Call of Duty: Ghosts (CoD) and Battlefield 4, the much-awaited multiplayer games focusing on war and first-person shooting, were released late last year and have fired up gamers' passions. The renewed battle seems to have just begun in the gaming industry, as their developers try to woo prospective buyers. Three gamers from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in Tung Chung helped with this review.
CoD loses the plot
Ever since its inception, CoD has been the kingpin of war simulation games, outshining everything else available, with Battlefield often close behind.
The history of CoD has been impressive, too, with critical response and sales being good in the past few years.
But in this showdown, the tide seems to have turned. CoD sales fell to half of the previous version, as more and more fans bought the lesser-known Battlefield 4.
Why? Reviews of Battlefield 4 have been more positive because of its newly added extensiveness and greater multiplayer mode.
CoD's storyline has become lacklustre, with many criticising a lack of creativity and innovation.
The plot involves an elite squad of skilled and stealthy American soldiers named Ghosts attacking a powerful South American military base. But while they are doing this, a vigilante on the team, Rorke, betrays the Ghosts and starts helping the enemy. So now you have to kill Rorke and his friends.
Many found this plot awful when compared to the close-to-perfect storylines of two earlier versions of CoD, Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2.
The plot of Battlefield is relatively predictable: an elite American military squad is assigned to crush the rebellion of a pro-Russian Chinese general in Shanghai and other places in China. Many gamers feel that both of the franchises are running out of ideas.
"The storyline for CoD has been very disappointing," says Phillip Lydiard. "They forced synthetic aliens into something I expected to be worth my money.
"But Battlefield goes down as a B war movie plot, where you can expect nothing attention-grabbing from the storyline besides the action, action and oh, yeah, action.
All you get is a new plot that focuses on crushing a rebellion in China with elite US forces, which also fails to satisfy."
At least Dice, Battlefield 4's developers, stayed close to realism with current models of its weapons.
Graphics: edge to Battlefield
In the all-important area of graphics, again Battlefield 4 outperforms CoD. Battlefield 4 shows vivid and brighter imagery of collapsing skyscrapers, and while CoD manages to pull off a decent job, the graphics aren't just as explosive.
"Although the graphics for CoD are good, the underwater fighting scene looks mediocre next to the outstanding helicopter-view experience in Battlefield 4," says Ali Abdul Rafay.
Battlefield 4 offers more variety, both in choice of vehicles and structures that players can target. In CoD, the developers chose to make more roofs self-destruct rather than let the gamers do it. But it has a faster-paced gameplay under more tense conditions.
Multiplayer is no contest
The multiplayer mode in the online version of Battlefield 4 requires more teamwork from gamers, and allows teams of 32 players, which CoD can't match.
Fans of CoD's multiplayer mode feel the pain of losing popular features such as Capture the Flag, and Demolition.
"I think that the multiplayer for Battlefield 4 is way better than that of CoD because there is more teamwork needed from your friends and you get to destroy more stuff like skyscrapers than just humans. You also have more vehicles," says Jason Michael Staples. "The CoD online mutiplayer is just disappointing."
Going to the dogs
A small but exciting new feature in the new CoD instalment is Riley, a German shepherd character who heals your wounds and sniffs out explosives.
"I like the unique thing about Riley. It's kinda fun and a different experience being a dog in a first-person-shooter game. I like the way I can bite off a helicopter pilot's leg and crash the whole thing down," says Philip.
Summing it up
If you prize nothing but a fast-paced campaign, a speedy eight hours' worth of fictional gameplay in compact areas, then CoD is the game for you. But Battlefield 4 suits players who want better graphics and a spacious shooting area, and who spend a lot of time in the multiplayer mode.