Story telling in video games is something that can either make or break a game. In some cases, there are games that are basically all story like visual novels. Or there are other games like Saints Row that are an excuse to shoot things. Then there are games that are in the middle that have a good story mixed with good game play. For me, a good example of this is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It was set hundreds of years before any of the movies which allowed it creative freedom to set its self apart. Also it’s a Star Wars title which never hurts. But today we are going to talk about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s story.
For a full disclosure the last Call of Duty I have played, from beginning to end, was Modern Warfare 3. So this will be what I took away from a story play through that I watched on YouTube.
One of the first things that I noticed was that Space John Snow, Kit Harington, comes off as a generic villain who is really evil. Which is fairly evident after the first mission when Admiral Salen Kotch, Space Jon Snow, captures the player. Admiral Kotch gives a monolog about how the player cares for his men wellbeing. Then goes and shoots one of his own men and tells the player that the players compassion is a weakness that won’t allow them to win. This was the set up to the rest of the game which is that not everyone is coming home alive.
In Infinite Wards’ defense this is something that is usually not talked about in First Person Shooters. Most FPS’s will have all the generic bad guys die while most, if not all, the friendly NPC’s live. The fact the Infinite Warfare acknowledges that tales of victory don’t always end with everyone living is nice. But the problem is that this game has not so subtle hints that people are going to die. When you play as the main protagonist Commander Nick Reyes he starts out as an idealist leader who believes that he can bring everyone home. In between the first two missions Reyes has very short conversations with two other characters about how being in charge means sending people to their deaths. Which is odd, since those same people end up dying. In fact, just about anyone who mentioned the perils of leading ended up dead. I personally feel that if they didn’t try to foreshadow everyone’s death, the death scenes would have meant more.
Beside everyone dying, the overall tone of the story just reminded me of every Gundam series I have every watched. For the most part, the story of any Gundam series goes like this. People of Earth become able to colonize parts of outer space. The people of the space colonies become tired of living under the rule of Earth and want independence. Space colonies start a war with Earth and either try to destroy or take over Earth. The only difference with Infinite Warfare is the enemy sees Earth as weak and worth conquering. I personally find this type of plot just an excuse to have a large scale war. But I still find it enjoyable because the stories during the conflict are interesting, usually. Though I would like it if this type of plot was fleshed out more. For example, the colonies were tired of following laws set by the people of Earth that only really make sense on Earth. Or they were being overly worked and most of the profits went back to Earth. I would just like something more to why one would go to war with a planet.
When it comes to the performances, I feel that no one just was going through the motions. It seemed that all of the voice actors really tried to give a good performance. The problem was that most of the characters were one dimensional and I didn’t find any of them that interesting. Except for Ethan who was a robot. The only character that felt like they had more than two emotions. Everyone else seemed to either be happy when no pew pew and mad when pew pew. Also I feel that he had the best death scene but they left his name off the memorial wall at the end. Robot Lives Matter!
In conclusion I feel that, from a story stand point, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare tries for a more emotional pull but falls short since the brands strength has always been solid shooting mechanics. But I do appreciate them trying even though even though it looks like its trying a bit too hard to be Halo at times.(The Raven drop ship looks like the Pelican from Halo.)