With the third and last Pre-Release Halo 4 Article before the review, I’ll go over the barebones differences between the two latest FPS entries. Both franchises are juggernauts in their own right, but they offer two vastly different play experiences. This quick summary will greatly benefit you if you fall under the following categories:
- Weren’t a big fan of FPS games, but interested in trying something new
- Interested in both games, but must choose one
- Going to get both eventually, but stuck on which to get first – FYI Halo 4 comes out November 6th, and Black Ops 2 comes out the 13th, so hopefully that makes your decision easier
- Trying to decide which game to get for someone as a gift
The Basic Gameplay – Campaign
Yes, they’re both played in First Person Perspective, and feature a plethora of different weapons, game modes, and customizable options. However, this does not equate to a similar gaming experience.
The barebones of Call of Duty’s campaign gameplay is run, gun, and cover. The campaign levels do a great job adding variety to this formula by way of pace variation and the creative utilization of different gameplay mechanics. The campaign is single player only.
You can expect all of that with a Halo campaign, but at a much more deliberate and controlled pace. I’ll detail this more in the next section, but Halo leans toward a skirmish oriented gameplay, as opposed to a Contra style run-and-gun approach. The campaign is multiplayer.
My Personal Opinion – I feel that Call of Duty’s campaign is more of an afterthought compared to its robust, immense multiplayer. Halo’s multiplayer isn’t as robust, but both modes offer equally satisfying gameplay experiences. There’s a reason Microsoft can produce Halo 4 commercials that only tout the plot of the campaign.
The Basic Gameplay – Multiplayer
Call of Duty multiplayer is much more frantic than Halo. With a pacing faster than Halo, the average “time spent alive” between deaths can run as low as sub-10 seconds for players of the Rambo persuasion. A player who “feeds” in Halo can expect an average “time spent alive” of 20-40 seconds. There’s no advantage to either game, because the amount of spawns keeps things about even.
As expected from a realistic (at least in Hardcore Playlists) shooter like Call of Duty, getting the jump on someone overrides any skill disparity the two players may have. Though there’s equally as much opportunity for the precision player to succeed in Call of Duty as there is in Halo, good reflexes will take you a long way.
Halo multiplayer is a melting pot of frantic firefights and skill-intensive precision. Some Team Deathmatch games may feel like a hectic free for all with forced truces included. Others may feel like Chess matches as players watch out for one another, manage weapon spawns (an important part of deathmatch gameplay), and coordinate well. The fact that kills are harder to achieve in Halo makes them that much more rewarding.
My Personal Opinion – It all comes down to what you’re in the mood for. Sometimes I feel like earning a chopper gunner while only using a noobtube. Maybe ramboing with a Plasma Sword. Both games offer amazing multiplayer experiences. I feel that Halo has a better campaign, but the multiplayer is a draw.
Call of Duty Pros
- Faster paced gameplay, yet room for skilled, deliberate players to shine as well
- Higher skill floor – Easier for noobs to pick up the game and do decent
- More customizable options for your loadouts (perks, weapons, etc)
- A deep casual ladder experience
- Skill and strategy intensive gameplay, with room for the “In your face” players to shine
- More skirmish oriented – Expect to get good at dancing, dodging, and weaving.
- Lower skill floor – Harder to pick up, but the better player will win a duel. Always.
- Weaker ladder experience for the casual player, but a robust “Ranked Ladder” experience for the competitive player.
Keep in mind both games are immensely fun! They offer vastly different gameplay experiences, so buyers who must choose one over the other should take a moment to decide their preferred style of gameplay.