Modern Warfares to Walking Nightmares: The Best and Worst of Call of Duty


One of the most established and loved (or, to some, hated) franchises on this generation of consoles, which has also seen an unprecedented amount of success, is the Call of Duty series. Being a Call of Duty player, I felt inspired to take each iteration that I have played and rank them from worst to best (in my opinion, of course). Unfortunately, I haven’t played the original Call of Duty, so I can’t give my opinion on it; my earliest experience starts with Call of Duty 2, and includes most major iterations since that title.  If you’re a fan of the series, consider this your history lesson for the day.  And if you hate the series, there’s always Battlefield…

8. Modern Warfare 3

MW3Modern Warfare 3 was the bane of my existence. Usually when my friends bash a CoD for being awful, I would usually try to look on the bright side. However, in this case I couldn’t believe what Infinity Ward had created. Not only was weapon balance horrible, so too was the unbelievably overpowered killstreaks, and added to the horrible maps, rage was assured. I honestly tried to enjoy this game, but of my friends, I was the first to sell it. Before it was released, I believed like all other CoD games that it would be good and enjoyable; that Infinity Ward would just improve on Modern Warfare 2. Instead, they created a game which catered to “campers”, rather than objective players such as myself. It’s the only Call of Duty I’ve sold, let’s put it that way.

Overall:  I despised the game. That’s all I have to say.

7. Call of Duty 3

CoD 3 was a disaster. Treyarch changed the fundamentals of what CoD 2 had brought to the table. What everyone had loved had changed, and not in a good way. Medics could revive other players, which didn’t have the feel of a CoD game, it seemed more like Battlefield. Also, having vehicles in any multiplayer game that is centered around close quarters to mid range fights is an awful idea. Tanks ruled the roost in the maps they spawned in, and the other maps were mediocre. Both the ability to revive and vehicles, were resurrected later in the series with Call of Duty: World at War, but lets not get into that yet. Many felt as if Treyarch had ruined the franchise and that it was over.

Overall: Changing the fundamentals cost Call of Duty 3. Big time.

6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Many of my friends disregarded this game saying it was nothing new and that it was the same as all the other games, I of course disagreed. As I was one to love Black Ops – I had high hopes before the game even hit the shelves. Although playing matches online can be frustrating at times, most CoD’s are. Weapon balance was back (for the most part), and the only major problem in the game, in my opinion, were the killstreaks, or as they call them nowadays “pointstreaks”. Some killstreaks were too overpowered, such as the ‘swarm’. You can barely spawn without instantly dying. These killstreaks may be harder to obtain so technically, you won’t see them as often, but as a team player you rack up points easily by capturing objectives and going on a rampage. This rewards the player with tons of air support, most of which is never shot down. Overall the maps were well designed and the balance was there. Toning down the killstreaks would’ve made this game near perfect.

The online might have been great, but Zombies had been ruined. Firstly, I wish they had left the old characters in Zombies and added another twist to the plot in the story. Yes you heard me right, there’s a story behind Zombies. The survival mode on Black Ops 2 was atrocious. Before, the maps would be big with many guns to buy and places to go. Why they changed this completely, I really don’t know. The “Tranzit” mode brings all maps together but I feel that it over complicated Zombies and that they should have left the perfect Zombies mode recipe untouched.

Overall: The online was amazing, but Zombies was ruined.

5. Call of Duty: World At War

 When Call of Duty: World at War (also known as WaW) was released, many hated it. Those who disliked it returned to CoD 4, unwilling to change their playing style for WaW or just unwilling to let go of CoD 4. Although WaW had problems, so did all CoD games. Most complained about the overpowered submachine gun (the MP40), although CoD 4 had overpowered weapons of its own such as the MP5 and the monstrous M16. The ability to revive was back, but only if you had a specific perk and so did the person you were attempting to revive, so it didn’t bother me too much. I personally loved this game, especially with the addition of ‘Nazi Zombies’. Without it, the game wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable.

