I continue on with my Call of Duty rankings, this time entering into the top five. For reference, you can see my previous article here, taking you from the worst to number six.
5. Call of Duty: WWII
The most recent iteration from Sledgehammer Games was a very welcome change of pace, becoming the first World War II title since World at War almost 10 years prior.
Sledgehammer opted to remove health regeneration from the campaign, meaning you need to be a little more careful and keep alert for health packs. But it’s the multiplayer that is particularly enjoyable, for me at least. The wall running antics on relatively small maps soon wore thin, so being back to “boots on the ground” seemed almost refreshing.
A new social area, dubbed Headquarters, allows players to meander through various activities on Omaha Beach, Normandy. You can challenge others to 1v1s, whilst those in the same 48 player space can observe. Fancy watching your military brethren open some loot crates, and really feel at home in 1944 France? Yep, you can do just that too. The possibilities really are endless.
4. Black Ops 2
The sequel to sixth placed Black Ops took players back to the 80’s, as well as forwards into 2025 into a newly sparked Cold War. For those with a soft spot for the story, the introduction of the Strike Force missions meant that you could actually alter the events going later in 2025 – if you kill a character, that’s it; gone, poof, bye bye. These missions meant that you had to play through multiple times to see all the endings for yourself, and complete all of the missions. You could even customise your loadout before each mission, something the series had never let you do before.
The multiplayer featured changes to get more players involved in playing the objectives, too. Scorestreaks replaced Killstreaks, giving the usual rewards for racking up points earned instead of purely based on kills. If truth be told, it didn’t make a whole load of difference, but it was nice getting closer to a War Machine by capturing objectives.
Zombies made a welcome return with its TranZit maps, linking together multiple different areas by way of a bus used to transport you between them. I still have nightmares of the undead breaking through the windows on the bus, something like the “Here’s Johnny” scene in The Shining…
3. World at War
Treyarch’s second main entry to the Call of Duty series was a marked improvement over CoD 3, which featured in second to last place of this list. Following on from Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare, World at War took us back again to World War II. Additional work on the engine allowed for areas with destructible environments, as well as limb dismemberment. Why can’t we shoot legs off anymore?!
One of the biggest introductions, however, was Nazi Zombies. Nacht Der Untoten was the only map shipped with the game, with more classics added as part of DLC – Der Riese, Shi No Numa and Zombie Verrückt. Unfortunately, for those on Nintendo Wii (which was myself at one point…), Zombies wasn’t included.
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
This was a very tough decision. “Not putting CoD 4 top? Are you mad?!” I can hear you shouting at your computer screen. “It defined an era!”
There is no denying that CoD 4 helped to change the future of FPS’s. The introduction of XP into the multiplayer (on this scale at least) and levelling up brought with it a new challenge to keep you coming back, and the prestige levels meant that most people would never reach the maximum. Or maybe that’s just me…
MW was the first game to introduce perks, bringing in the UAV jammer and many others that have stuck with the series ever since. Don’t forget the killstreaks, too - although only three were included, these again have been a pivotal addition to the series.
The map design from this era is when it was at its peak. Crash remains as one of the best maps ever to have graced the series.
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I must have spent hundreds of hours on Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, much more than its predecessor. Much of the game at its core remained unchanged; however, Infinity Ward did upgrade their engine for greater graphical fidelity, amongst other benefits. It wasn’t the most balanced – remember the F2000 with the silencer? But, for me at least, it was the most fun.
It was the first game in the series to introduce blood spatter on the screen; host migrations, so when the host rage-quits you wouldn’t all be forced to quit; and who can forget No Russian? Yes, this entry saw you taking a heavy machine gun into an unsuspecting airport and opening fire. You could skip it if you wanted to, but where’s the fun in that?
In a response to the Nazi Zombies mode in World at War, Infinity Ward added in a Special Ops mode, allowing for co-op between up to two players. Like most entries in the series, however, the multiplayer was the true success. Terminal; everyone’s second favourite (only to Nuketown) tiny map Rust; Favela, with Christ the Redeemer contemplating what has gone wrong with the chaos below. There hasn’t been any game in the series since Modern Warfare 2 that has kept me engrossed for as long as it did. It wasn’t the era-defining game that Modern Warfare was, but it took everything that its predecessor did and took it to the next level.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comment section below!