I am of course referring to Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Like my "review" of Titanfall 2, I'm only going to talk about the campaign here (the multiplayer - as far as I can ascertain from my brief play of it thus far - is your usual CoD-style multiplayer, plus there's yet another co-op zombie game, this time set in a kitschy sci-fi theme park, where you can try out the rides).
I do have a soft spot for Call of Duty, despite the series reaching its peak around ten years ago - a matter only highlighted here by the special editions of Infinite Warfare coming bundled with a remastered version of that peak; the peerless Modern Warfare.
See, for me, CoD has become the gaming equivalent of the Only Fools And Horses Christmas special: nobody needs it, nobody thinks it's the best thing ever, but it makes me feel all warm and Christmassy regardless.
It's an annual hug, a herald of the Advent season as surely as the John Lewis and "Holidays Are Coming" Coca-Cola adverts, and the arrival on our shores of Christmas Steve - the Christmas Crab. It's safe, reliable, doesn't rock any boats. There's even a special guest this year: F1 legend Lewis Hamilton, for some inexplicable reason.
In most respects, Infinite Warfare is exactly what you expect from a Call of Duty set in the far future.
The scale is above and beyond what most games attempt - the set-pieces are, once again, Hollywood blockbuster level. There's so much eye candy here that you risk ocular diabetes.
Sadly, much of the action and scale does struggle to match the highs of an early assault on Geneva. As soon as the game heads into space it somehow becomes more generic. The missions tend to be boots-on-the-ground assaults, zero-gravity ship infiltrations, or flying around in your fighter craft, either in space or in atmosphere.
Most of the levels, barring the main campaign missions, can be tackled in any order. It all rarely looks anything less than stunning - truly, it's one of the most gorgeous games of this generation thus far - but it's sad to say that it does become rather repetitive, not least the missions in your spaceship, which rarely amount to more than the exact same thing repeated ad infinitum. If you enjoy pointing a crosshairs at a dot on a black background, you'll love this...
Of course, being a Call of Duty, they work hard to make you care about your brothers-in-arms, and the key relationship here, as in Titanfall 2, is with a robot; Ethan. Unfortunately - like the wall-running, like the jetpack stuff, like the weapons - the relationship and the storytelling works better in Titanfall 2.
It's probably not fair to compare CoD: IW to another game, but when there are so many similarities, when they are released within a hair's breadth of one another, and when one is clearly better than the other, it's hard to ignore.
Part of this is because Titanfall 2 just gets on with it: in Infinite Warfare, before setting you off on the missions, it forces you to suffer through conversations, walking around the big outer-space aircraft carrier where you live, mission select screens, weapon select screens, launch animations... You've got about five minutes of faff between each extended bout of gameplay. It's unnecessary, breaks the flow of the gameplay, and saps momentum.
The other reason is that Titanfall 2 worked hard to offer brand new ideas and experiences at every turn; Call of Duty sticks to its guns (literally). They try to keep things varied with new locations - a mission set on a meteor that's spinning out of control near the sun is a brief highlight - and weapons (though with fewer future-tech novelties than you'd expect), but this is mostly as basic and predictable a first-person shooter as you can get.
What also somehow breaks the game, for me anyway, is the level of technology. You'd expect a Call of Duty to feel real and beefy, with chunky hardware that extrapolates from where we are at. There's some of that here... but also hyperspace, and anti-grav weaponry, and assorted other things, which strive to pull away from the realism that is this series' calling card.
If it sounds like I hated the campaign in Infinite Warfare then I apologise. It's perfectly playable - as this series always has been. Unfortunately, it follows on the heels of Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 - a pair of aces which felt like they pumped something fresh into a stale genre.
Ironically, despite its futuristic setting, Infinite Warfare feels like it has been done - and done better. There's something rather old-fashioned about its structure, and not in a quaint way.
SUMMARY: Del-Boy falls through the bar - again - but this time in space!
SCORE: Space 19.99 out of Space 30.99.