Home Editorial Balance Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty: Ghosts – Which do you choose?

The internet is abuzz with news of the newest Call of Battle 5.62: Specters of The Ancient East and its competitor Battle Called…something, something. The question now on everyone’s lips is, which is right for me, if either? I don’t have the answers for you, so instead I’ll lay out some reasons why you might lean one way or another.

I ain’t afraid of no Ghosts

I’m fairly sure the latest entry in “The Biggest Media Franchise in History” runs on the same basic engine it always has. That boils down to one name: Quake. While I’m hearing Infinity Ward stripped it down to its basic components and rebuilt it, we’ve been hearing things like that for years now. The freneticism of any game based in the old Quake code makes each match an adrenaline rush, for different reasons. If you enjoy a chaotic, unpredictable experience where bullshit is second only to player flame, Ghosts might be for you.

Of course, with a new console generation, we get new gimmicks gameplay features like dynamic maps. Apparently, the ones you can find on YouTube aren’t exactly indicative of “dynamic” as Ghosts defines it. Much of what’s there is pre-scripted, and the same could certainly be said of Battlefield’s history of destruction. The major takeaway from a changing battle space in a Call of Duty game is just that: the maps change now. Every entry in the series prior has had static maps, with bulletproof bananas but paper-thin steel walls. Explosives did nothing to affect how the map played, and players were stuck with what developers gave them. No more, it seems.

Another concept of note is how the maps are designed. If you’re familiar with CoD design theory (not a terrible if you are), the idea is simple. Maps should have three lanes of traffic intersected at varying points by obstacles. The best CoD maps still use this theory but tweak it, either overlaying lanes in crisscross or breaking them up through different means. However, almost to a map, CoD uses this three lane design. Ghosts, I’m hearing, attempts to break the mold and chooses to walk new ground.

Lastly, there’s the Create-a-Soldier system. While it’s by no means the revolutionary step forward IW wants everyone to believe it is, customization is the bread and butter of any shooter junkie. I still think Blacklight Retribution does custom weapons and soldiers more justice, IW should be commended for turning the old system on its head with Ghosts.

Now, all this isn’t saying the core mechanics are gone. I imagine the gunplay is still fast and responsive, some of the perks overpowered, some of the weapons useless and other overused. Killstreaks are still killstreaks and despite their attempts to the contrary, if you look for it you can still find plenty of Quake in CoD.

Oh, and lean. There’s lean now.

An all-out Battle(field)

DICE is throwing all its chips on the table with BF4. All the mechanics from Battlefields past are back, from Commander mode to full on destruction and huge map player counts. If Frostbite 3 can deliver the experience DICE desperately proselytizes, then I’d be hard pressed to not play BF4 over Ghosts.

Ghosts is, I think, a step back graphically for a series that looked its best in MW2, four years ago. The newest entry looks too brown and grey for my tastes, and the one snow map on offer is set at night, washing out colors even further. Battlefield 3 had the whole CoD series beat in the visuals department, and if there’s no blue filter over BF4’s visuals, DICE again has IW beat.

Where Ghosts is only just introducing changing maps, Battlefield’s had them for a long time, and therefore a long time to perfect what’s come to be known as the Battlefield Moment — those happenings in a multiplayer match that feel like they should have been scripted, but weren’t. With helicopters and jets and huge play areas, both horizontally and vertically, Battlefield games have more possibilities per match of something crazy happening. If DICE gives us a higher level of destructibility than any game before, there will be almost no end to the amount of “oh shit, did that really just happen” people will be posting to YouTube and sharing with their friends.

And then there’s Battlerecorder and Spectator mode. The problem with a lot of BF Moments is they happen in something of a vacuum. Players not equipped to properly record them can only tell stories, and even if they manage to capture the moment on film, it’s only from their point of view. If we get a fully functional recording tool, with dolly cameras, filters, and the whole works, the amount of high quality footage with only increase. Of course, so will the amount of trash, but that comes with anything.

Finally there’s the play experience to consider. Will BF4 correct the mistakes of its predecessors and deliver a truly skill based shooter, where the best shot wins, explosives don’t overpower at all ranges, and where infantry combat complements vehicle play and vice versa? The series has come close to one or the other on several occasions, but it’s never fully accomplished any individually, let alone as a group. Bad Company 2 gave more leeway in the escape, BF3 more emphasis on smart movement. Battlefield 4 looks to combine the two and mix it all together with responsive netcode that rewards first shot accuracy without sacrificing the skill of the victim.

Oh, and there’s elevators now. Enjoy the music.


Which game strikes your fancy, or do you choose neither and stay just as well off. It’s up to you.

21 replies to this post
  1. There is a sky scrapper level in COD: Spooky Ghosts. We may be able to lean in an elevator just yet. Whether it moves or not, that’s the question.

  2. Here’s the thing: BF4 doesn’t have full destructability. This is one of the things that irked me most at E3. Firing a rocket at a non-scripted-to-demolish building and watch as NOTHING HAPPENS.

    • Is unfettered destructibility really desirable though? Organised teams would just raze defensive positions from the spawn before engaging. Could probably be designed around but I would think it would limit some of the map diversity.

      • You have a point, there. I think there’s certainly a limit to how much should be destructible. Environmental features certainly shouldn’t, nor should every skyscraper on every map. I guess what I want is more freedom to explore with destruction and not be limited purely by designer choice.

    • It takes a bit more than that to bring a building down. Most buildings in BF3 are destructible, unless they’ve changed something I’m sure battlefield 4 will be the same. And even those building you cant’t level you can still destroy them for all intents and purposes.

