It's been a couple weeks since the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and it is already the biggest selling digital launch in Activision's history. Despite having released a new game nearly every single year, Call of Duty fans continue to buy each new installment, raking in tons of money for the publisher. Even back in its humble World War II days on the PC, the series was able to stand apart and ultimately outlast most of its competition.
It's no wonder then that there have been so many developers looking to cash in on the trends Call of Duty popularized. While World War II games have existed since the days of the Wolfenstein series on MS-DOS, Call of Duty really popularized the setting for first-person shooters, bringing the genre to consoles and even handheld systems.
Call of Duty was also the first series to take the bold step into current conflicts with Modern Warfare, and soon hundreds of imitators started making modern military shooters, including former World War II competitors Battlefield and Medal of Honor.
These Call of Duty clones vary in terms of quality. There are, however, those that are so notably terrible, they've become infamous for being some of the worst first person shooters ever made. On the other end of the spectrum, we'll also be looking at those that are not only great, but may actually do a better job than the standard Call of Duty has set forth.
So lock and load and find some cover, here are 15 Games That Ripped Off Call Of Duty (And 15 That Do It Better).
29 Bad: Call Of Sniper Shooter For Contract Duty On Crime
You can't talk about rip off games without bringing up the mobile app market, so let's get that out of the way right now. There are plenty of Call of Duty rip-offs on the App Store, but one of the most ridiculous is Call of Sniper shooter for Contract Duty on Crime.
You play as a cop who either pursues criminals by car (ripped from either GTA or Need for Speed) or snipe them from a distance. You only get a few seconds to find and shoot them, guaranteeing you'll always fail the mission the first few times.
28 Better: Duty Calls
While some may not consider this a real game, Duty Calls is the funniest parody of the Call of Duty franchise, as well as other military shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company. In just five minutes this parody pokes fun at all the clichés, including the "horrors of war" and the monotony of shooting the same soldiers over and over again.
Though this game was made by People Can Fly to advertise Bulletstorm (a game that no one would ever call a CoD rip off), this short parody seems to be more well-known than that forgotten shooter.
27 Bad: UberSoldier
Not many World War II games have you playing as the bad guys, let alone a supernaturally powerful one, so UberSoldier drew quite a bit of attention in 2006. This game from Russia follows Karl Stolz, a resurrected soldier given supernatural powers by the radicals who is rescued by and helps the resistance.
That almost sounds like fun, but the poorly optimized engine made the game run badly on even the recommended specs. And once you actually get it running, the repetitive action and unfair accuracy of enemies makes you want to uninstall it immediately. This one's better left forgotten.
26 Better: Day Of Infamy
Set during the events of World War II in the European Theater, Day of Infamy was originally a multiplayer mod for New World Interactive's Insurgency.
While not quite as great as the game it was based on, the change to a World War II setting made for an interesting game.
Day of Infamy was well-liked by critics for its limited HUD creating a sense of realism. It also featured balanced gameplay and a fairly low price at launch, and was a much better game than Call of Duty: WWII which released later that same year.
25 Bad: Mortyr II
While the first Mortyr felt more like a rip-off of Doom and Quake, Mortyr II was easily trying to imitate the Call of Duty games. This sequel drops the time travel gimmick of its predecessor and focuses solely on its WW2 setting and even adds some helpful mechanics that the first game was sorely lacking.
Unfortunately, all that did was change this game from being "hilariously awful" to "simply mediocre." This one still has plenty of problems, though, like soldiers running in silent slow motion and artillery shells that instantly eliminate you with no warning.
24 Better: Day Of Defeat: Source
Originally a remake of an old Half-Life mod, Day of Defeat: Source has since surpassed that original game. The gameplay is classic Call of Duty, with players being split up into either the U.S. Army or Wehrmacht teams.
Critics praised the game not only for its atmosphere but for the graphics and audio work, which were among the best at the time. And though there may have been a lack of content at the time of its release, further updates have added more game modes and levels to this stellar online shooter.
23 Bad: Enemy Front
When Enemy Front was released in 2014 (three years after it was first announced), developer and publisher CI Games said that it would include real historical events and feature stunning visuals. They even went so far as to call it "...the first truly modern WW2 FPS." Unfortunately, all that hype built up to disappointment when the final product was released.
In a way, CI Games was right about this game breaking out of the standard mold set by Call of Duty. Most other military shooters don't have the poor AI and flawed stealth sections that Enemy Front has.
22 Better: Battlefield 3
Once the Battlefield series made the turn to modern warfare, they released a ton of titles. Though there are too many to keep track of, Battlefield 3 is considered one of the best. The campaign clearly takes many cues from Modern Warfare, however, the classic Battlefield inclusion of operating tanks does put it a step above that game.
Though the story isn't great and there are the occasional glitches, the game had great graphics and a world-class multiplayer suite.
If you were looking for a great online military shooter in 2011, then Battlefield 3 was unmatched.
