Call Of Duty

call-of-duty-games-guideCall of Duty Game Guide

Call of Duty is the bestselling first person shooter series ever released. Starting from its humble beginnings as a unique World War II shooter, Call of Duty has morphed into a global franchise spanning over 100 years of military history (and future military history).

Keeping track of all the Call of Duty games can be difficult. Here’s a complete guide to help you out.

The World War II Era

Call of Duty (October 29, 2003)

Available On: PC, Mac OS X, Xbox, PlayStation 2, N-Gage

The original Call of Duty was based on the Quake III Arena engine and was released way back on October 29, 2003. The game was developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision. It was a PC-only release at-launch.

The Call of Duty demo attracted a lot of attention upon release. There were actually two demoes: in one demo, you took the town of St. Mere Eglise after paratrooping into the town at night just before D-Day. In the next demo, you woke up the next morning and had to defend the town against huge waves of incoming Germans.

I remember playing both demoes over and over again, finding new ways to take out gun positions. The words “Wake it and shake it, the Germans are bringing your coffee” will forever be ingrained in my head.

The original Call of Duty campaign followed the adventures of memorable characters like Pvt. Elder, Sgt. Moody, and the apparently-immortal Captain Price (who later showed up in the Modern Warfare series).

Singleplayer

The original Call of Duty’s singleplayer had three campaigns:

US Campaign: In the American campaign, you’re a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. You start at basic training in Georgia before dropping behind enemy lines on D-Day, taking French manors, and sneaking into Austrian mansions to rescue prisoners of war.

British Campaign: The British campaign starts with an unforgettable mission where you silently glide into Pegasus Bridge in France before crash landing and waking up every German within 50 miles. You have to desperately hold the bridge all night long. Later, you creep through the dark confines of Eder Dam, infiltrate a German battleship, and destroy mobile V2 rockets.

Soviet Campaign: Easily the bloodiest and most brutal campaign in the original CoD, the Russian campaign started with the infamous Stalingrad mission. You’re shuffled through a lineup of soldiers on the German side of the Volga river. The guy in front of you gets a rifle – but you don’t. You need to dodge machine gun fire until you loot a weapon from a dead comrade. Other highlights of the Russian mission include driving a tank and raising the Victory Banner over top of the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Multiplayer

One of the cool things about the original Call of Duty was that multiplayer and singleplayer were given equal attention. After you finished a jaw dropping single player campaign, you still had an entire world of multiplayer action to explore.

The original CoD featured up to 16vs16 multiplayer action (although 8v8 was more common on most servers). There were a total of 16 multiplayer maps and six game types.

Maps: Bocage, Brecourt, Carentan, Chateau, Dawnville, Depot, Harbor, Hurtgen, Neuville, Pavlov, POW Camp, Railyard, Rocket, Ship, Stalingrad, Tigertown

Game Types: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Retrieval, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Behind Enemy Lines

Call of Duty: United Offensive (Expansion Pack) (September 14, 2004)

Available On: PC, Mac OS X

Inspired by the success of their first Call of Duty game, Activision published the Call of Duty: United Offensive expansion pack in September 2004. It was exclusively available for PC, although it would later be released on Mac OS X.

That game featured a brand new campaign that followed American soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge as well as British soldiers escorting bomber missions and Russian soldiers driving tanks at the Battle of Kursk.

United Offensive’s primary goal, however, was to beef up the multiplayer action. The developers were surprised by how popular multiplayer was with the original Call of Duty.

United Offensive aimed to optimize multiplayer by offering new maps (many of which were larger than the ones in the original game), new weapons, new multiplayer vehicles (like tanks and jeeps) and a new in-game ranking system.

Call of Duty 2 (October 25, 2005)

Available On: PC, Xbox 360, Mac OS X

As the follow-up to the original Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2 had some big shoes to fill. Once again, Call of Duty 2 took place during World War II and featured explosive single player action with endless repayable multiplayer entertainment.

Singleplayer

This time, there were four individual storylines and three campaigns along with a new and improved multiplayer.

Russian Campaign: Your story in CoD 2 starts at basic training in Moscow. That training is quickly interrupted by a German invasion. Following missions have you repairing damaged telephone wire while crawling around Stalingrad, attempting to retake train stations, and providing sniper support for your comrades from above Stalingrad City Hall.

