The 10 best Call of Duty games of all-time

Best call of duty games
(Image credit: Activision)

The best Call of Duty games have reshaped first-person shooters as we know them today. By combining elements of the best action games with iconic settings, game modes, weapons arsenals, and even a dedicated free-to-play battle royale spin-off, Call of Duty's emblematic DNA has evolved with the times as much as it has stayed consistent to its brand. The result is a satisfying collection of high-octane war games that not only challenge existing expectations, but establish newer, higher benchmarks of success for its competitors to measure up to. Here are the best Call of Duty games still playable today, from Vanguard to Black Ops, so keep on reading to see how our tastes align with your own.

10. Call of Duty 2

Best Call of Duty games - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Developer: Infinity Ward
Xbox 350, PC, Mac

Call of Duty 2 is one of the best Xbox 360 games, and one of the finest WW2 shooters of all-time. Call of Duty 2 helped usher in the HD-era of video games when it launched in 2005, and showed just how important Xbox Live was going to become to console gaming in the future. While Infinity Ward's FPS is charmingly old-school now, it still establishes what makes the series so captivating. A globe-trotting campaign that goes big on spectacle, cutting-edge visual design, and incredibly tight multiplayer – Call of Duty 2 is the foundation for the series' rapid rise to dominance. 

9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Developer: Infinity Ward
PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward used the past as a point-of-reference rather than a blueprint. The result is a thrilling campaign which doesn't rewrite the rulebook, necessarily, though it does reinforce the rules of engagement for Call of Duty in a new generation. Action is fast and frantic, positioning is more important than ever before, and death comes quickly to those relying on the old ways of playing – if you have a tendency to lean heavily on the left stick and reload after every round that leaves your clip, you'll be at a disadvantage here. As we noted in our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 review, this game doesn't necessarily do anything that you haven't seen Call of Duty do before, but it's a great time with incredible visual/audio design. 

8. Call of Duty WW2

Best Call of Duty games - Call of Duty 2

Developer: Sledgehammer Games
PS4, Xbox One, PC

It might seem odd for Call of Duty WW2 to go back to the Second World War after so much future stuff and the previous game's trip into space, but it works. The reset of all the future tech bring the series back down to its roots and more or less acts like a reboot. The single player suffers a little in the opening half narratively but, for the most part, hits those big set piece moments confidently. It's the multiplayer that really wins here though. Without all the gadgets, tech and spacey stuff this is a much purer expression of what an online shooter should be. Stripped of the drones and satellites the action focuses much more on reactions and spacial awareness and is much more rewarding for it. The new Headquarters mode is also a interesting addition, creating a Destiny Tower like social space for players to hang out in. 

7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Best Call of Duty games - Modern Warfare season 4

(Image credit: Activision)

Developer: Infinity Ward
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Leave it to the Call of Duty franchise to release a game with the exact same name as a 2007 title that isn't a remake of any of the games in the series, but is instead a wild reimagining that begins to rebuild the Modern Warfare series from the ground up. 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare differs from its predecessors in that it doesn't feel like a series of disparate missions that line up to be shot down back-to-back without much contemplation. It feels like you're behind the reins of a tight action movie racing ahead at breakneck speed. It looks good, it sounds good, it feels good, and it's a great first step in a new direction for the Modern Warfare franchise. 

6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Best Call of Duty games - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Developer: Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games
PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PC, Mac

Saying Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the weakest of the Modern Warfare series is like saying Return Of The Jedi is your least favourite of the original Star Wars movies. But, you know, there are no Ewoks here. This wraps up the increasingly bombastic story with some brilliant missions - the rolling sandstorm in Return To Sender is Modern Warfare at its chaotic best, balancing player agency with some serious spectacle. Okay, so the multiplayer focuses on tweaks instead of big innovations, but changing killstreaks into pointstreaks helps balance the playing field and there’s still an assortment of great maps. Plus, you know the punchy and pacy combat will keep you coming back for just one more round. 

5. Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

Warzone 2

(Image credit: Activision)

Developer: Infinity Ward
Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

Warzone 2 is a brand-new beast in the franchise, and it's a direct response to the shifting multiplayer environment defined by free-to-play battle royales like Fortnite and Apex Legends. CoD's take streamlines the loot system, adds an ingenious way to rejoin the fight in the Gulag, and slices through the somewhat monotonous world of battle royales with a dang tac knife. Warzone 2.0 dropped alongside 2022's Modern Warfare 2, edging out predecessor Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera in the process, and with a dedicated single-player DMZ mode if you're looking for a more narrative-based experience, it's a clear improvement.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Best Call of Duty games - Warzone

Developer: Treyarch
Xbox 360, PS3, PC

The Black Ops’ trilogy is when Treyarch likes to get weird, and it’s all the better for it. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the first - and so far, only - time COD experiments with multiple endings to decent effect. Carrying out Strike Force missions and fulfilling certain objectives in the main levels drastically alters the direction of the story, adding depth and a reason to return once the credits roll, even if there’s less new stuff to see. A longer lasting - and much more important - introduction in multiplayer is the Pick 10 system, which gives greater control of your loadout and playstyle, moulding the greater levels of customisation the series now offers. While not every change would be picked up, this entry is both a great example of COD’s strengths and one that experiments enough to stand out on its own. 

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Best Call of Duty games - Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Developer: Infinity Ward
PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac

There's some big shoes that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 needed to fill and the fact it's the closest the series gets to managing that task is a testament to its class. The single player ups the scale of the spectacle without sacrificing any of the pacing, while the multiplayer introduces the greatest tiny map of all time: the incomparable Rust. Okay, there are some minor missteps, such as the Tactical Nuke killstreak and No Russian mission in the campaign, which mean it doesn't take the top spot. But it's hard to care about niggles when some of the most iconic moments of the series, like storming the gulag to rescue an important prisoner, never stop coming. 

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best Call of Duty games - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Developer: Treyarch
PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

Call of Duty: Black Ops' Vietnam outing is undoubtedly Treyarch's best in the series, with a storyline that’s tonnes of silly fun and multiplayer modes that actually add some worthwhile new game types to try. The introduction of Gun Game - where every kill you get forces you to use a different weapon - is inspired, while going back in time to the ‘60s doesn't diminish the forceful kick of the weapons. A Cold War setting turns out to be perfect for COD, with a moral murkiness that has the capability to shock in places, while pitch perfect use of The Rolling Stones gives it a flavour that none of the other games have. Still can’t figure out what those numbers mean, though.

1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

(Image credit: Activision)

Developer: Infinity Ward (original) / Raven Software (remastered)
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PC

Did you expect Black Ops: Declassified? Come on. There’s no argument that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the series’ highlight. A revelation at release and an indisputable classic now, this is the standard every new entry must measure up to. Revolutionary multiplayer, especially on consoles, is the main reason why. That alluring mix of compulsive unlocks, brilliant map design and powerful feedback is still hooking players to this day. Then there’s the peerless campaign. Bursting with unforgettable missions - Death From Above, All Ghillied Up, Charlie Don’t Surf to name a few - and a slither of surprising nuance, it’s the best war story the series has ever told. The 2016 remaster only improves on it, getting a timely visual update that makes it just as crisp as its bundle brother, Infinite Warfare. If you only ever play one Call Of Duty, make sure it is Modern Warfare.

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Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.

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