30 Best Activision Video Games Of All Time (Ranked)

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Activision is, simply put, a legendary company.

Founded in 1979 by disgruntled Atari employees, the company became the very first third-party developer and publisher, effectively paving the way for modern video game companies.

It really doesn’t get more legendary than this.

Throughout the years, Activision went through some trouble that deeply changed the company.

Games developed internally became fewer, while acquired studios increased exponentially, leading to one of the most diversified game lineups ever.

And while Call of Duty is definitely the winning horse, there are so many excellent Activision games that deserve to be celebrated for their mark on video gaming history. Let’s have a look at some of the best ones out there.

 

30. Deadpool (2013)

Deadpool 2013 Screenshot

The Merc with a Mouth is here, for the joy of young and not so young children.

Deadpool managed to cut his own niche in the Marvel universe with his big mouth and constant fourth-wall-breaking, which are all faithfully represented in the game.

This title features a straightforward level design and freeflow combat inspired by the Batman: Arkham series.

And while the gameplay in Deadpool isn’t particularly inspired, hearing Deadpool dish out joke after joke as things become crazier is more than reason enough to see his adventure through to the end.

 

29. Skylanders: Imaginators (2016)

Skylanders: Imaginators Screenshot

Skylanders: Imaginators is a very demanding game.

And not in the way you may think.

While this platformer-meets-hack-n-slash action with light puzzle-solving comes with all the features that make for a solid game… the constant reminder that you must spend real money to unlock content gets grating. Fast.

It’s a shame, as the ability to use Creation Crystals to create your own monsters is a nice addition.

And the new real-life toys look great, and play even better once you’ve transferred them in the game.

If you have money to burn, go at it. You’ll get a real nice collection of creatures and the endless admiration of your peers. At this point, it’ll become money well spent.

 

28. Civilization: Call to Power (1999)

Civilization: Call To Power Gameplay

In a surprising twist, Civilization: Call to Power has very little to do with the main series, despite bearing its name.

Civilization: Call to Power, on the surface, plays like any other entry in the Civ series.

But the devil is in the details.

Instead of focusing on the single cities that make up your empire, Call to Power puts your empire front and center, twisting mechanics in such a way that things feel very different than before.

The sheer amount of units, technologies, and wonders make for a diverse experience that sometimes becomes too dispersive. But it’s great fun nonetheless.

Especially if you feel that democracy cannot fulfill your world domination ambitions.

 

27. Prototype 2 (2012)

Prototype 2 Screenshot

Virus outbreaks are always bad news.

Unless they grant you special powers.

Prototype 2 is a fun open-world game that comes with all the features and mechanics you would expect: a man with special powers out for revenge, a big city filled to the brim with side activities, quests and secrets, and enemies armed to the teeth.

While James Heller’s special powers allow him to turn his hands into weapons and transform into other people, there’s a feeling of been-here-done-that as you play.

And it’s very difficult to shake off. So if you’re looking for something revolutionary, you’re better off looking somewhere outside this virus-infested rendition of New York City.

 

26. DOOM 3 (2004)

Doom 3 Gameplay Screenshot

When you fail to conquer an entire planet multiple times, what do you do?

You try to conquer another, of course.

In DOOM 3, legions of demons have appeared on a research facility located on Mars. And it’ll be your responsibility to send them back crawling from where they came from, with the help of massive weapons.

Constantly at odds between its cutting-edge presentation and dated design, DOOM 3 can either be you favorite game, or the most disappointing sequel ever.

It all depends on your tolerance for old-school gameplay filled with linear levels, locked doors, and colored keycards.

 

25. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009)

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Gameplay

Avengers, assemble!

Well, maybe not all of them, but still. Assemble!

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is a dream come true for all Marvel Comics fans out there.

This title features a massive character roster with the most popular heroes, as well as a few others that may not be as well known, but are still quite powerful.

This hack and slash experience can turn into a button-mashing fest very easily.

But the fact that you’ll share this chaotic celebration together with friends will make it never feel particularly old.

 

24. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)

Sniping In Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

How many wars have you fought in so far? Many, I’m sure.

But how many were you able to fight together with your buddy who lives halfway across the world?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 did feel somewhat like a step back for the series, as the single-player campaign was much simpler than in previous games.

The saving grace of the entire package, alongside a better-balanced multiplayer, is the Spec Ops mode.

This is a co-op mode that allows you and a friend to either compete in Survival Mode and kill hordes of enemies, or play through remixes of the main campaign maps featuring a few interesting twists that make them so much better.

