Ranking Every Call Of Duty Game From Worst to Best

Call of Duty is a franchise that needs no introduction and has been reigning supreme in the FPS space for nineteen years to prove it. Whether you love it or hate it, there's no denying that this series has consistently felt great to play while maintaining its fast-paced, nonstop action fans keep coming back year after year to experience.

However, not every Call of Duty is created equally, and with a rotating ensemble of three dev teams to take their best crack at the franchise, things can get a bit whacky, throwing the fanbase for a loop every now and again. As a result, some titles have missed the mark in the past, making us want to revisit every iteration of this enormous franchise to see which ones stand the test of time and which ones should never be mentioned again.

18 Infinite Warfare

While there's an argument to be made for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare not being nearly as bad as people say, you won't find that here as we are firmly planted on the side that paints this title as the worst installment in the series. Campaign aside, Infinite Warfare is an absolute mess of a Call of Duty title.

The only saving grace Infinite Warfare had was its most expensive versions came packaged with a remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which was also infiltrated with loot boxes, the reselling of an old expansion, and new weapons that ultimately killed the old-school feel of the original. There's no question that this game belongs at the very bottom of this very long list.

17 WWII

Coming in hot after their surprisingly solid release of Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games decided to pivot back to the series' roots with Call of Duty: WWII. Unlike Infinite Warfare, WWII isn't necessarily a bad game. It was just far too ambitious for its own good, ultimately making it suffer in the end.

Between the Headquarters never working correctly, the new 'War' game mode being somewhat of a disappointment, and the campaign falling a bit flat, it just has too many blunders to climb any further on the list. While it was a blast to revisit the World War II setting, we wish it would have nailed everything it set out to do.

16 Ghosts

Helping usher in the newest generation of consoles at the time was Call of Duty: Ghosts, which was Infinity Ward's next project after they closed out the Modern Warfare trilogy two years prior. Everyone was eager to see what their new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles were capable of and unexpectedly got smacked with an underwhelming installment instead.

Now it's not like Ghosts is a terrible game by any stretch, it just failed in many ways to capture what made Infinity Ward and their precious Modern Warfare titles special and unique in the first place. The campaign and multiplayer felt flat and uninspired. Furthermore, the new Extinction mode failed to compete with Treyarch's Zombies, making the complete package have lots of content with very little to say.

15 Vanguard

Since Vanguard is currently the newest Call of Duty title you can get your hands on, it feels rude to place it so low, but it is an utterly underwhelming experience on all fronts. The campaign and Zombies modes feel lifeless, putting all the weight and pressure on Warzone and its multiplayer component… which also underwhelms.

Using Modern Warfare's (2016) engine breathes a little bit of life into the gameplay, but not enough to overlook the game's glaring issues that drag the experience down. There are some redeeming qualities here, like the return of Ranked Play or some of the map design, but the weapon balancing, awful Zombies, and bland campaign make it a hard pill to swallow.

14 Call Of Duty

Who could have anticipated back in 2003 that Call of Duty would be an unstoppable force in the gaming space years later and would have a new installment every year that, somehow, consistently outsells everything else released before or after it? And the thing is, Call of Duty was a big deal even back then, and it was the eighth best-selling game in 2003 and had the gameplay to back it up.

By today's standards, the original Call of Duty obviously doesn't hold up remarkably well. Still, its impact on the industry makes it stand tall above the others currently mentioned. Its ambitious three campaigns, decently robust multiplayer, and fluid gameplay — for its time — were revolutionary and shifted the trajectory of the FPS market forever.

13 Black Ops Cold War

At some point in time, there was a shift where Call of Duty went from taking a serious approach to peering into historical events to turning into an adrenaline-induced action movie fit with over-the-top setpieces and constant chaos. Black Ops Cold War is the embodiment of the whacky side of Call of Duty, which is more than welcomed here.

Is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War the best installment? Does it have a good name? Of course not, but it's still incredibly fun to dive into and experience from time to time, and that's all that matters. If you've been sleeping on the campaign ever since Ghosts let you down, give this one a shot if you like the more absurd qualities of Call of Duty.

