Whilst there may be only one FPS title that’s guaranteed a release year in year out, there is certainly no arguing that when the latest Call of Duty and Battlefield titles arrive in the same year, there is always some serious competition to ensue, as both Activision and EA go all out to grab as much of the hugely devoted FPS fan base as possible. Though there will always be fanboys that argue in favour of their favourite series, in truth the battle has always been close.

So with both series’ releases on the market and updates being pumped out, it’s time to see who’s shooting to the top this year.

Offline Gameplay

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FPS titles often tend to be multiplayer focussed affairs these days. Call of Duty however, has always been one to embrace the big set pieces and blockbuster explosions. The campaign has always been the go-to place to experience this. Infinite Warfare is of course no different, with a seamless transition between the aggressive run and gun action and the fast and furious space warfare that takes place. With the same controls as every other title in the series, it couldn’t be any easier to pick off those ultra-smooth and vital headshots one after the other like the ultimate badass.

Battlefield on the other hand has changed its stance this year, with the focus now on short stories over a full-blown campaign. However, one thing that shocked everyone is just how well it works. Everything feels right about it, and whilst I for one would have certainly preferred a little more in the way of content to keep me going, there’s no arguing that this is possibly the start of a new life for FPS campaigns. With enough quality packed into every episode to make you feel like you’ve just watched every season of 24 over again, there is certainly an impressive solo option here for those interested.

Verdict – Draw

Online Gameplay

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It’s difficult to talk about the multiplayer online in a Call of Duty title without referencing most of the other games in the series. Whilst many are often quick to jump on the ‘if it ain’t broke’ bandwagon, and the sales continue to sail high into the millions each year, it’s hard to compliment a title that offers very few changes to the repetitive experience each time. The gameplay itself fails to replicate the accuracy and smoothness of the solo offering and takes away the wow factor the campaign initially instils.

As for Battlefield, the switch from solo to online isn’t all that different. Sure, the opposition is smarter (most of the time at least), but it still feels like the same game for the main part. Combat feels realistic and believable, each location is as you’d expect and the option to take the battle to the other end of its huge scale maps really help to make each match feel different enough to keep playing.

Verdict – Battlefield

Game modes

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Whilst the gameplay in Call of Duty may feel no different, it’s the game modes that show no sign of change this time around. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing given the number of modes in place, and there is certainly enough on offer to keep everyone sweet for some time. With the various multiplayer game types, the blockbuster campaign and the infamous zombies mode all on offer from the start, there is certainly plenty of content on show. But with no new changes to speak of, those that spent much time with last year’s title will certainly find nothing fresh to write home about.

Battlefield has tried a couple of new things this year, with a different approach to the story and some new multiplayer modes such as the popular Operations as well as the not so popular War Pigeons on offer. Those that have paid any attention to the custom game modes locked away on the menu screen will be aware that there’s soon more to come too, with the Fog of War mode expected to arrive during the upcoming Battlefest week and the missing hardcore modes arriving at some point in the coming days. There’s certainly plenty to keep things fresh alongside the returning fan favourites such as Conquest and Rush.

Verdict – Battlefield

Authenticity

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Okay, Call of Duty is always going to have it hard here, especially after ditching the popular ‘boots on the ground’ titles for the much more futuristic approach. It’s difficult to imagine a day in which people would spend their time traversing buildings by running along every wall instead of the floor, or a day in which the classic sniper rifles could also provide machine gun fire at the press of a button.

As for Battlefield, DICE’s brave decision to return to World War 1 offers a more believable setting for FPS fans this year. From the close combat trench warfare, all the way to the weather effects on the matches and weapons, Battlefield 1 certainly offers an experience to remember. When that moment appears for you to push a bayonet into someone’s back, you’ll soon find yourself feeling much more engaged than the moment you fail to gain the Nuke killstreak in Call of Duty.

Verdict – Battlefield

Online Progression System

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Whilst the constant re-use of the same features has started to grate on many players, one thing that is eagerly anticipated each year is the level cap. Last year’s Call of Duty Black Ops 3 saw players grinding their way to level 1000 after maxing out the prestige counter and whilst this year’s title takes a step back, with just the ten prestige’s currently available, it goes without saying the feeling of reaching the next one never gets old.

Battlefield on the other hand is a bit of an odd one when it comes to progression. Whilst Battlefield Hardline introduced its own prestige-like system, Battlefield 4 simply saw players grinding towards an exceptional amount of XP to reach the coveted level 140. Battlefield 1 however has reduced both of those things with the max rank set to a seemingly low level 100 and the XP required for each rank much lower than previous titles. Whilst many will find themselves perfectly happy with the amount of time required to reach the top, series veterans will certainly be frowning in the coming weeks.

Verdict – COD

The Final Verdict

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Whilst the player count for each title is always going to be exceedingly high, there’s no hiding that Battlefield 1 is top dog this time around. From realism to gameplay DICE have really hit it out of the park for this year’s FPS crown and only really falls down in comparison to Call of Duty Infinite Warfare with its progression system.

The war isn’t over, but DICE own the Battlefield!

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