Editors Note: This piece is being republished in light of the stable version of Call of Duty: Mobile being announced globally today.
PlayerUnknown's Battleground or PUBG: Mobile for short is nothing short of a revolution in the world of mobile gaming in India. Never before has a gaming title basked in such renowned glory in the country and certainly not a mobile game. One can say that Tencent, the publisher of PUBG Mobile, has cracked the formula for a successful title in the country where eSports had not been of particular significance.
While in its PC avatar, PUBG has not been gaining wide attention in the country owing to relatively high hardware requirements, but on mobile, the game has exploded into life. In a span of a year we are seeing YouTubers with dedicated channels to PUBG Mobile, massive tournaments and more. Just when it seemed that the popularity of PUBG would just keep on skyrocketing, out of nowhere, Activision drops a bomb with the Call of Duty: Mobile game which brings the world-renowned franchise on the mobile platform.
To be clear Call of Duty has been present on mobile phones before, but the extent of the gameplay has been limited to mostly single player. With the new Call of Duty: Mobile, Activision wants to induce a full-fledged console-like multiplayer experience on Android/iOS. Till now Activision has not announced any official release date for Call of Duty: Mobile, but the closed-beta has been available for some time now. I got to try it out and here are my thoughts on it in comparison with PUBG: Mobile.
The main reason why anyone would want to play Call of Duty (hence going to be named as COD for the rest of this piece) are the various multiplayer modes that it offers. The popular ones that have been used, and the ones which are surely going to be enjoyed the most, happen to be Deathmatch, Free-for-all, Domination, Frontline and Search and Destroy. The action is super fast paced, with not even time to draw breath as in each mode you get infinite respawns while you and your team try to get reach the score limit first. Apart from that if you are into increasing your rank and showing off to your friends, a separate Rank mode is also present wherein you can play all the above-mentioned game modes, with the only difference being that you are matched with players who are at a similar rank.
In comparison, PUBG Mobile also has several modes, but none of them has the adrenaline pumping experience as COD. The closest one can get to getting fast-paced action is on War Mode, and even that forces you to annoyingly jump from the plane every time you die. While the main Classic mode Battle Royale is definitely, PUBG Mobile's biggest attraction, it can turn slightly drawn out and there are also limited things you can do. The Battle Royale on COD, on the other hand, is basically CODBlackout brought down to the mobile platform. There are custom classes, helicopter rides, scorestreak perks, a smaller map, zombies, a giant bloodhound, more locations for engaging the enemy and more. It is a matter of preference, but I would really rate the Battle Royale on COD as a notch higher that PUBG. On a related side-note, Team Deathmatch is coming to PUBG Mobile soon, as will Zombies mode on COD.
Herein lies a big difference between the two games. While both of them are shooters with the option of choosing FPP (first-person perspective) or TPP (third-person perspective), the damage, bullet travel, recoil and shooting style are different. Let's talk first about what happens before you enter the game (non-battle royale mode). You can create a class before joining in any game wherein you can customise your loadout before entering. PUBG does not have any options for this, although it could be said that the game has always relied on the traditional "hunt for your supplies" kind of gameplay.
Inside the game, button layouts for movement, shooting, aiming and more remain the same. However, while PUBG only offers one method for shooting, Call of Duty has two. There is one, which can be used for beginners wherein the gun automatically fires when the cross-hair is upon an enemy player. The other mode aims down the sight and fires automatically when you press the shoot button. In both the modes, there is a separate shooting key if you want fire manually in bursts to increase accuracy. This versatility in shooting is one of the main reasons that got me hooked on to the game.
Let's also talk about bullet dynamics and damage as well. In PUBG Mobile, there appears to be no bullet drop at nearly any distance. You could be shooting with a UMP 9 (a low powered SMG)and could instantly hit someone 400 meters away. That is not the case in COD. While other modes like Deathmatch, Free-for-all and more don't have a lot of area for long range shooting, bullet dynamics become apparent in the Battle Royale mode, wherein if you don't have a sniper rifle it is almost impossible to hit enemies at long distances
You'll need to account for bullet drop as well in COD, which is not the case in PUBG. Enemies indicator marks don't appear until the enemy is super close to you, which in my opinion makes the game more competitive as you'll have to be at the highest alert for your surroundings. Even while firing from the hip, in PUBG you can get a lot of shots of the enemy at close range, however, in COD unless there is a compensator attached to your weapon good luck killing opponents while firing from the hip. Aiming down the sight is the sure shot way of putting down enemy players.
Maps and Graphics
Another pulling factor that got me hooked to COD was that it included most of the popular multiplayer maps such as Nuketown, Crash, Hijack and Killhouse (would have loved Containers as well, but I guess a future update could bring it). In PUBG you are strapped to only four maps, all of them quite big. Even for the relatively fast-paced game modes in Arcade, you have only one option for maps. Although this is a personal preference of mine, short and fast-paced multi-player modes are more enjoyable than long drawn out games, which is nearly 30 minutes in the case of PUBG. The continuous actions that the various small-scale maps provided was far higher than what the giant-sized PUBG map gave.
Now let's talk about something that made COD the ultimate mobile gaming experience in my opinion. It was the insanely smooth frame rate and graphics. While I'm using the OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) to test both PUBG and Call of Duty, it becomes instantly clear that COD has the best graphics optimisations. The frame rate is very fast, much faster as compared to PUBG and the graphics are much better as well. Things like an exploding grenade near a wall will change the environment in COD but not in PUBG (unless you throw a frag at a car). The textures and details are more realistic, although to PUBG's credit the latest update has improved graphics, but they are nowhere as realistic as COD. The experience just feels much better and fluid on COD and it makes for an extremely engaging gaming experience.
While this is by no means a full review of COD, since the official version is not even out yet, it has me impressed immensely. Tencent, who is publishing both COD and PUBG, has done an incredible job at taking mobile gaming to the next level. With COD, I believe that a true competitor for PUBG has finally arrived and it might be on its way to dethrone the latter when the official version arrives.