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Archetype vs Eliminate: Battle of the iPhone online shooters

High noon duel

Archetype vs Eliminate: Battle of the iPhone online shooters
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| Archetype

If you've been wondering which online shooter to play and haven't been able to decide between the freemium Eliminate and the premium Archetype, you're not alone.

We're keen on both games, yet time is limited and you can only spend so much gaming. That's okay, because we're taking apart the big guns to help you decide which of these shooters is best to address your online action fix.

Let us know which game you think is best by leaving a comment.

GRAPHICS

It feels unfair to grant Archetype the win in this category, but it clearly has the edge over Eliminate by virtue of supporting the high-resolution Retina display on iPhone 4.

Moreover, Archetype came after Eliminate, which is to say it had the advantage of more recent developer. In other words, the longer a platform is available, the better the games look and Archetype has benefited accordingly. The maps are bigger, the character models carry greater detail, and the game generally looks more polished.

Of course, this isn't to say that Eliminate looks dumpy: on the contrary, it holds its own, but there's no contest when it comes to the top dog here.

Winner: Archetype CONTROLS

Neither game nails controls. Eliminate is downright unwieldy with its tap-to-shoot mechanic layered on top of invisible analogue sticks. Strafing is clumsy and the placement of the 'jump' button conflicts with the tap-anywhere-to-shoot setup.

Archetype opts for an automatic firing mode and visible sticks. This avoids any errant shooting since your gun only fires when the reticle targets an enemy. However, it's not precise. Eliminate also features auto-fire, but you can toggle it in the options menu. The placement of the grenades and melee attack buttons aren't ideal.

What hurts Eliminate is the clumsy strafing and sluggish movement. Although its control scheme is far from perfect, Archetype prevails.

Winner: Archetype

GAMEPLAY

Neither Archetype nor Eliminate claims a decisive lead when it comes to quality of gameplay. Both possess strengths and weaknesses that cancel each other out, leaving the choice a wash.

For example, Archetype is superior on the issue of gameplay balancing. Weapons - which are also cooler than those featured in Eliminate - have been appropriately weighted to ensure that powerful equipment like the melee Battle Axe doesn't dominate matches. Most of the maps are designed in such a way that battles are fair and fun (exceptions include the multi-tiered Glory and dead end-riddled Invidia).

Eliminate can't claim fine balancing, better weapons, or even superior maps. However, it has more modes and well-conceived character customisation systems.

The introduction of co-operative play to the original free-for-all deathmatch mode gives Eliminate greater appeal. Additionally, an intricate system of upgrades, weapons, and armour provide an incentives that just aren't there in Archetype.

What ultimately matters is the quality of the gameplay: how good does it feel to shoot, are you compelled to play more, do you have fun playing? When judged by these criteria, Archetype ekes out a win because the shooting feels better. Multiple modes and customisation features are great, but if the action is good it's easier to overlook their absence.

Winner: Archetype

TECHNICAL STABILITY

Every online game has its initial hiccoughs. Eliminate experienced a few server crashes in its early days, while Archetype struggles with 3G connectivity on iPhone 3GS. What matters most is the game works overall. Fortunately, both games function admirably, but Eliminate is clearly superior.

Eliminate delivers exactly what it promises. The free-for-all deathmatches capped at four players may not be as impressive as the five-on-five rounds possible in Archetype, but Eliminate performs well on a range of devices.

Archetype doesn't deliver on its promise of 3G and Edge network play on older devices. 3G network play was manageable only on an iPhone 4. With 3G not functioning on an iPhone 3GS, playing via Edge is laughable.

Time has been to the advantage of Eliminate, to be fair. Many of the server-side technical issues that are plaguing Archetype - glitching, stuttering, and other abnormalities - have been resolved in the months since Eliminate was released.

Nonetheless, Eliminate has always met its promises with solid wi-fi and 3G multiplayer - an accomplishment that Archetype can't claim.

Winner: Eliminate

WOW FACTOR

This is a tough category to judge because what wows one person is lame for the next. That said, there's something about Archetype that seems to amaze more so than Eliminate.

Part of that may have something to do with how little pre-release buzz there was for the game. Unlike Eliminate which had been anticipated for many months, Archetype arrived on the scene with fanfare. The design feels like a mobile riff on Quake or Unreal Tournament, which also gives it an appeal that the futuristic Eliminate just can't match.

Winner: Archetype OVERALL: Archetype While it's worth checking out both games - particularly Eliminate since it's free to play - Archetype overall has the better controls, graphics, and gameplay. It just feels better than Eliminate, even if it can't match all of the features and modes.