While there have been memorable Call of Duty campaigns throughout the series, with Modern Warfare and Black Ops being some of the most notable, its safe to say that the franchise wont be remembered for its writing. As the series is handled by multiple studios, Call of Duty has had the luxury of dipping into different genres to find its footing. Infinite Warfare came at a time where Call of Duty was heavily fixated on science-fiction and it honestly deserves its place as one of the best campaigns in the franchise.
Set in the distant future, you assume the role of Commander Nick Reyes, a Tier 1 pilot, who through various circumstances becomes the Commanding Officer of the Retribution, a United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA) carrier. He is then tasked by the UNSA to engage with the Settlement Defense Force (SDF), a hostile organization with the intent of overthrowing the UNSA on Earth. Reyes and the crew of the Retribution are capable fighters, but are vastly outmanned due to the SDF attacking Earth during Fleet Week and severely weakening the USNA fleet.
During the events of Infinite Warfare, players will engsge the SDF across the galaxy with either traditional first-person shooter sections or flight sections in which you’ll commandeer Jackals to confront enemies. There are even missions that will have the player seamlessly transitioning from the Jackal to the ground and vice-versa. The Jackal just happens to handle wonderfully and was one of the true highlights of the game.
What made Infinite Warfare’s campaign so much fun was the mission diversity. The Retribution acted as a game hub in which you could select either main campaign missions or sidequests. The side quests were fun excursions that would net the player varying rewards, from new story details, cosmetic items, and even Jackal upgrades. While the moment to moment gameplay was very much Call of Duty, how Infinite Warfare broke up the monotony was much appreciated.
While the sci-fi genre was beginning to wear on fans of the series, Infinite Warfare did everything in its power to look like Call of Duty, but bring more to the table than its predecessors. Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 were fun, but did nothing to change up the formula. Infinite Warfare threw new ideas at the player and succeeded in the implementation of them. Providing players with the ability to choose how to tackle missions may not seem like much, but given the series penchant for repetitive action, it was a nice change of pace. Plus, the zero-gravity sections were great and using the grappling hook during these sequences were a lot of fun.
It’s a shame that Infinite Warfare is not as fondly remembered as other entries in the franchise, but its understandable due to the fatigue felt because of the yearly release schedule. Infinite Warfare is an entry that should be heralded for having what is possibly the best campaign in the series. Put the multiplayer issues aside, the campaign for Infinite Warfare was memorable for the direction it took the franchise. Not only did it inject much needed diversity in the action, but it did so without compromising what made the series great in the first place.
As the Call of Duty franchise has firmly shifted away from sci-fi and is now moving back to Modern Warfare, I believe that Infinite Warfare should be appreciated for being one of the few entries in the series that nailed the risks it planned to take upon announcement. The new grounded take on Modern Warfare looks to be a memorable one, but the franchise has been there before and there’s only so much you can work with. Infinite Warfare was a huge risk for the series that didn’t necessarily payoff, but it still made for one of the best campaigns in the franchise and that’s saying something.