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Best Call of Duty Campaigns in History

Mike Oliver



Call of Duty

Call of Duty is one of Activision’s most famous military video games. The game was initially developed in 2003, with several versions released over the years. The latest edition, Modern Warfare III, was released in November 2023. Call of Duty has fans across the globe and is also available for playing on a number of handheld devices. 

A campaign is the story offered by every version of the game individually. Every Call of Duty version will have a unique campaign where the story is either told from a single person’s perspective or a series of characters. It can otherwise be called’ story mode.’ Apart from a few releases, almost all the versions of Call of Duty had a unique campaign. Here is a list of the best campaigns in the twenty-year history of Call of Duty.

  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The game was released in 2007. What makes Modern Warfare iconic is that it reconfigured the genre of combat gaming. Many regard it as one of the greatest first-person shooter games ever. Technically, the game offers almost perfect sound and visual effects. Rich detailing of the environment and excellent animations and effects made the game more appealing to fans across the world. 

The story of Call of Duty 4 begins when Sergeant John MacTavish joins the team of Captain John Price. The year is 2011, based in the Middle and Russia, where a civil war is brewing between the ultranationalists and the government. The entire storyline of Modern Warfare is intense and immersive for the players. Most fans deem Modern Warfare the significant reason for the franchise’s success. Because of its success, new reboots were produced in 2016 and 2019. The campaign length in Modern Warfare is 6 hours.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops

The game is based in Vietnam and begins with Alex Mason, a soldier, being interrogated for information. The game takes you through Alex’s memories and follows a non-linear narration. Black Ops was released in 2010 as a sub-franchise to the main Call of Duty series of games. It offered a more realistic portrayal of the combats. This became a huge success partly due to the compelling story that it had presented through its campaign. The soundtrack is another crucial element that garnered the franchise its immense popularity. 

Many companies have produced around a dozen Black Ops-related titles. Much like Modern Warfare, Black Ops was considered a crucial part of the widespread success of Call of Duty games. Some even rate it as the best campaign ever under the Call of Duty label. The campaign length is around 7 hours.

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2 was developed by gaming developer Infinity Ward in 2009. They previously developed Medal of Honour, another successful franchise that Call of Duty eventually replaced. The continuation of the story kicked off the Modern Warfare campaign in 2007. The campaign moves through Task Force 141. They attempt to capture the leader of an ultranationalist, Vladimir Makarov. A United States Army Ranger unit defends Washington from Russian troops in another location.  

The game had its share of controversy as well. Critics deemed the game as violent and problematic. One particular mission in the campaign, ‘No Russian,’ was found to be controversial by many. It allows the player to join the Russian forces and run chaos at other people. But it still has a stellar fan following, as it had a memorable campaign. The storyline is considered quite thrilling. The character of Ghost was introduced in Modern Warfare 2. The campaign length is around 6 hours.

  • Call of Duty

The original Call of Duty, developed by Infinity Ward, still holds a great position among the franchise. Released in 2003, Call of Duty focused on World War II as its basic setting. In terms of campaigns and missions, Call of Duty was initially similar to another game, Medal of Honour. However, the Call of Duty campaign can also be played from the perspectives of Russian and British soldiers. 

One of the iconic features of Call of Duty is the ‘shellshock.’ It is not exactly the psychological condition that the game presents. When characters in the game experience an explosion nearby, their actions suddenly become slower, and their vision gets blurred for a while. This provides a new and more realistic experience for the campaign. The campaign length of the original Call of Duty is close to seven hours. 

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

Modern Warfare (2007) got a reboot in 2019. In video games, it is particularly tough for a franchise to appeal to the fans with a reboot. But Modern Warfare has done the impossible. The reboot managed to reinvent the entire franchise in a new light. It re-introduced old characters like Gaz and Nikolai in a modern way. Call of Duty: Warzone was released months later, with Modern Warfare as a foundation. 

The campaign is fictionally set in Urzikstan, where a CIA officer and SAS agents join hands to fight Russian forces and another terrorist group. The campaign time of Modern Warfare is about 6 hours. 

  • Call of Duty: World at War

The campaign for World at War allows players to focus on both the Eastern and Western fronts of the War. Rooted in the World War II era, the campaign will enable players to control both American and Russian characters in the game. This game, too, is deemed violent by many, as it has more gore animation than most other Call of Duty campaigns. The game was released in 2008. Many identified the campaign as a prequel to the Black Ops campaign. 

The campaign is more open-ended than most other Call of Duty campaigns. World at War allows players to choose various options, and it lasts around seven and a half hours. 

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Released in 2015, Black Ops III offers the longest campaign in Call of Duty history, close to nine hours. Developed by Treyarch, the game is set in 2065, almost forty years after the setting of Black Ops II. A group of Black Ops soldiers carry forward the campaign, navigating a crisis in the midst of climate change. Ultramodern weaponry is the highlight feature of the campaign. Characters are enhanced in this Call of Duty campaign with cyber-tech machinery.

Black Ops III became a considerable success, paving the way for more robust campaigns for the franchise in the future.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Released in 2020, Black Ops Cold War featured one of the best campaigns in Call of Duty’s history. The campaign is set in the 1980s between the USA and the Soviet Union. A Soviet spy, Perseus, is the target of the operations in this campaign; he attempts to advance the Soviet Union in the Cold War. 

The Black Ops Cold War campaign offered the option of taking on missions at the player’s convenience. This was relatively rare in the Call of Duty franchise, as most campaigns followed a linear narration. Supported by splendid graphics and comfortable gameplay, the game was welcomed by gamers for the solid campaign the game offered. Black Ops Cold War’s campaign length is close to five and a half hours, making it among the shortest campaigns. 

  • Call of Duty: WWII

Historical accuracy is the highlight feature of Call of Duty: WWII. Since its inception in 2003, Call of Duty has rarely returned to the original storyline. WWII reverts back to the accurate timeline of World War II. The campaign also featured original units, events, battles, and adventures. It was praised well for the originality it maintained throughout the campaign. 

The WWII campaign is set mainly in the Battle of Normandy. Ronald “Red” Daniels, an officer in the 1st Infantry Division, is the main character. The campaign lasts close to seven hours. 

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Modern Warfare takes forward the campaign trail of its predecessor, Modern Warfare (2019). Set in 2022, the campaign moves through a fictional Mexican city, Las Almas, the U.S.-Mexico border, Chicago, Amsterdam, Urzikstan, etc., with Task Force 141 as the leading team. The campaign is attempted to be placed in the most realistic settings. 

The campaign brings together iconic characters within the franchise, including John Price, Kyle Garrick (Gaz), Simon Riley (Ghost), and John MacTavish (Soap). Modern Warfare II boasts splendid graphics and gameplay compared to other campaigns. Stunning visuals, an awesome soundtrack, superb ca-chase sequences, and the lie make the campaign one of the best Call of Duty campaigns ever. The campaign has a run time of around seven hours.