Activision is saving its hands-on demos of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare until later in the year, so all it could offer attendees at this year’s E3 was a private screening of around 15 minutes of extra gameplay. Consider this a review of those opening minutes.
    My first piece of gameplay was an extract from the opening mission of the campaign, based right here on planet Earth. The Settlement Defense Front (SDF), which broke away from Earth’s United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) some time before the game's beginning, decides to launch a surprise attack on the UNSA’s headquarters in Geneva.
    Image result for call of duty infinite warfare 4kIt’s a brutal invasion. Almost immediately, the sunny Swiss skies are turned black by ash and rubble, and what appear to be cyborgs are roaming the city seemingly executing citizens at random. It’s up to you, as Captain Nick Reyes, to sort this mess out.
    The gameplay I saw in this opening mission is exactly what you’d expect from CoD. It’s fast-paced and there are very few moments to pause for breath. When they come, they’re welcome, but nonetheless short-lived.
    Most of the enemies I see appear to be cyborg grunts, fairly easy to kill and not particularly threatening to anybody with a conveniently placed, upturned car to hide behind. My weapon appears to be a fancy, futuristic M4A1-style assault rifle with a holographic sight. I also see a shotgun with self-guided buckshot, and a sneaky grenade that walks along like a spider and blows up when it’s near an enemy.
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    In the demo, there was no heads-up display – although I’m not convinced this will be the case in the final version of the game, and was probably more to get us to focus on the gameplay itself.
    Reyes is equipped with a few extra abilities. He can call in death from above in the form of a missile-firing, hovering aircraft, which will blow the hell out of everything in a chosen 20-metre radius.
    We make our way through the tight streets of Geneva, finding ourselves at the UNSA headquarters. Here, dropships loaded with cyborgs are on their way in. Reyes uses another techie ability, hacking into one of the cyborgs and activating a dropship’s self-destruct sequence, which promptly explodes in dramatic fashion.
    After that, things get very cool. This is by far the best part of what was, up until that point, a fairly humdrum demo.
    Down come self-guided fighter ships of varying sizes, and our hero climbs into one of them. Moments later, a small armada of UNSA ships is heading for the skies, into space, to take out the cruiser that’s orbiting Earth. It’s a spectacular moment that will definitely feature in all the TV ads for the game.
    From here, I see more of the epic space dogfights we saw in the public E3 gameplay trailer. It’s cool stuff and extremely slick, but I do wonder whether it looks fun only because the player of this particular demo is very good at the game. I can’t imagine having reaction times or decision-making skills anything like that of the demo player.
    After blowing up the destroyer, we were shown an extended version of the E3 gameplay trailer. From this additional content, we can see that the player is able to pick and choose which missions they carry out, instead of just following a linear mission path. I’m sure that all the missions will have to be completed at some point, but there’s at least a hint of choice – which was very much lacking from previous CoD titles.
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    It’s CoD with a twist. I hope it's more twist than CoD, because space-based warfare is a chance to really rejuvenate the franchise.
    However, with all the extra weapons, abilities and settings, the base game is very much the same. If you’re into that, you’ll be pleased. If not, there are many more games coming out this year that will provide a more varied experience.
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