Review: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Sabotage

Overcoming an initially cold reception, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare managed to become the best-selling console game of 2016. Many of the game’s new ideas and gameplay innovations were injected into the single player campaign and Zombies mode. Multiplayer, however, felt like a rehash of Call of Duty: Black Ops III. While perfectly serviceable, the multiplayer never actually incorporated what made the campaign so good. Spaceships, space battles and cool maps set in space environments were either non-existent or lacking in supply. In comes Sabotage, the first of four DLC map packs.

Sabotage is structured like any other Call of Duty DLC map pack. You’re getting three brand new multiplayer maps, a remake of a classic map, and a new Zombies experience. Unfortunately, Sabotage doesn’t come with any new weapons, keys, or Supply Drops. In an age where competitors are either giving maps away for free or are including additional content like weapons, it’s a shame how little Sabotage comes with. It’ll all come down to the multiplayer and Zombies maps, and whether they’re any good or not. Renaissance, Neon and Noir make up the new maps, and Dominion is the remake of a classic Modern Warfare 2 map. Rave in the Redwoods rounds out the map pack, adding a new tale to the ongoing Zombies drama. Is Sabotage a strong start to Infinite Warfare’s season of content, or is this a Season Pass to skip?

It all begins with Renaissance, a three-lane map set in Venice. Renaissance is, without a doubt, the most restraint Infinity Ward has shown on any of its Infinite Warfare maps. Renaissance feels like something you’d find in a classic Call of Duty game. While the map does offer a few areas to wall run, the action is very much focused on boots-on-the-ground.

Renaissance also breaks from traditional Infinite Warfare map design. There’s less of an emphasis on tight corridors and right-angles. The lanes are more open, allowing for more straightforward shootouts. It’s also a beautiful map with some fine details. It’s not futuristic, but it’s an excellent map with a great design.

Neon takes things in an opposite direction and goes full on sci-fi. Neon is set in a training simulator where cars materialize from data, shooting a wall reveals wireframe, and killing an enemy turns them into pixelated bits. It’s sterile, white environment with the blue hues is quite pleasant to look at, and unique compared to any other map in Infinite Warfare.

Adding to the uniqueness of the map is its Z-style design. It’s still a three-lane map, but the Z-style makes each lane feel more connected and easily accessible. The center lane is perfect for sniping and DMRs, and both of the side lanes are great areas for SMG and Assault Rifle battles. A cozy enclosed building at the center of the map is an excellent place to take a shotgun. Neon delivers a playable experience that any player can get into.

If Renaissance represents the past, and Neon the future, then Noir is the perfect marriage between the two. Noir is set in a futuristic Brooklyn complete with cafes, parks, and neon lights. This may be one of the best looking maps in Infinite Warfare, as well as one of the best playing.

Noir has a traditional three-lane design but with a twist thanks to varying levels of height. The side lanes are open to accommodate different play styles and mindful flanking. The center of the map sees players duking it out over a central park, and players can rain fire from the windows of buildings overlooking the park. Noir is the fun, intense map that Infinite Warfare needed.

Dominion rounds out the pack and is a remake of the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map Afghan. Before Sabotage’s release, many fans would have preferred to have played the original map in a remastered version of Modern Warfare 2. After playing Dominion, most will still the same thing. Dominion doesn’t work as an Infinite Warfare map. The addition of the jetpack hurts the flow of the map, making it easy to access certain areas of the map. What used to be a challenge to get to the top-most part of the map is now super easy just by holding the X button. Sure, it cuts down on snipers on the hilltop, but also takes away the soul of the original map’s design.

It also doesn’t help how uninspired the map looks. It’s like Infinity Ward took the sand shaders and gave them more of a reddish hue, and then slapped on a moisture farm motif to the rest of the map. Map remakes are always tricky because they have to find a fine line between giving players something fresh and giving them something they loved. Dominion doesn’t strike that balance, and feels more like a map that should have been handed out for free, like Terminal, and not as part of a premium $14.99 package.

Rounding out the package is Rave in the Redwoods, the new Zombies map. While neither Sledgehammer nor Infinity Ward has been able to create a Zombies experience on par with Treyarch, Infinity Ward is getting close. Rave in the Redwoods is really fun with the villainous Willard Wyler (Paul Reubens) sending our reluctant heroes to the ’90s era Bear Lake summer camp. There’s a whole batch of new Easter Eggs to discover, traps to set, zombies to slay and a special friend to find.

Kevin Smith may be a polarizing filmmaker with a hit-and-miss filmography, but he injects a right level of silliness into the proceedings and fits well with the ’90s theme. Rave in the Redwoods is a well thought out map that gives Zombies fans plenty of content to play and comb through as they try and uncover all the Easter Eggs. Those who believe only Treyarch can make a good Zombies experience should give the fun Rave in the Redwoods a look.

Closing Comments:

Sabotage is exactly what Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare needed: an injection of good maps. Noir, Renaissance and Neon are in the top tier of playable maps in Infinite Warfare thanks to their top-notch design and unique settings. Each map brings something different to the table and leverages Infinite Warfare’s setting better than most of the base game maps. Zombies fans will also find a fun new episode with enough Easter Eggs to discover before the next map pack comes out. It’s unfortunate that Dominion is a dud, and that you don’t get much compared to what competitors are offering for the same price.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Sabotage is available now on PS4. It’ll hit Xbox One and PC sometime in the next month.

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