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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PC Technical Review

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PC Technical Review

(FULL DISCLOSURE: A friend of mine is employed by one of the companies that had something to do with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. I’m not looking at that, but nonetheless I’m not going to be fully reviewing any Call of Duty game because there’s a fairly obvious ethical issue there. I figure a largely objective tech review of this newest iteration might not be too bad, and I don’t believe the aforementioned relationship has consciously skewed my opinion in any way, but if you feel this piece can’t be trusted because of these reasons… well, that’s your prerogative and I quite understand. That’s the point of this disclosure, after all: to let you make your own mind up.)

Some things just happen every year. You file your taxes. You have a birthday. You celebrate some form of holiday. A new Call of Duty game is released. Honestly, this stuff is relentless. Gets a bit wearying, doesn’t it?

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is definitely a Call of Duty game. It’s bombastic, explosive, ludicrously pretty, and full of dialogue that made me roll my eyes so hard I nearly got a concussion. And that’s only the first two missions. So! Let’s have a look at the options, eh?

infinite-warfare-settings-1 infinite-warfare-settings-2 infinite-warfare-settings-3 infinite-warfare-settings-4 infinite-warfare-settings-5

First: yes, it supports 3840×2160, so that’s nice. Second: yes, you can turn off both voice chat and text chat for multiplayer, which immediately removes one of the biggest problems with this franchise.

Aside from that, we’re apparently looking at the usual: the options aren’t too bad, and they cover most of the worst offenders and offer up a few nice touches. Motion Blur and Depth of Field can both be disabled (praise the deities) and there are some decent descriptions of what each options does when you mouse over them. On the downside, there aren’t that many options that should seriously impact performance; I imagine Texture Resolution is the really big one there.

infinite-warfare-2

I feel like I should point out that this isn’t a promo shot – this is actually in-game.

While Infinite Warfare itself runs at a full 60 FPS, the pre-rendered cutscenes are limited to 30 FPS and the difference between the two is a little jarring. Also, while I say the game runs at a full 60 FPS, I have encountered some slowdown on my i7-3820 / 16 GB RAM / GeForce GTX 970. Nothing hugely problematic (one particular – and heavily cinematic – scene in the second mission dropped it down into the high 40s for a few seconds) but this would tend to imply that I’m going to have to drop the details a little bit from what you see in these screenshots in order to get a constant, permanent 60 FPS. I can’t say whether or not it’ll cause a problem in any actual action scenes a bit later on, though, as I haven’t played nearly enough to comment. I’m happy enough to stick with what’s on display there unless it actually starts impacting important gameplay stuff.

I don’t have too many comparison screenshots because switching the texture resolution requires a full restart of the game, but here are a few from various segments of the game’s second mission. You can use these to get a vague idea of how the game looks on its near-highest settings, as well as its near-lowest.

infinite-warfare-comparison-1-1

High.

infinite-warfare-comparison-1-2

Low.

infinite-warfare-comparison-2-1

High.

infinite-warfare-comparison-2-2

Very obviously low.

infinite-warfare-comparison-3-1

High.

infinite-warfare-comparison-3-2

Low.

infinite-warfare-comparison-4-1

High.

infinite-warfare-comparison-4-2

Low.

There isn’t too much of a difference in settings (at least not in these quiet scenes) with one notable exception, which is the Texture Resolution. Lowering that makes things look utterly woeful when you’re within, uh… well, pretty much any sort of viewing distance, actually. Fortunately, the impact made by the rest isn’t too major by comparison, so they can be twiddled with a lot more easily.

Still, I should give Infinite Warfare some credit for its looks. From what I’ve seen it makes effective use of both scale and lighting to add atmosphere to things, and its big impressive scenes – of which there are many, because it’s a Call of Duty game and that is basically what they do – are actually big and impressive.

As you’d expect, it controls fine, too. Considering it’s a first-person shooter on the PC you’d hope this would be the case, but as Ghosts proved, it occasionally isn’t. Nonetheless, I’ve yet to see any bizarre prompts or weird default binding conflicts, and the default controls are pretty much the CoD standard with CTRL as a modifier for crouch and prone, F as your “use” key, middle mouse as grenades, etc. Not only that, but they’re thankfully pretty easy to redefine if you need to.

infinite-warfare-1

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

The one issue with this is that the controls in single-player don’t appear to carry over to multiplayer, which means you’ll have to rebind the bloody things twice. I don’t know if this goes for everything, though: I adjusted the mouse sensitivity in single-player but not multiplayer, and yet it seemed okay in both… yet I definitely had to rebind “press right mouse to toggle aim” to “hold right mouse to aim” both times.

Moving over to multiplayer, things get a little iffier. Don’t get me wrong: Infinite Warfare‘s multiplayer segment has given me no framerate issues, looks fine, plays fine, etc. But right now there are two issues.

