Shooter Showdown: Call of Duty Ghosts vs. Battlefield 4


No Last Stand in this Showdown

It’s that time again, the almost yearly battle between FPS juggernauts Battlefield and Call of Duty.  Despite this rivalry of the ages, the two seem to more and more alike each year. I feel like the two are twin brothers, torn asunder by fate and raised by different parents.  Nobody cares about their tragic upbringing though, just who won the fight this year.  The rules are simple: each game will be judged in different areas before the winner will be decided.  Let the match begin.


This one is very difficult to choose from this year mostly because the story is the weakest element of both games.  Battlefield 4 is a joyless, overdramatic story that seems to be trying too hard to get an Oscar while Ghosts is set like a high-budget action movie with a B-movie script.  BF4 also has a horrible ending that gives the player two choices when there should be three, plus there is a line in the game that could be considered to be both racist and sexist at the same time.  Ghost is mostly inoffensive and is actually hard not to laugh at the bad writing even though it is trying to be serious.  So yes, the story where a character can take four magnum rounds to the chest and still be okay is the winner; style over substance wins again.

Winner: Call of Duty Ghosts


Single Player

Another difficult category this year since both games are mostly linear shooting galleries with the occasional vehicle section.  BF4 has the advantage of larger areas with mostly destructible environments plus the ability to choose weapons and equipment.  Ghosts copies setpieces from previous games, contains a underwater level, two terrible space levels, and players get to be a dog for a few minutes.  Both are fairly forgettable experiences, but I feel BF4 takes the advantage by a hair because the game gives players a bit more freedom and choice with their tactics; Ghost retreads old ground and new ideas are executed poorly.

Winner: Battlefield 4


Call of Duty: Ghosts is unfortunately at a disadvantage this year as the game contains lackluster graphics that lack the pop the other games had, even on the PC and next-gen consoles.  BF4 looks good on current-gen and is astounding on the PC and upcoming consoles.  Don’t believe me, then check out Chris V’s article and then go look at some BF4 screenshots.  The sound design of Ghosts is about the same as it has always been, guns go bang and explosions go boom, though A.I. teammates really need to speak up when giving order, but BF4 contains a very dynamic sound design.  In short, sound behaves realistically so point BF4.

Winner: Battlefield 4

BF4 story


What’s a first-person shooter without a hefty supply of powerful weapons?  The point of an FPS is to emulate the feel of firing powerful weaponry under high stress situations and for the most part, both games get that right.  BF4 has a very wide range of weapons including a new set of Carbines and DRMs to an already large supply of guns.  The feel of each weapon within a category varies even though many are only separated by different stats.  Ghosts has one of the most balanced lineups to date, and one of the smallest.  Future weapons are a double-edged sword; they are either a great idea or a terrible one.  I never found any go-to weapons, just weapons to avoid like the hip-fire only Chain SAW LMG or the also poorly named Honey Badger assault rifle.  Due to a large roster of customizable weapons suited for multiple play styles, BF4 takes the point.

Winner: Battlefield 4

Notable Extras

For players with no interest in multiplayer, more on that down the line, what’s a player supposed to do after the single player campaign?  If it’s BF4, absolutely nothing except for another replay through the campaign.  Ghosts contains the supplementary mode Extinction in which players must destroy an alien infestation using one of four classes.  It may not be Nazi Zombies, but it is still fun even if it is a limited affair.  Point to Call of Duty.

Winner: Call of Duty Ghosts


Technical Issues

To describe the PC release of both games as a rocky start is like saying the Hindenburg contained a minor flaw in its design.  Both games contained issues where players were unable to play the game and online features, when able to play, were plagued with a list of problems.  While I got to experience BF4′s problems firsthand, I could only watch the chaos of the other game’s release from afar.  Apparently many of the problems have been fixed for both, but it is disheartening to see this many game breaking problems upon launch.

Winner: Tie


The final round is easily the most important as both games have defined themselves through their multiplayer over the years.  Starting with Ghosts, the multiplayer is more focused on character aesthetic this year as most challenges unlock equipment that doesn’t enhance the gameplay.  There may not be many weapons this time around, but they are balanced and can be unlocked once a player has enough points making it easy to keep up with people who have been playing for a longer period of time.  The servers seem to be a little unstable because the game contains lag, but it mostly slows the pace of the match and rarely gets the player killed.  Battlefield 4 is focused on large maps containing up to 64 people who will be shooting at each other with the game’s wide variety of firepower.  Like Ghosts, it really is more of the same, but the tweaks and modifications make it significantly more balanced than its predecessor, if the server and player has decent ping though.

The new naval vehicles add to the experience, but the new, gimmicky feature called “Levolution” only makes it more difficult for both teams to move about, especially the map that can be flooded.  Despite its flaws and horrible first-impression at launch, terrible servers and bugs will do that, BF4 is a unique experience.  Much like fishing, everyone will come back with an unbelievable tale.  Ghosts is still very fun and friendly to newcomers, but there is something missing that keeps it from being great; it is still better than Modern Warfare 2’s killstreak-focused mess or the spawnkill-a-palooza that was World at War.  So with that being said, point to Battlefield 4.

Winner: Battlefield 4


This Year’s Winner is…Battlefield 4!

With a score of 4.5 over 2.5, the winner is Battlefield 4.  Thanks to its strong multiplayer that carries the single player and story gracefully on its shoulders, and with a little help from the pretty graphics, Battlefield 4 takes the gold this year.  Ghosts isn’t a bad game, but even hardcore fans have to admit that the series has lost a step or two this year and is in desperate need of some fresh ideas.  Until the developers can muster up a new contender, Battlefield 4 takes the title.