All Call of Duty Games, Ranked

Take a look and see where your favorite lands

by Christian Bognar

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With the new Call of Duty right around the corner, it’s always fun to take a step back and discuss the previous titles that came before the latest entry. Modern Warfare 2,  is already showing us that this series still has a firm grip on the industry regarding popularity and innovation. Not all of the famous shooter entries left us with a positive impression, though, and most die-hard fans have a list of their favorites among others that left a bad taste in their mouth. In this article, we will count down all 18 Call of Duty games from the overall worst to the best in all of the series and why we think it deserves that spot on the list.

Ranking All Call Of Duty Games From Worst To Best

This list is based on the best gameplay, multiplayer mode, zombies, and those who pushed the series forward and the genre altogether.

 18. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

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Release Date: November 4, 2016

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC

Surprisingly, the worst out of the Call of Duty games is the one that tried to innovate by making it the most futuristic title to date. Don’t get it wrong, this game had some good ideas, but Infinity Ward didn’t execute them as well as they could have. The campaign was entertaining enough but didn’t have much replayability as it got boring towards the end game.

The multiplayer is the primary reason this is considered the worst among all titles, especially according to fans. The excessive special moves during combat felt like a gimmick and weren’t the “COD” vibe players were hoping for when this hit consoles. 

17. Call of Duty Vanguard

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Release Date: November 5, 2021

Platforms: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5

Vanguard is the latest installment before the upcoming Modern Warfare 2, and it’s all why fans of the series hope that MW2 is a successful entry. Vanguard was not good in everything, including story, gameplay, and multiplayer. The game felt way too much of a copy and paste of Modern Warfare that came before it, and it felt like it was just a quick money grab for the developer, Sledgehammer Games.

Vanguard may have had enough content on day one, but that didn’t save it from just being boring. Also, the creators promised that the zombie mode would be the best out of all the series, and what they ended up providing was awful. The community put down the controllers on this one very quickly and ended up returning to Warzone not even a week after its initial release.

16. Call of Duty 3

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Release Date: November 7, 2006

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox

Out of the original trilogy of the Call of Duty series, the third one ended up being the worst. It’s fair to say that with the first two being a massive success, it would be hard for the developer to top what came before it, but that is no excuse for the end result feeling rushed and underdeveloped. 

The senior producer of this entry confirmed that the team only had eight months to complete this for launch time from start to finish. The character models and gameplay were very underwhelming, and at the end of the day, there’s not a lot to make players want to go back and play again.

 15. Call of Duty

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Release Date: October 9, 2003

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, macOS, Xbox 360, N-Gage, Classic Mac OS

The original is low on this list, mainly because it is outdated and continues to get outshined by those who followed. It is not a bad game and started what could be considered the most extensive video game series ever created. That said, it didn’t feel right to put this higher on the list, considering it is just old and clunky compared to the newer entries in the series.

14. Call of Duty 2

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Release Date: October 25, 2005

Platforms:PC, Xbox 360, MacOS, Windows Mobile, Classic Mac OS

The second in the original trilogy takes a low spot on the list for similar reasons as the initial call of Duty. Being a follow-up to a massive hit, it impressed the audience with improved gameplay and storytelling. It was great for its time and introduced the famous multiplayer mode, which is why many players even play the series.

Besides the improvement from the previous title, there’s not much more to write home about. It feels outdated and simply forgotten in a series that pretty much releases a new title every year.

13. Call of Duty Ghosts

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Release Date: November 5, 2013

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U

This entry was a massive change in pace for the series. Instead of having fast-paced missions throughout the campaign, the main story focused on a group called “Ghosts” that specialized in stealth to complete their objective. They made an interesting change, but the result felt slow and tedious

The multiplayer was also one of the weakest in the series to date. There are zero fan-favorite maps included in this title, and the increase in size for the maps was pointless. The giant maps made the matches feel less intense and added to the number of campers that players could find, leading to a frustrating time for most players’ playthroughs. Besides the low points, players found some fun in the search-and-destroy mode, but it wasn’t impressive enough to rank higher on this list.

12. Call of Duty Black Ops III

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Release Date: November 5, 2015

Platforms:PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The third installment of the black ops category is the worst. Not only just the worst out of all Black Ops titles but also just the worst when it comes to the jet-pack era. This entry wasn’t as entertaining as Advanced Warfare and was a step back for the series regarding futuristic settings.

The multiplayer added some features that were just fillers that players didn’t utilize. The specialist’s abilities tried to add a twist to the matches, making the game feel like it was trying to be something different, and ultimately failed in the process. Black Ops III appears at a higher spot than the original three Call of Duty games mainly because it isn’t as outdated and is still considered playable in our current times.

11. Call of Duty World War II

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Release Date: November 3, 2017

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

World War II was a frustrating entry. It appeared that it was trying to return to being old school while also trying not to be old school. Those who played will know precisely what we’re talking about with that statement and the fact it took such a deviation from a proper historical entry is a disappointment. 

The second World War entry lacked the personality of the first and had minimal content at launch. Also, the multiplayer launch was buggy, letting everyone down. In all fairness, they added some quality-of-life improvements down the road that make the multiplayer more enjoyable than before. Still, nothing saved this title from being one of the worst of the series.

10. Call of Duty Advance Warfare

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Release Date: November 4, 2014

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC

Speaking of changes to the formula, advanced warfare was the first to decide to go for a futuristic route. Being the first of the jet-pack era, players were wondering whether or not this would be a game worthy of the Call of Duty title. In some regards, it was, but it mainly just proved to us that call of Duty should take place in realistic historical moments. 

