This fall has some big releases coming for first person shooter fans, especially if you’re into the more modern day, military-style shooters. We’ve got Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Killzone Shadow Fall, all landing within about two weeks of one another. The first title to be making it’s way to us, and clearly trying to be the early bird who gets the worm is Dice’s Battlefield 4. The very next week comes Call of Duty Ghosts and finally, Killzone: Shadow Fall on the 15th of November.
All three of these titles promise to bring something unique to their franchises this time around, but when it comes down to it only one is going to best the others. With the usual competitive spirit between The Battlefield and Call of Duty series, does Killzone entering the fray change anything or is it still the two heavy weights that we’re interested in?
To start, lets take a look at Call of Duty Ghosts. The Call of Duty series has certainly done well for itself in the last few years. Though, the franchise has never quite been able to recapture that magic from the first Black Ops release. Nonetheless, fans are still very excited for the new game coming. Ghosts is promising to change things up this time a bit by making the United States the underdog, instead of a power house will all the advantages. The game is also giving us characters control over man’s best friend, more environmental destruction and of course fish, who are much more aware of their surroundings.
The question is, will it be enough this time around? With reports of pre-orders for Ghosts appearing to wane in comparison to a few of the more recent Call of Duty games, are people really even excited for it, or are they simply hooked on the nostalgia of it all? While Ghosts is going to offer a good, in-depth multiplayer experience is it going to be enough? There are plenty of gamers that still love a long, involved single player experience, which depending on who you are you may find lacking for the franchise as a whole. However you may feel about the CoD series, Activision is still working hard to remain top dog in the military shooter arena. Ghosts promises to bring the same great multiplayer experience and feeling that all of the CoD titles have had, and from the looks of it may be improving on it as much as they can without changing what it is that makes this game a favorite for so many gamers.
Next up on the chopping block is Battlefield 4. This franchise, in the grand scheme of things has really not changed all that drastically throughout the years. The core gameplay and experience has, however, largely remained the same. This is definitely not a bad thing for DICE and EA though. The scope and size of each of the games has increased with each release and allows for more character customization and vehicles, weapons and of course tactics. Being able to lead a bombing run from a jet, provide cover fire from a helicopter or drive an M1 Abrams tank right through the front of a building is certainly an attractive option to have over Battlefield’s competition.
There’s certainly no lack of strategic options in the Battlefield franchise, which certainly helps it’s replayability. Outside of the Bad Company sin-off titles though, the Battlefield franchise has always seemed to lack a good, in-depth single player story. The single player experience for the majority of the Battlefield games have always felt more like an extended tutorial sequence that really gave players the feel for the basics, like vehicle movements, a good feel for the variety of weapons and tactics. Story telling wasn’t exactly ever the the strong point of this series.
The single player experience pretty much exists to prepare the gamer for the multiplayer portion of the game. Still, with this in mind Battlefield 4 really appears to have one of the best multiplayer experiences out of any of the Battlefield games as well as it’s competition. It’s chocked full of action, and is very much a team based cooperative experience online, which similar games don’t seem to be able to provide as well. DICE always makes some wonderful updates in each game too, taking the complaints from previous games they’ve made very seriously and do their best to correct, or perfect mechanics that may not have worked so well in the past.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is kind of the odd man out compared to the other two games. Unlike the others we’ve talked about so far, the Killzone franchise is an exclusive to the PlayStation consoles. They’ve developed one hell of a following too due to their unique approach to the shooter genre. While their competition is either making games that resemble current military, and political conflicts within our world, the Killzone Developers have moved well passed all of that and just made their own conflicts within a fictional setting.
The Helghast exist on another planet and have been fighting on and off with Earth’s populace for generations as the game’s story continues to move forward. This science fiction focus certainly helps this first person shooter stand out from the crowd. From what we’ve seen so far regarding this new game is Guerrilla Games has even managed to set this new title apart from even it’s own franchise, revealing a whole slew of new goodies, weapons and equipment to help the player through the game. Shadow Fall has a completely different feel from the previous games we’ve discussed, and really offers a completely different experience from other military-styled shooters.