British Campaign: The British CoD 2 campaign takes you to the desert with Sgt. John Davis, Cpt. Price (remember him?), and Pvt. MacGregor. You fight to retake El Alamein before moving across Libya and Tunisia. Before the British campaign is over, you’re moving across rural France, defending picturesque villages from German counterattacks.

American Campaign: You’re part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, Dog Company on D-Day, 1944. You’re tasked with scaling up a cliff at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy. After clearing enemy artillery and bunkers, you move through rural towns. Eventually, the storyline takes you to an infamous German bunker fortification known as Hill 400, which you need to take and then defend it against waves of tanks, planes, and infantry. By the end of the campaign, you’ve made your way to the Rhine River in Germany.

Multiplayer

Call of Duty 2’s multiplayer servers could hold up to 64 players (32v32 combat). On Xbox Live, that player limit was just 8.

Key changes to multiplayer included the lack of drivable vehicles, which was a controversial change. Other than that, the multiplayer was largely the same and featured a mix of interesting new weapons and maps (although there were no new game types).

Maps: Beltot, Brecourt, Burgundy, Caen, Carentan, El Alamein, Leningrad, Matmata, Moscow, St. Mere Eglise, Stalingrad, Toujane, Villers-Bocage. Bonus Maps: Vossenack, Wallendar, Beaumont-Hague, Kalach, Crossroads, Newvillers, Normandy, Decoytown, Rostov.

Game Types: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, Headquarters.

Call of Duty 3 (November 7, 2006)

Available On: Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii

The final game in the original World War II era of CoD, Call of Duty 3 was the first game released exclusively for consoles.

Notably, CoD 3 was the first game in the series developed by Treyarch. That studio would go on to develop World at War and the entire Black Ops series.

One of the unique developments in Call of Duty 3 was the addition of close quarter battles. Those are the battles where you get surprised by an enemy soldier and have to button mash to survive. These battles would be seen in most other future Call of Duty games.

Singleplayer

The singleplayer campaign tried something new in CoD 3: there was just one joint campaign, although players switched between four nations and characters for each leg of the story.

American Missions: In the American missions, you capture Normandy’s Saint-Lo, fight through the hedgerows of rural France, then defend the town of Chambois from Axis forces as part of the infamous “Falaise Gap” defense.

British and French Missions: The British campaign reintroduces Sgt. James Doyle, a character you first played in Call of Duty: United Offensive. You work behind enemy lines with the French resistance forces to take out German artillery and destroy a major fuel plant.

Canadian Missions: Canadian soldiers are playable for the first time in Call of Duty. The Canadian missions place you in the role of Pvt. Cole of the 4th Canadian Armored Division. The brief campaign involves you capturing an industrial area of a French town and defending that area against German forces. Later, you clear out a forest near a river and eventually fight to rescue a captured Canadian tank crew at another small French town.

Polish Campaign: Polish soldiers are also playable for the first time in the Call of Duty series. The Polish campaign is similar to the other campaigns: you’re sweeping across the French and German countryside and mopping up resistance along the way. The Polish and Canadian campaigns are actually closely intertwined, with both forces supporting each other along the way.

Multiplayer

Call of Duty 3’s multiplayer was exceptionally popular on consoles – mostly because it tripled the player limit from 8 to 24 over previous CoD games.

Nevertheless, CoD 3’s multiplayer was criticized for having only two playable factions: you were always playing as either the Americans or the Germans. No British, Canadian, or Polish soldiers were playable.

One of the main multiplayer changes was being able to choose special classes instead of choosing a weapon. The classes weren’t customizable, but they certainly paved the way for the customizable class systems in future Call of Duty games. Seven different classes were available. You could only change classes after you were killed.

Each class came with a unique primary weapon along with a pistol and a unique ability (medics could revive teammates, scouts could call artillery, light and heavy assault could lay mines, riflemen could fire grenades, and anti-armor could provide ammunition).

Classes: Riflemen, Light Assault, Heavy Assault, Medic, Scout, Support, Anti-Armor.

