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Battlefield 5 vs. Black Ops 4: Which Shooter Is For You?

As two of the most popular first-person shooter franchises of the past decade, Call of Duty and Battlefield are often the subject of intense debate among gamers. It's that time of the year to reopen the dialogue, now that Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 have arrived.

Two of the best action games of the year, BFV and BO4 are a lot less alike than you might think. But which of these popular games should you start ranking up on? Here is a look at how Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 stack up against each other.

Gameplay

If you've played these franchises before, then you're familiar with the difference in gameplay between Battlefield and Call of Duty. Battlefield strives for realism with its gameplay mechanics, whereas Black Ops 4 is more of a run-and-gun shooter.

In Battlefield V, weapons bob up and down as your character breathes heavily, you'll have to account for recoil when shooting some of the primitive weapons and mastering flight takes hours of practice. Dice did dial back some of the more infuriating aspects of BFV's predecessor, Battlefield 1, however. For instance, guns now have less recoil, anti-tank weapons are more powerful and your soldier's movements are faster and more responsive.

These changes make the game more rewarding and fun to play, although they come at the expense of authenticity. A signature of the franchise, Battlefield V gives a lot of weight to teamwork and squad play, so make sure to find some friends to play along with you.

Like the previous Call of Duty games, Black Ops 4 rewards speed and reaction time over strategy. However, in BO4, you should die less frequently because of a higher time-to-kill interval. As expected, gameplay is fast and fluid, and there is little-to-no recoil on most guns. Newcomers will likely prefer the straightforward nature of these weapons over the learning curve required of Battlefield V's guns.

Black Ops 4 reworked its health system, nixing regenerative health in favor of making players manually trigger health replenishment. The change doesn't have a drastic effect on balance, but it does add another thing players need to keep track of.

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Adding complexity to Call of Duty's tried-and-try formula are Specialists, or character classes similar to the heroes in Overwatch. Players can load out as one of 10 different Specialists, each with its own set of abilities and weapons. In comparison, Battlefield V limits you to four different classes: Assault, Medic, Support and Recon.

Verdict: Play Battlefield V if you prefer strategic gameplay and realistic mechanics. Go for Call of Duty if you want fast-paced arcade action.

Modes

For better or worse, Battlefield V includes a single-player campaign. Called War Stories, the mode takes you through a series of vignettes that tell the lesser-known tales of World War II. The campaign is brief and not particularly engaging.

Battlefield V's Grand Operations puts together multiple rounds of different game modes to create an epic multiday battle. The grind is rewarding, but these matches can take over an hour to complete. If you want a bite-size version, I recommend starting with Conquest, the quintessential Battlefield game mode. In Conquest, players are tasked to capture and hold the majority of bases so that the enemy loses tickets, or points, faster.

Frontlines is a mix between Conquest and Rush, while Domination emphasizes infantry combat ahead of vehicle warfare. Of course, there is also a Team Deathmatch for those who want to stick with the classics.

A hotly anticipated Battle Royale mode, Firestorm, is coming to Battlefield V in March 2019. Dice has already confirmed that a fire will shrink the battlefield as a round progresses and that the mode will feature 64 players divided into 16 squads. Firestorm will also feature the largest Battlefield map to date, which players can navigate using vehicles, like tanks and Jeeps.

Some were calling for Treyarch's head when it was announced that the Call of Duty franchise would be dropping its single-player campaign in order to focus on multiplayer. It turns out that betting on the Battle Royale craze rather than on a story mode was a calculated risk that paid off in a big way.

Blackout is arguably the best iteration of the Battle Royale genre yet. Picking up where games like Fortnite and PUBG left off, Blackout drops you into a map where you need to forage for weapons and supplies to fight off 99 other players. We've seen this before, but not with the sleek presentation and smooth, fast-paced mechanics Call of Duty is known for.

If you aren't already addicted to Blackout, Call of Duty offers a bunch of other game modes, including the age-old Team Multiplayer, which pits 10 to 12 players against each other as they attempt to reach a score limit by eliminating the enemy; and Zombies, a cooperative multiplayer mode in which players fight through hordes of the undead. Unique to this year's version is that there are two storylines split between three maps.  

Call of Duty's version of BF's Campaign mode is called Domination, and it works in the same way, in that players attempt to control points throughout the map. If you don't want to play in a squad, you can choose Free for All from among several other modes.

Verdict: Call of Duty currently offers more game modes, including one of the best versions of Battle Royale we've seen yet. Battlefield V's bread and butter remains the aging Conquest mode until it releases Firestorm in Spring 2019.

Presentation

There is no question as to which of these shooters is the most visually impressive. Battlefield V isn't just a great-looking first-person shooter, it is one of the most beautiful games ever made. The stunning maps, set in various parts of the world, look hyper-realistic at first glance. The amount of detail is outstanding and the dynamic weather not only adds realism but also has a tangible impact on gameplay. Battlefield V should also be commended for its tranquil soundtrack and first-rate sound effects.

Somewhere between Battlefield and Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 retains the same arcade-like look as its predecessors. That's not necessarily a bad thing — the game runs smoothly and there is still plenty of detail in the maps. Blackout is, by far, the most visually impressive mode in Black Ops 4 because of its varying environments and larger scale, compared to the compact traditional multiplayer maps. That being said, Call of Duty is starting to look stale and could use a facelift in 2019.

Verdict: Battlefield V wins this round hands down with superior graphics and audio.

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Replay Factor and Upcoming Content

Battlefield V will grow over time with an initiative Dice is calling Tides of War. In the coming months, new maps, weapons, vehicles and missions will be added to the game. Best of all, everything will be free to all users — no microtransactions or Deluxe Edition required. The first downloadable content was made available on Dec. 4 and included a new map set in Belgium alongside a new war story and tank-customization options.

The next release is set for January and will bring new multiplayer modes to BFV, including the fan favorite, Rush. Of course, the most anticipated addition will be Battlefield V's Battle Royale Mode, Firestorm, which is set for "Spring 2019."

The roadmap for Black Ops 4 is less firm than it is for BFV, but we do know that new content will be added free of charge. In fact, a new specialist, Zero, already debuted alongside new maps and the latest zombie mode. Treyarch is already tinkering with Blackout and is reportedly considering bringing AI into the mix. It has also been confirmed that weapon camo is coming to the Battle Royale mode.

Verdict: Black Ops 4 offered more content at release than Battlefield, but BFV has a clear roadmap for gaining ground on its rival.

Which game should you buy?

If you want to be blown away by gorgeous graphics, outstanding audio effects and calculated, strategic gameplay, then purchase Battlefield V. On the other hand, if you'd prefer a fast-paced, arcade-style shooter, or are all-in on the Battle Royale craze, then Black Ops 4 is the right game for you. That is, until Battlefield V releases its own version.

Credit: Tom's Guide