There is a lot of Call of Duty games that have come out as far back as the early 2000s, but while there are a lot of games, only several of them have had a campaign that truly stands the test of time. Today we’ll look back at past Call of Duty titles and rank the top 5 that we think are the best. And with the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 reboot releasing in just a few months, what better time to reflect on the past?
Top 5 Call of Duty Campaigns Ranked
Before getting into this list, it’s important to address what really makes a Call of Duty campaign a top contender. There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes down to the entire experience. Characters, storyline, music, and artist design all play a big part in every campaign, with each series having its own iconic distinctions.
5. Modern Warfare (2019)
A solid return to form following what could be debatably referred to by some players as the franchise’s dark ages (the span between MW3 and this title), the reboot of the Modern Warfare series steered the series back onto the tracks of what it does best. Telling a realistic yet over-the-top action story with a more grounded sense of what war does not only to military personnel but to the civilians on the ground. Modern Warfare (2019) captured a scary, almost true-to-life realism that mirrors events that the world is currently experiencing and handles them perfectly.
4. Modern Warfare 2
Infinity Ward really seemed to bottle lightning with the success of Modern Warfare 2. Not only did its multiplayer single-handedly change the landscape of FPS titles, its campaign really dug its heels into the ensemble cast it contained and introduced them to some extremely impactful moments that are still with gamers to this day. Missions like “No Russain” and “Loose Ends” stand as some of the most important moments for the franchise as they showed just how evil some of this franchise’s warlords can be, and that there need to be heroes in order to stop them.
3. Modern Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a revolutionary title for the franchise and is the start of what was possible to accomplish story-wise in an FPS title. Though its predecessors did a great job in storytelling, Modern Warfare is the blueprint for how modern FPS titles create compelling stories. With iconic characters such as Price, Soap, and of course, Ghost and its goosebump-inducing story missions like “All Ghillied Up”, this campaign still holds up and warrants a playthrough, even as the series has been rebooted.
2. World at War
Capitalizing on just how great Modern Warfare was, Treyarch sought to do what that title did, but with a revisit to WWII. This game brought forth missions that truly resembled iconic scenes from films like Saving Private Ryan and Enemy at the Gates, creating a campaign that sunk its teeth into players and refused to let go. The campaign also shifted its protagonists from just being heroes to having depth to them. Though fan-favorite, Viktor Reznov is considered a “good guy”, some of his actions perfectly depict that even good people can take the low road every once in a while.
1. Black Ops
Objectively, Black Ops does it all. It captures the grisly realistic brutality of war, it provides a fantastic cast, enemy, setting, and score. Additionally, it adds a level of fictionalization to historic events by making our protagonist, Alex Mason, a soviet sleeper agent that may or may not has killed JFK following the game’s events. Not only that, but Reznov returns, serving as an important plot point for the twist. It’s a story that feels like the best action film that stands the test of time. It’s a pop-corn flick in video game form, keeping its replayability and the release of sequels up, even a decade after its initial release.
That’s our list of the top 5 Call of Duty campaigns ranked. Everyone is sure to have a differing opinion on the best ones and a bit of nostalgia is sure to play a part in some capacity. These are just the best campaigns overall that the franchise has produced when looking at them as a whole. Though with MW2 coming out shortly, there’s room for this list to change.