Maps: Argentan, Champs, Eder Dam, Fuel Plant, Les Ormes, Mayenne, Merville, Poisson, Rouen, Verdun. Bonus Maps: Crossing, Ironclad, La Bourgade, Stalag 23, Wildwood (Valor Map Pack); Aller Haut, Gare Centrale, Marseilles, Seine River, Rimling (Bravo Map Pack).

Game Types: Battle, Team Battle, Capture the Flag, War, Single Capture the Flag, Headquarters

Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (November 5, 2007)

Available On: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac, Wii

Call of Duty 4 brought the franchise to places it had never gone before. We jumped from World War II to the modern day. This would pave the way for the next bajillion Call of Duty games that would come over the following years.

Modern Warfare was released on November 5, 2007 for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 (and in 2008 and 2009 for Mac and Wii, respectively). The game was widely praised for its unforgettable single player campaign and competitive multiplayer combat.

Singleplayer

Modern Warfare’s singleplayer campaign tossed out the idea of having multiple factions complete multiple campaigns. With this singleplayer campaign, you followed one action-packed storyline.

Your journey as Sgt. John “Soap” MacTavish starts at a weapons training facility in the UK where you memorably slice a watermelon in half with your melee knife attack and perform other routine training procedures.

Soon after, you’re jumping onto a ship in the Bering Strait attempting to find a nuclear weapon hidden onboard. Later, you play a Middle Eastern President who gets executed on live TV. You watch the entire execution of yourself from the first person.

Other highlights of the CoD4 singleplayer campaign include watching a nuclear bomb destroy a Middle Eastern city while you desperately try to escape on a helicopter, leading an assault on remote Russian manors looking for nukes, and making one last headshot with your Colt M1911 just in time to save your own life and the life of Captain Price.

And who could forget one of the greatest missions in video game history, “All Ghillied Up”, where you’re sneaking around Chernobyl in ghillie suits, crawling past infantry, ducking under armored vehicles, and eventually climbing up to the top of an abandoned building before fighting your way out of the city and making a last stand at the infamous Pripyat ferris wheel.

Multiplayer

Modern Warfare’s multiplayer retained the same entertaining action of previous CoD titles – although there were numerous changes that would alter multiplayer forever

The main difference was a revamped class system. This time, the class system featured perks and XP. There were five custom classes with three perks you could assign to each character. As you gained XP, you gained access to new weapons. You could also create your own classes with their own customizable weapons.

Perks were based on a tier system. Tier 1 perks included weapons like extra grenades, two RPG rockets, or two Claymores. Tier 2 perks included character benefits like Stopping Power, Juggernaut, and Sleight of Hand. Tier 3 perks included Extreme Conditioning, Steady Aim, Last Stand, Martyrdom, Deep Impact, and Eavesdrop, all of which enhanced your character even further (like by helping you sprint further, aim more quickly, or listen to enemy conversations).

After hitting max level, you could also go back and level up through Prestige Mode. This gave you a fancy emblem beside your name and let you create more custom classes.

Another difference between Modern Warfare and previous Call of Duty titles was the addition of Hardcore mode, where the health of all players was dropped from 100 to 30. Players also didn’t have a Heads-Up-Display (HUD) and they were susceptible to friendly fire in Hardcore mode. Hardcore mode would re-appear on all future Call of Duty releases.

A bigger change was the killstreak rewards system that rewarded you for getting a certain number of kills in a row. You could gun down enemies in a helicopter, receive a care package, or even detonate a nuclear weapon to win the entire game if you got 30 kills in a row.

Classes: Assault, Spec Ops, Light Machine Gunner, Demolitions, Sniper, and Create a Class (make your own class)

Maps: Ambush, Backlot, Bloc, Bog, Countdown, Crash, Crossfire, District, Downpour, Overgrown, Pipeline, Shipment, Showdown, Strike, Vacant, Wet Work, Winter Crash.

Game Types: Cage Match, Domination, Free-for-All, Ground War, Headquarters, Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Old School, Sabotage, Search and Destroy, Team Deathmatch, Team Tactical.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (November 10, 2009)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac OS X

Encouraged by the success of the original Modern Warfare, Activision decided to officially branch off into a separate Modern Warfare line. Modern Warfare 2 continued the storyline of the original Modern Warfare and featured many of the same characters like Captain Price and Soap MacTavish.