Guerrilla Games has made it a point to focus on the single player experience in not only their newest title, but in every one of the previous Killzone games, so there is plenty of story continuity and references to the previous titles. With that said though, the multiplayer experience is certainly not lacking either and can easily compete with other, similar titles. In some ways, offering up even better options, as the developers decided to blaze their own path with the story, it’s universe and all of the technology and weapons that exist in it.
While the Killzone games can feel a little generic at times, it looks like Guerrilla has tried to give the game it bit more of a personality this time around, giving the play more exotic equipment and weapons instead of your standard assault rifle and grenades. We’re seeing high-tech weapons that fill multiple roles on the battlefield and robotic helpers that back you up in a fire fight or give you the locations of enemies as they move around in real-time. Killzone certainly has set itself apart from the others and it shows in Shadow Fall.
All of these games offer something that the other’s do not. Call of Duty has a wonderful arena-like combat experience that brings together the classic gameplay of deathmatch with a modern touch. Battlefield brings that large-scale battlefield kind of immersion that others simply cannot seem to duplicate no matter how hard the developer might try. Killzone on the other hand has made it’s own path as Guerrilla forges onward, giving dedicated Sony and Killzone fans a wonderful experience that quite frankly cannot be found on another platform.
Every game has something to offer but there is going to be only one that some of us will be able to afford, or play due to the platform we may choose. With the seemingly constant competition between fans of the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises most gamers have already decided what they’ll be purchasing on release between these two games as well, so now that the lines have been drawn in the sand who is going to come out on top?
The game that’s most likely going to do the best is the games that are going to be cross-platform. While Killzone: Shadow Fall offers the most unique experience, unless you’ve pre-ordered your PS4 there’s a good chance most people will just skip Shadow Fall or pick it up later. The game is no doubt going to be a great launch title, but this same strength to bring gamers to this new hardware could also be it’s weakness. There are simply not going to be enough PS4 consoles out at launch to be able to compete with multi-platform, well-established hardware that many people already have at least one of.
This is the downside to being an exclusive franchise for a console, there’s simply not the same amount of saturation that there is for Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts, which are both hitting all major platforms. For now it really looks like the major competitors for the first person shooters this fall is still going to be the old standby favorites, Call of Duty and Battlefield 4. While Killzone is certainly going to be the incredibly popular on the PS4, that’s about where it’s story ends.
For Battlefield and Call of Duty though, the war between these two will rage across the PlayStation, Xbox on both the previous and coming generation’s hardware as well as PC platform. So it’s really going to come down to these two games. In the end though, it’s looking like Battlefield is going to take this year’s title for most popular military shooter that’s going to be released. DICE is offering the most complete experience for folks who are looking to get a fun, military shooter experience, but who also may not be too interested in going the incredibly in-depth route of games like ARMA 3 with more destruction, and fast-paced, large scale combat that the other’s simply cannot compete with.
While there is no doubt that Call of Duty will do well, there is the undeniable fact that the CoD franchise is losing steam after every release. Gamers are simply starting to find the CoD series a bit repetitive these days, which is understandable given the yearly release of titles that Activision keeps pumping out. In some ways, the same can be said about Battlefield, however, DICE and EA have never come out and said they’re going to re-invent the BF franchise. All they care to do is to add improvements with each iteration.
CoD and Activision certainly have a lot of competition they have to worry about coming from EA this season. From the looks of it all, a bit too much that simply cannot be solved by just improving the A.I. a bit and giving players the option to control dogs. While Battlefield’s formula certainly hasn’t changed all that much, they are promising to deliver a consistent and updated experience that gamers not only expect to see from the Battlefield games, but look forward to. In the end, Battlefield may just have more to offer the fans of these modern first person shooters.