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Published on September 4th, 2018 | by voxx

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Black Ops 4 vs Battlefield 5

‘Battlefield 5′ and ‘Black Ops 4′ have had plenty of early access time and both games have stark differences to their predecessors, so a comparison seems fair. With ‘Black Ops 4′ having 85% higher pre-release sales than ‘Battlefield 5′, it seems like the consumers have already made their choice on which of the two big shooters they’ll be picking up this year. It’s easy to see why people would be more excited for ‘Black Ops 4′, since it does seem like a return to form for the ‘Call Of Duty’ franchise, with fast paced gun play, noticeable and specific weaponry, and an engaging new competitive game mode. The marketing campaign has been successful too over the rather tragic ‘Battlefield 5′ marketing campaign, and it is a huge leap from ‘Call of Duty WW2′, whereas ‘Battlefield 5′ looks like nothing more than an updated ‘Battlefield 1′. But do the pre-release sale numbers represent the overall quality of the product?

The ‘Black Ops 4′ Beta was great fun. It has been quite a few years since I’ve had this much fun on a Call of Duty title and it left me wanting more after the beta had ended. The gun play was fast enough to keep you engaged and excited going between battles, but lasted long enough to enable escaping or fighting back. One part which made me think I’d be annoyed by this game was the presence of the heroes on the multiplayer load up screen, however it wasn’t as bad as in ‘Black Ops 3′ since all of them were unlocked from the start. I doubt it will be this way in the full game, but it was nice since it meant no one had a huge advantage. I still say it would be better without all of the ‘Overwatch’ style ‘Select a hero’ and just go back to being a standard soldier, but it didn’t turn me away.

The biggest and best difference to the rest of the series is manual health regeneration. Now, instead of just running and sitting behind a wall and magically healing yourself like you’re Wolverine, you need to stab a syringe into your arm and watch your health rise. This does take away from the classic formulae but fits into the new game wonderfully, since the longer time-to-kill (TTK) means you will be at more of an advantage with a team, therefore pushing this game much closer to a team focused experience than previous titles. You can still be a one man army and wipe out the enemy team, but it’ll take more effort and you’ll have to choose kills and use the movement much better than before. The longer TTK means the enemies have more time to get to you and kill you when you’re attacking, but also means you have a better chance of surviving when ambushed and in close quarters.

There are two new game modes and one missing game mode, which has fans split down the middle. The two new game modes are Blackout, a Battle Royale mode, and Heist mode, a Counter-strike-esque competitive mode. The Blackout beta is available on September 10 on PS4 and September 14 on Xbox One and PC, but Heist mode was present and seriously fun. Heist sees two teams of five face off for a bag of money in a best of seven game. After each round, the winners will earn a large sum of money to purchase weapons, armour, perks etc, and the losers will earn a lot less. The bag of money can earn your team an extra income but decreases whilst the holder is sprinting. Kills and assists award extra money, manual health regeneration syringes are dotted around the map as well as extra ammo that you can pick up, and this mode has knockdowns instead of instant deaths. This adds to the heavy team focus as revives take only a couple of seconds. The first round is only played with side arms, armour and ammo don’t carry over to the next round, and there is no respawning. This is a huge breath of fresh air not only for casual gamers but also competitive players who have been yearning for a good dedicated Esports mode.

The missing game mode is the campaign, and ‘Call of Duty’ has had a few brilliant campaign modes. Fans will never forget the All Ghillied Up mission from ‘Modern Warfare’ or the Reznov twist from ‘Black Op’s, and even though these are long call backs, and ‘Black Ops 3′ did have a terrible story mode, the new mechanics and lack of gimmicks means they could tell another great story. Zombies will be returning as always and will no doubt add another layer of contrived over-the-top nonsense to the easter eggs and what was once an entertaining hidden story. They have remade Mob of the Dead from ‘Black Ops 2′, created an all new map in the base game, and I’m sure the gameplay will be as solid as it’s ever been. Personally, I think that the Zombie mode has just been moving backwards since ‘Black Ops 1′, with ‘Black Ops 2′ taking a couple of stumbles down the stairs and ‘Black Ops 3′ falling from the top of the stairs onto its back, but has always been fun in co-op so it should still be enjoyable.

‘Battlefield 5′, on the other hand, has not shown much. Not only has the marketing hidden the real gameplay behind scripted movements and pre-rendered trailers, but the early access gameplay has only allowed us to play Conquest and a new game mode called Grand Operations, because apparently the problem with Operations from ‘Battlefield 1′ is that it didn’t sound big enough. Grand Operations lets you play different game modes on the same map across, at most, five rounds, or ‘days’. It could just be that there was only one map available in the Closed Alphas, but if that was the case then they should have either added another map or not included that game mode. That’s like having The Big Bang Theory without the canned laughter, you need all of the components to make it work or else it gets really boring, really fast. The gameplay wasn’t necessarily boring but it started grow tiresome quicker than it should have. The conquest matches were always fun and did feel different, but they aren’t expected to last 5 rounds back to back. The optimisation was poor, but that’s to be expected from a closed alpha to be fair, so I’ll not judge against that. However, I will judge against the fact that the matchmaking was atrocious. For five hours in the limited time, games were always heavily biased towards one side and just ended up in a spawn camp, because 32 players against eight isn’t fair unless the eight are Kingsmen.

Generally, the mechanics worked fine and the bugs were at a minimum, although a few features were missing that may be in the open beta on September 6. The game has also been pushed back a month to November 20. The reason developers Dice gave for the delay was to focus on the core gameplay, although this sounds weak compared to the rather obvious fact that it is being outsold by ‘Black Ops 4′, was originally being released between ‘Red Dead Redemption 2′ and ‘Fallout: 76′, and doesn’t want to be left out to die like ‘Titanfall 2′ was. The extra month back will allow them to polish it more, as well as work on the stunning Ray Tracing (RTX) graphics, but mainly allow them to capitalise on a more open release window and adapt to the reception and criticism from the ‘Black Ops 4′ Battle Royale mode, as ‘Battlefield 5′ will be having its own version, which rumours say could be free.

Overall, ‘Black Ops 4′ is ahead in pre-release sales mainly because of superior marketing and knowing its target audience, and ‘Battlefield 5′ has fallen behind on trying to look too epic and failing to understand that a ‘Battlefield’ audience wants to know what the game is like to play and what’s been changed, not what looks good when scripted beyond belief. ‘Battlefield 5′ is largely different to its predecessor in gameplay, but not setting. WW1 and WW2 is a bit too similar compared to the change of WW2 to Near Future that ‘Call of Duty’ has gone for. The gameplay should be enough for it to sell well, but it depends on how EA and Dice manage the game between the release of ‘Black Ops 4′ and itself. ‘Battlefield’ has enough legs to stand on its own, they just haven’t shown off the good parts of it. There’s likely no catching up on pre-order sales, and with the delayed release they probably won’t overtake on overall sales, but both are still fun experiences that will be worth your time.

- By Ben Hanrahan


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