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Review: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Sabotage

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I'm not even supposed to be here today

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was one of the most uneven releases yet from the studio trifecta of Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer, which both worked for and against it. The campaign felt so by-the-numbers in spite of flashes of greatness, hitting all the same Hollywood action notes that we've seen before...in space.

But the multiplayer core was still just as strong as ever, and the zombies mode rocked it with one of the best concepts to date. It's good thing that any future DLC will only expand upon the latter two elements and bolster Infinite Warfare into a more appealing shooter, albeit with an extra $50 price tag strapped on -- starting with Sabotage's four new maps and one new zombie level.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Sabotage (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Released: January 31, 2017 (PS4) / TBA (PC, Xbox One)
MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs)

Noir is the sexiest map of the pack, taking the future concept and owning it. It definitely looks the most "Infinite Warfare" of the bunch, and manages to really feel like a premium map, even when compared to the rest of the technologically advanced lot in the base game. We'd had lots of city skylines in Call of Duty games before, but Noir, with its neon Brooklyn tint, is rad.

While Call of Duty developers have the tendency to rely on the "three lane" setup far too often, it works for Noir due to its focus on asynchronicity. The sidelines are more open and accommodate plenty of flanking opportunities, while the center is one big two-story building that facilitates chaos. This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see from Infinity Ward when it comes to map design.

Dialing things back a few centuries, Renaissance is a straight-up old-school map that's Call of Duty's take on Venice. There's not nearly enough of this type of restraint in Infinite Warfare, so by going classical, this style actually mixes things up.

Frankly, I'm blown away with how fine-crafted the interiors are. You can read individual gelato flavors at this point, and landmarks like the chapel and even the gift shops are on point. It even has that "half closed big wooden door" shtick that you've seen since the first Call of Duty, and just a hint of entropy (a burning gondola in the Venetian lagoon).

Neon is something I'd expect out of Treyarch, and like Noir, it goes the extra mile out of its way to feel different. Much like Titanfall's training level everything is digitized, which makes for a really cool aesthetic when you're blasting people into little pixelated bits. The blue hues of the level allow it to stand above the crowd, and I even created a few AI extra games after experiencing it in matchmaking just to make sure I could play it again for the review.

It's odd (in a good way) all around, sporting a "Z" style layout that makes every location feel more accessible. Blowing up cars only to have them digitally re-create themselves seconds later is also a nice touch.

These packs usually have one bad apple, and Dominion is it. Despite the fact that it's a remake of the popular Modern Warfare 2 map Afghan, it's plagued by an uninspired outdoor mining concept. It feels like a rejected map from a Red Faction game and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of Sabotage. The fluff of the giant reactor in the middle and the moisture farm conceit isn't enough to make this something you're going to remember months from now if it shows up in the rotation.

Dominion's layout is likewise, dull. There's a cool setpiece in the middle to battle over that makes some objective-based matches enjoyable, but the indoor zones are woefully simplistic, and the outdoor areas don't successfully transition well, with low buildings and no ability to scale most of their tops. It's invisible walls galore here.

I'm a broken record when it comes to the recent direction of Call of Duty's zombie mode, but hear me out. After abandoning the amazing Cthulu concept in Black Ops III (seemingly forever) it was a disappointment to go back to the same World at War shtick, even with its signature map design. I'm really glad that Infinity Ward decided to keep the same continuity for its first DLC zombies map, Rave in the Redwoods. There's no "reset button" here like Activision has resorted to many times before, as Willard Wyler (Paul Ruebens) returns, and once again sucks the core cast of Ike Barinholtz, Jay Pharoah, Sasheer Zamata, and Seth Green into the '90s. This time they have new, era-appropriate archetypes, providing a different spin on things while keeping everything united. It's the best of both worlds. Oh and it also has Kevin Smith in it.

Say what you will about Smith (and I will -- I just watched Yoga Hosers yesterday and it was one of the worst films I've ever seen) but Clerks and his indomitable indie spirit really sum up the irreverence of the '90s quite well. Regardless of how you feel about the crown prince of snoochie boochies, he isn't the focus. Once again we get a brilliant Hanna-Barbera style cartoon to intro the map that blows anything Dempsey and his crew offered in the past, and the team really rolls with the absurdity, lampooning several films, chiefly Friday the 13th given the "camp/lake" setting.

Zombies is still damn fun, whether you're making it rain bills as a Vanilla Ice wannabe, or triggering the Infinite Warfare-centric power-ups that serve as on-the-fly supers. The map itself is amazingly thought out, and the camp actually feels alive, transcending the typical "woods" zombie feeling that's even been done before in Call of Duty. That includes taking drugs, tripping out, and seeing a whole new fantasy world with fairies to unlock Easter eggs.

As usual the new zombie map feels like the main event, but Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Sabotage is a mostly successful injection of new stuff to do. I'll be combing forums for days trying to figure out all of Rave in the Wood's tiny secrets, and at this point, I think we've solidified that the gang is coming back for three more add-ons. Tubular!

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Sabotage reviewed by Chris Carter

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 


 


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