The map packs gave us new maps for online play as well as a new ‘Nazi Zombies’ map for a reasonable price. Most of my favorite maps in the CoD series thus far have come from this game. However, tanks on bigger maps such as Roundhouse and Downfall became tiresome and irritating. Hit detection was a problem at times. Shots wouldn’t register, leaving you devastated after emptying a full clip into an enemy, only for him to turn around and kill you instantly. Weapon balance was an issue, but then again, there’s usually an “over-powered” gun to complain about. If you go to play it now, the game will be full of modders with “god mode” (they can’t be killed), so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Overall: Online was good, disregarding the MP40 problem. Zombies made it’s first appearance. DLC both for multiplayer and Zombies was fantastic.

4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

MW1The original Modern Warfare implemented unique and original ideas to online play for an FPS, and revolutionized the Call of Duty series. The first being that it was as the title suggests, ‘Modern Warfare’ , not another World War I or II setting, which many had grown weary of.

Many other ideas made CoD 4 loved by gamers. Killstreaks, for example, were one of these great ideas; kill 3 enemies to obtain a UAV, 5 kills to get an airstrike and 7 kills to release your attack helicopter. Though this seems like a bad idea to add to a game with relatively small maps, the risk paid off. Perks were also implemented in Modern Warfare which gave personalization to your soldier so he could have claymores, run further, have extra ammo etc.

The constant sense of achievement in CoD 4 is what made the game so successful. The ranking-up system; unlocking camouflage for your guns; unlocking perks and guns; this all made leveling up fun. And for the no-lifers, once you reach the max level of 55, you can restart or “prestige” 10 times.

Overall: New unique additions such as perks, killstreaks and gun customization paved the way for the Call of Duty titles to come. I never played this as much as the others so that’s why it’s this low on my ranking.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

When Modern Warfare 2 released, there was high expectations and unbelievable hype that it had to live up to. For the first 2 months after the game was released, it was a dream come true. After this, the game became riddled with glitches and modders online. For those of you that haven’t played it, well…don’t start now, since it became completely unplayable. Yet somehow, it was still incredibly fun. Glitches such as the ‘Javelin glitch’, ‘Care package glitch’ and the unbelievable range on the Dual/Akimbo Model 1887’s were insane. All of these glitches obviously had flaws, but abusing them online was quite satisfying, especially with friends. Modern Warfare 2 gave us titles and emblems which were obtained by completing challenges, which was an unneeded but good addition. Many cheated/modded and obtained the titles and emblems by dropping into hacked lobbies. And if you think the  game sounds horrible (and it was), playing this with friends made the experience 10 times better as you weren’t the one being ‘Danger Closed’ by a grenade launcher over and over. Usually, it was the other way around.


Overall: A terrible game. BUT, if you have friends to play with, all the exploits and faults in the game are a blast to use.

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Before Black Ops released, there was speculation that it would “fail” in a similar fashion to World at War and CoD 3, Treyarch’s previous titles. The opposite happened, but of course some didn’t see it that way. Zombies had been vastly improved with many additions, especially when it came to DLC. The weapon balance was superb in Black Ops as no guns were too overpowered, even if some (namely the submachine guns) were a little underpowered.“Quickscopers” were left redundant, and as a sniper I was a little upset the sniper rifles had a massive sway and weren’t as powerful as before, but nonetheless the game was great. I didn’t play it as much as I had Modern Warfare 2, but I spent no time raging or wanting to kill someone when playing Black Ops. For a CoD title, that’s quite an outstanding achievement.

Overall: Balanced online and Zombies was improved. Maps were great for the most part. DLC, especially for Zombies was fantastic.

1. Call of Duty 2

All who played Call of Duty 2 adored it. I have yet to meet a CoD fan, or even an FPS fan, who dislikes it. So why does everyone love it so much? 1) Nostalgia; being the first CoD game that many played and loved, their loyalty and respect for it has stayed the same, no matter how their opinion on the series has changed. 2) It was the first CoD with a strong focus on multiplayer, as it was a launch title for the Xbox 360.

Even to this day, Call of Duty 2 is probably the most balanced in the series: No weapon was too overpowered (unless you were a master with unscoped rifles). The map designs were great, and were never any reoccurring issues. If you were to hop back on this game, even now, you’d enjoy yourself with the simple, yet satisfying, mechanics that the Call of Duty franchise is built on.

Overall: The most simple, balanced and fun Call of Duty title to date.