Home  Blog  Icons of War: Exploring the best Call of Duty games (and worst)

Icons of War: Exploring the best Call of Duty games (and worst)

  June 5, 2023

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Are you a fan of FPS video games? Then, welcome, soldier! In this article, we delve into gaming warfare to explore the best Call of Duty games ever created. 

In the ever-evolving world of FPS, few franchises have left as significant an impact as Call of Duty. So, if you are a fresh recruit looking for the best Call of Duty game, join us as we journey through this iconic franchise.

Lock and load because we’re about to embark on an exhilarating mission to uncover the crème de la crème of Call of Duty games. Get ready to discover which titles have earned their place among the gaming elite.

What is Call of Duty?

It is a popular FPS (first-person shooter) video game franchise developed by various studios and published by Activision. The series debuted in 2003 and became one of the most successful gaming franchises worldwide.

Call of Duty games features intense military-themed gameplay, allowing players to be soldiers in various historical, modern, and futuristic settings.

The franchise is known for its fast-paced multiplayer modes and cinematic single-player campaigns.

Call of Duty games list

The Call of Duty franchise has seen numerous incredible games throughout the years, making it challenging to select just a few. Let’s start with the Call of Duty games list, so you can discover all the series before choosing the best ones.

  • Call of Duty (2003)
  • Call of Duty 2 (2005)
  • Call of Duty 3 (2006)
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
  • Call of Duty: World at War (2008)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (2015)
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)
  • Call of Duty: WWII (2017)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (2020)
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)

Top 5 Best Call of Duty Games

Attention, soldiers! It’s time to rank the best Call of Duty games ever made. Fall in, and let’s dive into the thrilling world of virtual warfare. But remember, the “best” can vary based on personal preferences, so try them before judging them!

Here are some of the highly regarded titles that fans often consider among the best Call of Duty games:

1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is regarded as a revolutionary game that redefined the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. This installment took players on a gripping and intense journey through modern warfare.

We consider this game the best Call of Duty game. To begin with, it represented a significant leap in visuals and realism. Furthermore, it boasted a meticulously crafted and captivating solo campaign. Lastly, its multiplayer game features diverse modes and maps that ensure hours of engaging gameplay.

It has a great single-player campaign and introduces players to a realistic depiction of contemporary warfare. The game offered a compelling narrative that kept players on the edge of their seats.

This Call of Duty revolutionized the genre because of its addictive multiplayer mode. The well-balanced maps and diverse game modes provided endless hours of intense online battles.

So, we can say that competitive gamers and esports enthusiasts loved this game. Its innovative gameplay mechanics and the multiplayer experience set new standards for the genre. The game’s success spawned a franchise that continues to dominate today’s gaming industry.

2) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remains an iconic entry in the long-running franchise. This highly anticipated sequel was built upon the success of its predecessor. From its intense narrative to its multiplayer experience, Modern Warfare 2 left an indelible mark on the gaming industry.

Its single-player campaign took players on a rollercoaster of action and suspense. The game’s memorable characters added to the emotional depth of the storyline. The multiplayer mode also became legendary, captivating players worldwide. 

This game introduced the Spec Ops mode, offering challenges that tested players’ teamwork and skills. It provided a unique and engaging collaborative experience, further expanding the game’s replayability.

Modern Warfare 2’s intense and realistic depiction of war garnered both critical acclaim and controversy. Its immersive portrayal of modern warfare showcased the franchise’s commitment to gritty realism.

The controversial “No Russian” mission sparked debates about the limits of video game storytelling. The player engages in a large-scale combat situation in an airport.

The game does not impose the player to harm innocent civilians. There is an option to skip this level without facing any negative consequences. But this, among other missions, showcased the franchise’s commitment to gritty realism.

3) Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)

Call of Duty: Black Ops takes players on an intense and gripping journey through various covert operations during the Cold War era.

One of the standout features of Call of Duty: Black Ops is its engaging single-player campaign, which immerses players in a thrilling storyline filled with twists, espionage, and conspiracy.

Although it didn’t receive an instant surge of popularity among players that were still immersed in Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops has gradually earned its reputation as one of the standout titles in the Call of Duty series.

The video game also offers a great multiplayer mode. Here players can compete against each other in various game modes and maps. Additionally, the Zombies mode introduced a new level of excitement and challenge.

4) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare marks a significant reboot of the iconic franchise. It combines a gripping single-player campaign and intense multiplayer modes. Also, it delivers a fresh and gritty take on modern warfare.

In the single-player campaign, players embark on a high-stakes journey across global hotspots, tackling morally complex missions that blur the lines between right and wrong. The narrative confronts the harsh realities of war, exploring themes of terrorism, political intrigue, and the toll it takes on soldiers and civilians alike.

The multiplayer component of Modern Warfare offers an extensive range of game modes, maps, and customization options, providing endless hours of competitive action. The game’s attention to detail and immersive environments draw players into the heart-pounding action.

5) Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)

It takes players on a thrilling and thought-provoking journey set in the near future.

One of the standout features of Black Ops II is its narrative and the player choice and consequences. It allows players to make impactful choices that shape the game’s outcome. The game’s intricate storytelling and well-developed characters create a captivating experience that engages many players.

Regarding arms, players can access advanced weaponry, including drones and robotic tanks. Multiplayer remains a core component of the Call of Duty experience, and Black Ops II delivers a robust and highly customizable multiplayer mode. With a wide range of maps, game modes, and load-out options, players can tailor their online experience to suit their playstyle.

Bonus: Call of Duty: Warzone (2020)

Call of Duty: Warzone is the free-to-play battle royale game released in 2020. It takes the iconic Call of Duty franchise into massive online multiplayer warfare. Warzone has quickly become a sensation, attracting millions of players worldwide.

Players are dropped onto a vast map, where they must scavenge for weapons, equipment, and resources to eliminate their opponents and be the last ones standing. The game’s intense gameplay, combined with its immersive and realistic visuals, creates a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping experience.

Warzone undeniably revolutionized the gameplay for countless players. Many streamers started playing this game, leaving behind competitors such as Fortnite, and it garnered an immense player community.

The game continues to evolve with regular updates and seasonal content drops, introducing new weapons, operators, maps, and limited-time events. These updates keep the game fresh and engaging, providing players with new challenges and opportunities to showcase their skills.

Top 3 Worst Call of Duty Games

Standout Call of Duty titles have solidified their place as the best of the best, as well as others that have received mixed reviews and criticism. So, yes, the Call of Duty franchise has a darker side.

We know that each installment has its own unique qualities and fan bases. However, there have been a few titles within the series that have divided the community. From controversial gameplay mechanics to disappointing storylines, we will mention some entries that failed to meet gamers’ expectations.

1) Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021)

Call of Duty: Vanguard is often regarded as the “worst” or most disliked by fans. This entry was disappointing with its underwhelming campaign, poor Zombies mode, and the multiplayer experience that failed to captivate players.

Vanguard also faced commercial and critical failure in the eyes of Activision. The company attributed the game’s “disappointing” sales figures to its WWII setting. But returning to this period doesn’t inherently imply a negative decision, but it gives off a sense of playing it safe.

The gameplay consists of a combination of fast-paced action, stealth mechanics, and vehicle sequences. It follows a familiar formula without offering anything different. As you progress through various locations worldwide, your primary objective is eliminating Nazi enemies. While this can be enjoyable, it turns repetitive. The most remarkable aspects of the game lie in its characters.

The Zombies game mode made a comeback but on a smaller scale. Unfortunately, it suffers from a significant lack of content, resembling multiplayer maps without a clear objective or purpose.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is a mixed bag of triumphs and setbacks. While it falls short in certain aspects, it still provides moments of excitement and features memorable characters.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)

One of the major drawbacks of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was its initial resemblance to Halo rather than its predecessors. This departure from the traditional Call of Duty formula contributed to its underperformance. Fans and critics alike called for a return to the series’ roots, longing for a World War II setting and a back-to-basics approach.

The game suffered from fatigue and players’ lack of interest in the futuristic theme, ultimately impacting its reception.

However, it is essential to note that Infinite Warfare does have its merits. The campaign, in particular, was well-received for its engaging storyline and gameplay. But, creating a Call of Duty in the space proved to be an unnecessary direction for the series.

Fortunately, the franchise returned to its roots a few years later, pleasing fans worldwide.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare marked a significant turning point for the long-running franchise, introducing a futuristic setting and innovative gameplay mechanics. The game took players to a world where advanced technology and powerful exoskeletons transformed the battlefield.

But it also had terrible reviews. Some players felt that the futuristic setting deviated too far from the traditional Call of Duty experience, longing for a return to more grounded and historical scenes.

Additionally, the multiplayer experience faced challenges in balancing the new gameplay mechanics, with some feeling that the exoskeletons disrupted the game’s flow. Also, most players recall the introduction of jetpacks in Call of Duty as a disappointing experience. 

One of the most criticized aspects of Advanced Warfare was its implementation of Supply Drops. The inclusion of loot boxes, now widely frowned upon in the gaming industry, was particularly egregious in this game. Players found themselves at a significant disadvantage, leading to frustration.

What is the next Call of Duty game?

Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 had a phenomenal launch, but regrettably, their popularity decreased. 

Yet, here we are, already buzzing with news about the next Call of Duty game. Activision has officially announced that Call of Duty enthusiasts can anticipate a “complete premium release” in 2023.

The next Call of Duty game was initially anticipated as a “premium DLC” for the 2022 game. However, Activision said it would be a separate and standalone game, marking the next full premium release in the renowned annual series.

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