Sunday, August 22, 2010

Which Reign Supreme: COD Or Halo?


Call of Duty 4: Two words: Intense atmosphere. CoD4 is more like playing a major motion picture than a video game. Post-processing effects, high-res character models, and a living, breathing battlefield make CoD4 the leading graphical powerhouse on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Every object casts a shadow, "even the bullet casings" as Project Lead Jason West proudly pointed out in a recent demo. It's this sharp attention to detail that makes CoD4 the most realistic looking game to date.

"The Bog" will blow your mind.

The graphics are particularly spectacular during a mission called "The Bog," during which the player rampages through Middle-Eastern slums during the dead of night. Dazzling anti-aircraft fire streaks across the night sky, and the clouds glow orange from the fires below. The mission begins on a dangerous freeway. Flaming cars block the exits and MG42 gunners unload from the windows of the surrounding buildings. Above you, a brigade of friendly helicopters fly overhead, but one is hit with an RPG and spirals to its doom below the freeway -- all at a consistent 30 frames per second. CoD4 is so close to photo realism it would make any military recruit think twice about signing up.

Halo 3: What continues to impress in the Halo games is the size and scope of the outdoor environments. Since the release of Halo 3's multiplayer beta this past spring, critics slammed the graphics for looking like "Halo 2.5." This isn't entirely inaccurate: Halo 3's multiplayer matches are clean and crisp, but not a vast leap over Halo 2's.
The best HDR lighting we've seen to date.

The best HDR lighting we've seen to date.

Where Halo shines is, well, in its shine. Bungie's use of HDR (High Dynamic Range) lighting gives the game a bright, almost blinding, sheen. But the visual effects came at a cost; due to the technical demands of HDR lighting, Bungie had to drop native 720p support to a slightly lower resolution of 640p. This sacrifice is a minor one, but owners of big-screen HDTVs may notice a more pixel-y look.

On the upside, thanks to the flatter geometry and lower resolution of Halo 3's single-player campaign, the Xbox 360 has processing power to spare and can handle a smooth frame rate, along with sizzling particle effects and high-res environment textures.

Call of Duty 4. It doesn't get anymore photorealistic than CoD4, unless you own an outrageously expensive gaming PC that can run Crysis at max settings.

Call of Duty 4: The COD theme song may not be as recognizable as Halo's, but the drums of war are even more piercing. Like its attention to visual detail, CoD4's sound design is meticulous and immersing. Each individual sound effect is amplified by distance, caliber, and even atmosphere, and blistering 5.1 surround sound delivers every staccato gunshot and screaming RPG like a punch to the face.
Stun 'em and gun 'em.

Stun 'em and gun 'em.

The best part about the sound in CoD4, however, is the actual in-game dialogue between characters. Captain Price returns from both COD 1 and 2 with his same 'ol bad ass demeanor. He bellows commands like "Hold," "Clear right," and "Move out," and you had better listen. Watching your fellow squad mates dynamically respond to these commands gives you a feeling of playing with real people.

Halo 3: For the third game in the series, Halo 3 composer Marty O'Donnell waited to score some of the most significant moments in the game until late in the development process. The result: a more grounded, tightly knit feeling to the music. Like its predecessors, Halo 3 uses its soundtrack to highlight the emotions of the cinematic scenes. In this way, Halo 3 is truly the Star Wars of video games, as much of the emotional heavy lifting is done through the orchestral soundtrack and less through the acting and script.


The nuts and bolts are also impressive. With crisp 5.1 spatial effects and distinctive positional audio on weapons fire, Halo 3's sound effects tilt towards the pragmatic. They're not fancy or elaborate, but they're instantly recognizable. In essence, they work.

Call of Duty 4. Crank up the volume and prepare for one of the most intense experiences of your life.


Call of Duty 4: The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse with a dash of nuclear war. Although the name of the game is "Modern Warfare," the smarter-than-you-think story arc of CoD4 steers far away from the ugly realities of real-world Iraq. A wise decision, we think, as Iraq is still an awfully touchy subject.
War is hell. War is hell.
The story begins with the in-your-face death of Middle Eastern president Al-Fulani. His death proves to be a distraction for Russian nationalist and ring leader of The Four Horsemen, Imran Zakhaev. Dead set on returning his homeland to the times of the Soviet Union, Zakhaev forms a coup with Middle Eastern rogue leader Khaled Al-Asad to deter the American and British forces (psst...that's you) from further interfering. It's an intriguing, rather mature storyline that later on paints a grim portrait of the threat of modern, nuclear war.
Halo 3: The events of the first two Halo games climax in Halo 3, playing out the final act in the ongoing battle between humanity and the Covenant, a race of alien religious zealots. In Halo 3, super-soldier Master Chief and Covenant turncoat Arbiter race against time to stop a Covenant leader from activating the titular Halos and destroying the universe in a fit of religious-inspired mass suicide.
Finish the fight. Finish the fight.
fanboys. Its dialogue also lacks sophistication and polish - characters often speak in stilted, comic book-style sentence structures.


