The battle of the giants is entering its next round—in 2016 this classic duel is taking a somewhat different starting point. Previously, the Call of Duty (CoD) and BF (Battlefield) series were reasonably similar in terms of content; this year, however, these first person shooters (FPS) couldn’t be more distinct. In Activision’s latest installment of CoD, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, gamers are catapulted into a future epoch, while Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 1 casts them back in time to the First World War. On the one side—spacecraft, laser weapons, and futuristic technology; on the other—war horses, ponderous tanks, bi-planes, and muskets. With this in mind, we have directly compared these FPSs in three aspects:
Both first person shooters remain true to the genre in that great importance is placed on the balance between realism and accessible, enjoyable playability. In addition, both games are based on the aspects that made Call of Duty and Battlefield two of the most successful and beloved FPS series of all time. Battlefield 1 is set on large maps, fitting for the historical context, and features a combination of ground troops and battle vehicles. In contrast, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare utilizes smaller maps and team sizes, resulting in action that is more compact.
Battlefield 1 Gameplay: Enormous Arenas and Pure Destruction
Battlefield 1 is made of pure Battlefield DNA. The development team from Sweden focused on creating giant maps and large teams, and action on foot, in the air, and on tank tracks. Vehicles, armaments and the entire arsenal are fitted to the First World War era, while still offering modern gameplay. Naturally, the Battlefield 1 gameplay doesn’t fail to deliver destruction; on the battlefield, nothing is immune from heavy artillery and ruinous explosions. A falling Zeppelin, for example, can raze an entire village to the ground. The brand new weather effects, like rain and snow, also make a significant impact on the game, such as snipers lacking sight in the snow and vehicles becoming stuck in the mud.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Gameplay: Sci-Fi and Zombies
Infinity Ward are the team behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the very same developers who once revolutionized the CoD franchise with Modern Warfare. Besides the single player campaign, the much loved zombie mode has returned with this latest installment. Regarding movement and control, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is based on the fluid and vertical orientation made famous by Black Ops 3, presumably again with the use of jet packs or similar devices. At the very least, the game’s single player campaign will boast sections aboard spacecraft in complete weightlessness, but whether these features will appear in multiplayer remains to be seen.
Round 2— Setting
The settings of this year’s contenders could scarcely be more different. Over the last several years, both franchises have been set in modern, slightly futuristic environments, which placed them in a similar niche. This year, however, Battlefield 1 ventures back 100 years into the past, while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is set at least 100 years in the future.
A Dystopian Future in CoD: Infinite Warfare
This time, Infinity Ward is sending CoD fans into a distant future in which all natural resources have been exhausted. By forming colonies in space, people seek to exploit the highly coveted raw materials found there. These outposts in space are targeted by militant rebels, who revolt against the “United Nations Space Alliance” (UNSA). A dystopian future for the world indeed in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but fortunately players have the opportunity to protect the earth and outposts in space by playing the role of Captain Nick Reyes. The new CoD leaves realism behind and appears to be a veritable Sci-Fi spectacle, spacecraft and space action included.
The Horrors of the Past in Battlefield 1
The setting of Battlefield 1 is no less bleak, placed in the middle of the terror and chaos of the First World War. Weapons and armaments are appropriately accurate for the historical context. This is particularly impressive since the Great War came at a time when pre-modern warfare collided with the latest technological developments—horses, simple rifles, and artillery, alongside tanks, aircraft, and automatic weapons.
Round 3—First Impressions
These major titles are, in a sense, like cats and dogs: those who prefer one, tend not to appreciate the other, or at least it seems that way. However, just as there are some who like both cats and dogs, some gamers can happily enjoy both Battlefield and Call of Duty. Diehard fans will not be dissuaded from their favorite, of course, but outside these dedicated communities the contest between the two games promises to be an exciting one. While the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer very quickly received one of the lowest YouTube video ratings of all time, the Battlefield 1 trailer earned almost entirely positive reviews. Many Call of Duty players clearly didn’t appreciate the futuristic setting and therefore took a dim view of the trailer. Nevertheless, this initial reaction should not be overstated, since the majority of the reviews of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare itself have mostly been positive. The Sci-Fi setting could still well provide a welcome variation to the development of the CoD series and, should it prove to be a flop, the developers can always revert to the tried and tested format. In contrast, Electronic Arts seems to have struck the right chord with the decision to transport the franchise to the First World War era. That is at least the indication from the positive reception the Battlefield 1 trailer received, particularly after its E3 premiere. According to critics, the game manages to harness the virtues of previous BF installments, but in an interesting new context.
Ultimately it remains a matter of taste—those who have preferred the rapid action of CoD, or the giant arenas of Battlefield, so far will likely continue to do so. Infinity Ward has concentrated on experimental change with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, whereas EA have trodden a more familiar and proven path with Battlefield 1. Based on the initial reactions of gamers, the impressive images and immersive environment seems to put the World War One shooter ahead at the moment. Although Call of Duty offers equally impressive visuals, the brand new setting and science fiction concept is yet to be proven a success. Our conclusion? Both games are great shooters in their own right, and will be vying competitively for the attention of currently undecided action fans.