Ranking the Best and Worst of the Call of Duty Series
After playing the beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, it’s hard to not be excited over the future of the Call of Duty series. The gameplay in the most prolific first-person shooter series of all time just keeps getting better. It’s rare to see such a sustained quality of games, but Activision keeps doing right by their fans.
That being said, there have been some rather unfortunate missteps along the way (looking at you Black Ops: Declassified). So with the latest installment in this incredible series coming soon, it made sense to take a stroll through memory lane, and rank the Call of Duty series from best to worst.
Before we get onto the list, here are a few things to consider. First off, only games released on PlayStation systems were considered for ranking. Secondly, and most importantly, there wasn’t some mathematical formula to come up with this list. It’s all just a matter of opinion.
It should come as no surprise that Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified is at the bottom of this list. Many thought Call of Duty could help save the struggling Vita, but this terrible game managed to do more harm than good. Read Heath's excellent review to find out why Declassified was everything wrong with the gaming industry.
The PSP showing for Call of Duty didn't fare much better than the Vita version. It was a glitch-filled title with poor artificial intelligence. It was the last Call of Duty release before Modern Warfare would change the genre forever.
World at War - Final Fronts is the only PS2 Call of Duty title to release after Modern Warfare. As such, it was unfortunately a cash-in on the series' new found success. Thankfully, most had already moved onto PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 by the time this released.
Call of Duty: Finest Hour was the console version of the first Call of Duty game. It wasn't nearly as polished or as well received as its PC brethren, but it did succeed in getting the series onto consoles for the first time. It is hard to imagine that Call of Duty was once purely associated with PC gaming!
Treyarch, who is now beloved thanks to the Black Ops series, had a rocky start with the franchise they are now associated with. Their first Call of Duty game was a version of Call of Duty 2 for consoles. It received good, but not great reviews as it was not nearly as good as the PC original.
The original PC release that kicked off the series with a bang finally got a proper console outing in 2009. While its gameplay had clearly aged, this is still a great version of the game. It just can't hold a candle to the later games that were so much better.
Call of Duty 3 was one of the launch titles for PlayStation 3, and it was an easy recommendation. Treyarch developed one of the best World War 2 shooters of all-time, and it is still fun to go back to. Just know that the genre has changed a lot since 2006.
Everyone was excited to see how Infinity Ward was going to top the Modern Warfare series. Sadly, they haven't done so yet. Instead, we got Call of Duty: Ghosts which was pretty much a disappointment in every area. It was a game caught between console generations, and one that wasn't compelling in single-player or multiplayer. It wasn't a bad game, but it failed to live up to the series' high expectations.
A lot of people absolutely love Black Ops 2. It tried a lot of innovative new ideas with its Strikeforce missions and branching campaigns, but they were good ideas that were not implemented very well. The popular Zombies mode returned, and the multiplayer was a blast. But the underwhelming single-player left a lot to be desired.
After Call of Duty 4 revolutionized console shooters, it felt like such a step back going back to World War 2. Despite this disadvantage, Treyarch still managed to create a great game in World at War. It featured a fun cooperative campaign, some amazing sniping missions, and introduced Zombies to the Call of Duty crowd for the first time. Plus flamethrowers are just plain awesome.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 didn't quite live up to the high expectations that the first two games set, but it did serve as a proper ending to one of the greatest gaming trilogies ever made. Infinity Ward couldn't be expected to innovate an entire genre with every release, but Modern Warfare 3 did feel a little too much like fans had seen it all before.
Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops is one of the most beloved games in the series and for good reason. The campaign was thought provoking, and provided some of the best twists in the series. The multiplayer was top notch, and the popular Zombies mode was brought to a new level.
After the downer that was Ghosts, it felt great to see Advanced Warfare get the series right back on-track. The exoskeletons made the characters more mobile as ever which only enhanced the gameplay. Its single-player featured an interesting story and an amazing performance by Kevin Spacey. Advanced Warfare is the best the series ever played.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched the series into mainstream status. This innovative game featured one of the most intense, cinematic campaigns ever seen in a console shooter. It felt like you were playing an action movie! Throw in the game's stellar multiplayer, which changed how progression was handled in pretty much all of video games, and you have the most influential first-person shooter since DOOM.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the perfect refinement of the evolution that was Call of Duty 4. The campaign was better, multiplayer was even more polished, and Infinity Ward introduced the best mode in the series' history - Special Ops. Special Ops, which was inspired by the Mile High Club mission in Modern Warfare, was a set of small challenge levels that could be played cooperatively. It was the most fun that the series ever offered, and hopefully it will make a comeback soon!
We hope you enjoyed our look at the Call of Duty series on PlayStation. It was difficult to separate some of the games, due to most of them being of such a high quality!
In your opinion, which entries are the best and the worst in the franchise? Share them in the comments below.