Call of Duty 4. Comparing CoD4's story to Halo 3's is like comparing Shakespeare to Fantastic Four. Its frightening realism is even a cut above many recent Hollywood flicks.


Call of Duty 4: The equipment selection in CoD4 includes all of the latest high-tech weapons and gadgets funded by the hardworking taxpayers of the world. The anti-tank Javelin launcher is especially juicy: The Javelin uses fire-and-forget targeting and a self-guidance system that allows the soldier behind the barrel to sit back and enjoy the show. In CoD4, lock onto a tank with the Javelin, fire, and watch the missile kick into high gear launching straight up in the sky raining a 20lb. warhead straight down on its target.
Get a seven-kill streak in multiplayer to call in an attack chopper. Get a seven-kill streak in multiplayer to call in an attack chopper.
Most of the weapons, however, are saved for the multiplayer mode. Here you'll have the opportunity to become intimately familiar with each weapon, which fall into six categories: Assault rifles, submachine guns, light-machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, and pistols. There are dozens of weapons to choose from, each with their own unique stats and feel. Find the gun that's right for you and start working on the weapon-specific Challenge to unlock new scopes or a bonus gold-plated look.
Halo 3: Halo 3 is easily the most creative and ambitious game in the series from a weapons perspective, so much so, in fact, that it seemed initially overwhelming: Early on, many GP editors argued constantly that the new weapons and equipment would drown out the classic Halo feel and turn it into a chaotic mess. On the contrary, the new additions have actually strengthened the game's core gameplay be emphasizing rock-paper-scissors strategies. Under fire? Drop a Bubble Shield. Blocked by a Bubble Shield? Find a shotgun and breach the field to slay the now-helpless occupant. Halo 3 could be the most diverse multiplayer game ever released, and its huge, balanced arsenal is the star of the show.
Man a turret, jump a Chopper, or beat down a Spartan. What can't you do in Halo 3? Man a turret, jump a Chopper, or beat down a Spartan. What can't you do in Halo 3?


Halo 3. Modern guns and gadgets are fun and all, but Halo 3's massive repertoire of UNSC, Covenant, Forerunner, and Brute weaponry works like a well-oiled machine.


Call of Duty 4: Where CoD4 excels is a frightening level of realism, which translates to its fluid controls. The lack of dual-wielding frees up more than just the left trigger for the vital aim-down-sights mode, but the bumper buttons as well, which are used for throwing frag and special grenades. And since CoD4 is a competitive FPS, customizable control schemes leave no player behind.
Aim down the gun sight for more control. Aim down the gun sight for more control.
Halo 3: Bungie has it down to a science for the amount of actions Halo 3 demands. At first, Halo players are likely to fumble around with using the right and left bumpers to pick up and reload weapons, but after a few games it quickly becomes second nature. In fact, it makes perfect sense. With equipment assigned to the X button, virtually no button on the Xbox 360 controller is left unused, but Halo 3's controls are so familiar that they never feel overwhelming.
There had better be great controls if you're going to tackle an army of Brutes. There had better be great controls if you're going to tackle an army of Brutes.
Another plus: Bungie continues to offer multiple control schemes, such as Southpaw (for lefties) and Boxer (for hand-to-hand enthusiasts).


Halo 3. Nothing beats its comfort and familiarity.


Call of Duty 4: Though blisteringly challenging on the harder difficulty levels, CoD4's single-player campaign is a rewarding experience you won't soon forget. From the plot twists to the profound moments, such as the *spoiler alert* mid-game nuclear bomb, CoD4 has one of the most memorable single-player campaigns in history. It's by far the best Call of Duty yet. You'll be especially stunned by The Bog and Sniper's Escape levels. It's true that CoD4 has a slightly shorter campaign that weighs in at six hours or so, but the extra difficulty levels make it highly replayable and extremely rewarding. Just don't put the controller down until after the credits!
One of the best single-player campaigns in years. One of the best single-player campaigns in years.
The primary campaign is split between two main story arcs that follow one Soap MacTavish of the British S.A.S. unit in Russia, a specialist in night-mission intelligence gathering and air drops, and Sgt. Paul Jackson of the U.S.M.C., a tough-as-nails lunk who is among the first to venture into the chaos. Despite the split plot and story twist, CoD4 is never confusing. And it's certainly never dull.
Halo 3: Halo has never truly excelled from a purely single-player viewpoint. From the repetitious environments that plagued the first game, to the muddled storyline and anticlimactic ending of the second game, Halo games typically come up a bit short in the single-player department. So it's good news that Halo 3 is the best single-player game in the series yet. It has more variety than the other two games combined, and its diverse array of battles and settings make for a far more satisfying experience. But it's by no means perfect -- some of the old faults pop up from time to time, and the gameplay almost always consists of shooting, dodging, and more shooting. Halo 3 has an intense, satisfying single-player mode...but for the money, there are more engrossing choices than Halo 3.
We'll never forget Tsavo Highway. We'll never forget Tsavo Highway.