Advanced Warfare is not a bad game in any way; don’t think otherwise. The story mode was addicting to play, even though the story itself was way over the top and fell short of mesmerizing. The multiplayer had some cool custom streaks involved, along with weapon variants that added levels of customization we had not seen entirely yet in the series. With all that said, though, there’s no doubt that history makes these games click right; instead, this entry decided to create its own history.

9. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

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Release Date: November 13, 2020

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 5, and PC

Now we are starting to get into the real good Call of Duty games that did the majority, if not everything, right. Cold War was not the best game in the world, but it is a fantastic entry. It did better with the COD formula than the games mentioned previously on this list, and that fact still holds as we continue to play other titles. 

The campaign was exciting, zombies had many new ideas that were successful and addictive, and multiplayer had everything players wanted in their team deathmatch games. The main reason this doesn’t appear higher on the list is that it did have many problems and came out when the franchise had a bad rep because of the releases of failing titles.

8. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

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Release Date: November 10, 2009

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360

This will be controversial and players will argue this should be higher on the list, but hear us out. When this game came out, it was groundbreaking with the improved multiplayer mode over its predecessor. We all had fun back in the day playing it, but when we look at the game from a perspective of current times, it’s hard not to agree that a lot of other entries did multiplayer mode more justice.

The multiplayer mode was less about skill gunfight and accuracy and focused more on explosions and the killstreaks. That is the only reason it appears at this number on the list, but it did everything well. The campaign was universally loved and influential in the gaming industry and will never be forgotten in that regard.

7. Call of Duty Black Ops 4

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Release Date: October 12, 2018

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

Black Ops 4 is the reason why we have the famous Warzone today. When Fortnite was taking off, introducing a battle royale mode was brilliant, and they executed it flawlessly. Blackout mode gave us a sense of where the series was headed in the future and added to the competitive nature players have when it comes to the series. 

Regardless of the fantastic battle royale mode, the standard multiplayer mode wasn’t the best, and usually, when that happens, players tend to move on quickly. Players seem to forget that their favorite Warzone mode was birthed from this game and owe it a lot of credit.

6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

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Release Date: October 25, 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

With this entry being a reboot of a beloved video game, a lot was riding on this one. What we got did not disappoint, as it provided one of the best campaigns ever in a Call of Duty game. Unfortunately, the campaign length was way too short, but with that said, it was good enough for players to want to go back and play the missions again. 

The graphics were the best we have ever seen in the franchise and showcased how powerful the newer consoles are. The gunplay was addicting in the multiplayer, along with the number of loadout options players were allowed to mess around with. The only gripe with this entry is that the maps included weren’t as memorable as other multiplayer modes.

5. Call of Duty World at War

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Release Date: November 11, 2008

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Nintendo DS

World at War is arguably one of the best world war first-person shooters ever made. Dropping back in 2008, this was Treyarch’s second attempt at releasing a mainline COD title, and they did a fantastic job. It built on the Call of Duty engine and provided fans of the series with a dark and gritty tone that we all came to know and love. Fantastic stories and characters all added to the immersion, ranking this high on the list.

Not only that, but this entry introduced the Zombie mode, which is still prominent in most Call of Duty titles today. Zombies were thrown in at the end of the campaign, and it was such a pleasant surprise and a reason to go back and continue playing this game repeatedly. 

4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

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Release Date: November 8, 2011

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii

Modern Warfare 3 had an interesting launch as it was heavily criticized at release, but as years went by, it has gone down as one of the best. The improved time to kill influenced more gun fights, we were introduced to specialist and support strike packages, the maps were all great, and the rework of spec ops gave co-op fans more to love altogether.

Modern Warfare 3 had the most content at launch and did not disappoint when it came to that. The only problem this game had was that it did reuse many assets from the previous Modern Warfare, but we can look past that because it used those assets in an improved manner. This is hands down a top-five COD game.

3. Call of Duty: Black Ops

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Release Date: November 9, 2010

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360

This may not be the best COD game, but the one die-hard fans had the fondest memories with it. That fact rings true when you look at the campaign included, which is one of the best in the series. It expanded on the idea of World at War and took us across iconic locations, introducing us to some of the best characters we have seen so far in the series. Twists and turns could be found throughout, having players at the edge of their seats and enthralled without skipping a beat.

Another reason this ranks so high on the list is that it took the original zombies mode and improved on it in every way possible. The zombie mode included a full fledge story mode. It started building a true community of players dedicated to the mode, which is the leading cause of anticipation for the next zombie installment when they come.

2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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Release Date: November 5, 2007

Platforms: PC, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3

This is really where the whole franchise started to gain traction and make a massive name for itself. The original Modern Warfare put its foot in the door to show us what it means to be a great first-person shooter. It featured an excellent story, an intriguing campaign, and gunplay that created the foundation for future entries in the series.

The multiplayer mode introduced us to so many features that we are now familiar with, and it did it so well that we can’t help but think it’s one of the best in the series. If you ask anyone around about Call of Duty, it is almost guaranteed that this will be the title people are familiar with, even if they are not fans of the series. That is how influential this title was. Most importantly, it was just fun all around and immersive. We would have ranked this number one if it had more customizable options.

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

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Release Date: November 12, 2012

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360

This is hands down the best Call of Duty game to date. Unless Modern Warfare 2 tops this, it is as good as it will get for many reasons. Best multiplayer, the best campaign, the most DLC, the best maps, perfect balancing and time to kill, tons of challenges, grinding, new and improved rank mode, and so on. Launched almost a decade ago, this is the prime example of how good the Call of Duty series can get, and developers should take notes from this entry and apply it to further installments.

Not only is this the best Call of Duty game, but this is also one of the best first-person shooters ever made. We are all hoping that Modern Warfare 2 this year will top this entry, but it’s going to be hard, and it is probably wise to think that this will always be the top dog in the franchise.

- This article was updated on October 17th, 2022

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