The Call of Duty franchise has significantly transformed the first-person shooter genre through its top-quality games. It has achieved this by merging the best features of action games with recognizable settings, game modes, weapons, and even a separate free-to-play battle royale variant. Call of Duty has retained its brand identity while adapting to modern times, which has resulted in a satisfying collection of intense war games that surpass previous expectations and establish new standards for competitors to strive for.

The article recommends the 10 best Call of Duty games that are still available to play, from Vanguard to Black Ops.

1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

It is widely accepted that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the standout game in the franchise. It was groundbreaking when it was first released and has now become an undisputed classic, setting the benchmark for all subsequent entries in the series. The game's innovative multiplayer mode, especially on consoles, is the primary reason for its success. It features a compelling combination of addictive rewards, excellent map design, and satisfying feedback that continues to captivate players to this day.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Additionally, the game's campaign mode is unparalleled, featuring unforgettable missions such as Death From Above, All Ghillied Up, and Charlie Don't Surf, and a hint of unexpected depth, making it the best war story the franchise has ever told. The 2016 remaster has enhanced the game's visuals, making it as sharp as its bundle mate, Infinite Warfare. If you only have the opportunity to play one Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare should be your choice.

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Undoubtedly, the best game in the Call of Duty series created by Treyarch is their Vietnam-themed release in Black Ops. The storyline is immensely enjoyable and includes a significant amount of playful absurdity. Additionally, the game's multiplayer modes introduce fresh and worthwhile game types for players to explore. One such mode is Gun Game, where each kill requires the player to use a different weapon, providing inspiration for other games to follow.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops

Despite being set in the 1960s, the game's weaponry maintains its powerful and impressive impact. The Cold War era setting is particularly fitting for the Call of Duty franchise, with an ethically questionable backdrop that can surprise players. The expert use of The Rolling Stones' music also gives the game a unique flavor that sets it apart from other games in the series. However, the meaning behind the game's cryptic numbers is still unclear.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 faced significant expectations, and its ability to come closest to fulfilling them is a testament to its excellence. The single-player mode offers an even larger spectacle without sacrificing its pacing, while the multiplayer introduces the highly-regarded Rust map, which many consider the best small map in the franchise.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Despite some minor flaws, such as the Tactical Nuke killstreak and the controversial No Russian mission in the campaign, the game remains an unforgettable experience. The game's standout moments, such as the thrilling prison break mission, continue to captivate players. While some flaws exist, they are insignificant compared to the game's iconic and unforgettable elements.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

The Black Ops trilogy is where Treyarch tends to embrace the unusual, and it greatly benefits from doing so. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the first and only game in the franchise to experiment with multiple endings, resulting in a meaningful impact on the story's direction when completing Strike Force missions and specific objectives in the main levels. This depth adds a reason for players to revisit the game, even though there may not be as much new content to experience.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

The introduction of the Pick 10 system in multiplayer has a much more significant and lasting effect, providing players with greater control over their loadouts and playstyles, shaping the extensive customization options that the series now offers. While not all the changes in the game may have been popular, it serves as an excellent example of Call of Duty's strengths and stands out on its own by being experimental.

5. Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

Warzone 2 represents a significant departure for the franchise, responding directly to the evolving multiplayer landscape characterized by free-to-play battle royales such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Call of Duty's take on the genre simplifies the loot system, introduces a clever method for players to get back into the action through the Gulag, and injects some excitement into the otherwise predictable world of battle royales with the addition of a tactical knife.

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Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

Released alongside Modern Warfare 2 in 2022, Warzone 2.0 outshines its predecessor, Warzone Caldera, and features a dedicated single-player DMZ mode for those seeking a more story-driven experience. Overall, it represents a marked improvement over previous iterations of the franchise.

6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

To compare Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to the other games in the series is like comparing Return Of The Jedi to the original Star Wars movies and saying it's your least favorite, but at least there are no Ewoks in Modern Warfare 3. The game concludes the increasingly over-the-top story with some standout missions - such as the chaotic sandstorm in Return To Sender - that blend player choice and spectacle.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

While the multiplayer doesn't introduce any major changes, the decision to switch killstreaks to pointstreaks brings greater balance, and the game still features a variety of fantastic maps. Ultimately, the game's fast and satisfying combat will keep players hooked for one more match.

7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty franchise has once again surprised fans by releasing a game with the same title as a 2007 title. However, this 2019 game is not a remake but rather a complete reimagining of the Modern Warfare series. Unlike its predecessors, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is not a disconnected series of missions that require little thought.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Instead, it feels like an intense action movie that you have control over, moving at an exhilarating pace. With stunning graphics, impressive sound effects, and smooth gameplay, this game marks a promising new beginning for the Modern Warfare franchise.

8. Call of Duty WW2

Call of Duty WW2 may seem like an odd choice after so many futuristic settings and the previous game's venture into space, but surprisingly, it works. By resetting all the future technology, the series returns to its roots and essentially acts as a reboot. Although the single player campaign's narrative suffers a bit in the beginning, it still manages to deliver impressive set piece moments. However, it's the multiplayer mode that truly stands out.

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Call of Duty WW2

Without all the high-tech gadgets and spacey elements, the game becomes a much more pure expression of what an online shooter should be. The absence of drones and satellites forces players to rely on their reactions and spatial awareness, making the gameplay much more rewarding. The addition of the new Headquarters mode also adds an interesting dimension, creating a social space similar to Destiny Tower where players can hang out.

9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward didn't stick to the old formula, but used the past as a reference point to create a fresh and exciting campaign. While the game doesn't necessarily reinvent the wheel, it does reinforce the core gameplay mechanics that have made the Call of Duty franchise successful. Players need to be fast and strategic with their positioning, and relying on old habits won't cut it.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

The game's visuals and audio design are also top-notch. Overall, it's a great experience that doesn't necessarily bring anything entirely new to the table, but still manages to be thrilling and enjoyable.

10. Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2, released in 2005, is considered one of the top WW2 shooters ever created and one of the best Xbox 360 games. This game paved the way for the HD-era of gaming and demonstrated the importance of Xbox Live in the future of console gaming. Although the game is now considered old-school, it still captures what makes the series so compelling, with an impressive single-player campaign featuring global locations and impressive visuals, as well as a tightly-designed multiplayer mode.

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Call of Duty 2

This game laid the foundation for the series' immense popularity and success.

>>> Read more: Ranking All Mainline Hitman Games, From Worst To Best