Call of Duty 4. CoD4's single-player campaign and storyline are simply far more polished and engrossing. You'll likely play from start to finish in one ferocious afternoon....then immediately start a new campaign on a higher difficulty. What it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in polish and compulsive replayability.


Call of Duty 4: CoD4 boasts an absolutely flawless online component; the best since Halo 2 set the standard for online multi play back in 2004. With 55 attainable ranks, fun-filled challenges, create-a-class perks, a handful of flavorful gametypes, and a gigantic arsenal of weapons to unlock, CoD4 is strong contender for Best Multiplayer Game of the Year.
So many Create-a-Class options. What's a soldier to do? So many Create-a-Class options. What's a soldier to do?
Halo 3: With four-player online co-op, the best matchmaking experience in gaming, a user-friendly ranking system, an easy-to-use map editor, and video and screenshot sharing functionality, Halo 3 yet again raises the bar...and nobody pole vaults higher than the Chief.
Moments like these are File Share worthy. Moments like these are File Share worthy.


Halo 3. This category is so close it's scary to think of another game that can even get remotely close to the majesty of Halo 3's multiplayer. We ultimately chose Halo 3 because of its divine Forge and File Share features.


Call of Duty 4: Aside from the experience point system in multiplayer, which unlocks weapons, Perks, and new Challenges, CoD4 offers nothing too innovative apart from rock solid gameplay and extreme polish.
The team at Infinity Ward has got talent. The team at Infinity Ward has got talent.
Halo 3: Halo 3 is one of the more ground-breaking games ever released, and its innovations are tied almost exclusively to its cutting-edge online community.
<3 Bungie  Bungie
Beyond Halo 3's massive online battles lies something far more interesting: a full-featured tool set. Bungie has loaded Halo 3 with impressive tools, such as the ability to save a match and replay it from any angle, take screenshots, or build a new in-game power-up and upload it to all your buddies. Even more impressive is the new Forge mode, in which up to 16 players can simultaneously collaborate on editing a level; swapping out vehicles, changing weapon placements, removing or adding scenery, and other more radical changes. The ability to share and promote these creations, via Bungie's Favorites, is quite simply a masterstroke.


Halo 3. Undeniably. File Share is truly the most important "next-generation" innovation in gaming.


Call of Duty 4: With a prolific single-player campaign that you'll want to play over and over again, global leaderboards for Arcade mode and multiplayer, and mass amounts of unlockable content, CoD4 has nearly unlimited replayability.
Prestige Mode here I come. Prestige Mode here I come.
Replayability was at the forefront of Infinity Ward's development process, which is something you'll notice immediately when you first hop online. The multiplayer experience can last indefinitely if players choose so. That's the magic of Prestige Mode, which allows players to start over from scratch to enjoy the magic of unlockable Perks, weapons, and equipment all over again.
Halo 3: The Halo 2 servers are still massively populated some three years after its release, and Halo 3 is sure to continue this trend. With four-player online cooperative play, an online multiplayer community that falls short only to World of Warcraft, and a custom map and game editor, Halo 3 is a remarkable step up from Halo 2.
Zombies! Zombies!


Call of Duty 4. It's already evident that Halo 3 is losing a bit of steam online. Besides creating custom gametypes and level layouts, there's just not that much to do after unlocking all the armor permutations and capping out at the final rank.



WINNER -- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Out of 9 categories, the breakdown was as follows:
Call of Duty 4: 5 categories won: Story, Graphics, Sound, Single-Player, Replayability
Halo 3: 4 categories won: Arsenal, Controls, Multiplayer, Innovation
It's almost unbelievable, right? CoD4 is the better game based on the nine categories that we feel every developer should take into account when making games. This was a close fight, almost too close to determine a winner, but the games speak for themselves. GamePro would like to add that both CoD4 and Halo 3 should both be in every gamer's Xbox 360 library.

But, let's face it gamers. Halo Reach is going to revolutionize gaming and synthesize RPG elements with 1st-person shooters. The hype for Halo Reach is so much more vibrant than the anticipation for COD: Black Ops. When Halo Reach comes out on the market, I expect double the sales for Halo Reach. This is the last game of the halo series possibly and everyone wants a piece of the Spartan's last stand against the Covenant on Planet Reach.The weapons, maps, armory, loadouts, achievements, tactics, vehicles, campaign , and matchmaking for Halo Reach is so much more juicy and fresh then another repetitive COD release every year. Halo Reach has a lot more captivating graphics, interesting gametypes and gameplay. And best of all , the credit system rocks!!Finally, a credit system that is non-linear and fair. This makes it so it;s exciting to try different ways to rank up and get more credits so you can cash in on some baller armor. So, Halo fans take pride in Halo Reach because it will be the best game of the next five years, guaranteed! Order yours below at and get $20.00 Dollars in free credit toward your next purchase on Amazon. Remember Halo Reach!! Pre-order your copy below:

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