The Call of Duty series has had hundreds of maps over its 16 mainline games. Most fans have their own picks for what the best ones are, but some maps have become famous for a variety of reason over the years. Here are our picks for most iconic Call of Duty maps of all time.
Shipment (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Both the smallest and most chaotic map in the Call of Duty series, Shipment is the antithesis of the modern games’ action. There were no long range shootouts and no tactical flanking manoeuvres, with death being the only real certainty.
With it being essentially the shape of a square with a cross through it, made up of four shipping containers in the centre and a surrounding area to run around, there was only one or two places to go and one or two places to be safe in.
As soon as you spawned, trying to get kills was limited to chucking grenades to the other side of the map or running around aimlessly with your MP5 or Pump Shotgun. Then, with airstrikes and attack helicopters battering the map every couple of minutes, you needed to do your best to not die too often.
Playing Shipment in CoD 4 is an experience Call of Duty has never quite replicated, not that it needed to, and it’s still a popular as ever. Just recently, a 24-hour Shipment only playlist was added to 2019’s Modern Warfare, which is probably exhausting to play, but it doesn’t make it any less of an iconic Call of Duty map.
Crash (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
For many, Crash is a map that comes to mind when talking about the best Call of Duty maps. Spawn points were in great places, there were houses to hide in, a central battle ground that action funnelled into, and even a few sniping avenues.
There were elevated areas, open areas, enclosed areas for close combat, and the crashed helicopter is one of the most famous images in the series’ history.
The fact that it’s come back to other Call of Duty games is telling too. There was even a winter themed version of it in the Modern Warfare Remaster, complete with the jingling bells of Santa flying overhead.
Terminal (Modern Warfare 2)
Terminal was one of the fan favorite games in what is probably the most popular Call of Duty game. First of all, it was influenced by the infamous ‘No Russian’ scene from the campaign, which shocked many players and was criticised by some.
On top of that, simply engaging in firefights in the shops and inside a plane was great fun. It was one of the most varied maps in Modern Warfare 2 and it didn’t rely on verticality like modern maps do, ensuring that camping wasn’t too much of a problem, and it’s cemented as one of the most iconic Call of Duty maps.
Terminal has even influenced Warzone’s map, with the airport section of Verdansk being heavily influenced by the old-school multiplayer battleground.
Nuketown (Black Ops)
Appearing in every Black Ops game so far, Nuketown is Call of Duty’s other famous attempt at a smaller map. It’s a model town where nukes were tested and all of the action was funneled into the road in the middle, by the partly open bus.
The two houses look onto the middle area too, meaning you’re in a lot of danger if you venture into the street.
You might be tired of playing it at this point, with it appearing in the Black Ops series in a few different forms, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the most conic Call of Duty maps.
Firing Range (Black Ops)
Firing Range is the first Black Ops’ most iconic map and that’s mostly due to how well designed it is.
Unlike on many modern CoD maps, almost any tactic works. The central buildings and rear path are close quarters focused while open areas and the cardboard cutout filled range work for both assault rifles and snipers.
There are also plenty of paths that allow you to flank, minimising he effectiveness of camping and removing a lot of the potentially frustrating aspects.
Like many other fan favorites, Firing Range has also returned for Black Ops 3 and 4.
Overgrown (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Overgrown was a different flavor of map for the original Modern Warfare. It was much bigger and more open than any of the others and promoted sniping more than any modern map does.
The central house, which overlooks the river bed that runs the length of the map was often the hub of the action and the design of it has even made its way into other Call of Duty games. If you take your time as you explore Verdansk in Warzone, you’ll notice that there are more than five houses with exactly the same layout.
Overgrown is open in places, but there’s enough cover in the right places for sniper duals to become common. There are the houses/broken walls by the bridges at the two ends of the river, the barn, and the house roof, all of which became perfect places to pick people off from.
I wish map design like Overgrown’s would make their return in modern games in the series.
Rust (Modern Warfare 2)
Rust might be the most iconic map in Call of Duty history. It’s not a personal favorite of mine, but you can’t look past a map that actually has it’s own catch phrase.
When settling rivalries around the release of Modern Warfare 2, Rust was where you went. The outskirts of the map were pretty generic, with various kinds of cover to get behind, but the central structure made the action more varied.
There isn’t much space up there, and even less cover, with just the journey up being dangerous. If you can get the high ground and the lay of the land, you can pick enemies off easily.
