Some of the fall’s biggest games, at least in terms of first-person shooters, have been Battlefield 2042, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Halo Infinite. Each puts a major focus on competitive multiplayer. While they all boast a big budget, they differ in terms of presentation, themes, mechanics, quality, and even genre. Oftentimes, players only have the budget or time (or both) for one game. If you’re into playing first-person shooters online, which of these heavy-hitters is the best option? When it comes to Battlefield 2042, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Halo Infinite, which game has the best multiplayer? Here’s a breakdown of each.
Battlefield 2042 multiplayer
- Large-scale maps
- Challenging gunplay
- Satisfying destruction
- Too much downtime
- Lacking content
- Far too many bugs
Out of the three big shooters of 2021, Battlefield 2042 is the biggest dud. It isn’t a bad game by any stretch, but it’s certainly unfinished and lacks a degree of polish gamers have grown to expect from major releases like these.
It’s packed to the brim with bugs that range from annoying to game-breaking. Players might clip through assets, to more game-changing ones like being unable to revive your teammates. Aside from that, it seems like there’s far too much downtime due to the large maps — meaning you constantly spawn far away from the action and must trek back to your opponents.
Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer
- Fast-paced flow
- Many unlockables
- Spawns are a mess
- Enemies are hard to see
- Packet loss
This year, Call of Duty feels at odds with itself, as Warzone has sort of taken the crown as the best military shooter, due in part to its free-to-play status. Many players haven’t felt compelled to spend much time with Vanguard, a game that has once again returned to the WWII setting.
The weapons take forever to level up, the spawns are absolutely terrible, the visuals are muddy — to the point of not being able to see your opponents at times — and the gameplay takes a backseat to Warzone. At this point, the main reason to play Vanguard is to level up your weapons before the Warzone integration in December.
Halo Infinite multiplayer
- Fast, fluid gameplay
- Balanced weapons
- A healthy blend of old and new
- Battle Pass progression is too slow
- Lacking accessibility
- No way to select specific modes
Stealing the show this year is Halo Infinite, a game that could have buckled under high hopes and expectations. Thankfully, its gameplay is so polished, it blows every other 2021 shooter out of the water, effectively harkening back to classic Halo while still feeling modern. On top of that, the multiplayer experience is completely free, making it even more enticing to try.
It does have its issues, though, such as its convoluted progression system. Since it's free, developer 343 Industries wants the community to stick around as long as possible to increase the chance of players spending money. Halo Infinite doesn’t have a traditional XP system that increases the battle pass level. Instead, you only gain XP for completing challenges, which feels restricting more than anything. This will evolve over time, but for now, it’s a major thorn in the side of an otherwise stellar game.
Despite this, Halo Infinite’s gameplay carries it along, proving its yearlong delay was worth it. And most importantly, Halo Infinite is the stand-out shooter of 2021, coming out ahead of Battlefield and Call of Duty by a huge margin.