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Call of Duty vs. Halo... Which game is better

Updated on July 29, 2012


A question that can never really be determined has been analyzed by thousands of gamers, and defended by the players of their perspective sides: What is the better video game franchise... Halo or Call of Duty? This article will try to stay away from biased opinions, and just stick to the facts. However, in the end it really does come down to opinion however. There are many factors when deciding what game is "best" and this will try to cover all of them. Also, note that I have played multiple games in both series and truly like both of them, so this is as unbiased as it gets. *Note* I will be focusing on the main Halo Trilogy and Reach, and all the Call of Duty's from Modern Warfare to Modern Warfare3


In this section we will take a look into the stories of the games in the series. First is Halo. Halo is a futuristic science fiction universe that takes place in 2050. The Earth's countries have joined together and formed a military coalition called the United Nations Space Command. The UNSC is fighting an intergalactic war with an alien group called the Covenant. The UNSC utilizes elite clones called Spartans, and the most famous of these Spartans is Master Chief. Master Chief is the main character in the main Halo trilogy (Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3).

Now, COD... Call of Duty takes place in Modern Day Earth and is a much more realistic story. The COD games focus on realistic fiction stories that take place on Earth. Usually a COD game features a main enemy who has their own army and threatens global peace by using terror tactics. The player takes control of multiple people from different perspectives and their missions to stop the terrorist.


In this section we will take a look into the Campaign aspects of the game franchises.

Halo's campaign (main trilogy) focuses on Master Chief and his quest to defeat the Covenant from taking over the Universe. He is a super powered Spartan who takes on hundreds of enemies usually with very little help. The campaign varies greatly with each mission, going from space ships to huge open battles with tanks and humvee to dark stealth missions. The missions can vary from Master Chief taking on countless enemies by himself to engaging in huge open battles with multiple vehicles and large amounts of enemies. One of the best features about Halo's campaign that Call Of Duty does not feature is having 4 player co-op on every mission and mode. This is a big factor in the debate between campaigns.

The Call of Duty campaigns feature huge set pieces around the world, ranging from the U.S. to Mexico to Russia and many more countries. You play as multiple characters ranging from U.S. Army Rangers to British SAS operatives. The main characters are often outnumbered and find a way to overcome the odds and defeat the enemy. Modern Warfare 1,2, and 3 are all a continous story line with Russia and U.S. being the center of conflict. COD does not future co-op campaign but COD MW2 and MW3 feature Spec Ops modes that allow 2 people to play together in specially designed missions. COD black ops and World at War features a co-operative zombies mode where the players fight together against endless waves of zombies.

In this category i believe Halo wins because it has a lengthier campaign and of course the option to play with your friends. There is little more exciting than saving the universe with 3 of your best friends. Also, Halo features many more customization options for campaign mode as well as competitive modes to keep track of points.

Extensive custom class options


There are so many features in both games multiplayer it's going to be hard to declare a clear winner. First of we'll start with Halo.

Halo, and we'll say this from the start, has way more game modes than any Call of Duty games. It features countless customization options, and has three main multiplayer modes: Matchmaking, Custom Games, and Forge. We'll start with matchmaking. Matchmaking is the main muliplayer mode which you select game types such as team slayer, objective based games, and big team battles. There are many other game types in matchmaking as well. However, besides color there isn't much to customize your Spartan in terms of gameplay. You get dropped into a game (usually with an assault rifle) and are allowed to pick up other guns, such as shotgun, rocket launcher, and smg. However, there is only 1 type of each gun so there isn't much variation in that aspect. However, this does keep the game fair as it makes players rely on skill and not over powered guns. Custom Games allows you to modify pretty much any aspect of the multiplayer game and allows you to basically create a whole new gametype. There are some very popular custom game types, and when you play games like infection and "fat boy" with 16 people it is sheer fun and can get become complete chaos (in a good way). Forge mode is basically a map editor that allows you to completely change the map and add whatever you want to it. The controls are simple and easy to use, but allow you to make some very complex maps. This alongside Custom Games can produce some very interesting and fun games to play on unique maps that you've created. Halo multiplayer is more about having fun and interacting with your team and winning rather than personal accomplishment in the game. There are also dozens of vehicles players can access making this a truly huge multiplayer game experience.

Now Call Of Duty... Where do I even begin? Where Call of Duty lacks in map customization, it definitely makes up for in character customization. You can't actually customize the appearance of your character, but you can customize player titles, and emblems which are visible to other players, and is what makes you unique. There are hundreds of titles and emblems and each have a unique way of unlocking them and can be as easy as ranking up to level ten to killing three or more people when you're last alive in search and destroy. Also, these titles and emblems can be serious or even on the sexual side with titles ranging from "Specialist" to "The Bigger They Are...". The amount and variety of the titles and emblems are astounding and it shows how much time was put into multiplayer. However, this is just scratching the surface. Every player starts off with 5 custom class slots. These slots allow the player to choose any gun, attachment, secondary gun, secondary attachment, equipment, special grenade, three perk slots, kill streaks, and death streaks. The amount of class customization is staggering. There are so many guns, and attachments along with perks that it is hard to find another player with the same class as you. Also using the gun and getting head-shot kills allow the player to progressively unlock more gun camos. It seems the theme of the modern warfare series is unlocking things. There are hundreds of things to unlock in the multiplayer modes. Even after all these things you can still complete challenges for guns and equipment and earn accolades after every game for your performance. These accolades range from most kills in a match, to most time crouching. After every game it seems like you can unlock something new. Most importantly however is the gameplay. The best part about the Modern Warfare series is how you are allowed to play the multiplayer. You can play aggressively with shotguns, be conservative and snipe, be stealthy with silencers and much more. What helps your play style even more is the perks. These allow you to really play the role that you want. You can equip perks that allow you to sprint longer for the run n gun shotgun and smg players, to perks that hide you from UAV for stealth players. The combinations and play styles for this game are endless and that is what truly makes it fun to play.