12 Call Of Duty 2

Infinity Ward was back at it again with Call of Duty 2 in an attempt to prove that the first one wasn't a fluke and that this series was here to stay. And, going on seventeen installments later, can you guess if they were or not? Call of Duty 2 also introduced many new features that were a talk of concern at the time but grew into staples of the franchise that we cannot imagine not being present today.

Things like health regenerating automatically or a scaled-back multiplayer mode that only allowed eight players max in a lobby for a more focused experience were the main issues people had, but that proved to be the correct choice as each subsequent release embraced and refined it to what we know and love today.

11 Call Of Duty 3

Being Treyarch's first crack at the Call of Duty franchise and the first time Infinity Ward wasn't at the helm, Call of Duty 3 actually turned out to be a pretty decent experience overall. Call of Duty 3 is set in the Western Front of the Second World War and featured four significant campaigns, which was quite the undertaking back in the day.

Additionally, Call of Duty 3 introduced many systems and mechanics to the series that are still used today, such as arming and disarming explosives, scripted combat events during the campaign, and much more. For Call of Duty 3 being Treyarch's first attempt at the franchise, they did an excellent job at it, and that success would continue in each subsequent installment from them after.

10 Black Ops 3

Treyarch would be the first devs to take advantage of the new three-year dev cycle with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and they crushed it while simultaneously dropping the ball at the goal line. Black Ops 3 has fluid movement, well-designed maps, and fun new game modes to test in multiplayer, alongside an exhilarating campaign and Zombies mode.

So, what's the problem here? Well, the weapon balance and introduction of Specialists made most encounters frustrating and unnecessarily complex for what they were trying to accomplish. While the moment-to-moment action could be undeniably fun, getting insta-killed in a split-second from across the map isn't necessarily going to win people over. For what it's worth, the wall-running and how the maps were intricately designed to incorporate it is a highlight of the game for sure. We just wish the gameplay wasn't so annoying.

9 Modern Warfare 3

Concluding the Modern Warfare trilogy is a game that fans are torn on to this day and likely needs to introduction. Modern Warfare 3 is the worst of the series, we think we can all agree there, but it is better than the nine other entries we've listed so far, so that should give you a general idea of the quality of the game and how on-point Infinity Ward was at this time.

From its bombastic send-off of the Modern Warfare storyline to its always exciting multiplayer modes, Modern Warfare 3 offers a complete package that comes with some significant caveats that hold it back from being one of the greats. Compared to Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, MW3's multiplayer lacks that special *something* that makes those titles all-time classics, and it would launch somewhat busted, with no update months later to make matters worse. Overall, Modern Warfare 3 isn't the worst of the bunch, but it isn't the best either, so it sits firmly in the middle.

8 Black Ops 4

'Black Ops' is one of the most iconic titles and sub-series of the Call of Duty franchise, so when Black Ops 4 was revealed not to have a campaign mode, fans and critics alike were left flabbergasted and wondering if that was the correct choice or not. It turns out it was and would go on to be one of the series' most successful and beloved installments, even with its apparent issues.

With the introduction of Blackout, Call of Duty's first Battle Royale mode, the return of 'boots on the ground' combat, and an excellent Zombies mode, Black Ops 4 is hard to hate on, even if you are someone who enjoys checking out the campaign every year. While Warzone pushed Blackout out of the way and out of our minds, it will forever live in our hearts as a solid Call of Duty Battle Royale experience.

7 Advanced Warfare

After assisting Infinity Ward with the development of Modern Warfare 3, Sledgehammer Games would become a permanent development team for the Call of Duty franchise, expanding the teams from two to three. As a result, each team would now have a three-year dev cycle to work on their next title, giving them much-needed time to cook up what's next for the series.

Advanced Warfare would be Sledgehammer Games' first shot at making their own Call of Duty title. And, by all means, they crushed it, despite implementing Exo movement, which took Call of Duty's already fast-paced action and cranked it up to eleven. The campaign's story was well done and easy to follow, the gameplay was refreshing yet familiar, and the map design and weapons were exceptional, which is all you can really ask for in a Call of Duty title. The only downside were the loot boxes… those can go straight to you know where.