Singleplayer

Modern Warfare 2 featured another memorable singleplayer campaign. It included many of the same themes as the original Modern Warfare, including using Russian Ultranationalists as the main villains.

In this storyline, Russia invades the United States after a terrorist name Makarov framed the United States for a deadly airport attack on civilians. EMPs go off over the White House, the Russians are running over US suburbia, and your job for the rest of the game is to track down Makarov.

Before tracking down Makarov, you need to retrieve his worst enemy, a guy named Prisoner #627 who is being held at a Russian gulag. That prisoner turns out to be Captain Price, who has appeared in basically every Call of Duty game at this point.

Memorable moments include a zodiac chase through narrow canyons in Afghanistan, the infamous and controversial “No Russian” mission, and throwing a knife between someone’s eye just when you thought all hope was lost.

MW2 also introduced a new single player mode called Special Ops where you could play through fast-paced missions similar to the game’s main storyline and achieve certain objectives (like beating the mission in a certain amount of time). You could play these missions by yourself or with one other player through co-op. There were a total of 23 Spec Ops missions.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer was very similar to the original Modern Warfare. One of the biggest changes had little to do with gameplay itself: the PC version of the game no longer featured dedicated servers. This made MW2 virtually identical to console versions of the game and made things like custom maps and modded servers more difficult.

Other minor changes included a new Equipment slot in your Create a Class menu. You could attach claymores, blast shields, C4, throwing knives, or Semtex in this slot.

Perks also had a new “pro” upgrade unlocked after you had killed a certain number of players using the basic perk. The pro version of each perk was slightly more powerful. Sleight of Hand Pro helped you reload more quickly, for example.

The ranking system worked in basically the same way, with players unlocking an additional 10 levels of Prestige after hitting level 70 (compared to level 55 in the original Modern Warfare).

Killstreaks returned and a new feature called deathstreaks was introduced. If you died a certain number of times in a row without getting a kill, then your deathstreak reward would be activated until you got at least one kill.

Maps: Afghan, Derail, Estate, Favela, Highrise, Invasion, Karachi, Quarry, Rundown, Rust, Scrapyard, Skidrow, Sub Base, Terminal, Underpass, Wasteland. Bonus Maps: Bailout, Crash, Overgrown, Salvage, Storm (Stimulus Map Pack); Carnival, Fuel, Strike, Trailer Park, Vacant (Resurgence Map Pack).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (November 8, 2011)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Mac OS X

Modern Warfare 3 was the first Call of Duty game released after the controversial departure of Jason West and Vince Zampella. West was the president of the company was Zampella was the CEO and co-founder.

Both were fired due to “braches of contract”. You can read the whole story here, but basically, the two didn’t like the direction where their franchise (the one they had spent years building) was headed.

Over half of the Infinity Ward employees resigned following the departure of West and Zampella. That included lead designers and programmers and a total of 46 employees. With the lack of manpower, the studio would be unable to release Modern Warfare 3 on time. Thus, the remaining members of Infinity Ward teamed up with a studio called Sledgehammer Games to create Modern Warfare 3.

Singleplayer

The singleplayer campaign for Modern Warfare 3 kicked off right where Modern Warfare 2 ended: you start as Soap MacTavish and you wake up in a safehouse surrounded by Captain John Price and Nikolai. That safehouse is soon surrounded by enemies, after which you’re forced to secure a safe route to an extraction point out of the country.

The remaining campaign is a blend of international warfare involving the usual mix of terrorist plots for world domination and the Special Forces heroes who need to stop those plots.

It starts with you defending Lower Manhattan against the Russian invasion. Before the end of the campaign, you’ve gone everywhere from Hamburg to Sierra Leone to Somalia to the London Metro.

Highlights include defending yourself against the entire Russian army while a diamond mine collapses around you in Siberia and waltzing through an Arabian hotel in Juggernaut armor in an effort to find Makarov before he escapes.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3 didn’t introduce any huge changes, but it did bring about several smaller changes.

Each Prestige now had 80 levels, for example, and there were new weapon proficiencies that let you customize your class and weapon even further.

New game types included Kill Confirmed and Team Defender. In Kill Confirmed, you need to collect enemy dogtags after each kill to gain points for your team. In Team Defender, one player must hold onto a flag for as long as possible while his team defends him.

