coming. For a Call of Duty game. Seriously.

 After a very Bond-like cold open that introduces the bad guys as a suspiciously Helghast like group (more on that later) the player takes control of Nick Reyes, a hotshot pilot who has problems with authority. Specifically, he takes umbrage with his captain when the order is given to ram an enemy carrier. This decision costs lives but save many, many more.

Reyes doesn't care. He believes that it is the duty of a captain to end the day with all the men he started with, a complaint he never gets to air because one of the casualties was the captain. You can guess who gets the field promotion. For the first few missions Reyes is not a great captain as he either cannot or will not make calls that put anyone other than himself at risk. He is called out on this by several people, one of whom is an ex-captain herself and tells Reyes that if he cannot may sacrifices then he should step down.

He learns. He develops. He has a character arc. In a Call of Duty game. By the end of the game Reyes orders a pilot on a suicide strike, leaves soldiers behind to defend a point that he knows will die, finally blowing himself and most of his crew up on a mission to defend the Earth. The game gives numbers: of the 750 he had only 4 survived.

Numbers are meaningless. Kratos kills 750 people before breakfast on a slow day. To drive the point home there are eight self written and read obituaries that play over the credits, one of them from a robot, and they are devastating. In about seven hours of game Infinite Warfare made me care about these people.

Again, this is a Call of Duty game.

(Reyes' obituary was notably absent. They better leave him dead.)

And the shooting? Excellent but different. Movement had weight, shooting took time. It felt like Killzone, of all things, with intimidating, psychotic enemies to match. And the space combat reminded me of Wing Commander, just significantly prettier. Infinite Warfare stole it best parts from other games, and that's okay, the series needed a shakeup.

The multiplayer? Fuck. Did you forget who was talking?

...

I will dissect ReCore tomorrow. It is not good.

*knock*knock*

Fuck, who the fuck is at the door...

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