Never go in alone, as they say.

 

23. Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001)

Return To Castle Wolfenstein Game Screenshot

Repeat it with me. Biomechanical Zombie Super Soldiers. Now that’s a mouthful!

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is the direct sequel to the game that basically created the whole first-person shooter genre.

As such, it does not need to prove anything.

And it really doesn’t, as the old-school design of the game is evident throughout the entire operation that sees B.J. Blazkowicz shoot down Nazis first, and completely forget to ask questions later.

While the single-player campaign is nothing to write home about, the severe lack of old-school inspired shooters in the current generation is more than enough reason to return to this iconic castle.

 

22. Rome: Total War (2004)

Rome: Total War Gameplay Screenshot

If you think that expanding your empire is just about defeating your enemies and conquering territories, Rome: Total War is here to prove otherwise.

Rome: Total War is a grand strategy game in every sense of the word.

It’s a game that requires a humongous amount of time really “click” on how to play it right. But when it does, it will not let you go until you’ve made Rome truly great.

With three different families, each one with its goals, two game phases (a turn-based & a real-time one), and the Roman Senate that’ll always do its best to get in your way, mastering Rome: Total War is not an easy feat at all.

If you like a challenge that you cannot brute-force your way through, this is worth playing. And if you’re ever having trouble, maybe look into some mods to help you out.

 

21. King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride (1994)

King's Quest Vii: The Princeless Bride Screenshot

Before you jump at me, no, Princeless Bride is not a typo.

It’s just that this damsel in distress does not need a prince to save her. She needs a queen!

King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride is a rather straight-forward adventure game featuring solid puzzle design and a beautiful fairytale-like setting.

It would be pretty unremarkable if not for its excellent graphics (for the time) that make the whole game feel like a Disney cartoon.

The two main characters, prince Rosella and Queen Valanice, are transported to the magical realm of Eldritch to battle against the evil enchantress Malicia.

Thanks to the great chapter system, which alternates between the two royal ladies, story progression is extremely tight. And for once, you will not hate cliffhangers.

 

20. Call of Duty 2 (2005)

Call Of Duty 2 Gameplay Screenshot

Remember when Call of Duty was all about World War II? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Call of Duty 2 truly feels like a first-person shooter from another era, with a major focus on a single-player campaign involving different WW2 scenarios. And a multiplayer mode that, while fun, wasn’t the game’s main focus.

Even though the campaign is not particularly long, there are a variety of combat scenarios granted by different playable characters that belong to different Allied factions, so there’s a lot to keep you busy.

Plus the relentless AI and the sense of scale all make Call of Duty 2 a game worth playing, even today.

 

19. Blur (2010)

Car Race In Blur 2010 Video Game

Don’t you just hate when you’re so close to winning a race, and then an inferior car manages to pass you?

Blur lets you settle this in the most reasonable way possible.

By just looking at Blur in action, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the game features the same over-the-top weapons seen in the Mario Kart series.

Indeed, the game lets you unleash hell on your opponents. And it even rewards you if manage to shoot opponents down with missiles while drifting.

With a ton of content and an extremely varied track design, you definitely do not want this racing game blurring past you!

 

18. DOOM (1993)

Doom 1993 Gameplay

Never heard of DOOM?

What are you doing reading this list, then?

Jokes aside, DOOM is among the most popular games ever released. So I would be very surprised if you never heard of its visceral first-person shooting experience.

Or its brutal demon-slaying action, or its amazing weapon selection and the feel of constant tension dripping off the walls of the many labyrinths you have to clear.

A classic among classics, never to be forgotten. Is there really anything left to say? It’s DOOM!

 

17. Pitfall! (1982)

Pitfall! Gameplay Screenshot

Time for a brief history lesson! Long story short: this is one of the most beloved video games ever released.

For today’s standards, Pitfall! is a really simple platforming game.

Controlling Pitfall Harry, you must collect all the treasure in the jungle within 20 minutes, while avoiding enemies and all sorts of traps.

So why is the game so well regarded, still today?

For its amazing technical achievements, its incredibly fluid animations (well, for 1982) and for having singlehandedly created the platform game genre.

Now that’s a decorated game if I’ve ever seen one.

 

16. Quake (1996)

Quake Gameplay Screenshot

Quake is one of those games that managed to shake the whole industry. Heh, puns.

Quake was indeed a revolutionary game for its time.

While the gameplay wasn’t much different from DOOM, the fact that Quake’s graphics were real 3D elevates the whole experience.