Modern Warfare 3 also had more map packs than pretty much every Call of Duty game released to date combined.

Maps: Arkaden, Bakaara, Bootleg, Carbon, Dome, Downturn, Fallen, Hardhat, Interchange, Lockdown, Mission, Outpost, Resistance, Seatown, Underground, Village. Bonus Maps: Liberation, Piazza (Content Pack 1); Overwatch (Content Pack 2); Black Box (Content Pack 3); Foundation, Sanctuary (Content Pack 4); Lookout, Getaway, Oasis (Content Pack 5); Vortex, Intersection, U-Turn (Content Pack 6); Decommission, Off Shore (Content Pack 7); Erosion, Aground, Getaway, Lookout, Vortex, Intersection, U-Turn (Face Off Maps); Boardwalk, Gulch, Parish (Content Pack 9); Aground, Erosion, Terminal (Free Maps).

Game Types: Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Domination, Capture the Flag, Kill Confirmed, Team Defender, Headquarters, Free-for-All, Team Tactical, Ground War, Sabotage, Demolition, Drop Zone, Infected, All or Nothing, Money in the Denk, MW3Some, Juggernaut, Team Juggernaut, Gun Game, Infected, One in the Chamber, Drop Zone, Face Off.

Black Ops

Call of Duty: World At War (November 11, 2008)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS

Call of Duty: World at War was the fifth installment in the main Call of Duty series and is considered a prologue to the Black Ops series. It returned the series to the World War II theaters – including new locations like the Pacific where Call of Duty had never gone before.

World at War was developed by Treyarch. Treyarch would go on to develop all future Black Ops titles.

Perhaps the biggest and most important addition in World at War was the zombies mode. This was the first CoD game to feature zombies.

Singleplayer

The singleplayer portion of World at War features one campaign divided into two components: the American campaign and the Soviet campaign. The American campaign takes place on the Pacific islands of Makin, Peleliu, and Okinawa, while the Soviet campaign takes place mostly in Nazi Germany.

World at War’s Pacific theater combat typically took place on tropical islands where Japanese would snipe at you from palm trees or rush you in terrifying kamikaze charges.

The Russian campaign sees you push through the German countryside, including memorable T-34 tank missions before finally capturing the Reichstag and planting a Soviet Flag on top – just like you did in the original Call of Duty.

One of the major single player improvements in World at War was being able to play in Cooperative Campaign and Competitive Co-Op.

In Cooperative Campaign, you and a player fought alongside each other to accomplish the same objects. You could rescue the other player, but if you both died, you had to start the mission over.

In Competitive Co-Op, players had the same objectives and campaign, but they were also competing against each other for the highest score. You earned points by killing enemies and achieving objectives.

Multiplayer

World at War had a similar multiplayer system to the previous Call of Duty games – although the ranking system was slightly different. You could gain XP from co-op challenges and achieve extra create-a-class slots from Prestige (something you couldn’t do in the original Modern Warfare, which came out the year before World at War was released).

Maps: Airfield, Asylum, Castle, Cliffside, Courtyard, Dome, Downfall, Hangar, Makin, Outskirts, Roundhouse, Seelow, Upheaval, Nacht der Untoten. Bonus Maps: Knee Deep, Nightfire, Station, Verruckt (Map Pack 1); Banzai, Corrosion, Sub Pens, Shi No Numa (Map Pack 2); Battery, Breach, Revolution, Der Riese (Map Pack 3).

Zombie Mode

World at War introduced zombies to the Call of Duty universe. The game mode was called Nazi Zombies and it was only available after having completed the campaign.

The base game featured one zombie map called Nacht der Untoten (Night of the Undead in German). You had to defend a house against waves of zombies by buying new weapons, unlocking new areas, and boarding up windows. The more zombies you killed and the longer you successfully defended the house, the more points you got and the more areas you unlocked.

The three World at War map packs would introduce one new zombie map each, including Verruckt, Shi No Numa, and the popular Der Riese.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (November 9, 2010)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Mac OS X

Once again developed by Treyarch, Call of Duty: Black Ops is the seventh installment in Call of Duty and it takes players on a crazy journey that involves brainwashing, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and even Fidel Castro.