First and foremost is the laughably boneheaded decision to separate Windows 10 Store users from Steam users because… reasons… which has split the player base into what I can only imagine are two vastly uneven segments. I can’t see this being in anyone’s best interest, frankly.

infinite-warfare-4

Oh, right. You do also shoot people. I should note that.

Second, which is possibly related, is that it’s taken me a surprisingly long amount of time to actually find matches. Not unplayably long, but getting into a simple game of Domination or Team Deathmatch took me around two minutes of queueing, which is considerably longer than I expected. This may be down to NAT issues (unlikely; I haven’t had this issue with other CoD games), or may be down to the split playerbase (also kind of unlikely; I’m playing on Steam). And no, there’s no server browser.

Maybe everyone’s just playing the single-player for now, or maybe it’s trying to be a bit more careful than usual with matching up players of the correct skill levels. If it’s trying to do the latter, though, it doesn’t currently seem to be doing a good job. The first game it dumped me into was a Domination match in which I had exactly one teammate, against a full enemy team. We lost quite badly. The second game I was put into, I joined exactly one second before the end of the match. We lost that one too, but I can at least confirm I had absolutely nothing to do with that one. The third game worked okay! It’s just that, factoring in queue times and waiting for that godawful first match play out, getting to said third game took me about ten minutes.

infinite-warfare-3

Again, the lighting does an awful lot for the game’s looks.

If I sound a bit down on Infinite Warfare… well, I probably am, at least a little. After the wonderful originality of Titanfall 2 it’s a little disheartening to play something that currently feels like Another Call of Duty Game. That’s not inherently bad, of course, and I haven’t played nearly enough of it to really comment on its quality. Equally, I’m not going to comment on its quality because of the disclosure at the beginning of this piece.

I suppose the upshot is that, yes, this is a fine enough PC port. It looks lovely, it mostly runs smoothly, and I haven’t hit any major roadblocks over the course of a couple of missions and a few bouts of multiplayer gunmanship. About the only area I’d really caution you to be wary of is the bizarre segregation between Windows Store and Steam users, because it’s way too early to tell what the ramifications of that are. As a technical piece of work though, I don’t think I really have much in the way of complaints.

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Comments

  • navyvet12

    Actually, the player base was low because many people like myself requested refunds after playing an hour or two. Also, many waited to see how the game would be reviewed as there was much disappointment with BO3.
    The game is horrible on PC. In 2016, the tick rate should be at least 120 and the FPS should be an option. It should have been made for PC and not jus a PC port. The video settings should all be optional. Control problems with both mouse and controllers. Graphics looked like crap in multiplayer. Matchmaking was horrible. Still using same old engine and same old lag comp algorithm that was developed to work with connection speeds of a decade ago. Since you can’t up the FPS any higher than 90 you can’t mitigate the effects of lag comp that players with fast connections are punished with. The multiplayer maps were like Nuketown. They don’t allow for thoughtful, stealthy gameplay. One team running together pounding on another team. No room for individual-lone wolf type play. Modern Warfare Remastered, the hope of many old COD patrons, was a big let down. Same problems as IW. Activision needs to realize that they can’t just keep putting out junk and expecting loyal COD players to buy. It’s time for a new engine and servers that meet the needs of modern PC’s and internet connections. It’s time to make COD a PC first game. People are tired of futuristic robot crap. Tired of Nuketown like maps. Give us the COD game we want and we will buy it and play it.
    i7-4790k Devils Canyon Quad Core 4.4
    32G gSkill memory
    980ti Classified GPU
    500G SSD
    Sharp Aquos 40″ HDTV

    • rochyroch

      How does upping the fps mitigate the effects of lag compensation ?

      • navyvet12

        The lag comp in COD punishes the faster player by over adding latency to his connection. It does this so all players see the exact same frame at the same time. But the algorithm used to accomplish this is like 10 years old and can’t handle todays faster connections. It ends up over compensating high ping (lagged) players by adding too much latency to low ping players. So I set my FPS to 200 (usually stays around 180) and it minimizes the affects of that lag comp by being able to view frames fast. Lag comp is still a big problem but this helps a teeny bit.

        • the whole meaning of lag compensation is to create balance between high ping and low ping players.. also, it worked always randomly. sometimes you’re at receiving end and sometimes you ride the lag horse and owning everyone.. thinking that you’re always suffering from that is an incredible delusion…

          • navyvet12

            Actually, am a woman. Activision leases servers from Game Servers Inc. Connect almost always to NY server. My true ping is between 3-12 ms to that server. Because fiber optic submarine cables connect NYC to Europe and South America, many players from those areas are put on NY server when there is overflow from their regions. Canadians and players from the South and West U.S. are also brought into the NY server when their local servers are full. They all come with major lag. So the games lag comp tries to rectify 3ms to 300ms and it just cannot do it. Yes, once in awhile I get to play at 40-50ms if I get put on Toronto or Atlanta but not very often. Even then there is always someone with 100ms ping in the lobby. A simple Google search will prove the advantages of using high FPS to mitigate lag comp. There are maps of submarine cables online you care to look and here is a link for the lag comp explanation: https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Latency_Compensating_Methods_in_Client/Server_In-game_Protocol_Design_and_Optimization .

