Top 5 Call of Duty Games of All-Time

Call of Duty Academy: 104

Narrowing the List

There is a lot of arguments that can be made about which Call of Duty is the best made. After all, Activision has released 16 Call of Duty titles over the past 17 years. There is a lot to choose from in terms of Call of Duty, and I will give my opinion on the best Call of Duty games released. The series holds a special place in my heart because I grew up playing the games with my friends, and I anticipated the release of a new game every year. My adolescence was dedicated to playing Call of Duty with my friends, and my list of best Call of Duty games overall will reflect that. I am going to favor the games that are generally known as the most popular games in the series because they are my favorite games as well.

Game RankYear ReleasedUnits SoldDeveloper Popular MapsPopular Guns
Black Ops 2 1201229600000Treyarch StudiosRaid, Standoff, Slums, Yemen, HijackedMSMC, M8A1, AN-94, DSR-50
Modern Warfare 22200925000000Infinity WardTerminal, Highrise, Scrapyard, Rust Intervention, ACR, UMP45, Barrett 50Cal
Black Ops 13201030720000Treyarch StudiosNuketown, Firing Range, Summit, Jungle Famas, Commando, Ak-74u, Galil
Black Ops 3 4201526700000Treyarch StudiosFringe, Evac, Combine, StrongholdVMP, M8A7, SVG-100, Man-O-War
Modern Warfare 3 5201130700000Infinity WardDome, Hardhat, Resistance, Seatown MP7, ACR, Barrett 50Cal, MSR
Difference in Developers

I also have preferences for certain Call of Duty developers over others. Activision, the parent developer of the series, has different game developers make each of Call of Duty. There are three game developers that are responsible for making Call of Duty games, Treyarch Studios, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games. They take turns making a new game every three years, and a new Call of Duty is released every year.

Out of the three main developers, I prefer Treyarch’s games to any other in the Call of Duty series. They are responsible for the Call of Duty Black Ops series, and that series of games are my favorite video games of all time. The guns are balanced across the board in Black Ops games, which allows players to use almost any gun in the game and be able to compete in Multiplayer. The maps in Treyarch games are amazingly balanced and are some of my favorites in the game series.

Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have made great Call of Duty games as well, and have made some of my favorite games in the series, however, they have also made some of my least favorite Call of Duty games as well. Treyarch has never made a bad Call of Duty in my opinion, and I always have faith when they are announced to make the new Call of Duty like they are rumored to in 2020. Infinity Ward has made classic gems like Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3, but are also responsible for Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare, two of the most disliked Multiplayer Call of Duty games of all time. The story is the same with Sledgehammer, they have made good games but they have also made some of the lower tier Call of Duty games along with Infinity Ward.

When making a list of different Call of Duty lists, I think there are different aspects of the game that people favor that will move certain games up over others. Based on nostalgia only, games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2 are games that were staples of my childhood and have maps and guns that I will remember forever. People that prefer balance in Call of Duty games favor games from the Black Ops series. The Black Ops games have the most balanced guns in Multiplayer in Call of Duty and also have balanced maps. Here is my list of top 5 Call of Duty games of all time.

5. Modern Warfare 3

MW3 1

Image Credit: Activision

Modern Warfare 3 was the third installment of the Modern Warfare series from Infinity Ward and was released in 2011. The game has the same mechanics and visual art as Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. The campaign of the game continues the story of the characters of the iconic campaign series in Modern Warfare 2 and has a great single-player mode. The game’s most popular mode was Multiplayer, where players could compete against others online. The game had iconic maps such as Dome, Resistance, and Arkaden and guns such as the mp7, ACR, and MSR. The game was commercially successful, selling the most copies of a game ever as of 2011. The game sold over seven million copies and was a best-selling game for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

The game was more commercially successful than Modern Warfare 2 but is not as popular in the eyes of the Call of Duty community. Modern Warfare 2 is a revelation in terms of gaming for a lot of people, and Modern Warfare 3 did a good job of building on the success of MW2, but was ultimately too similar to the original games and did not do much to separate itself from MW2. MW3 was too similar to its predecessors, so that is why it sits here at 5, but it is still one of my favorite games of all-time. I dedicated the entirety of my free time in the 6th grade to Modern Warfare 3, and the game will forever hold a special place in my heart.

4. Black Ops 3

BO3 1

Image Credit: Activision

Black Ops 3 is the one game on my list that might not be on others. The Jetpack era receives a lot of mixed reviews from the Call of Duty fanbase, but I loved the Jetpack era. The added movement of flying through the sky and sliding on the ground increased the skill gap for players. People could use movement to stay alive in situations where they could have died in other games or win gunfights in any situation.

Black Ops 3 perfected the futuristic movement of any Call of Duty game from the advanced movement era. The Jetpack era of Call of Duty consisted of three games, Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3, and Infinite Warfare. Each game featured advanced movement mechanics that allowed players to fly through the air or slide faster on the ground.