Singleplayer

Black Ops is set during the Cold War. It starts with you, Alex Mason, being interrogated by an unknown person about a mysterious set of numbers. Throughout the game, you participate in the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, a Red Army prisoner uprising, the Vietnam War, and an island prophetically known as Rebirth Island.

I’m not going to spoil the famous “twist” in this game because it’s worth playing through on your own. Throughout the singleplayer campaign, you play as Army Captain Alex Mason, CIA operative Jason Hudson, and the Red Army’s Viktor Reznov.

Memorable moments include meeting JFK and running through the colorful streets of Kowloon, Hong Kong trying to escape.

Multiplayer

Black Ops introduced several new multiplayer features and game modes.

First, it introduced the concept of CODPoints, which you could use to purchase weapons, equipment, and perks. You no longer had standard experience points. You could earn CODPoints through regular gameplay, leveling up, and completing contracts, however, so they basically worked like XP.

There was also the addition of the Playercard, which was like a story that told your progression through multiplayer. You could view in-depth stats like your K/D ratio or the number of times you’ve activated a certain killstreak. You could view other players’ killstreaks and show off your glories.

One final minor addition was the interactivity of maps. Certain maps had objects you could interact with or background noise and action occurring during gameplay (the train on WMD and the doors in Radiation were two major interactive items). This may seem like a standard addition now, but it hadn’t really been see in the CoD series to date.

Maps: Array, Crisis, Cracked, Firing Range, Grid, Hanoi, Havana, Jungle, Launch, Nuketown, Radiation, Summit, Villa, WMD, Kino der Toten, Five, Dead Ops Arcade. Bonus Maps: Berlin Wall, Discovery, Kowloon, Stadium, Ascension (First Strike Map Pack); Convoy, Hotel Stockpile, Zoo, Call of the Dead (Escalation Map Pack); Hangar 18, Drive-In, Silo, Hazard, Shangri-La (Annihilation Map Pack); Nacht der Untoten, Verruckt, Shi No Numa, Der Riese, Moon (Rezurrection Map Pack).

Game Types: Team Deathmatch, Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All, Ground War, Capture the Flag, Demolition, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Domination, Sabotage, Team Tactical, Nuketown, 24/7, Firing Range 24/7, Express, Pure, Classic, Team Tactics, Bombs, Flags, Flags and Bombs, Gun Game, Sticks and Stones, One in the Chamber, Sharpshooter, Prestige Team Deathmatch, Prestige Hardcore, and Prestige Pure.

Black Ops Zombies

After the success of zombies mode in World at War, Treyarch decided to include Zombies once again in Black Ops. Black Ops zombies worked a little differently: you could play it solo, split-screen, or online with up to four players.

Two zombie maps were included within the game as well as an additional seven maps that were part of map packs. There was also a Dead Ops Arcade that became popular.

Zombie Maps: Kino Der Toten, Five, Dead Ops Arcade, Ascension, Call of the Dead, Shangri-La, Moon.

You could also get the four maps from the original World at War zombie mode, including Nacht Der Untoten, Verruckt, Shi No Numa, and Der Riese by buying DLC or purchasing the deluxe editions of the game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (November 13, 2012)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U

Black Ops II was the first Treyarch-developed Call of Duty game to be set in the future. It was the ninth installment in the main Call of Duty franchise.

Black Ops II was one of the least linear Call of Duty games ever released. Players had far more freedom in missions, which opened up more replayability opportunities.

Singleplayer

The Black Ops II single player campaign involves two separate arcs. The first arc takes place in the 1980s with the second taking place in 2025.

In 2025, a US Special Forces unit is dispatched to the home of a dying Frank Woods, who they suspect possesses vital information about the whereabouts of a criminal named Raul Menendez. Woods eventually tells the operatives his life story, which involves events that took place in the 1980s.

Eventually, you locate Menendez and realize he’s in charge of a new terrorist plot to cripple the Chinese Stock Exchange. This campaign takes you everywhere from Civil War-era Angola to Myanmar to Yemen.

One of the interesting developments in Black Ops II was the addition of multiple endings. Depending on how you fulfilled various objectives over the course of the game, you will receive a different ending.

