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5 best Call of Duty games ever ranked: Full tier list

We’ve gone through every single Call of Duty game ever and created a full tier list of them all, and then ranked our top 5 as well.

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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.


Do you disagree with any of our selections? Be sure to let us know on our CharlieIntel Facebook Page and CharlieIntel Twitter Page!

Image Credit: Activision

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Call of Duty dev finally confirms that games have had SBMM all along

A former Call of Duty developer has confirmed that the series has used skill-based matching since 2007’s Modern Warfare.

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Skill-based matchmaking has been a hugely controversial issue among Call of Duty fans for years, and former developer Josh Menke has finally confirmed that CoD titles have had SBMM as far back as 2007’s Modern Warfare.

In the early days of online multiplayer gaming, players would have to select a server to join by themselves. As time went on, developers started to automate that process, eventually introducing skill-based matchmaking in an attempt to keep matches competitive.

While this seems logical, it’s been a highly contentious issue among gamers who claim it has ruined games and made them less fun.

Games like Black Ops Cold War and Warzone have been criticized for using skill-based matchmaking too much, with players comparing them to older Call of Duty titles. However, former Activision Senior Systems Designer Josh Menke has revealed that SBMM has been in CoD games since 2007.

The idea behind skill-based matchmaking is to place you in lobbies with players of a similar skill level. While many believe that older Call of Duty titles didn’t do this, Menke states it’s been used as far back as the original Modern Warfare.

“[Call of Duty 4] did have some skill-based match-making, all of them always have,” he told GDC. “It’s just the math and science have gotten better over the years. If you grew up on it back then, your expectations are very different than if you have it now.”

“The same thing happens in Fortnite, even today. When the game first started, I believe they had very little skill-based matchmaking, then over the years they’ve experimented with different levels of SBMM and using bots.”

“You’ll have players who play Call of Duty that will be like, ‘I don’t like skill-based matchmaking,’ but then they go play Valorant and it’s fine.”

One of the biggest complaints about skill-based matchmaking is that while it should be used in ranked modes, public or casual matches have become too difficult because of the system.

Menke does feel that developers are making one major error with current matchmaking systems, saying that when a game can’t find a good match for a player, it just “settles” for a bad one. Instead, he suggests using “real-time stats” on the player base to create the best games possible.

Whether you like SBMM or not, the system isn’t going anywhere. At least the long-running debate over CoD’s historical matchmaking system can finally be put to rest.

For more Call of Duty, check out everything you need to know about Warzone’s new Pacific Caldera map.

Image Credits: Activision

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Top 5 hardest Call of Duty campaigns of all time

Call of Duty has produced some of the most memorable campaigns in FPS history, but we’re counting down the top 5 hardest ever.

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As well as delivering epic narratives and creating iconic characters, plenty of CoD campaigns have also offered a nice challenge down the years. So we’ve picked out the top 5 hardest CoD campaigns ever, and ranked them.

Whilst it’s Call of Duty’s multiplayer that understandably gets all the plaudits, the franchise has produced some incredibly good single-player experiences too – with Vanguard being the latest one. After all, before online gaming really got going in the mid-late 2000s, campaigns were the main selling point of FPS games.

Many games have since overlooked this aspect in favor of keeping players hooked to live service models. However, barring Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, every major CoD title has had a campaign, and we’ve sifted through them all to rank the top five hardest of all time.

Hardest CoD campaigns ever ranked

We can confirm that we’ve played and beaten all these campaigns on the Veteran difficulty setting – apart from BLOPS III which we did on its debuting Realistic difficulty.

As most players will know, Veteran can turn a simple corridor into a test of patience that can take a long time. This separates the weak from the strong and is a perfect way to differentiate campaigns.

Recent years have phased out repsawning enemies and grenade spam, and as a result, have been a lot easier. But a trip down memory lane will dig up some of the most frustrating levels and sections in the series.

5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Definitely not as tough as the later entries on our list, but Infinity Ward’s second installment of the Modern Warfare saga had the odd mean level that will bring out the veins in your head.

