With Call of Duty: Ghosts coming in under a week, it makes us think, “hmm, there sure are a lot of maps in the Call of Duty franchise now.” Though the single-player campaigns in the Call of Duty franchise are well-known for their Michael Bay level of production value, everyone knows why everyone really plays Call of Duty – to kill your friends while slinging racial slurs at all those that happen to be better than you. Wait – am I doing it wrong? Anyhow, as long as we’re all in the competitive spirit, we might as well attribute arbitrary numbers in a list fashion in tribute to the ten best multiplayer maps the series has to offer. Here goes!
10. Summit (Call of Duty: Black Ops)
While many of the maps on this list flowed in a relatively even cadence, the maps in Treyarch’s Black Ops seemed to be most memorable when they had hot spots. This sentiment is truer than ever on Summit, where a server room occupying the center of the map and a remote antennae array at one end serve as hold spots for campers and hectic back-and-forth, Pickett’s Charge engagements for the offense, with power shifting regularly. What it created was a team-intensive environments, where lone wolves attempting to take these key spots on their own often ended up respawning.
9. Firing Range (Call of Duty: Black Ops)
It’s ironic that the most firing-rangey part of the map seemed to never see any action, but the kill zones were all wrapped around some incredibly played architecture. Wide open yards linking the kill houses together were a rush to dash across as you never knew who was watching out of the windows. Just like the targets popping up in the windows, you couldn’t help but feel like this map was just a well-lit haunted house, where all the paintings watch you as you walk by. Needless to say, there were plenty of Caspers floating around on a regular basis; thanks to the very even flow (see what I did there?).
8. Skidrow (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)
Damn Skidrow is great. When a map opens up, you run the risk of matches turning into a bunch of idiots wandering around until the reticules turn red. Skidrow deftly dodges this pitfall by keeping the size small, and intertwining a few parking lots and squares with windows and twisting mazes of government housing. I could go from needing a shotgun to an M14 in a matter of seconds, and this is what makes the map great. Matches can be running at five different paces all at once in a beautiful symphony of violence.
7. Estate (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)
What is so great about this map is the how organic the whole thing feels. It flows smoothly, yet nothing feels like nothing but a stage to shoot things on. The estate is perched on a hilltop, the hillside dotted with small buildings and plenty of cover. I feel like Tom Hanks fighting his way up the beach in Saving Private Ryan. Just as I get to the top, almost on the front porch of the estate, cover disappears and all of the sudden, you’re switching from offense to defense, all while trying to be offensive! Don’t worry, my brain hurts too thinking about that dichotomy.
6. Castle (Call of Duty: World at War)
Unlike the other maps listed thus far, this one was a pretty distinct focus: close quarters combat. Though there are some quasi-open courtyards and two notable sniping perches, battles ebb and flow from one area to the next, making sniping pretty difficult. Being the sucker for eastern architecture that I am, this map is more than just a few good kill houses strung together by labyrinthine staircases, it’s pretty to look at – even all bloodstained and such.
5. Bog (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
This map felt like a true war zone. A night-time scene in an open bog littered with scrapped vehicles, dotted with fires, it served to best simulate what the single-player campaign portrayed – a scary, war-torn environment. What made it even more incredible was that you could use night vision goggles. If you weren’t being picked off from one of the store fronts on the side lines, you were being stalked through the dark Silence of the Lambs style by a player poised to strike with a knife.
4. Pipeline (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
*Shiver* this map always gave me the spooks. The decrepit buildings, the grey skies, and shadowy train cars all just reeked of death. Oh, and it was designed pretty damn well, too. Sporting verticality in the three multi-tiered buildings and length with the pipeline running down the center of the map and opening into a grassy perch, there was no class discrimination as anyone with a thingy that shot fast, hot thingies could have a blast – literally and figuratively speaking, of course. Ahem.
3. Overgrown (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)
What’s there to say about Overgrown besides I love it more than my mother? Okay that’s not true. Overgrown doesn’t make meatloaf. Overgrown could never make meatloaf that good. On topic – snipers, shotgunners, assault riflers, and SMG slingers all came together in harmony in this flowing, wide-open-and-all-of-the-sudden-claustrophobic killing field something of an incredibly violent soap opera. Melodrama ensued many times when I was shot dead by the gullied-up sniper waiting behind the hay bales while running from the shotgun-wielding maniac in the barn.
2. Carentan (Call of Duty, Call of Duty: United Offensive, Call of Duty 2)
This map sticks out because it simply has something for everyone. For those that revel in bearing witness to the horror on display in the eyes of their shotgun’s victims, there is a whole village of them. For those that like to see the whites of eyes from the comfort of a scope, there are the outlying hills. For the newbs who sucked and couldn’t shoot the barn if they were standing in it, a mounted machine gun beckons for them to wait until right before I kill that one guy who’s been tailing me to hop on that thing and blast me. Jerks.
1. Brecourt (Call of Duty, Call of Duty: United Offensive, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)
Originally designed for the first Call of Duty based off the “Brecourt Manor Assault” mission, which, interestingly, was based off an actual military engagement, this map set the stage for the tensest of encounters. The various bombed-out buildings lying on the outskirts of the map were perfect set ups for snipers to pick off the close quarters combatants emerging from the bunkers running beneath the hedge line that split the map in two. Nostalgia recalls many moments of breath holding whilst rounding the hedges, fully expecting to be picked off.