Top 10 Call of Duty Games

Top 10 Call of Duty Games. Game shown is Call of Duty: Modern Warefare.
Credit: Activision

Call of Duty is a perennial giant. Every year, despite releasing in the 11th month of the year, the franchise outsells most other games consistently. Call of Duty: Vanguard releases this Friday, November 5th, and is poised to continue the franchise’s previous success. With its release just days away, I went ahead and ranked the Top 10 Call of Duty Games in the franchise. This list is based on opinions from gameplay experiences, factoring in what each of these titles brings to the table.

10. Call of Duty (2003)

Call of Duty 2003

Never mind feeling nostalgia that takes me back to my 21st year on this earth, this was the birth of a storied franchise. While only giving us a single-player campaign, 2003’s Call of Duty was the first game in the series. The epic opening Soviet mission alone earns this entry a spot in the Top 10 Call of Duty Games.

9. Call of Duty 3 (2006)

call_of_duty_3 2006
Credit: Activision

In 2006 the Xbox 360 was a year old and Call of Duty 3 took advantage of that technology. It expanded Call of Duty  2’s eight-player lobbies to 24 player lobbies. The game also launched on the previous console generation allowing 16 player lobbies for those systems.

The campaign was solid as it continued the vignette style of the previous two games. It also added scripted sequences and single button quick-time events. It was not a technological masterpiece by any means, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of Call of Duty Players

8. Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)

Credit: Activision

In Black Ops, we went back time again to the 1960s, and Call of Duty dipped its toe into the Cold War and CIA wetwork missions. With this, we got new tech in both the campaign and in multiplayer. These were in the form of killstreaks and weapon attachments that became more customizable than ever before. We were introduced to one of the most iconic maps ever in Call of Duty, Nuketown. This map would go on to be included in numerous games.

Zombies are back after a year off, this time giving you the chance to kill the undead as JFK, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro. Black Ops was also the first time COD points were earned, which you could use for weapons, cosmetics, and other in-game items.

7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)


Modern Warfare 3 builds on the success of the past two Modern Warfare games. Not only did the game boast 36 multiplayer maps that were a combination of new and old, such as Terminal, but new game modes like Kill Confirmed. This game mode is now a staple in Call of Duty multiplayer playlists.

The campaign returned to vignette-style which was a welcome change from the past linear stories. A new mode called Survival was added as well. This was another wave-style game mode. The franchise felt like it could do no wrong and continued the tradition of a solid online experience with a fun campaign.

6. World at War (2008)

Credit: Activision

After a year off from World War 2, Treyarch returned the series to World War 2. World at War earns a spot in the top 10 just for the introduction of the infamous Zombie Mode, but the game also built on the mechanics of Call of Duty 4 into a pre-digital era. We got new killstreaks such as the attack dogs. Maps like the village map of Nakin made this game a blast to play.

World at War also introduced online and split-screen co-op, taking a page from competitor Halo’s book. As previously stated, this title gave us the first look at a Zombie Mode in Call of Duty. While the mode has evolved, the first time you ever shoot a Zombie Nazi in the face is still the most satisfying.

5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

Courtesy Activision

After dealing with an identity crisis during the last generation of consoles, Call of Duty decided to go back to its roots before the new console wars began. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reinvigorated a series and finally gave us a worthy title of the current platforms. While the past titles had some fun mechanics, none were innovative, we never felt satisfied that we were getting a unique experience.

We were instantly taken back to a nostalgic place but with current-generation graphics. Players did not have to go play a graphically inferior game to experience the type of gameplay that made the franchise great. With the addition of a battle pass, game modes like Gunfight and Warzone, playing with a squad became more important than ever. Infinity Ward put together a product that brought players like me back to the franchise. Plus, Activision has locked me in for its last three games, including the upcoming Vanguard. That is why 2019’s Modern Warfare earns this spot in the top 5.

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

Credit: Activision

After campaigns that took place during World War 2 and the 1960s, we returned to a present-day battlefield. This game picked up from the previous entry in the Modern Warfare series. The story is filled with twists and turns that include the controversial airport terminal massacre mission and betrayal at the highest level.

Multiplayer had few changes from the first entry. However, with added perks and killstreaks, the game’s main focus did not skip a beat. It was not broken so they did not need to fix it, and the addition of new maps like Rust and Terminal and the return of favorites like Vacant, Strike, and Crash make this one of the top Call of Duty titles ever.

3. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (2020)

Courtesy Activision

2020 was a very odd year but one thing that stayed the same was a new Call of Duty came out. After the franchise had seen somewhat of a rebirth the previous year, there was really nowhere to go but up. With the next generation of consoles hitting the markets there were high expectations. While the full title may be a mouthful, my jaw dropped seeing the game on the Xbox Series X. The graphical upgrades and frame rates are where Black Ops Cold War shines, literally. The lighting and textures immerse you into the matches.

Cold War offered a solid campaign, coupled with a fun and replayable Zombie mode. More weapons, attachments, perks, and killstreaks enhanced the multiplayer experience. The game integrated Warzone into its seasons. Both Modern Warfare (2019) and Cold War weapons could be used. The battle pass returned and seasons had fun and exciting themes like ’80s action movies and Donnie Darko. Cold War also followed suit from 2019’s game and brought back classic maps like Raid. If Cold War is a sign of things to come, the future looks bright for the franchise.

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Credit: Activision

After a five-year run from 2007 to 2011 of amazing games that all built on the success of its predecessor, Black Ops II stormed onto the scene. Not only did the game boast a fantastic campaign set in both the 1980s and the 2020s, but the multiplayer got an overhaul as well. No longer were kills the main focus.

Killstreaks became scorestreaks, so getting things like assists and zone captures (in Domination) became just as important. Weapons also got an upgrade as every weapon was given its own level with the progression that earned you attachments and skins for that weapon. Zombies also returned as it had in the past Treyarch installments of the game. Black Ops II also introduced my favorite Call of Duty Maps of all time – Raid and Hijacked

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

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare

In 2007, Activision decided to step out of the World War II era and into the present-day with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. From the epic scene of the nuke going off from your chopper in the campaign to the iconic maps like Crash and Vacant in multiplayer, the next generation of first-person shooters had arrived. The original Modern Warfare introduced a leveling system that we had never seen before; the prestige system. This mechanic is in countless games over several genres.

A first-person shooter meshed with RPG elements, the more you leveled up, the more you unlocked things. Killstreaks and player perks allowed players more ways to battle. This was the beginning of a run of critically acclaimed titles that still stand the test of time. This is what earns Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the top spot for our Top 10 Call of Duty Games.

Top 10 Call of Duty Games Conclusion

During the years between 2003 to 2012, Activision gave us a product we could say is paving the way for the future of first-person shooters. The only game in that timespan that did not make the top ten is Call of Duty 2, due to its limited multiplayer lobby sizes. However, during the last generation of the console wars, the franchise seemed lost and was unable to set itself apart from games such as Battlefield and Titanfall.

Courtesy Activision

The past two entries seem to have righted the ship and Vanguard should follow suit nicely. If my experience with the beta is any indication of what to expect, the 61 gigabytes the game is taking up on my Xbox Series X hard drive is well allocated.

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