      I’ve always hated this argument though, it’s like lol versus dota, yea they’re technically in the same narrowly defined genre but they are played so differently a comparison is pointless and degrades both experiences. CoD has focused on twitch gameplay and competitively balanced maps while battlefield has been more about realism and strategy and grand battles. Both games have merits, neither is objectively better. It all comes down to preference. Although, I must give Dice it’s due, they certainly win in the innovation department. CoD has long suffered from its stagnant engine. I would bet Dice makes more money licensing frostbite 3 than activision makes from cod.

  3. Thank god for CoD!

    Imagine if those millions of cretins had no option but to infest Battlefield servers?! *shudder*

    • Way I see it, there’ll always be bleed between the two games, but I am glad that Call of Duty caters to the twitchy, hyperactive types. I include myself in that group from time to time, but I avoid console CoD simply because of the enormous number of trolls, children, and weirdos on it.

      That doesn’t of course say that PC doesn’t have those. I just like the ability that TeamSpeak, Mumble and such provide. The idiots I’m talking to are idiots I _want_ to talk to, and I can mute everyone else.

  4. Probably battlefield for me. Although I appreciate CoD and Battlefield as great games, neither has hooked me with their online gaming the way Halo did. I need more space laser. Titanfall and Destiny have me more excited at the moment.

    • Honestly, I see more potential in Titanfall and Destiny than I do in CoD or Battlefield. I’m seeing a parallel design philosophy between the two aging series, and new blood will certainly shake up the landscape even further.

      • Planetside is the future :P

        In all seriousness, anyone who hasn’t given it a try or hasn’t played it for a while should check it out, they have made huge changes to it since launch and are doing a great job of consistently improving it.

  5. My fav shooter is MW2 – the stages were varied, you could “run and gun”, camp, mix it up. I find that the philosophy afterwards was one of you have to “run and gun” and the stage design felt a little forced and “unrealistic”. Basically you had to run and gun period and all of the stages were so small and cramped. It just didn’t feel tactical. It felt randomish..(I could be wrong)

    I then played BF3 and what annoyed me was the gun damage wasn’t enough. One thing I liked about MW is that if you get a drop on a guy usually he’s going down. Not so in BF3, you had to compensate for recoil, attachments made a difference etc. It didn’t feel like the gun gave you bang for your buck like in MW.

    However the BF3 graphics are definitely better than the COD Series. They also gave you vehicles, then they expanded and added new stages and modes to suit different tastes – running and gunning, tanks, planes, scavenger etc. The regular stages were much bigger than COD. The game is so epic in a way because there is so much that you can do. There is something in it for everyone. You can camp if you want, run and gun if you want, fly jets or helicopters , use tanks and dirt bikes etc. and if used correctly the vehicles can change the course of a game.

    For innovation and variety DICE really won me over, so I’m probably going with BF4. BF3 was so huge in terms of variety, that I can’t imagine that BF4 would be less. I definitely agree that BF3 emphasized smart movement, but I play more Rush than anything so that would apply alot more than say TDM which is primarily what COD is about.

    Two things though, what’s “player flame” and what do you mean by “Bad Company 2 gave more leeway in the escape” ? Not clear to my noobish brain.

  6. Well as I watch the video I think there was also female characters and not just male characters which really amaze me. Because I really hate having the same character as everyone, I always wanted my character to stand out from everyone in COD: Ghost.
    In Battlefield, I think the map are just way to extremely big; not much number of player allow in game and the shooting are not even accurate.
    For me Ghost would be my number one choice and because unlike Battlefield we don’t need to pay for our own private lobby. I see many people complain about COD but battlefield is just something I wouldn’t want.

    • It’s the difference between feeding your firstborn baby to a rabid crocodile or a two-headed giant where one head is glowy-eyed Hitler and the other is Satan with a ten-foot mustache.
      I’ll just mention though, will there really be individuality in a game which throws dozens of people at each other just because you can now switch your player model from a burly brown-grey male marine to a burly brown-grey female marine, who will differ in size by an exact half inch because any more would make one or the other harder to hit.

      The only winning move is, of course, not to play. Spunkgargleweewee games, that is. Come play Team Fortress 2, it’s awesome and free and can totally kick the arse of everything released before and after it, since six years now!

  7. Honestly?
    Neither. The way they try to compete is ridiculous.
    I must admit that BF4 looks much better than Ghosts. But it does not look much better than BF3 [No, I did NOT say it looks JUST like BF3]. Only polished IMO.
    But it’s like judging books from their covers… xP
    I think the problem of the newer CODs is that developers add too much stuff. There is lots and lots of crap that makes the gameplay chaotic. Before they plan out the maps they should think how to make all these perks and gadgets USEFUL. Half of the weapon proficiencies were pure bullshit in MW3. Holding a breath in assault rifles, for example. It doesn’t help on such small maps, where most fights are within 15 metres. When your character opens mouth, it’s for tea-baggin the hostile shotgunner does to them. Ghosts got some cool solutions (like those new sniper scopes), but they’re gonna be lost in this fast-paced mish-mash. ACOG on akimbo revolver? YOU NEVER F@K1N6 USE DAT, YOU HIPFIRE ALL THE G0DD@MN TIME.
    And the problem of newer BFs is that they try too hard to kick COD. I mean, a rivalry is a good thing, it forces to improvement, but not when you copy everything your opponent does. It proves you can’t win by yourself. Most “loyal” fans of BF do NOT want COD players around, so why EA tries so hard? One day true fans will leave (some left already), cause the franchise became “too much like COD”
    See ya in COD4 and BFBC, I hope we can meet as civilized people.

  8. It gets important to pick out your weapons well in Raze, since some don’t inflict that much harm.
    Make fast work of them both and bound to place two after you might be done.
    Multiplayer games are always known for their radical awesomeness, just look at mainstream
    FPS games today.

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