Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment franchise on the planet. Since its conception in 2003 over 100 Million players have joined the battlefield. Each and every day gamers across the globe rack up 2000 years of gameplay. In 2015, Activision revealed that their Call of Duty franchise, alone, is responsible for bringing in over $10 Billion in sales.
Players have racked up over 25 Billion hours of gameplay, played over 18 Billion multiplayer matches and have respawned 1.9 Quadrillion times. These baffling statistics are a great way of demonstrating just how popular the Call of Duty franchise really is.
Like I said, Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment franchise on the planet – but which game in the series is the best?
12. Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 3 released in 2006 and is probably best left there to be honest. The game was glitchy and full of bugs supporting the rumour that it was hashed together in just 9 months.
The game isn’t terrible in the grand scheme of things but when compared to the later editions it does shy in comparison.
Highlight: Call of Duty 3 paved the way for things to come with the introduction of DLC.
11. Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts released in 2013 and is widely regarded as one of the most disliked games of the franchise. Sure, it had its share of bad points but is far from being a bad game.
Yes, when compared to its predecessors Ghosts is definitely below par – some say this is due to rushed production and others say that the mechanics were out of sync with the series. Whatever the reason, people just did not like Ghosts (as much as the others).
Highlight: The dog! A few extra game modes were introduced along with a few interesting new mechanics but this only served to pacify an agitated fan base for a short while.
10. Call of Duty
The original, the Godfather, ground zero. Call of Duty released in 2003 and became an overnight sensation. The game set precedence for the franchise and even the FPS genre as a whole.
The game won almost every industry award going at the time and is still regarded as one of the best in the franchise. The only complaint associated with the original game is that it was too short.
Highlight: Codenamed MOHKiller during production.
9. Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War released in 2008 dragged us through the emotional aspect of warfare, as well as the physical. Despite feeling like the series was taking an unwarranted step backwards, the end result was pretty spectacular. The game was probably the best representation of combat back in WWII we had ever seen.
The overall opinion of World at War is a positive one; I mean really we have no complaints.
Highlight: Nazis zombies and mods! This was super fresh and who doesn’t enjoy mowing through Nazis zombies on a rainy afternoon?
8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare released in 2014 and is certainly considered the birthplace of the new era of Call of Duty game. The introduction of y axis gameplay, exosuits and handheld lasers certainly spearheaded the franchise towards an all new type of combat environment.
Advanced Warfare took the tried-and-tested franchise and shook it up to an almost unrecognizable degree. Overall this is a solid game from Activision – the introduction of boost jumps, wall running and uber devastating scorestreaks certainly gave us something new to master.
Highlight: It had more Kevin Spacey and Bruce Campbell in it than any other Call of Duty game combined – that’s a fact.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 released in 2015 and is considered by many to be a marked improvement to the Advanced Warfare edition. Still hovering (literally) around the futuristic element of warfare, Black Ops 3 integrated past successes into the mix to appease sceptics.
The Black Ops series has always had a great campaign running throughout – I think the fact that we all have a lot of respect for the Black Ops series helped this title immensely.
Highlight: We got to go back to Nuketown, but in the future. You can switch gender in game and the campaign is probably one of my absolute favourites so far.
6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (recently remastered) released in 2007 and truly revolutionized the genre. The move from WWII to the modern era was inspired and the accompanying narrative blew us all away. The look and feel of the game would not look out of place today and the love we felt for the characters involved was tangible.
It was from here that Activision really went from strength to strength – Modern Warfare paved the way for the franchise.
Highlight: ‘All Ghillied Up’. Do I really need to say anymore than that?
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops released in 2010 and saw Treyarch dragging themselves out of the trenches and into a more modern setting. The cold war crisis gave the game a sound basis for a quality narrative.
This was the birth of a true quality sub series line for Call of Duty. Some prefer the Black Ops games to the others – they do have their own special vibe and I can totally see why some have sworn allegiance to the Black Ops line.
Highlight: The inquisitive narrative that, in effect, reopened the line of inquiry into who shot JFK. Where were you?!
4. Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 2 released in 2005 and is jammed packed full of memorable missions. The game was the first to really explore the capabilities of the Xbox 360 and was one of the most intense campaigns experienced so far.
Highlight: Regenerating heath. Kids today will not understand this but back in the day we had such things as’ medipacks’ – that was the only way to heal.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was released in 2012 following Modern Warfare boldly into the realms of the not so distant future. Black Ops 2 had a good balance of futuristic and old school gameplay which is what gives it such longevity. It was progressive but familiar – we liked this.
The game also offered up different endings depending on your actions, which was pretty darn cool.
Highlight: Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, sued Activision over the use of his likeness.
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 released in 2011 and was the last in the line of the Modern Warfare gamescape. Modern Warfare 3 is the fastest selling game of all time; in its first week it made over $775 Million and sold over 8.8 Million copies in the first month.
Modern Warfare 3 was a great game that extended the longevity of the Modern Warfare experience. It wasn’t particularly groundbreaking but it didn’t need to be. The fans loved the boots on the ground concept and Activision gave them more of what they loved. Good idea!
Highlight: Modern Warfare 3 introduced the fan favourite multiplayer mode, Kill Confirmed. This has the added hardship of having to take your opponents' dog tags after killing them.
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 released in 2009 and is no doubt the high point of the Modern Warfare series. The campaign was ramped up and the multiplayer was remastered and reengineered to produce the genre's definitive multiplayer experience.
Modern Warfare 2 is the world’s favourite Call of Duty game -- there have been more requests sent to Xbox and Sony for a remaster of this game than any other. That says a lot!
Highlight: No Russian. That infamous mission that saw us partaking in a terrorist plot. A mission that will live in infamy.
What an incredible series, from the trenches to stars – Call of Duty has changed the way we all see the FPS genre. It set a precedence that I don’t think can ever be changed; the series is a shining example of the industries might.
With Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare just around the corner the series is soon to take its next big step into the unknown future. Infinite Warfare is a significant entry as it represents the true evolution of the franchise -- we are set to experience Call of Duty like never before. And, honestly, I can’t wait.