Multiplayer

The biggest (and only real notable) multiplayer change was the “Pick 10” system. In Create-A-Class, you had 10 points to spend across your character creation, including weapons, attachments, and perks, all of which cost a single point. You could distribute those 10 points however you liked.

There was also a new game type called Hardpoint, where players had to rush to the same place on the map and try to hold it for as long as possible before it changed to a new objective.

Aside from that, multiplayer was largely the same in Black Ops II. There were 55 levels and 10 Prestiges. You received an unlock token at every level. You could use these unlock tokens to unlock items, new create a class slots, or even reset your stats.

Maps: Aftermath, Cargo, Carrier, Drone, Express, Hijacked, Meltdown, Overflow, Plaza, Raid, Slums, Standoff, Turbine, Yemen, Green Run, Nuketown 2025, Nuketown Zombies. Bonus Maps: Hydro, Grind, Downhill, Mirage, Die Rise, Diner (Revolution Map Pack); Vertigo, Studio, Magma, Encore, Mob of the Dead (Uprising Map Pack); Cove, Rush, Uplink, Detour, Buried (Vengeance Map Pack); Pod, Takeoff, Frost, Dig, Origins (Apocalypse Map Pack).

Game Types: Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All, Domination, Demolition, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Headquarters, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, Gun Game, Sticks and Stones, One in the Chamber, Sharpshooters, Bootcamp, Objective, Chaos Moshpit, Nuketown 2025 24/7, Arms Race, One Flag CTF Nuketown Forever, Nukejacked, Capture the Flag.

Zombie Game Types: Survival, Grief, TranZit, Turned.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III (November 6, 2015)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Black Ops III will be released on November 6, 2015. It’s set in a future where all warfare is performed by covert operations behind enemy lines because air defense systems have cancelled each other out. We have a very detailed Black Ops 3 guide as well as our Zombies cheats, maps, and gameplay review.

It also introduces a new movement system to the Black Ops series, although it’s similar to the movement system that was seen in Advanced Warfare (wall-running, super-jumps, etc.)

Singleplayer

The singleplayer campaign is set 40 years after the end of Black Ops II. It’s more co-op based than any other Call of Duty game to-date You have four distinct characters experiencing the events of the story all at once, which means that it’s easy to jump into co-op four player play.

The story involves Elite Black Ops soldiers who are outfitted with supersoldier armor that allows them to perform superhuman tasks.

Multiplayer

Black Ops III’s key multiplayer improvements include being able to wall-run, power slide, and boost jump your way across the map. You can also swim and shoot underwater for the first time in CoD multiplayer.

The Pick 10 system from Black Ops II has returned, and you can use the 10 points to pick guns, lethals, tacticals, attachments, perks, and wildcards.

One of the biggest multiplayer changes is being able to play as one of nine specific Specialist characters. You’re no longer a generic soldier.

Specialists: Ruin, Seraph, Outrider, Reaper, Prophet, Nomad, Battery, Spectre, Firebreak.

Maps: Combine, Stronghold, Hunted, Evac, Shadows of Evil. Bonus Maps: NUK3TOWN, The Giant.

Game Types: Team Deathmatch, Domination, Demolition, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, Uplink, Safeguard, Arena.

Ghosts

Call of Duty: Ghosts (November 5, 2013)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U

Call of Duty: Ghosts is the tenth installment in the main Call of Duty series. The game was developed by Infinity Ward.

Ghosts was set in the same universe as the other Call of Duty games but featured a whole new cast of characters. The singleplayer campaign takes place in a war-torn USA. One of the biggest changes in Call of Duty Ghosts was your dog companion named Riley (seriously, that was one of the few major additions).

Singleplayer

In Singleplayer, you’re part of a team of Ghosts. Ghosts are Special Operations personnel that conduct covert missions behind enemy lines (kind of like every other Call of Duty game ever released).

In the Ghosts world, the Middle East was destroyed by a nuclear weapon, causing the South American oil producing nations to become global superpowers.

Most of the action takes place in and around South America, including some memorable sequences in the Andes Mountains and Chile. You even make it to Antarctica at one point.

Multiplayer

Ghosts’ key multiplayer improvements included character customization, dynamic maps, and moves like sliding and leaning around corners (leaning around corners was available in the first two Call of Duty games but disappeared over the years).