And not just because it simply looked better. The level design took advantage of the 3D graphics in clever ways, too.

I’d say Quake showed the world how first-person shooters weren’t done after DOOM, but rather they were here to stay for a very long time.

 

15. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (2007)

Guitar Hero Iii: Legends Of Rock Screenshot

Is there a soul on earth that hasn’t played Guitar Hero? I’m pretty sure there isn’t.

Guitar Hero III doesn’t revolutionize the rhythm game formula in any significant way.

But rather it expands this formula with the ability to play the bass, online multiplayer to rock the socks off your opponents, and an amazing soundtrack that includes some of the most popular rock songs of the past three decades.

And if you thought that you’re a true Guitar Hero, well Dragonforce’s Through the Fire and Flames is here to put you back in your place!

 

14. Transformers: War for Cybertron (2010)

Transformers: War For Cybertron Gameplay Screenshot

How is it possible that no game before Transformers: War for Cybertron managed to properly capture what makes the franchise so popular?

While we’ll never get an answer to that question, we should be very happy that War for Cybertron is just plain great.

Not that it’s all that surprising, since this third-person shooter has been developed by fans, for fans.

And it shows.

The Decepticon and Autobot campaigns are great, detailing the events of the Cybertronian Civil War, the shooting action is satisfying, and the vehicle mode handling is flawless.

As a whole, War for Cybertron isn’t very original.

But does it even matter? I mean, you can blast your way through your enemies as Optimus Prime.

 

13. Activision Anthology (2002)

Activision Anthology Game Menu Screenshot

You may have noticed a marked absence of classic Activision games in this list.

Well, there’s a good reason for it.

Activision Anthology includes 55 classic games released in the 80s, ranging from the massively popular Pitfall and its sequel, to sports games, aircraft shooter games, and many others.

All the games look and play as they did in their heyday. And they all aged incredibly well, featuring the same basic mechanics that power-up today’s blockbusters.

Activision may no longer develop games directly. But its legacy will always deserve a celebration as glorious as this Anthology.

Have a peek at one of the early reviews for when this first came out.

 

12. Zork: Grand Inquisitor (1997)

Enchanters Guild In Zork: Grand Inquisitor Screenshot

You don’t know the meaning of crazy until you’ve played the Zork series.

And you don’t know the limits of craziness until you’ve played Zork: Grand Inquisitor.

Zork: Grand Inquisitor is the pinnacle of the classic adventure game series, bringing its craziness up a notch.

Everything in Grand Inquisitor is delightfully over-the-top, starting from the installation process, and ending with the setting and characters. Chief among them the Grand Inquisitor who banished magic for good.

Not to mention the puzzles, which involve a lot of item management and spell casting.

Just make sure no one notices you. Getting totemized isn’t a very good thing. As any punished wizard could tell you, if they’d be able to talk.

 

11. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (2014)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Menu Screenshot

You don’t need to be good at Geometry to master Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.

You need to be good at everything!

While not changing the tried shooter formula of the series, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is just as good as its predecessor, if not even better!

Mostly thanks to the varied enemy design and the extremely fast-paced experience that’ll your screen with geometric enemies and shots of all sizes.

Reaching the boss of each stage, which requires a more strategic approach to take down, is a feat in itself.

Fair warning: you will likely fail more than once. But you’ll love every second of it. Well, until you ragequit.

 

10. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled (2019)

Crash Cove Area In Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

The only kart racing game worthy of challenging the Mario Kart franchise has been given a facelift.

And this cosmetic surgeon did a damn good job.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is an excellent remaster of the 1999 game that’s not only extremely faithful to the foundation of the original, but a great racing game in its own right.

With the addition of 13 tracks lifted from Nitro Racing, tons of racer customization options, the challenging Adventure Mode, and exciting boss battles, CTR: Nitro-Fueled proves that sometimes, there’s something very good behind rose-tinted nostalgia.

 

9. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (2017)

Blonde Character In Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Three games for the price of one? How can life get better than this?

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is among the most competent remasters released in recent years.

The collection includes the first three entries in the Crash Bandicoot series, complete with all their secrets and challenges, looking better than they ever did.

Amazing to see these PS1 classics feel like current-gen games.

Sure, the first Crash Bandicoot is a little straightforward. While Warped feels a little frustrating at times.

But if you can get over the learning curve of how to play these games, you’ll fall in love with this Bandicoot and his absurd faces just like old-school fans.

 

8. Spyro Reignited Trilogy (2018)

Spyro Reignited Trilogy Gameplay

It’s extremely rare for a remaster to be better than the original game. Yet here we are.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy has the great honor of making the first three entries in the Spyro the Dragon series play better than they ever did.

