History Lesson: Call of Duty

Call of duty, like it or not, is a major part of the game industry, going out to sell over 55 million copies across all its game, and making over 3 billion dollars in sales. It continues to this day to sell better than most games, and is expected every November. The game has also had a very long history, filled with massive successes, and also major disappointments. Let’s go through each and every call of duty game, and get a summarized history lesson on the series.

Call of duty (Also known as Call of Duty: Classic)

Call of duty is the first game of the series created by a new developer Infinity Ward. The same people who made Medal of Honor created the game Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and who left their studio to create Infinity Ward. The game tried to capture the realistic and gritty battles in World War 2, and was one of the first war games to implement helpful allies, unlike previous Medal of Honor games. Call of duty featured 3 campaigns, American, British, and Soviet. It is also the only Call of Duty game that offered the option to change firing modes on weapons.

The game was well received, holding a 91% on meta critic. Many reviews commented on the excellent pacing that keeps the action intense. The game also went out to win many game of the year awards, also winning Infinity Ward “Best rookie studio”.  In 2004 an expansion pack was released for the game called Call of Duty: United Offensive. The expansion pack revamped the multiplayer aspect of the game, adding more maps, more weapons, a new ranking system, and vehicles. It was also marked the arrival of the game modes Domination and Capture the flag, game modes that remain in Call of Duty today.

Call of Duty 2

The game was released in 2005 on both the PC and the Xbox 360. The game was the first COD to introduce Regenerative Health, and the first one to release in the current generation of consoles.  The game was exceptionally popular, going out to sell over 2 million copies. The game was praised for its exceptional graphics for the time, and including one of the best recreations of D-Day in gaming.

he game managed 86% on meta critic, scoring lower than the first installment, with most reviewers calling it a step down on the multiplayer when compared to United Offensive. Many people praised the game for its excellent sound and visual design, calling it the best sounding and looking game on the 360 for the time.

Call of Duty 3

The first of the main series to not be made by Infinity ward. Made by Treyarch Call of Duty 3 signifies the move away from PC and the focus on consoles, the game was released on every major console, the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, and even the first Xbox. COD3 was never released on the PC. The game overall was very mixed, with the PS3 and the Wii versions having major issues, while the Xbox 360 version was up to par with older Call of Duty’s, however there never were any significant changes to the series, some calling it graphically weaker than Call of Duty 2. Despite all this however, the game still managed well over 5 million sales across all platforms. Oh, and don’t remind me of those horrible tank missions.

Call of duty 4: Modern Warfare

“A new level of immersion and intensity that we had never seen before.” –OXM. Returning to Infinity Ward, Call of Duty 4 marks the series entry into modern times, completely revolutionizing the series. The game featured vastly improved graphics compared to the last installment, and introduces game play elements that shook the gaming industry. Infinity Ward took advantage of not being bound by the history books by including fictional scenes such as a Nuke going off, or storming a plane to save hostages. Modern Warfare put players in situations that no game before it offered.

Modern Warfare also completely revolutionized the Multiplayer aspect, adding vastly improved weapon customization, perks, and new game modes. Many review websites compared the game to Halo 3 in terms of scope and depth in the multiplayer modes.  The game went out to score a 94% on Metacritic, the highest rated Call of Duty game to date. The game was later released on the Wii with a new name, Call of Duty: Reflex.

Call of Duty: World at War

The series went back to the developer Treyarch, and also returned to the World War 2 era. The game was the first COD to drop the number at the end of the name, instead choosing to have a sub name. The game attempted to capture the darker sides of war, and featured battles that games before it didn’t cover. The game was based on the same engine behind COD4, and most of the multiplayer remained the same. Many reviewers commented on this, calling it mostly a clone of the previous game with a WW2 setting. This vastly lowered the games review scores, with a 85% average on Metacritic.

The game also introduced the popular Zombie mode, putting 4 players against impossible and endless waves of Zombies. The mode was exceptionally popular, with them becoming the focus of the games map packs later down the line. This following led to widespread demand for a Zombie mode in the next Call of Duty game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2 marks a huge milestone in the Call of duty series, going out to brake sales records, being called the most controversial Call of Duty ever, and receiving massive amount of hate post release. The game had the largest launch ever in gaming, and went to become the bestselling game in the series. The game was praised for its vastly improved graphics, story mode, and multiplayer. The story mode featured an optional level called “No Russian” that involved killing civilians in an airport. This was very controversial, and many activist groups protested against it, however this controversy may have further boosted sales.

The game got a lot of hate, mostly for technical issues in the multiplayer. MW2 was filled with bugs, glitches, and imbalanced weapons. The multiplayer also introduced a 25 kill streak that ended the game, encouraging campers and cheaters. It also was plagued with many problems such as players stats being reset by simply joining a game, or players instantly hitting max rank. These issues started a lot of hate for the series, with many people calling the game rushed.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Black Ops lived off the success of Modern Warfare 2, though was still criticized by many for being glitchy. The game went back in time and focused on various aspects of the Vietnam War and Cold War era. It was the first Call of Duty to feature a main character who talks, and the first COD to have a deep character based backstory. Zombies made the return as well, this time with 2 different maps. The game was very successful, however the game still faces many problems the previous Modern Warfare 2 featured, such as encouraging camping, and glitches.


Call of Duty has had a long life, and it will continue as long as it keep selling. While some have been better than others, it is without a doubt a huge influence on gaming, starting a massive popularity for the war based FPS genre, spawning many games to compete against it. Love it or hate it, COD is here to stay.

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