6 CoD 4: Modern Warfare

Barely missing the top five almost seems blasphemous in Call of Duty terms, but this is where we decided to place Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for various reasons. The first is that the multiplayer can be a bit limiting by today's standards as it almost forces you to use certain perks like Stopping Power. Secondly, everyone will likely use the same two weapons ad nauseam until you want to scream into them the void.

Though we would love to place this much higher, the remaining entries take the stage Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare set and runs with it, making for much more refined and fun experiences, which we cherish more. Is there an argument to be made that CoD 4 is the best game in the series? Absolutely, and we would likely see your point, but it just falls ever so slightly to the others.

5 Modern Warfare (2016)

Leading off the top five is quite fitting, seeing how CoD 4 barely missed it, and that's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the 2016 installment that rebooted the beloved sub-genre to astonishing heights. The graphical fidelity, the ultra-realism mode for the campaign, the intense and redefined multiplayer, and the introduction of Warzone make this one of the best Call of Duty titles in recent memory and as a whole.

Even with people's growing annoyance and disdain for the franchise, everyone seemed to stop in their tracks and admire what Modern Warfare brought to the table, which is an achievement in and of itself. We always felt that Modern Warfare got cheated with the aggressive yearly release cycle of Call of Duty titles, and it seems Activision also thought the same, seeing how Modern Warfare 2 (2022) will have an extra year to breathe.

4 World At War

Remember being bummed that Call of Duty was returning to the World War II setting after experiencing CoD 4 for the first time? Remember going back on your word the instant you booted World at War up and jumped into either the campaign or multiplayer? Us too. The gory and brutal campaign contrasted with the exhilarating multiplayer and Zombies mode is brilliantly balanced and will be forever missed.

World at War is such a unique entry in the series, despite it being yet *another* World War II shooter at the time. The maps were spectacular, the same goes for the gunplay, and the campaign was so over-the-top challenging and violent that you legit winced during some cutscenes or missions. Lastly, to cap it all off, you had the Zombies mode, which birthed an entire storyline and fanbase due to how downright fun and replayable it was. There's no question that World at War is one of the best installments.

3 Black Ops

Taking what they learned from World at War, Treyarch was primed and ready to release yet another unforgettable entry into the Call of Duty series, and they absolutely nailed it with the first Black Ops. The continuation of the Zombies mode was enough to get fans excited, but no one expected the campaign to be as wild and out of control as it was, which grabbed hold of you and never let go from the moment you start it. And this isn't even mentioning the stellar multiplayer.

Custom emblems, the birth of Nuketown, dolphin diving, tomahawks, excellent maps and modes, you name it, and Black Ops had it. Treyarch was simply on fire at this point, and Black Ops made you pay attention to them if World at War didn't already grab your attention. You couldn't imagine them besting it at the time, but then…

2 Black Ops 2

Enter Black Ops 2, Treyarch's best Call of Duty to this date, as they took what worked in World at War and the first Black Ops and created their magnum opus to just flex on everyone around them. Black Ops 2 is a phenomenal game and easily one of the best Call of Duties ever released. The brilliant Ranked and Social modes that kept the ultra-competitive players away from the ultra-social ones was *chef's kiss* and the campaign and Zombies were remarkable in every way.

Everything you knew and loved from Black Ops one was back and better than ever, minus the awful currency system. The gameplay was fast and fun yet balanced, and the map design still holds up to this day as some of the best and smartly crafted. When we mentioned just a bit ago that Treyarch was on fire, we weren't kidding, and Black Ops 2 showcases precisely why they were on the top of their game.

1 Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Closing things out is 2009's Modern Warfare 2, which remains one of the most broken Call of Duties ever to exist, but somehow made it not matter due to how absurdly fun it was to play. Despite the "Noob-Tube" spawn traps, the Quickscoping, Tactical Insertions, etc., the game still managed to be fun and played tirelessly by millions for years to come. And that's saying something.

Modern Warfare 2 had its issues, but it's somehow one of the most busted games of all times and simultaneously one of the best shooters to ever exist. It's mind-bending but true. Challenging someone to a 1v1 on Rust because they insulted your Quickscoping skills, pulling out a clutch 1v6 Search and Destroy round, or earning your first Nuke are memories we will never forget, and MW2 hosts all of them. And we didn't even cover its stellar campaign and Special Ops mode, which helps drive our point home on how fantastic this game was.

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