The map has even come back to the new Modern Warfare, so “1v1 me on Rust” is more relevant than ever.
Resistance (Modern Warfare 3)
Modern Warfare 3 isn’t a Call of Duty game famed for its maps, much like the most recent entries. However, Resistance was a standout.
Taking place in Paris, in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, it’s very well designed. It’s pretty enclosed, promoting close combat action, but it doesn’t fall into the trap that other city based maps do, in that it’s not too complex.
There’s aren’t too many avenues to go down, camping spots are at a minimum, and the action usually funnels to the same few places, making it a fun map to race around, and helping it cement itself as one of the most iconic Call of Duty maps.
Favela (Modern Warfare 2)
You’d think that Favela’s tight walkways, numerous hidden windows, and plentiful corners would make for a map that’s frustrating to play on, but that was somehow not the case.
That could be due to the fact that Favela has more open areas on all four sides of the map, or that the central favela area was quite small, but it made for really intense fights either way.
It also seemed to be a map that was in the rotation more than any other, so you quickly learnt all the best hiding spaces and where to attack from. The blue skies and colorful buildings also made it stand out from the dark, war-torn maps that Call of Duty usually features.
Summit (Black Ops)
For some reason, snowy levels are limited in Call of Duty history. There are plenty of snow focused set-pieces in the campaigns, including one early in Modern Warfare 2, but the locations rarely carry over to multiplayer.
Summit is one of the few exceptions and stands out for that reason. There were central areas that the action focused around, including a larger warehouse building, but Summit benefitted from being a very narrow map.
Get too close to the edge and you’d fall to your death, so it became difficult to sneak over to the enemy spawn points. That also meant that modes like Domination became carnage as teams tried to run through units rather than flanking like they would on other maps.
Raid (Black Ops 2)
Raid is a map that stands out a lot from the series’ usually designs. Not only is it a futuristic mansion, complete with angular structures and the like, but it is a map that lacks verticality.
The main action epicentres are defined, funnelling players into the central swimming pool and house. However, that doesn’t mean the action is limited. Sniping from spawn points is an option to the same degree as run and gunning with a shotgun is. It’s a balanced map and that helped it stand out.
That image above of the house’s back yard became the most iconic in Black Ops 2.
Castle (World at War)
World at War is an underrated Call of Duty title. Coming between CoD 4 and Modern Warfare 2, which are two of the most popular and influential first-person shooters ever, it was overshadowed, but it’s a great take on World War II action.
The maps are decent too. The likes of Dome and Roundhouse are fun, but it is Castle that stands out. The excellent mix of indoors and outdoors areas, including the really well designed castle itself, keep the action flowing.
The MP40 is perfect for Castle and the map became one of the ones that actually stood out among the Rusts and Crashes of those years.
Bog (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Bog is one of the most simple maps in the series. It can be frustrating, due to the strict spawn points at each side of the map that can be battered by airstrikes, but it allows for various tactics, even with it being generally very open.
The walls at one end, the bus in the middle, and market stalls at the other end provide decent spots to snipe from, the mounds in the middle make modes like Domination intense, and the houses on one side mean close-quarters combat is still important.
All of that taking place at night means Bog provides some of the best matches in Call of Duty 4, and with it being the location of one of the best set-piece fights near the start of the campaign, it is a place fans know well.
Highrise (Modern Warfare 2)
Highrise is one of few maps in Modern Warfare 2 that sticks to the simple structure of multiplayer shooter arenas. The enclosed office buildings on each side of the nearly completed skyscraper are perfect spawn points and the centre of the map is the perfect mix of plentiful cover and open skies.
The ends of the map are visible to each other, allowing for plenty of sniping opportunities and the helicopter in the middle became the epicentre of the action.
If you come up against a few competent snipers or get strapped in your spawn, it can be frustrating, but the image of Highrise’s central area quickly became an iconic sight for MW2 fans.
Hijacked (Black Ops 2)
Hijacked is famous for how different a map it is. Rather being a small section of a town or a larger outside area, it is just the decks and rooms of a super yacht.
While it promotes close quarters combat, with you having to sneak around loads of tight corners. It’s also on the smaller side for CoD maps, meaning there are not many places to hide. With it being so enclosed though, and with few vertical opportunities, it’s the perfect map for modes like Search and Destroy.
More than anything else though, Hijacked is one of the most famous maps simply because of its setting.
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