21 Bad: Navy SEALs
Hoping to ride on the coattails of Modern Warfare's success, many developers started making more modern military shooters. One budget title to attempt this was Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction, which boasted "9 explosive levels around the world" and "an arsenal of 8 high powered weapons and accessories" on its box.
What they should've said was that this game had possibly the dumbest AI, as enemies tend to just stand around, waiting for you to pick them off. It also features some truly awful aiming, and the "realism" of the game is nothing but a joke.
20 Better: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
The realism in military shooters is usually hit or miss, so when British game developer Codemasters advertised Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising as a realistic modern infantry combat simulation, some gamers were intrigued.
Unfortunately, not many people actually played this game, which is a shame because the campaign was great. You were in charge of a squad with three other soldiers, which could either be controlled by AI or your friends in multiplayer. The inclusion of realistic weapon physics and over 50 different vehicles make this one of the better military simulators.
19 Bad: WWII: Soldier
PC budget titles are expected to be bad, but not even consoles were safe from them. In 2009, budget publisher Midas Interactive Entertainment released the unimaginatively titled WWII: Soldier on the PS2 as a cheaper alternative to Call of Duty and Medal of Honor.
Forget the awful graphics and poor sound quality, the gameplay is what makes this one such a mess. The first half of the game consists of poorly designed stealth missions, and the rest of the missions are hampered by horrible aiming and hilariously bad AI. And with a measly 7 missions on offer, gamers were better off saving up for CoD.
18 Better: Sniper Elite 4
There are plenty of games that let you step into the shoes of a military sniper, but none does it more gleefully than Sniper Elite 4. This stealthy tactical shooter has players taking out enemies from a distance with a sniper rifle, but what really makes this game stand out is the X-Ray elimination cam system.
The camera follows the bullet from the sniper rifle to the target, showing as it tears through body parts and more in glorious detail. Needless to say, this game sold very well.
17 Bad: World War II Combat: Iwo Jima
Here we have another budget title, and this time it's World War II Combat: Iwo Jima developed by Direct Action Games.
The influence from Call of Duty is clear in this one, which would be fine if it was actually good.
Not only does it have some ugly graphics, but the campaign is painfully difficult. You get no tactical information going into each mission, forcing players to figure things out by dying and restarting over and over again. And with only one checkpoint per mission and no health pickups anywhere, you will be perishing. A lot.
16 Better: SOCOM II
Some video games may have military consultants working on them, but SOCOM II was made in collaboration with the Naval Special Warfare Command. Normally, that would make this a cheap advergame to get teens to join the military, but developer Zipper Interactive was able to make this a great third-person tactical shooter.
While Xbox gamers had Halo, SOCOM II was the online shooter for PS2 owners. Part of what made the online multiplayer so great was its huge list of maps, including 12 new maps and 10 classic maps from the first SOCOM. That's more variety than most modern shooters.
15 Bad: Medal Of Honor: Warfighter
Though the Medal of Honor series has had some missteps, it is generally one of the best in the military shooter genre. That's why the fourteenth installment, Warfighter, was such a heartbreaking disappointment for fans.
Perhaps expectations were too high after the great 2010 series reboot, but the confusing story, stupid enemy A.I. and brief length of the game were too much for even diehard fans to overlook. Following the negative feedback, EA ceased all future development for the Medal of Honor series, making this the final installment in the once legendary series.
14 Better: Insurgency
A standalone sequel to another Source engine mod, Insurgency is a multiplayer shooter developed by New World Interactive. The game has a total on nine online game modes (including Ambush and Elimination) and five co-op game modes, so this game has no shortage when it comes to variety.
While the game does have a few small problems, the overall experience makes it worth playing. Though the Middle Eastern setting had become a bit stale by 2014, Insurgency is one of those rare first-person shooters with enough competent execution and old-school gameplay to stand out from the other multiplayer shooters.
13 Bad: Sniper: Ghost Warrior
According to developer City Interactive, they made Sniper: Ghost Warrior due to shows on the History and Military Channel raising public interest in military snipers. It was definitely not due to the popularity and success of the Call of Duty series. Definitely not that.
Although this game does a pretty good job with the sniping mechanics, there are quite a few issues with character models, framerate and various game-breaking bugs that bog down the whole game. The two sequels that follow don't get much better, so it's best to skip on this series altogether.
12 Better: Rising Storm
Released as a stand-alone expansion pack to Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rising Storm focuses on the Pacific campaign of World War II. It has all the core gameplay mechanics of the original game, such as the cover system and bullet drop, and brings in a whole new arsenal of weapons.
Critics and gamers alike loved this game.
Praise was given to the WWII setting, and its use of scale and fidelity were greater than most other games. This game was so good that a sequel, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, was released in 2017.
11 Bad: The History Channel: Battle For The Pacific
When it comes to WWII shooters, they tend to sacrifice historical accuracy in favor of convenient gameplay. That's why the History Channel decided to teach some teens how it really happened with their game Battle for the Pacific, featuring some of the most famous battles of the Pacific Theater.
Unfortunately, the History Channel was so focused on historical accuracy, they forgot to make a good game. There is no story and the gameplay is far too repetitive, which is saying something because it's actually pretty short. Honestly, they should've just made another documentary.