        • I’ve read your post again.. I have no idea why I did that.. Anyway, I’ve found you a name. Placebo-man.. lol

    • Guillaume Blazkowicz

      Besides the lag comp aspect, I think BO3 is really good. Liking the futuristic design (and gameplay that comes with it), is a matter of taste and a different topic. When buying the game, you could not ignore you were going to play in a not-so-near future.
      But other than that, I think you’re totally right. It’s time for a more PC focused CoD and the current netcode / engine is really getting old. Now you can really feel the difference with other games.
      I’m not sure to see what you mean by “using high fps” (by fps you mean frame per second right ?). I got a gear quite similar, i7 6700K, 980gtx sli, 32G ddr4 + a 144Hz monitor in 2560×1440 with g-sync. But for now CoD:IW is clearly not optimized (had to downgrade to 1920×1080 to get something full fluid with more than 90fps).

      • navyvet12

        Well I’m done with COD until they make one for modern PC and internet. I got BF1 and its awesome. Not sure what the tick rate is but its got to be over 100. Draw well over 200 FPS with settings on ultra. It’s still a little buggy but am really enjoying flying the plane and riding the horse. The weapons are frustrating but then WW1 weapons were. Maps are great. Something for everybody.

        • Guillaume Blazkowicz

          Ok, so you deactivated the vsync setting then ? (as I think chances are you don’t own a 200Hz gaming monitor – or do u ^^ ?). Cuz I’m “stuck” at 144 fps since I have a 144Hz mon. but I have not tried to deactivate the vsync.
          Will do then, and check the results :). It won’t change anything on CoD:IW, since the game seems limited on the fps (I don’t think this is because of my settings but probably the game itself, will do some tests as well).

          I bought BF1 this week-end and wow…the graphics are amazing and you really feel like you’re part of the battle. This is a great, great job really. But I honestly prefer the CoD ‘gameplay’. I think BF is awesome for teamplay, but it does not feel like (and is probably not meant for that) a fast-action paced game like CoD for the solo player that I am. See what I mean ? Like connecting 20/30 mins, do some rounds and see how sharp your reflexes are and then get offline. CoD is great for that, kinda of a fastfood game I might say. Maybe it’s because I’m just too used to this gameplay (but I played the LawBreakers beta in last August, and it felt a bit like that…really enjoyed that beta ^^).

          • navyvet12

            I always deactivate vsync. It causes heavy duty input lag. Yes, IW is capped at 91 FPS which is one of the things I complained about. I think you can crank up your FPS above 144 in BO3.Subscribe to a you tube page by Battle nonsense. He has good videos on vsync and why higher FPS is better and mouse settings. He has some kind of fix for everybody and he does analysis of all the games. Very smart guy. He advises the game makers I guess. You should check out his page. Lots of good info. I play multiplayer in BF1. Pretty much the same as COD except more smooth and better graphics.

            • Guillaume Blazkowicz

              All right, thanks a lot for Battle(non)sense channel, seems very interesting indeed !

      • navyvet12

        If the lag compensation is assigning too much lag to you because you are very fast and another player is very slow, it helps ever so slightly to set your FPS-frames per second as high as you can. I set mine to 200 in BO3. It makes everything smoother and the faster you can see the next frame, the better your gameplay will be. It’s not going to make the lag comp any fairer. Slow players will still have an advantage. But it helps just a little to se those frames as fast as you can. Also, set your FPS at 60 and then at 200 and see how your mouse or controller act with each setting. The 200 FPS will make you mouse so much better. Of course, upping your FPS sometimes requires lowering some of your video settings. I keep mine on high as opposed to extra.

  • vander

    “I feel like I should point out that this isn’t a promo shot – this is actually in-game.”

    Does that mean the screenshot should look good? I’m personally disappointed. I was expecting CoD: Infinite Warfare to be technically beyond Star Citizen but it looks like it not even near at the same level. Activision has much more resources than CIG and they have been working on their game engine for a long time.

    • navyvet12

      The game engine is the problem. Time for a new one.

      • rochyroch

        they really are milking that engine

  • tall70

    Anybody has KEYBOARD lag when simultaneous keys are pressed? wow lol. When i go one direction and press any 2nd direction at same time, 2nd one has literally 1 second lag. So i go forward and need strafe under fire and NO ain’t happening for whole second…tried two keyboards, both same, totally persistent issue. It’ really pretty Michal Bay like story you can be part of, but “unplayable” with this keyboard bug

    I don’t have any control problems in Mafia3, Star Citizen, gta5, JC3, you name it