This comes with much better controls and tracking tools that’ll put the obsessive-compulsive mind of every completionist at ease.

Everything else is business as usual: tons of gliding, tons of wacky characters, tons of secrets, tons of fun!

 

7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay Screenshot

As surprising as it may sound today, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the most untraditional CoD of its era.

While the game features an engaging yet short single-player campaign, and good online multiplayer modes, it was initially the one that pushed Spec Ops mode.

And there are players that still come back to this day playing Modern Warfare 2 for the Spec Ops mode.

This is an addictive arcade-inspired challenge mode that will see you and another friend complete a variety of stages to obtain the coveted 69 stars.

There are also a couple of co-op missions that spice up the experience so much, that it towers over the single and multiplayer modes with ease.

Don’t you just love getting surprised by a game? Especially an Activision game.

 

6. Tony Hawk’s Underground (2003)

Tony Hawk's Underground 2003 Screenshot

An open-world skating game sounds odd, right?

Not if you’ve ever played Tony Hawk’s Underground.

While you should be publicly shamed for not having played one of the best skateboarding games of the last 20 years, I’ll just tell you why this title is so beloved in the Tony Hawk game franchise.

I’d say give this a try for its massive story mode, its open-ended maps, its varied mission design, its combo-focused semi-true-to-life skating experience, and for the glory of rising to the top.

Anyone who used to skate, or still does, this is a title worth checking out.

 

5. Destiny 2 (2017)

Destiny 2 Character Menu Screenshot

Shooting down enemies and gathering loot is all well and good.

But if you lack motivation, it grows old fast.

Destiny 2 succeeds where the original failed by featuring an extremely gripping tale and a cruel antagonist that wholly deserves getting shot down.

How? Well, probably with the game’s excellent guns & handling system.

Even after the main campaign is done, Destiny 2 provides plenty of content to keep you occupied for a very long time. Like the game-changing Exotic items.

Not a Destiny veteran? No worries, use Guided Game to join a well-established squad and learn from the very best.

No matter what you’re looking for, PvP or otherwise, Destiny 2 is always a fun experience.

 

4. Guitar Hero 5 (2009)

Guitar Hero 5 2009 Screenshot

Guitar Hero 5 is truly a game for the entire family.

Especially if some have those rock star dreams.

The fifth entry in this glorious series doesn’t introduce any massive changes, but rather refines the full-band mechanics of World Tour.

Party Play mode is a particularly welcome mode, as it allows players to tailor the experience on the fly. And even play with any combination of instruments!

So even your hopelessly out-of-tune mother will be able to join in on the fun without shattering everone’s ears in the neighborhood.

And if you feel particularly creative, you can hop onto Music Studio and create your own songs. The results are likely not going to be all that great… but hey, at least you’ll have tons of fun!

 

3. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 (2000)

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Gameplay Screenshot

Can perfection be improved?

Judging from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, it definitely can.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 doesn’t revolutionize the amazing gameplay introduced by its predecessor. But it expands it tenfold.

With bigger parks, more tricks, expanded pro skater rosters, and a Career mode that grants a lot of customization options, THPS2 does not disappoint.

Even when you drop that massive combo just because you were pushing things way too far, simply remember: you are not Tony Hawk. But in game, you can be anyone you want!

 

2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Gameplay

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the game that changed all first-person shooters forever.

If you don’t like modern FPS games, then ironically this is the game you should blame.

Moving from the World War II setting to a modern-day one was an incredibly risky move. But it paid off in the end.

And it doesn’t really matter that the campaign is a little too linear, or the multiplayer outdated for today’s standards.

If it weren’t for Modern Warfare, then Call of Duty wouldn’t have reached the heights it did with future entires.

So I know many will disagree with ranking this one so highly. But man, this paved the way for so much of what we have today. Let this legend rest in his museum!

 

1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019)

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Gameplay

This ain’t Dark Souls with Ninjas, but we’ll take it all the same.

In truth, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice shares a few elements with the popular Souls series.

Like the extremely high difficulty level, which is always fun.

But they play nothing alike. As RPG mechanics are pretty much absent in Sekiro, there are simply no shortcuts to victory.

You either get good at parrying attacks, or take enemies down with stealth, or you won’t make it very far.

16th-century Sengoku-era Japan is a brutal age to live in. So don’t expect anyone to go easy on you here.

But if that’s what you’re looking for, this game will keep you busy for months.

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