10 Better: Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30
Premiering well after Call of Duty and most other franchises made their marks, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 had a greater focus on tactics than most of the other World War II shooters of the time.
The game was a huge success when it was released, with some critics even calling it a near-perfect game. The squad management gave what would've been another stale WWII shooter the edge it needed. The game was so great, in fact, that the History Channel used it to recreate scenarios in a 2005 special, also titled Brothers in Arms.
9 Bad: Hour Of Victory
Being the first World War II game to use the Unreal Engine 3, gamers were curious as to what else Hour of Victory would bring to the stagnant WWII setting. Unfortunately, it's clear that this game should've spent more time in development, as the final product feels incomplete. Not only did Medal of Honor: European Assault do a better job with the story, but the hilarious ragdoll physics ruin the serious atmosphere.
The game is plagued by boring linear action, broken scripting, and awful special effects.
It's very telling that the online multiplayer was virtually nonexistent.
8 Better: ARMA 2
A big criticism people have against the Call of Duty series is its overly linear single-player campaigns. That's why Bohemia Interactive decided to go the other direction by making the open world ARMA games, with ARMA 2 being probably the best one in the series. The idea seems to have struck a chord with gamers, as it's sold 2.3 million copies.
And when it comes to military simulators, none is more hardcore than ARMA 2. Players can perish very easily, and you need to focus just as much on resource management as shooting opponents if you want to survive.
7 Bad: Brothers In Arms: Double Time
When the compilation game Brothers in Arms: Double Time was announced for the Nintendo Wii, it seemed like a no-brainer. Get two great WWII shooters (Road to Hill 30 and Earned in Blood) for the price of one! Unfortunately, shooters don't have a good track record when being ported to the Wii, and this was no exception.
Even though two games give you a lot of gameplay, the motion controls make it very frustrating.
Instead of adding anything new, the lack of multiplayer makes Double Time feel like a serious step backward. You'd be better off buying the original titles.
6 Better: Red Orchestra 2: Heroes Of Stalingrad
Proving that World War II games aren't dead, Tripwire Interactive released the tactical shooter Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad in 2011. As the name implies, the game focuses heavily on the Battle of Stalingrad, and includes new features such as a first-person cover system with blind firing and first-person collision detection.
Unique to most WWII games, you could play as either side, with battles playing out differently depending on which side you were on. Though this game also boasted realistic bullet physics, it didn't get quite as much love as it deserved.
5 Better: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
While most of these titles don't see near as much success as the Call of Duty series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has continued to be a serious competitor to that franchise. Though this fourth title in the Counter-Strike series came out six years ago, it is still as popular as ever.
Not only has it stayed steadily at the top of the Steam charts for years and become one of the biggest eSports of all time, but the ability for members to host their own servers with custom maps and game modes elevates this beyond Call of Duty's relatively confined gameplay.
4 Bad: 007 Legends
Activision decided to celebrate James Bond's fiftieth anniversary in 2012 by releasing 007 Legends, which featured a mission inspired by a film from each of the six actors' eras, including the then brand new Skyfall. As cool as it was to run 'n' gun through set pieces from Goldfinger to Die Another Day, it would've been better if the gameplay was actually good.
Unfortunately, this game feels more like a cheap Call of Duty rip off than a GoldenEye sequel.
The clunky gameplay and dumb A.I. are bad, but having Daniel Craig voice all the former Bonds is just insulting to fans.
3 Better: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
As good as Battlefield 3 is, fans agree that the height of the franchise was Bad Company 2. Like the Call of Duty series at the time, this game was set firmly in the modern warfare genre. However, the focus on a squad and the addition of destructible environments made it far more memorable than its competition.
Everything from the class system to the wider selection of vehicles in multiplayer make this the best game in the Battlefield series. However, the game's focus on teamwork made it less popular with gamers at the time, making this a fairly overlooked shooter.
2 Bad: Rogue Warrior
It's hard to believe Bethesda could have been responsible for such a terrible game, but in 2009 they released Rogue Warrior, possibly the worst first-person shooter of all time. Very loosely based on the life of U.S. Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko, this game has players disrupting ballistic missile launchers in North Korea.
The inclusion of Mickey Rourke as the voice of Marcinko would be cool if he wasn't constantly swearing like a thirteen-year-old tryhard. That, and the forgettable story, multiple glitches, and boring gameplay make this obviously rushed game an ordeal no gamer should have to go through.
1 Better: Spec Ops: The Line
While Duty Calls was a hilarious parody of Call of Duty, Spec Ops: The Line is a vicious deconstruction of it. Players control Captain Martin Walker who is sent to a ruined Dubai with a Delta Force team on a recon mission. As the game progresses, though, Martin begins having disturbing hallucinations.
While every other entry on this list glorifies war, this game instead forces you to come face to face with the horrors of armed conflict.
Spec Ops: The Line reminds everyone that war shouldn't be made a game out of, and that's what makes it so great.
Any other Call of Duty rip-offs we missed? Let us know in the comments.