5 best Call of Duty games ever ranked: Full tier list
We took the difficult task of sifting through every CoD game ever, and not only have we compiled a full tier list of every game, but we’ve ranked our top five as well.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Call of Duty was released in 2003 and what a journey it has been. The franchise has explored many different eras in history and undergone countless changes. However, when you release so many games, some are bound to become lost, and some become legendary.
So it’s time to dig through the history of Call of Duty games to assign them our verdict, select the absolute cream of the crop, and rank them.
Also, check out our 10 best guns in Black Ops Cold War: Weapon Tier List and our Top 10 Best guns in Warzone weapon tier list!
Call of Duty: Best games tier list
So many factors have gone into the decision-making process here such as the game’s respective campaigns, multiplayer, side modes, themes, guns, and a lot more. With all this in mind, we were able to grade each game.
Just to explain our system:
- S-Tier games are the best of the best
- A-Tier are amazing
- B-Tier CoD games are just missing something
- C-Tier ones are not worth your time
Here is our Official tier list of all Call of Duty games:
- S-Tier: CoD 4: Modern Warfare, CoD: World at War, CoD: Modern Warfare 2, CoD: Black Ops, CoD: Modern Warfare (2019), CoD: Black Ops 2
- A-Tier: CoD: Classic, CoD: Modern Warfare 3
- B-Tier: CoD 2, CoD 3, CoD: Advanced Warfare, CoD: Black Ops 3, CoD: Black Ops 4, CoD: Black Ops Cold War
- C-Tier: CoD: Ghosts, CoD: Infinite Warfare, CoD: WW2
Ranking the Best Call of Duty games of all time
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
Modern Warfare (2019) yet again redefined the Call of Duty franchise, giving players one of the most polished and detailed Call of Duty titles ever created. It encompassed all that had made the series great to this point and made it feel as crisp as ever.
The campaign reintroduced classic characters, interspersed with memorable new ones, and a new storyline. It was sprinkled with a genuinely unsettling terrorist attack in Picadilly Circus, fights through a burning mine, and other horrifying scenes forever implanted on the brain.
For multiplayer, animations were fine-tuned and weapons were overhauled to feel powerful in the hands of every player. We got exhilarating new modes such as Cyber Attack and even got the return of the much-loved Spec Ops Mode. There was also a no HUD mode, Realism, and even night variations – it genuinely felt like a fresh entry in the series.
In March of 2020, Activision released Modern Warfare’s Warzone mode, a 150 player battle royale – which became an instant hit. It has since become one of the premier experiences for battle royale with Warzone now well into its stride.
4. Call of Duty: World At War
With the evolution of the Call of Duty engine during the development of CoD 4: Modern Warfare, Treyarch had the opportunity to make the most detailed World War 2 shooter experience yet. The first three Call of Duty games are rather unheralded compared to anything post CoD 4, but World at War reverted back to the World War 2 and improved on it.
World At War delivered a chilling ride across the Pacific Theatre and Russian front. Gore mechanics made the game feel visceral and real, making the experience much more intense and realistic. The game’s fabulous campaign crescendos into an incredible final stretch, storming the Reichstag.
The multiplayer was a great extension of the new formula the series had discovered and transferred all those properties to World at War. The most incredible aspect of World at War though has to be the sleeper-hit, now must-have feature, Nazi Zombies.
Nacht Der Untoten, a post-campaign mini-game, revolutionized the multiplayer experience even more. The mode received three more maps through DLC and has been an attraction in every Treyarch Call of Duty game since.
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Needless to say, the anticipation and excitement of a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare sequel reached unprecedented heights. The follow-up more than surpassed expectations by delivering another jaw-dropping campaign featuring iconic figures like Captain Price, Commander Shepard, Ghost, and a promoted Soap. The game become notorious for its “No Russian” mission and other controversial moments.
The multiplayer formula was in full swing and Modern Warfare 2 introduced a brand new set of killstreak rewards – including the game-changing nuke. Maps like Terminal and Rust would go onto be celebrated in CoD folklore, and the era of the 360 no-scope was born.
If all this wasn’t enough, we also got “Special Ops”, a mode for 1-2 players that recreated and expanded upon many scenarios from the first two Modern Warfare games, and challenged the players to get maximum stars.
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Instead of doing a direct sequel to World at War like Infinity Ward was doing with Modern Warfare, Treyarch slapped on a new title: “Black Ops”.
In order to bring a welcome change of pace from World War games, they set their first Black Ops game during the Vietnam era. In the Campaign, players would be part of an elite squad working alongside the CIA in covert operations around the globe. We got the historic “What do the numbers mean?” and the return of fan-favorite Viktor Reznov – played by Gary Oldman.
Zombies delivered another slugfest of intense undead-killing action and introduced another new concept to the series in the form of Dead Ops. A top-down, arcade twin-stick shooter with power-ups, up to 4 players, and hours of fun.
The multiplayer front continued to deliver months of unforgettable action with a litany of unmistakable maps: including one of the most divisive maps in Call of Duty history – Nuketown.
1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The game that started it all and began a revolution in the first-person shooter industry. After years of companies generally churning out different variations of World War games, Infinity Ward ripped up the playbook and started from scratch with a hot new take on modern-day conflict.
The campaign was one spellbinding encounter after another taking the player on a violent journey of death, destruction, and even nuclear devastation. The one-two salvo of All Ghillied Up and One Shot, One Kill is as good as two missions come in an FPS game, and it all culminates in breathtaking fashion.
Even more remarkable than Soap’s fruit-killing skills is the way in which Infinity Ward single-handedly reshaped online multiplayer as we know it. Seamlessly blending together class systems, satisfying weaponry, all-time great maps, and more.
CoD 4’s online multiplayer was the genesis of a new wave of multiplayer, inspiring a whole generation of FPS games on the PS3 and Xbox 360, and beyond.
The game would cement Call of Duty as one of the most successful video game franchises in history and is still hotter than ever thanks to Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.
Image Credit: Activision