Every fall the video game industry churns out two or three highly anticipated games, specifically first person shooters, and consumers are left to decide where to spend their money.
This year’s contenders include Dice’s Battlefield 1, Respawn’s Titanfall 2 (both published by EA) and Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, published by Activision.
All three are worth buying for specific reasons, and after carefully considering which might best fit the player’s style, all are worth the initial price of entry.
In chronological order Battlefield 1 released first. The game takes the series back to World War 1 for the first time and has been lauded for its impressive visuals and large scale multiplayer.
There are specific ups and downs to Battlefield 1’s experience, but their impact will largely be predicated on the players past relationship with the series. Battlefield plays slower than the other games, its movement is plodding and the recoil is heavier.
The sound design of Battlefield is among the best of any production effort, equal to any military movie. The story is told in vignettes, short five mission arcs that allow for easy pick up and play. The narrative method also allows players to see the larger scale of the world war, thrust into real people from the war and playing out their true to life experiences.
The player count in online multiplayer will either make it or break it for most people. If the player will be venturing online with a group of friends it can prove a fun, tactical, destruction filled sandbox. Along though, the multiplayer seems lacking as the large rambling maps will quickly swallow the player against another organized group.
Ultimately for Battlefield 1, if playing with friends it is the go to option. Beyond that, the interesting single player doesn’t change the plodding gameplay which the other two games have largely eradicated.
The next game released was Titanfall 2. Titanfall 1 made its premier as an Xbox One exclusive and quickly made a name for itself with quick gameplay and revolutionary movement that other games have since adapted.
Titanfall 2’s campaign, a first for the franchise, is short and compact with a few original ideas that help it stand slightly above the average entry. The combination of player and titans (giant robots the player controls) give the gameplay solid pacing as well.
Where Titanfall 2 really shines is online, though. Its four player teams are well suited to single players or large groups, and the same frenetic gameplay from the first has been refined to bring it closer in line with traditional shooters. The team at Respawn made a smart decision in changing the way leveling works. Rather than a clear experience system popular in the genre since 2010, the game opts for a ‘merit’ based system. Ultimately it means players will consistently level regardless of performance, a fresh and welcome change.
The last thing Titanfall 2 has going for it is a lack of additional charges. The team has made a point of offering all future content for free, unlike both Call of Duty and Battlefield who offer season passes for their multiple paid additions.
The last shooter release was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, just over a week ago. The game turned many players’ expectations on their head when it comes to what a Call of Duty game is. Normally the multiplayer is a go to facet, but in Infinite Warfare the single player campaign is perhaps its best part. The campaign features a winding narrative following a newly appointed captain as they combat ‘space terrorists’. Jumping across the solar system taking down what are basically space pirates is made interesting through new mission structure and a combination of aesthetics that create a cohesive world.
The gameplay is notably unchanged from the last entry to the franchise, Black Ops 3. Double jumping and rocket powered slides dictate the player movement, which lands it squarely in between Battlefield and Titanfall 2. The biggest thing Call of Duty has going for it this year is the sheer amount of games there is to play. In addition to all mentioned before, there is also a zombie mode with hours of gameplay.
Call of Duty is the safest of the three options this year, especially when purchasers upgrade to the $80 dollar edition. That version includes a remastered version of the critically lauded Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. With that single purchase players are getting dozens, if not hundreds of hours of familiar, comfortable gameplay, although it a bit stale.
Whichever game you decide to pick up for yourself or a loved one this holiday season, there are plenty of great options. Later this month the Houstonian will have a much larger buying guide for students headed home for the holidays, so be sure to check them out in print and online at houstonianonline.com.