Here are the reviews of each game... These numbers come from the website and are based on the Xbox360 version.

Halo Combat Evolved (1): 9.7

Halo 2: 9.8

Halo 3: 9.5

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (1) 9.4

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: 9.5

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: 9

Impact In The Industry

The Halo series has been a huge selling point for the Xbox and the Xbox360. It basically told everyone that first person shooters could be done on a console (while the PC dominated at the time). When the Xbox360 came out no one was really interested until Halo 3 came out, and was a main reason many people even bought an Xbox.

Call Of Duty didn't gain much attention until the original Modern Warfare came out. It completely redefined what a Modern day shooter should look like and blew out the competition with it's customization options and one of the most realistic shooters at the time. Modern Warfare continued on the customization and added even more to the table in terms of custom class options.

Final Thoughts

A ton of thought and research has gone into this debate for both sides. But in the end we must remember at the end of the day both are games and we play games for our enjoyment. There really is no best game because the two are so different it is purely in your opinion. However, it can be agreed that the two are the best in their own categories: Sci-fi shooters and realistic shooters. In the end you must decide what is the better game in terms of what you like and your game style. Do you like science fiction games where you are fighting to save a universe with futuristic guns and vehicles? Well then Halo is probably the better game in your opinion. Do you like realistic shooters where you fight to save your country with modern weapons and huge class customization options? Well then you'll probably think Call Of Duty is a better gaming franchise. Either way, no one can deny both are great games, and should be respected not fought over. Even though Call Of Duty statistically has more players, in my time of playing i think Halo has a better community which the focus is on having fun, which video games should be about. I find myself playing Call Of Duty more often, however i do not feel that it is necessarily a better game... I feel that it fits my play style more and is a better multiplayer experience for ME. Comment below for what you feel is a better game or what you play more.


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    • Ciccarone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from In Your Computer

      I agree with you on the Call of Duty campaigns. When I finished them i felt like we as gamers got scammed with a tiny campaign. Also, thanks for the comment, and vote up, means a lot.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 

      6 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      While I love Halo's multiplayer aspect and its promising story, it's the campaign that got me down. It's got a good length, that's OK, but I sat for around 18 hours not knowing what the Hell was going on. After several playthroughs I just don't get it. Did I have to play H1 to understand, or replay Halo 2 another thousand times to understand?

      Call of Duty suffers the same terrible storytelling in MW1 and 2. However, I still found the campaign engaging and I loved every minute of MW2. Until it ended at 9 hours. Shocking. CoD:MW3 ended on 7 hours and I was only engaged once, and that was in the invasion of Berlin. The MP is OK, but doesn't keep up with its competitors.

      Overall, they're both sellouts and are as bad as each other. I'll stick to my cheap yet highly entertaining and lengthy platformers on the PS1 thanks.

      Great article, voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Ciccarone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from In Your Computer

      Thanks for the comment, and I agree with you, i'm hoping Halo 4 gives the series a fresh look. And the COD series are indeed getting a bit stale, i mostly play it because that's what all my friends are playing.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 

      6 years ago from Texas

      I agree with Risen here, as a huge Halo fan, Halo: Reach is an atrocity. I bought an Xbox because of Halo and I waited in line for every game that came out. I truly consider Halo 1, 2 and 3 the only true Halo games in the series. The others aren't what they should be. And honestly from looking at videos I think Halo 4 won't be much different. Of course I'm going to still buy it in hopes that it's not, but I'm not setting my hopes high. I loved Halo 3 multiplayer. It was the best. And I stay away from COD. It's the exact same game year after year except with new weapons and upgrades. And maybe some new graphics. My hopes in the FPS future are with PC games and Ghost Recon. I do pray for Halo 4 every night though!

    • Ciccarone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from In Your Computer

      I couldn't agree more haha, both series are not what they use to be... Hopefully Halo 4 will bring back what was so great about Halo3. I'm not really sure what Black Ops 2 is going to bring.

    • Rrisen profile image


      6 years ago from PA

      Both franchises have gone downhill. Halo Reach's multiplayer is atrocious. I don't even consider it a Halo game. MW3 is nothing more than its predecessors with different Killstreak options. I remember when this debate occurred every day. When Halo 3 and COD4 were in their prime. I miss those days.


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