For the last month, I’ve been a victim of two wars being fought simultaneously and without regard for each other. Two headstrong competitors insisting each other have failed in their duties to the American public. Yet, these insistences are merely a rouse to cover for their own fear of being inferior.
Of course I’m not speaking about health care, I’m talking about the war between Call Of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 that has raged on through old and new consoles alike. Released on the same week to the same core group, they’ve been silently exchanging blows back and forth for the last two months in the form of ad campaigns and sales figures.
The final months of 2013 saw Ghosts taking first place in overall sales, with Battlefield behind as a close second. Ghosts claimed a one billion dollar opening day, while the only numbers leaked from behind Battlefield lines were a 67% loss compared to 2012. Financially speaking, the numbers give a claim of supremacy to Ghosts.
Yet fans have continued to war on each side of the spectrum, claiming varied and legitimate reasons for their preference. Battlefield wins over dedicated “First Person Shooter” gamers, preferring large maps, plenty of opponents, more realistic warfare and lots of giant machines to fly through the sky. Call Of Duty, as it always has, wins over the casual and party gamers, allowing better split screen options, quicker matches, and a more campy overall feel that lends itself better to the occasional gamer.
It has been the same divide for the last few years. Hope came when a new generation of consoles offered an excellent point for each game to start redefining its technique and market appeal. So, along with my PS4, I purchased both games and spent the last month bouncing between them. After a lot of blood, cheesy storylines, and underage children screaming at me through headsets, I have come to a winner, and sadly, it favors the numbers.
While Battlefield gives me a decent online experience and a more realistic weapons handling system, Ghosts is simply a better-made game this time around. Let’s take a look at a more categorical comparison of the two so we can decisively lay it all out on the line.
I realize few purchase these games for the single player option, but I still do. As much as I like sniping real people, I also enjoy not having to interact with anyone by playing story driven arcs that give me a reason to pick up a gun. Battlefield’s storyline focuses around a pending war with the Chinese, and Ghosts an invasion from a prominent war force called “The Federation”
While both story lines contain a satisfying amount of explosions, slow motion kills and impossible chintz, Ghosts emerges a clear winner here. It starts with WW3, a spaceship disaster, and sprinting through the woods with a father you wish you had in real life.
You assume the role of a Ghost, an elite tactical unit as mysterious as it is deadly. It pushes you through a very set storyline, but one that delivers everything from space travel to underwater scuba shooting.
Battlefield, in contrast, burns through their story mode as though they couldn’t wait to get it done. Covert missions to Chinese locals find you spending your time in a lot of warehouses, submarines and office buildings. It’s not the ideal place for breathtaking scenery. In fact, minus the submarines and Chinese, that’s pretty much my average day. Sometimes, it’s just the submarines missing.
I finished Battlefield 4 in two days of casual play. Predictable twists, bad dialogue and a forced lie of being able to choose how the story progresses have it all come across as extremely lazy. You play to simply win, and not to enjoy the trip along the way.
Call Of Duty, however, gives you every type of kill, explosion and environment you could dream of firing a gun in. While the dialogue is not much better, the characters are more endearing and the plot is better conceived; as a result, the game becomes much more involving to play. I want to stop “The Federation” and make dad proud. I will not allow Spanish to become the primary language of America. I am a ghost.
Multiplayer on both games is stellar, as always; plenty of maps, death, and new players to go around. Battlefield favors larger maps and more people, Ghosts a rapid death multiplayer perfect for bum rushing. Everything is very much the same. Yet EA did nothing to fix the biggest complaint of their last title, no local multiplayer. Nothing reaffirms my opinion of EA being the best example of a company that hates their clientele.
One person per console for online play; the standard EA policy. Let’s backup for a minute to fully explain why this degrades the experience for me. Say I were to tell you that I had a wonderful new game that required little thought, mostly hand dexterity, and you were able to empty your frustrations into another human in the form of a clip. But, only if everyone you know has a copy of the game. Also, your roommate will need a separate PS4, game, and TV in order to play with you. It’s also useless for parties, since it doesn’t support a local multiplayer option. You would wonder why the company who makes it hates you so.
That’s the point: EA hates you. They love your money, but they hate you. Call Of Duty may have a campier multiplayer experience, but for that $60, they’ll give you everything they’ve got. It’s never going to matter how good Battlefield’s multiplayer experience is, they are going to keep loosing in sales. At the end of the day, this type of FPS is best used for casual play with friends. Battlefield, after four games, still doesn’t feel you deserve that.
For Battlefield, this category might as well be titled “What extra’s?” There are none. There is a short, terrible story line and a multiplayer. That’s all you get. Ghosts sneaks a few more modes in, including the survival mode that’s bled over from their last couple of games and an alien hunter mode great for parties. Activision understands flexibility here, and while it’s not perfect, it’s something. Call Of Duty has realized an age-old idea here: something is better than nothing.
Overall, I am disappointed in Battlefield 4. I expected EA to learn from their mistakes last game, to redesign and reinvent for a new console. I knew Ghosts would deliver the same thing in a new package, it’s been incredibly financially successful for them and it works, but after the failure of EA’s online mode and after seeing how much the Call Of Duty franchise has stepped up in recent games, I expected Battlefield 4 to revamp, rework and produce the best of both worlds. Instead, I got a new version of Battlefield 3 with destructible environments. I got the same stern, unbendable multiplayer mode and a sham of a singer player storyline. But, jokes on me right? They already have my money.
Comparing the two games, it’s not surprising Battlefield suffered a 67% loss from Battlefield 3. EA deserves every percent of that. While Ghosts is far from perfect, it gives me the experience I came to get out of a popcorn FPS. With redefined modes, weapons and an engaging storyline, it crushes its competition. Perhaps by Battlefield 5, EA will have caught on to the trends of their own market, but judging by this offering, it’s not likely. Maybe another 67% loss will do the trick.