Competitive Shooter Rundown (MW2, BF:BC2, KZ2, MAG)


Modern Warfare 2

  • Best polish, attention to detail, and perfection of many finer points.
  • Deepest character progression system and load out configuration. This really rewards long term play.
  • Lots of gameplay variety in terms of different game modes and options.
  • Kill Cam: It’s a small feature, but it’s really helpful to see exactly how you got killed.
  • Spawn Trapping: Lots of matches devolve into one side blocking the other side from leaving their spawn points. The helicopter/attack planes can really make these spawn traps impossible to break out of.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (based on demo)

  • Best vehicles. Most vehicle variety, well integrated into play, and very fun.
  • Highly polished and detailed core mechanics. Excellent tech, play balance, and strategy.
  • Environment destruction.
  • Have only played the demo (obviously). Does this game hold player interest with extended play?
  • Battlefield 2 (on PC) had similar pros, but the game was unusually buggy, and I found the DLC fragmented the community and was too frequent and overpriced. Will this have similar problems?

Killzone 2

  • Rotating missions/objectives within a single match delivers a lot of variety.
  • Most stylized visuals. Coolest particle effects, wild environments, and helghast soldiers look the best.
  • Most unique character progression + load out options
  • One you reach general rank, you feel like you have pretty much seen everything.

MAG

  • Best human chain of command squad/platoon system.
  • Unique sense of being part of a larger coordinated conflict. There are other games that support large player counts and squad management systems, but this game does it the best.
  • Control points, secondary abilities, and support actions are well done and add a lot of strategic replayability.
  • The visuals are very good by most standards and are more than adequate for this type of gameplay, but they are way behind the competition.
  • Lack of variety. There is really one main game mode (domination) that you will spend almost all of your time playing.
  • Least amount of overall polish + detail.
  • Unbalanced factions.

Others

I left out plenty from this list. Rainbow Six, Metal Gear Online, SOCOM, Resistance 2, Uncharted 2, and many others all have respectable competitive modes that I just haven’t put enough time into to really comment on.

Overall

If there is one genre of game that the current crop of game developers have really nailed with exceptional quality, variety, and polish, it is the competitive shooter. The range of choices and the level of quality is amazing.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by Trev on February 8th, 2010 [ 26623 Points ]

    nice rundown, these really are the 4 best and each offer their own qualities that make them better than each other, its a tough choice to pick one but if i could only have one it would MW2 as it offers some co-op missions as as well as because its the most popular online.

  2. #2 by TheRealMaxPower on February 8th, 2010 [ 960 Points ]

    I really like the core of MW2. I have had some great times playing it. The problem is the campers who sit in dark corners, in odd places. The glitches have been insane and really destroy the overall experience. I am wrapping up my time with this game I think as I have finally hit level 70. No desire to prestige.

    The BFBC2 demo was fun. I don’t know how the entire game will be, but I am definitely watching it closely and will read the reviews carefully.

    I own KZ2, but have never gone online. I really need to try it out before it is completely dead. Does anyone play this anymore?

    I won’t be getting MAG. I read a good amount about it and it just didn’t hit the “must buy” nerve. I also have a bunch of other games that I really want to play before it.

    These seem like the big 4 right now for FPS online.

  3. #3 by nathan118 on February 8th, 2010

    Right now I’m splitting time between MW2 and MAG. I started out with MW2, but after 3 days of play time….I just wanted something different. MAG definitely provides that, but now I’m almost feeling burnt out on shooting people just in general.

  4. #4 by Darrin on February 8th, 2010

    I definitely wouldn’t pick one favorite. They each have unique strengths so I usually play one for a while and then switch.

  5. #5 by Emrah on February 9th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    I really liked MAG beta, I’m totally digging BF BC2 demo, but will buy neither of them at full price.

    I played a lot of Killzone 2, but my interest wore out very quickly after the latest patch, plus the fact that it is an absolute frag fest which doesn’t reward objective completion but frag count really began to piss me off. Case in point is you could have set a bomb to make your team go ahead in match, and assesinate the target, but in total, you earn less points for these feats than a person who fragged 6 people in body count, even though he could have died 10 times to make your team lose that round.

    All they had to do was to heavily reward completed objectives, and it would be much more tactical and less of a cacaphony of flying bullets.

  6. #6 by Emrah on February 9th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    meant assassinate..

  7. #7 by Blackstaffer on February 9th, 2010 [ 7261 Points ]

    Emrah: Those aspects of KZ2 didn’t really bother me. What bothered me more was the spawn camping, which was REALLY bad on levels like Radec Acadamy.

  8. #8 by Trieloth on February 9th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    For MW2…”Spawn Trapping: Lots of matches devolve into one side blocking the other side from leaving their spawn points.” Sorry but isnt that a game breaker? The maps are stupid small. Plus the camping in MW2 is absolutly horrible. Iam a run and gun kind of guy and in mw2 I spent more time hunting down campers than anything. Boring!

  9. #9 by Darrin on February 9th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    MW2 spawn trapping isn’t *that* pervasive. Maybe 1/10 matches? It’s just really annoying when it happens…

    I never noticed heavy spawn trapping in KZ2 outside of custom forward spawn points. Don’t the auto-placed turrets usually stop camping on the original spawn locations?

    And KZ2 points? I just play to win the match and don’t worry too much about how the scoring is done. I loved KZ2, but after a while, I just felt like I had seen it all.

  10. #10 by Smegmazor on February 9th, 2010

    Unbalanced factions in MAG? I don’t think so. When enough teamwork is applied, if ever, then any faction can be beaten in any game mode…which there 4 different types, not 1.

  11. #11 by Pungyeon on February 9th, 2010

    You forgot MW2 “most glitches” ;)

    Good rundown though.

  12. #12 by Smegmazor on February 10th, 2010

    You also forgot to add that MW2 is plagued with lag.

  13. #13 by Darrin on February 10th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    Quit hating on MW2. Honestly, I felt that CoD 2/3/MW1/WaW were all generic and uninteresting… But MW2 is suprisingly polished. It’s definitely not the end all of multiplayer though. Every one of the above game has it’s strong points that the others don’t do as well.

  14. #14 by Royalty32 on February 10th, 2010

    To be honest MW2 is the best shooter to date. Now u can argue and say that MAG is better, but its not. Most ppl dont have mics so it makes it hard to have fun with the game when its a team based game. MW2 is alot of fun. The perk are a good addition and when u level up, u actually like u get better. With MAG, i know its team base and all but only 5exp for a kill. that means 20 kills on gets u 100 exp. Thats bullshit. MAG is good but not better than MW2. Also try Bioshock 2 MP. OMFG its so much ****in fun.

  15. #15 by Ian on February 10th, 2010

    Let’s look forward a year when there’s only about 1,000 people still playing MAG, how easy will it be to enjoy your 256 player matches then? Haha.

    Game is such garbage. Oh well, back to enjoying MW2.

  16. #16 by Donovan on April 4th, 2010

    I own MW2, but slightly after I got it (only $40 during a Target sale) I got the BC2 demo, and it is just more realistic in my opinion… you can HEAR explosions and gunfire at the other end of the map, which is how it should be… the vehicles are way better than MW2′s killstreaks, I only played the demo just to let you know, but this will be my next PS3 game… then onto ModNation Racers :D


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