Halo 3 vs. Call of Duty 4: The DLC Showdown

Here we go again. After stirring extreme fanboy ire with our BioShock vs. Halo 3 throwdown, then risking all-out internet anarchy with our Gears of War vs. Halo 3 debate, only one great argument remained to be settled...

Call of Duty 4 vs. Halo 3. According to our sister site, Next-Gen, these games aren't just this generation's most popular shooters. They're the two best-selling games of any genre and of any platform. How could we not pit them against each other?

Now we finally have an excuse. In the last two weeks, both games have released downloadable map packs for $10. If you can only afford one, which is the better buy? GamesRadar Editors Charlie Barratt and Joe McNeilly decide - through any means necessary.

(Editor's Note: Only the 360 versions of these maps were compared. If you own a PS3 or PC, Halo 3 is unavailable and, thus, your choice is pretty clear.)

 Why Call of Duty 4 is better: Both games look great, but Call of Duty 4’s new maps outshine Halo 3’s graphically. The diversity of environments represented in CoD4 goes far beyond Halo 3’s tired glossed-up sci-fi. Chinatown’s gritty urban textures and Creek’s luscious outdoor spaces exhibit detail and diversity that just isn’t available in Halo 3’s maps.

Meanwhile, Halo 3 insults us with a boring re-skin, a vast icy wasteland, and a map whose look is ripped straight from Gears’ playbook. Ghost Town is the most interesting visually, with an ethereal Angkor ruins feel, but it’s hardly enough to compete with Call of Duty 4’s gorgeous, varied offerings.

Why Halo 3 is better: I'll give you Chinatown. Moving Call of Duty's modern warfare from the dusty Middle East to the rain and fog-soaked streets of nighttime San Francisco was genius. I live near that area and the artists did a remarkable job recreating the atmosphere.

The other three maps, however, are uninspiring. Broadcast is copied straight out of the single player campaign. I was looking forward to television monitors shattering in every direction, but the action always focuses on the dull-as-vanilla balcony outside. Creek is nothing more than a rearranged Overgrown, and still far too WWII-esque for my taste. Killhouse is the worst offender of the lot - seriously, a one-room warehouse? Seriously?

Halo 3 gives us newly invented and imagined locations we've never experienced before - in multiplayer or single player. Blackout may play like Lockdown from Halo 2, but the layout has been transported to a completely different setting. Avalanche is awe-inspiring in its vastness, with mountains and bases that could swallow several Call of Duty maps. And I admire Ghost Town's similarity to Gears of War... you get that game's lush, dripping atmosphere with the added bonus of vehicles and a jump button. Best of both worlds!

Joe: No one map is good at everything, and like any multiplayer maps, CoD4’s have their strengths and weaknesses. Creek and Broadcast are best for objective games, while Chinatown and Killhouse are excellent for deathmatching. But any of the four maps are perfectly serviceable for any game type. Each area of each map has been precisely honed to maximize strategy and prevent camping.

Halo 3’s maps, however, are one-trick ponies. Deathmatch on a map as big as Avalanche is just a waste of time (even for objective games, the map feels too big). Don’t even bother trying to play objective games on tiny Blackout; it’s grenade-spam heaven. Then you have Ghost Town, where you’ll fumble around blindly until you learn the map by rote. Ghost Town’s myriad twists, turns and dark corners lack the refinement and balance of Chinatown, CoD4’s most similar map.

Charlie: Sorry Joe, but I'm going to have to totally disagree with you on this point. Halo 3's maps are built to handle any type of match you fancy. Avalanche is indeed massive, but did you not notice the generous helping of vehicles, teleporters and man cannons? Deathmatch is crazy, with almost every player piloting his or her own personal Hornet, Scorpion, Ghost, Mongoose, Banshee or Wraith. Team objective games are even better, as the designers have separated each side into UNSC Marine and Covenant factions, with the exclusive vehicles to match.

Ghost Town, meanwhile, is great because no memorization is required. The crumbling architecture is pocked with holes, cracks and piles of rubble. By simply running, jumping and crouching, you can blaze your own path almost anywhere on the map. I never encountered a complete dead end. The same cannot be said for Chinatown or Broadcast.


  • codtools - March 16, 2012 8:13 a.m.

    Get Black ops: Call of Duty Tools Here!
  • CoD4Kamikazi - September 20, 2009 12:18 a.m.

    Obviously, CoD4 is at least 2x better than Halo 3? What does Halo have, like 23 weapons while CoD4, combined with perks, has the possibilities of well over 1,00,000 options to choose from, and seriously, since when can an assault rifle of any kind only be lethal from ten feet away? And besides, how many of you can say that even though there IS armor customization, you don't just automatically put on the Katana armor and Security, Hayabusa or Mark V helmet? None? I thought so. Even though CoD4 has Noob Tubers, Halo has way more whiny, spoiled and racist brats than any other game I have ever played.
  • Jake55648 - September 19, 2009 2:42 p.m.

    See The thing is that Halo gives you so much every day friends and others on line are adding stuff to the halo Universe. They make the game better for free. Also the idea that the old map remakes are ripping us off, every one had their favorite halo 2 map so why not re create it for us. I am more than willing to pay for things like that. Also with maps like foundery and sand box possibilities are endless I could do this all day. What does COD have??? A bunch of noob tubin ten year olds with a PTRS and Jugernaght. HALO WINS!!!!!!!!!!
  • battenfelder - September 18, 2009 11:45 p.m.

    personally i think Halo 3 is better. both games are increadible, but personally i like halo 3's story alot more, the armour customization, and the online play. CoD4 had great graphics and was more 'real' than halo, but halo just stuck with me more. i played CoD4 for four months then i got board, i still play all the halo games and enjoy them. and btw Cwf2008- Gaylo 3? wow, very clever. never heard that one before......
  • CoD4Kamikazi - September 22, 2009 11:54 p.m.

    Wow, cock of duty, never heard that before, and what are you complaining about, TREDD262? Prestige mode is a choice that you make, the game doesn't force you, and I like prestiging, it's way better to have to climb back up the level ladder than play with a bunch of down-grading 16 year olds, and yes I do hate Martyrdom also, but every game has it's flaws, but I find that Halo's are less subtle than CoD4's.
  • TREDD262 - September 21, 2009 2:25 p.m.

    I admit cock of doody 4 was fun until you get to lvl 55. Then it just gets repetitive and of course I could take the genius choice of giving up golden guns for a symbol. I also love running in the halls of vacant and running right over a martyrdom, which everyone uses.
  • CreeplyTuna - September 18, 2009 6:57 p.m.

    who cares about armor customization if (on team based game modes) you don't even see your color and stuff. and besides, whats better than customizing your guns to make them the killing machines you want?
  • handdestr - February 25, 2009 7:49 p.m.

    i think both games are great, but for online play, the maps, and the grasp on the littlest details like armor customization and other stuff like that, halo 3 i think is the better game
  • Cwf2008 - December 16, 2008 3:54 a.m.

    Well obviously Call of Duty 4 is a lot better than Gaylo 3 in gameplay, but for maps Call of Duty hands Gaylo 3 the final deathblow. And first

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