Every Call of Duty game ranked from worst to best

When duty calls, it’s sometimes best to hang up (depending on which game is calling).


Call of Duty: worst to best

Love it or lump it, Call of Duty is a juggernaut shooter franchise. Entries have been released yearly since 2005, and it’s apparent that the yearly release model has created some less-than-stellar entries. With that in mind, let’s take a look at my ranking of Call of Duty games, from ghostly lows to contemporary highs.


14. Call of Duty 3 (2006)


This is a PC website, so Call of Duty 3 automatically gets the lowest ranking because it never made its way to PC. Hell, I almost considered buying it on console just to play it. Almost. Playing it for the first time recently, it’s an okay shooter with solid sound design. It was also Treyarch’s first CoD.


13. Call of Duty Ghosts (2013)


This was the first CoD I couldn’t finish. Not because it was hard—it wasn’t—but because it was incredibly mediocre. This was the second full-fledged CoD title built by Infinity Ward after the bulk of the studio left to form Titanfall’s Respawn Entertainment. The result: Ghosts felt second-rate.


12. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)


There’s a reason the reveal trailer for Infinite Warfare is one of the most downvoted video on YouTube. The futuristic thrust of the series was already old for CoD fans, and the final release of the game didn’t do a lot to change that. It feels like a shoddier version of Black Ops III except with arcadey space combat sections.


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


I finished this CoD, but I wish I hadn’t. This was the first CoD title from a fractured Infinity Ward, which needed the help of Sledgehammer Games to get it out on time. It’s not that it’s particularly terrible; it’s more that it adds basically nothing to the two Modern Warfare CoDs that came before it, across solo and multiplayer.


10. Call of Duty (2003)


The original and, looking at its ranking so low on this list, clearly not one of the best. Let’s not let rose-tinted glasses tint the fact that this is a Medal of Honor rip-off, more so because it was built by ex-Medal of Honor devs. The squad camaraderie was a nice touch (which would be forgotten in later CoDs).


9. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)


Kevin Spacey aside, this doesn’t change that this was the first CoD to properly embrace the franchise’s futuristic thrust. It’s even more impressive since it was Sledgehammer’s first full-fledged CoD game. The advanced movement added a great sense of enhanced movement and, more importantly, escapability.


8. Call of Duty 2 (2005)


This CoD sequel gets a lot right. Tight mission design. Awesome set pieces. Solid shooting. And the enemy AI has improved to the point where it feels less like a shooting gallery. CoD2 did a lot for multiplayer at the time, and also added cool things like ADS, recharging health, and the option to toss back grens.


7. Call of Duty: WWII (2017)


The latest Call of Duty returned players to “boots on the ground” combat, which was a step in the right direction. But for older gamers like me, it feels like a 4K re-release of Saving Private Ryan rather than anything particularly new. I appreciate the nostalgic hit and Nazi Zombies is rad. The multiplayer, though: not so flash.


6. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (2015)


Embrace the Philip K. Dick-lite trippiness of the campaign, and Black Ops III is a hoot in solo mode. But like most CoD games, Black Ops III isn’t remembered for its campaign. Instead, it’s about Zombies, and the momentum-based movement system in multiplayer that lets you pull off classy kills. But mostly it’s about Zombies.


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


After years of being criticised for being derivative, Black Ops II marks the first time the series took some risks. The time-straddling campaign is great, but the addition of branching storylines is the better inclusion. Pick Ten in multiplayer was great or crap, depending who you talk to, but Zombies is still rad.


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


While Treyarch had the tough ask of taking the CoD series back to World War II for World at War, Infinity Ward had the arguably trickier task of one-upping themselves after Modern Warfare. Modern Warfare 2 was that answer, and it’s a worthy successor, albeit not one that necessarily topped what came before it in any revolutionary respect.


3. Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)


This was the last Call of Duty game I had fun with across the board. The campaign has some appreciated World at War references. Zombies ​evolves in some fantastic directions and builds upon the ideas set down in World at War. And the Wager Match game modes are a tonne of fun.


2. Call of Duty: World at War (2008)


After Infinity Ward changed the shooter-scape with Modern Warfare, Treyarch had the unenviable task of making the ‘safe’ WWII CoD title. It could have been a disaster, but it’s awesome. Multiplayer is mayhem, especially with 64 players on tiny maps (Dome). The campaign is solid and co-op is a bonus. Plus, the first ever instance of Nazi Zombies is still great.


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


As if there was any other choice for number one. Modern Warfare revolutionised first-person shooters and shifted the industry away from its obsession with World War II. While EA went back to WWII with Medal of Honor: Airborne, CoD effectively banged a nail in the coffin of the debate over which shooter series was better.