Ghosts maps were also larger than most other Call of Duty maps. They featured moving parts and changed throughout each match (like the bus in Chasm or the Halon Gas in Sovereign).

Maps: Chasm, Flooded, Freight, Octane, Overlord, Prison Break, Siege, Sovereign, Stonehaven, Stormfront, Strikezone, Tremor, Warhawk, Whiteout, Point of Contact, Free Fall. Bonus Maps: Fog, BayView, Containment, Ignition, Nightfall (Onslaught Map Pack); Behemoth, Ruins, Unearthed, Collision, Mayday (Devastation Map Pack); Pharaoh, Departed, Mutiny, Favela, Awakening (Invasion Map Pack); Dynasty, Goldrush, Showtime, Subzero, Exodus (Nemesis Map Pack).

Game Types: Team Deathmatch, Gun Game, Cranked, Blitz, Search and Rescue, Search and Destroy, Infected, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Free-for-All, Drop Zone, Team Tactical, Ground War, Clan Objectives, Reinforce, Grind, Safeguard, Hunted, Heavy Duty, Hunted Free-for-All, Squad Assault, Squad vs. Squad, Wargame, Extinction, Chaos Mode, Strikezone 24/7, Freight 24/7, Showtime 24/7, Warhawk 24/7.

Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (November 4, 2014)

Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the eleventh game in the core Call of Duty series and was the first for next-gen platforms. Advanced Warfare sent players to the year 2054 where private military contractors were enlisted to fight wars on behalf of governments.

Singleplayer

The singleplayer campaign starts with an invasion of South Korea by North Korea. After losing your arm in the North Korean invasion, you’re enlisted by Jonathan Irons (voiced and motion captured by Kevin Spacey) to fight on behalf of his private military company, Atlas.

You fight for Atlas forces all over the world. Without spoiling the campaign, I’ll just say that there are some memorable fights that take place everywhere from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to “New Baghdad”, Iraq to Darwin Glacier, Antarctica.

Multiplayer

Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer didn’t try to introduce too many new elements to the game. Instead, it refined some existing elements and combined elements from multiple series.

For example, Advanced Warfare introduced the Black Ops’ Pick-10 Create-A-Class system, but it refined it to be the Pick-13 system (killstreaks were considered part of the Create-A-Class menu, hence the extra three points).

Advanced Warfare also brought back Hardpoint and Capture the Flag modes from Black Ops II.

One final notable change was the ability to customize your character with individual pieces of clothing or switch between genders.

One of the biggest additions was the Exo Survival gameplay type, which was similar to Modern Warfare 3’s Survival Mode. One to four players survive waves of enemies that get tougher with every round that passes. The players can use exo-abilities throughout this map including various weapons.

Once you’ve beaten tiers 1, 2, and 3 of Exo Survival, you can unlock a tier 4 map called Riot. That map starts out as a normal match until the end of round 10, when a Manticore strike takes place. This strike knocks all players on the ground for about 10 seconds. After this, you’re free to move on to round 11.

Round 11 seems normal at first. You start with an Atlas 45 with extended mags and no ability to use your exo-abilities. Then, zombies start spawning around the map, including zombies in exo-skeletons. Yes, there’s a semi-hidden zombies mode in Advanced Warfare.

If you want to jump right into the zombie action, there’s also an Exo Zombies mode where four Atlas employees battle an onslaught of zombies.

Maps: Ascend, Bio Lab, Comeback, Defender, Detroit, Greenband, Horizon, Instinct, Recovery, Retreat, Riot, Solar, Terrance, Atlas Gorge. Bonus Maps: Core, Drift, Sideshow, Urban, Outbreak (Havoc Map Pack); Chop Chop, Climate, Perplex, Site 244, Infection (Ascendance Map Pack); Compound, Kremlin, Parliament, Skyrise, Carrier (Supremacy Map Pack); Fracture, Overload, Quarantine, Swarm, Descent (Reckoning Map Pack).

Game Types: Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Search and Rescue, Momentum, Uplink, Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, Domination, Free-For-All, Combat Readiness Program, Ground War, Mosh Pit, Ranked Play, Exo Survival, Exo Zombies, Infected, One Shot, Gun Game, Atlas Gorge, Comeback 24/7, Skyrise 24/7.

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