The holiday season is always hard on gamers’ wallets. With so many titles squeezed into the coveted early November release window, there’s only so much cash to go around. This year, fans of first-person shooters have an overly difficult holiday ahead of them, as Halo 5: Guardians, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront debut within three weeks of one another. To make matters worse, they’re all looking to be top-notch shooters. Luckily, we’re here to go over some of the finer points of each title to hopefully help you make a decision, even if means buying all three.
Halo 5: Guardians
- Release Date: October 27, 2015
- Platform: Xbox One
The first title to release is Microsoft’s flagship shooter that basically put the Xbox brand on the map. Halo 5 marks the second mainline entry in the series developed by 343 Industries. After a promising multiplayer beta that took place a few months ago, changes and adjustments were made to ensure the new title meets and exceeds fan expectations.
The game is fast-paced, but not quite as arcade-like as Call of Duty. Some strategies from previous Halo titles will carry over to Halo 5: Guardians thanks to some of the changes 343 made. You can drop an opponent’s shield in a single hit and score quick two-hit combo kills. But Halo 5 isn’t just about bringing up the past. The team at 343 looked at other FPS games and made sure Halo 5 can stand up to the competition.
Gears of War fans will be happy to hear that suppressing fire has a significant purpose in team battles while playing Halo 5. In addition, your armor is now linked with every weapon, which means you can zoom in for those all-important headshots (or achieveprecision aiming). Of course if you’re hit at all while looking down your sights, you’ll get knocked out of the viewpoint, once again giving new meaning to suppressing fire. Last but certainly not least, there’s a 12 vs. 12 Warzone mode complete with Requisition perks to enhance the experience. This isn’t the Halo of old, but it’s a new game that should appeal to Halo fans and newcomers alike.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
- Release Date: November 6, 2015
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
With Halo 5 being the only exclusive game of the three, if you don’t own an Xbox One, the choice is a little bit easier.If you have yet to purchase a current generation console (PS4 or Xbox One), then the choice is easy. Black Ops 3 is the only one of the three titles that will be available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, if you own a PS4 or you play shooters on PC, you’ll still have to choose between Black Op 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront.
Zombies have been a huge draw for theCall of Duty franchise, and this trend will continue with Black Ops 3. There are two Zombies storylines in the game, both of which tie directly into the Zombies storylines in Black Ops 2.
If Zombies isn’t your thing, fear not. Treyarch included four-player co-op for the campaign mode, in addition to customizable soldiers and more open-ended paths to competition in the campaign. For multiplayer there’s a new Specialist class system that allows players to select one of nine different soldiers, each with a variety of abilities. You can even customize your weapons using the new Gunsmith feature, and there’s been a slight change to movement in the game.
Essentially, if you’ve been a fan of Call of Duty in the past, this is going to switch things up a bit so you don’t feel like you’re playing the same game with a fresh skin. However, it’s still Call of Duty at heart, and with Black Ops 3 having a futuristic feel, fans of Advanced Warfare should be right at home.
Star Wars: Battlefront
- Release Date: November 17, 2015
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
When Star Wars: Battlefront releases on November 17, it will be the first new entry in the series since 2009. That’s a long time for Star Wars fans to wait, but since this is the unofficial year of Star Wars, Star Wars: Battlefront will be just the beginning. Star Wars fans will of course have an easy choice when it comes to these three first-person shooters. Star Wars: Battlefront is the only Star Wars title among the three, and with The Force Awakens arriving a month later, the game should be more than enough to hold them over.
For someone who isn’t a Star Wars fan, or who simply prefers the other FPS titles, Star Wars: Battlefront still offers a few things the other games don’t. First and foremost, DICE, the same people behind the Battlefield series, developed the game. It’s no secret there are a lot of Battlefield fans out there, and if you favor Battlefield to Call of Duty or Halo, it’s likely the gameplay of Star Wars: Battlefront will appeal to you more than the other two.
Online multiplayer in Star Wars: Battlefront will feature up to 40 players in matches. There will be 12 maps available when the game launches, covering five locations from the Star Wars universe. While historic Star Wars mainstays such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker will make appearances in the game, it doesn’t just cover the original trilogy. For instance, one of the five locations in the game is the planet of Jakku, which relates more to The Force Awakens than any of the previous Star Wars films.
It’s also widely known that the first DLC for the game will be the Battle of Jakku, which will arrive on December 8, 2015. Even if you somehow tire of the game before The Force Awakens releases on December 18, the Battle of Jakku DLC will give the game an extra surge before the movie hits. If you’re looking for massive battles or need your Star Wars fix, Battlefront should be right up your alley.
Of course, the ideal scenario is to simply buy all three games, but money is an issue for a lot of people. If you can only choose one or two, it’s going to be a tough choice because each title has unique features. No matter which you go with, Prima Games will have in-depth coverage to make sure you rise above the competition.