with Ronan Jennings

IN SPACE, no one can hear you stream. ‘Call of Duty’ (COD) has gone from Black Ops to black holes, and the result is the best series entry for years.

At least, that much is true for the story campaign, which takes COD from infantry and beyond to infinity and beyond. This year, the setting is a far-flung future where humans have taken to the stars. An attack from an insurgent group called the Settlement Defence Front (SDF) leaves Earth crippled, with only two star cruisers to repel the encroaching forces. One of those carriers is helmed by you, Nick Reyes.

Our sun isn’t the only star in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — the leader of the SDF is played by Kit Harrington, made famous by his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. As Admiral Koch, Harrington lives up to the Jon Snow name by being ice-cold in his methods. For Koch, people are just a means to an end. He wants to win at any cost.

The space setting is by far the best selling point of Infinite Warfare, taking the played-out US military themes of almost every other COD game and replacing it with Starship Trooper and Battlestar Galactica backdrops.

The atmosphere is still gritty and this is still very much a war story, but the sci-fi sensibilities make this much more exciting and, ironically, relatable than anything that resembles the sad state of modern military culture. It helps that the characters are fleshed out and likeable, growing on you as the story progresses. Even Harrington’s Koch is charismatic in his madness.

The structure of the single-player campaign is better as well, with various side missions to take on that give you a chance to explore the setting further, and there are even really well-constructed dogfighting missions that place you in a spaceship. Ordinarily, vehicle missions in COD have been lacklustre but these space fighter sections are a real treat.

The story campaign is just one third of what COD offers, of course, with multiplayer and Zombies taking on the other two thirds. As is always the case with those modes, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder.

New multiplayer modes like Defender will prove fun for a while and the fresh Zombies setting (in which you journey to a ‘Spaceland’ theme park) should provide plenty of laughs too.

Until sales slump dramatically, ‘Call of Duty’ will never change significantly. It will only ever take small steps forward, limited by the genre and gameplay inherent to the series. But at least Infinite Warfare is fun, a proper blockbuster movie experience, enough to warrant a purchase if the multiplayer modes still keep you engaged. If shooters are your thing, make space for it.

GROUNDING GAME

Meanwhile, back on Terra Firma, Farming Simulator 17 is currently beating Infinite Warfare in the Steam PC charts. As of writing, Farming Simulator 17 is number 23 on the charts with 26,044 concurrent players while Infinite Warfare is number 36 with just 15,436. Of course, PC gamers have been threatening to boycott COD for a number of years now, due to the series’ perceived catering to console gamers. In addition, competition in the shooter genre is hotter than ever right now, with Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 also eating up sales.

Also, Farming Simulator 17 is probably really good. Maybe some people just like their gaming more grounded?

A DIFFERENT LEAGUE

Farming Simulator might feel like home to some Irish gamers, but if you’re looking to support an Irish team in gaming the chance may soon come. Blizzard have announced a new eSports league for Overwatch called ‘Overwatch League’. It’s a professional league that allows players to rise through the ranks and eventually get signed by a team with professional contracts. Here’s the clever twist, however: teams will be city-based, meaning we should be able to support an Irish team at some point in the future.

For now, it sounds like the league will start with North America only, before spreading into all other regions as time goes on. The structure of the league will follow a pre-season (for signing players and defining rosters), the inaugural season with live streams every week and a Championship run to discover the first-ever world champions. Come on you boys in screen!


Lifestyle

Conservationist Giles Clark takes on the illegal wildlife trade, as well as the task of building a bear sanctuary in Laos, South-east Asia, in BBC Two series Bears About The House.Five minutes with ... Giles Clark

Forget G-spots. Let's focus on the C-spot and close the orgasm gap once and for all.Sex File: The G-spot is dead. Long live the C-spot

Workshop leaders from the West Cork Literary Festival offer tips for writing in areas such as biography, short stories and travel, writes Des O’DriscollSo you want to be a writer?

'He told us we were so scared of dying, we forgot how to live” - Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment is this week's podcast pickPodcast Corner: Guru tells of sweat-lodge tragedy and James Arthur Ray

More From The Irish Examiner