The game actually starts out fairly generously for the first few levels, and then dumps a harsh one-two punch of Takedown on you, a nerve-inducing push through the Favela, and the extremely open nature of Wolverines.

You’re allowed your breath back for a bit, and then you’re plunged into the infested depths of the Gulag that has some positively vile checkpoints to clear. Through Whiskey Hotel and Loose Ends you have a ton of enemies to contend with and these are the levels that test your Veteran instincts, especially the survive and escape formula of Loose Ends.

Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t have a defining level or section that stands out, it’s just packed with lots of solid fights that will test your mettle.

4. Call of Duty 2

The early Call of Duty games set the standard for some of the difficulty that was going to be featured down the line.

CoD2 feels a bit more streamlined and thought-out compared to the first game, but it’s still rife with grenades flying in from every angle and Germans that have had their skills honed by the Matrix.

There’s definitely a sense that the levels get harder towards the end, as a natural difficulty curve should do. The German respawn factory never ceases production, even until the very end. The only thing that lessens the difficulty a tad is the fact that Call of Duty 2 introduced regenerating health for the first time, meaning players had time to recover.

3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

We consider CoD4 to be the best Call of Duty game, and its characters, set-pieces, that nuclear explosion scene, and so much more make this campaign memorable, not least the punishing difficulty.

But it’s a handful of missions and sections that will get you used to the death screen. Charlie Don’t Surf’s push through the Broadcast area is painful, the Hunted is littered with large space and tight areas packed with enemies, and even scaling the hill in Safehouse can take a while.

But it’s some of the game’s final missions where things are turned up to 100. The iconic One Shot, One Kill mission is a supreme test of skill, patience, and luck on Veteran, No Fighting in the War Room is a timed slog through steam, claustrophobic corridors teeming with foes, and of course – Mile High Club.

A one-minute sprint through about 50 enemies in the tightest fighting area yet, going up a floor, demanding absolute precision and excellence on your part. You’ll find that if you check many gamer’s Trophies and Achievements for CoD4, they’ll be missing this one on Veteran.

2. Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: Grenade would’ve been a more apt title for Treyarch’s 2008 World War II shooter and many players to this day still see grenade indicators appearing in their vision.

Every mission is an exercise in patience and bravery thanks to unlimited enemy respawns and the germans owning every grenade in existence.

The game is a brutal journey for its first 14 missions on Veteran, and then you get to what is probably the most difficult FPS mission ever created – Heart of the Reich. The act of taking down four AA guns can take literally hours as you have little cover, enemies are attacking (infinitely) from all sides, and you’re having to constantly retreat from grenades every two seconds.

World at War is one of the last true tests of outrageous CoD difficulty.

1. Call of Duty 1 (Call of Duty: Classic)

Anyone who thinks World at War or CoD4 are the hardest campaigns only say that because they haven’t the arduous task of completing the first-ever Call of Duty campaign on Veteran.

Why’s it the hardest? It’s very simple. No health regeneration, no health packs, the checkpoints are utterly unforgiving as you need to have a certain amount of health to trigger them, otherwise, you get diddly squat, checkpoints can be awarded as you’re getting shot, enemies can regularly appear behind you, and they have an immaculate aim.

Then when you start to factor in Chateau, POW Camp, Eder Dam, Truck Ride, Battleship Tirpitz, and the absolutely mind-bogglingly difficult Pavlov’s House, then it’s easy to see why Call of Duty 1 has the hardest campaign ever.

Don’t believe us? Go and play it on Veteran, then get back to us.


So that’s our top 5 list of the hardest Call of Duty campaigns of all time. Even if your list has one or two slightly different entries, we can all agree that Call of Duty has done a great job of serving up some fiendishly tough treats.

If you enjoyed our list and want more original content, then check out the best CoD Zombies maps ranked, every gun in Vanguard ranked, or even the 10 best FPS weapons of all time!

Image Credit: Activision

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Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule

A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.

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A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.

It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.

2019 saw the release of IW’s Modern Warfare reboot, 2020 was Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, and this year has seen the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard.

It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.

Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.

The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.

A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”

As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.

With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.


For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.

Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games

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