Call of Duty is one of the most famous franchises in the world, even beyond gaming. Since it skyrocketed in popularity in 2007 with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, each annual release has earned millions in sales and brought waves of new players in. But which Call of Duty game is the best? Here are the top 10 best CoD games of all time, ranked.
Call of Duty has evolved greatly over the years. Its roots in World War 2-themed shooters have expanded tremendously (and sometimes been revisited to a mixed reception), taking players into the Cold War, the near future, and even into space.
It could be argued that the franchise revolutionized the first-person shooter genre, and continues to reap success to this day, especially since the launch of the battle royale phenomenon Warzone.
With all that in mind, and some incredible games to list, here are our top 10 Call of Duty games of all time. This is primarily based on multiplayer, but we have taken zombies and campaigns into consideration, too.
10. Black Ops 4
Kicking off the list is a more recent Call of Duty title, with Black Ops 4 launching in 2018 to add to the ever-popular Black Ops series.
The game was the last to feature Specialists, following on from how popular they were in Black Ops 3, adding extra layers to the classic CoD gameplay experience. The game may not be an insanely popular entry in the series that people saw as a competitor to the best Call of Duty games, but it was consistent and, most importantly, a fun game to play.
9. World at War
World at War awkwardly followed Modern Warfare when it was released in 2008, a near-impossible task to do successfully.
While some players stuck to CoD 4, World at War was eventually widely enjoyed by its playerbase and, perhaps most significantly, was the first CoD game to feature the Zombies mode, and it may have been the best of them all.
8. Modern Warfare (2019)
MW2019 can be credited for bringing a huge number of departed players back to Call of Duty, with gameplay reminiscent of CoD of yesteryear, a new engine and, down the line, Warzone.
The game hasn’t gone without its criticisms since launching, though, and became divisive among players frustrated with certain features, such as the fast TTK and introduction of doors to the series.
7. Modern Warfare 3
Infinity Ward had a huge weight on their shoulders when they released MW3 in 2011, attempting to follow Modern Warfare 2’s wild success after the departure of many of the team’s leading developers.
What came felt a lot like Modern Warfare 2, with some refinements such as a change of the streak system, introducing specialist streaks for the first time. While it wasn’t as beloved as its predecessor, it was still an incredible game that felt like a traditional CoD, while still offering fresh and non-repetitive gameplay.
Not the first Call of Duty battle royale game, but certainly the most popular, Warzone changed the game for a huge number of players. Top streamers flocked to the game from competitors like Fortnite, and it reached a huge playerbase as the first free-to-play game in CoD history (besides CoD Mobile, of course.)
Verdansk came at a time where the whole world was locked inside, and it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, especially since it uses the very popular Modern Warfare engine. Could Warzone 2 be the sequel players want to see?
5. Modern Warfare (2007)
For many Call of Duty veterans, CoD 4: Modern Warfare is where it all started. The M40A3 and M16 became iconic, the introduction of scorestreaks brought a whole new element of gameplay to the series, and the map design was almost flawless.
Players of a certain age will almost certainly cite Call of Duty 4 as their favorite game, and it helped propel CoD to the incredible new heights it reached in future years. Modern Warfare was a huge turning point for Call of Duty, and they even remastered it in 2016 alongside the release of Infinite Warfare.
4. Black Ops 3
While the jetpack games aren’t often heralded among the best in CoD, Black Ops 3 is an anomaly. It brought the same fun gameplay, with enough fresh features, to make it feel like a real advancement of Black Ops 2.
While the advanced movement is divisive for long-time players, Black Ops 3 is, to many, the greatest CoD game ever made. Even streamer Jack ‘CouRage’ Dunlop, who was a commentator for the Call of Duty World League when it came out, has BO3 at the top of his list.
3. Black Ops 1
Treyarch turned their back on the World War II theme and looked further ahead to bring fans the original Black Ops title, taking the series to Vietnam with Campaign and Zombies modes recognized as some of the best the series has seen.
It wasn’t an immediate hit among players, who still adored Modern Warfare 2 which was released the year prior, but over time Black Ops has been recognized as one of the truly elite CoD titles.
2. Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2 has a very strong case to be recognized as the greatest CoD game in history, and it’s very much split with the game we’ve actually listed at the top of our ranking.
The maps and guns were memorable and players have long clamored for a remaster of MW2. With 2022’s CoD entry being given the same name, fans can only hope for similar magic to be recreated.
1. Black Ops 2
Black Ops 2 represents everything that made Call of Duty great: A varied weapon meta, iconic maps, great campaign and zombies, and the birth of a burgeoning esports scene.
The amount of map remasters that have come from BO2 speaks volumes, and the fact that so many players still cite it when asking what they want to see in future CoD releases is a testament to how timeless the game is.
Every Call of Duty game will have its own legion of fans willing to go to bat for it, but Black Ops 2 and Modern Warfare 2 are often a unanimous top two. With a new Modern Warfare 2 coming in 2022, can it live up to the billing of its predecessor?
So there we are – our 10 Best CoD games, in ranked order. For more Call of Duty content, check out some of our guides below:
Best Warzone weapons | 10 most popular weapons in Warzone | Warzone player count | Do you need Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus to play Warzone | Best Assault Rifle loadouts in Warzone | Best Warzone Sniper Rifle loadouts