Black Ops 3 had the best mechanics of any of these games. The slide boosts and bunny-hopping in the air felt natural instantly despite it was new to Call of Duty. Every gun was viable and could be used, and the maps had balance. The competitive side of Call of Duty thrived during Black Ops 3, and that was due to the superior gun balance and balanced movement mechanics.

The Zombies series was continued into Black Ops 3 as well and was a success yet again. Treyarch introduced new parts to the beloved Zombies chronicle, with gobble gum, that gave players power-ups during the rounds of survival. They continued the story of the original Black Ops series and remastered some of the iconic maps from earlier in the Black Ops series such as Origin or Kino Der Toten.

3. Black Ops 1

BO1 1

Image Credit: Activision

Black Ops 1 was the revolutionary game for Treyarch Studios and was the start of the iconic game series that helped define Call of Duty. Black Ops was released in 2010, a year after Modern Warfare 2 burst on the scene as the most popular video game of all-time. Black Ops had big shoes to fill after MW2, but Treyarch lived up to the expectations with Black Ops. Black Ops followed up the success of Modern Warfare 2 with also being the highest-selling game of all-time, a year after Modern Warfare 2 set that record.

The gameplay in Black Ops was smooth and balanced, the opposite of Modern Warfare 2. Modern Warfare 2 was known for every weapon having an overpowering aspect to it and maps that favor certain playstyles. In Black Ops, the game surrounded balance. The game had guns that were better than others, but each gun in the game could be used viably, similar to other Black Ops games. Black Ops has a series of iconic maps that have been remastered for other Black Ops games such as, Nuketown, Firing Range, Summit, and Jungle.

The setting for Black Ops was the cold war era and the iconic scenes of the war were used throughout the campaign to create my favorite Call of Duty campaign in the game’s history. Black Ops 1’s campaign begins during the War of Pigs invasion of Cuba in the 1960s. The rest of the campaign is based on the series of events of the 1960s for the U.S. military and the iconic battlegrounds from that era. The storytelling in Black Ops’ campaign is gripping and players grow emotionally attached to the characters of the campaign.

2. Modern Warfare 2

MW2 1

Image Credit: Activision

Modern Warfare 2 changed the game for the Call of Duty series completely. Before Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty was a popular game for consoles but was just another game, not a landmark in the gaming community like it is now. Modern Warfare 2 was a revolutionary game for all games and ushered in Call of Duty’s golden era, which stretched from MW2’s release from 2009 to 2013.

Modern Warfare 2 revolutionized gaming for many reasons. It was one of the first games that were played by a majority of people. The game was simple and easy to play, so it appealed to many, and it was one of the first games that people could play with their friends. For me, Modern Warfare 2 was the first video game that I played with my friends, and I think it was the same for lots of other people. The game was popular on YouTube, which advertised the game to others and developed the gaming side of YouTube, which is integral to YouTube itself. Modern Warfare 2 was tied to the Internet, which only made it more popular.

Each gun in the game could be used to dominate the other team because certain guns dominated certain situations. On the map Terminal, the long sightlines favor Sniper Rifles and Assault Rifles. Same with a map like Scrapyard. Maps like Estate and Rust are icons of the Call of Duty series and are some of the best Multiplayer maps ever. The Intervention, the premiere Sniper Rifle of Modern Warfare 2, is one of the most iconic weapons in all video games, and the sound it makes when it is fired is permanently etched in my brain.

1. Black Ops 2

BO2 1

Image Credit: Activision

Black Ops 2 is the mecca of Call of Duty games in my opinion because it perfected the aspects of Call of Duty that I appreciate. The guns were balanced for the most part, (we can ignore the Kap-40) and rewarded the player with the most skill. The 3-lane maps that are iconic to Call of Duty were perfected in Black Ops 2. Raid, Standoff, and Slums are 3 of the 10 best maps in Call of Duty history.

Each Assault Rifle and Submachine Gun could be used in Multiplayer and be viable for the player to do well. The snipers are satisfying and easy to use, without being too overpowerful. The shotguns belong in the same category as snipers as well. The pistols were strong close range, but could not be used at distance. Each class of gun did what was intended, and nothing was too overpowered or too weak.

The campaign built off the great campaign in Black Ops 1, with the same storyline. The story is not as heartfelt and gripping as Black Ops 1, but still has a strong story and interesting missions. In the survival mode, Zombies, Black Ops 2 built an entire universe for their story in that mode. They developed the characters in the mode as well as their stories while adding numerous maps that were well-loved by the Zombies community. Maps like Origin, Ascension, Town, and Tranzit are beloved in the Zombies community and were introduced in Black Ops 2.

The game perfected each game mode, which is a tall task for most Call of Duty games. Most Calls of Duty games excel in one part of the game and neglect another, but Black Ops 2 was as well-rounded as any Call of Duty game. That is the reason why I have it at the top of the list.

What is your top 5 Call of Duty games? Respond and let me know.

I live for Michigan State football and basketball, and am a die-hard Detroit sports fan. I am a student reporter for Michigan State sports, and will use that to bring an expertise to my Michigan State and Detroit sports coverage.

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