By RipTen contributor Joel Bollinger – A proud member of the PC gaming master race.
It’s all over the internet and the gaming websites: Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3? EA and Activision have been trading blows with each other for months now and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop until the year’s out. Two juggernaut franchises vying for top shooter. Meanwhile, gamers are expected to spend $74 Billion this year and it’s safe to say that gaming is socially accepted. So who will win? Battlefield 3 will put up one hell of a fight, but Modern Warfare 3 will win. Not because it’s a better game, but because it’s casual enough for anyone to play.
Call of Duty 4 and every game in the series since have had an incredibly successful formula. Star with a very glitzy, exciting, and cinematic single player campaign, then throw in a fast paced and solid, back-to-basics multiplayer mode (until recently). Today, Call of Duty’s single player is more or less a camera controlled by you, the player. Play the game and see how few shots you really need to fire, it’s saddening, yet it works. Most people wouldn’t notice it, those people being “casual gamers”. Yet, the single player “experience” is so polished and exciting looking that no one notices that the levels are incredibly linear, dull, feature very little “gameplay” at all – just scripted events. As for the multiplayer, you have powerful guns (all of them) that have very low recoil and great accuracy. So, you can inflict a lot of damage quickly thus downing your target quickly. If you’re good at cover and know how to use “health regen”, then you can take a lot of damage as well and still recover. Hell, even shooting from the hip is commonplace and works just fine as well. In fact, there are very few consequences for any of your actions unless you’re incredibly foolhardy. Add to this perks, perks and more perks and you have a fun and simple game that passes the time easily.
Lets face it though, we really only buy Call of Duty for the multiplayer. Better yet, the games can also be run on almost any computer and ports to all the consoles easily, even the Wii! The reason being is that they’ve been using a heavily modified Quake 3 engine since Call of Duty 2. So, each year it’s pretty much the same game, just with better graphics. While the game brings little in terms of gameplay innovation or physics, it can still maintain a decent amount of eye candy and, of course, solid frame rates on all platforms. Better yet, Call of Duty’s multiplayer also has little to no team work, even in the actual team based modes. So, just about anyone can play and do well by themselves and come out satisfied when playing CoD. So, since the formula ain’t broken – Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t look to be changing anything.
However, my first time playing Battlefield 2 was horrendous -I hated it. I didn’t understand how the game was playing out and I was infuriated that when I shot at people it did little damage or didn’t seem to register at all. At first I blamed my internet connection. Damn Lag! Yet, it wasn’t until after a friend showed me how to actually play the game that I opened my mind and learned that Battlefield is a complex beast. Outside of Bad Company and the upcoming Battlefield 3, there was little single player experience to be had, so we’ll ignore the Bad Company’s for now.
Fact: Battlefield’s gun play is more realistic than Call of Duty.
Recoil matters, you cannot spray and pray, you have to aim and fire in controlled bursts. Not to mention that the newest Frostbite engines have bullet drop, so now the player must aim high for distance shots and expect them to do less damage. With the new physics and destruction, Battlefield damn near redefines the first person shooter. The player can now change the map entirely by destroying environments. With vehicles, the entire game is changed in how you approach your objectives. Battlefield also utilizes classes, along with perks and upgrades for the levels per class and the game modes also require teamwork to be successful. The Bad Company spin offs attempted to reach out to casual gamers by making the gameplay faster paced and more simple like CoD. It had no prone, four basic classes, and no Commanders or squad leaders… less tactics if you will. Battlefield 3 will be doing some of that, but at its core it will still be a large team based and tactical shooter. Far more hardcore than CoD.
What does all this mean? Quite frankly, from my experience, Battlefield is too complicated to overthrow Call of Duty. Any Battlefield veteran can point out someone who is either new to the game or a Call of Duty player. They’ll usually start by calling everyone hackers and complaining a lot. Battlefield’s best attempt at single player has been Bad Company and Bad Company 2. The characters were great, better than Call of Duty’s in fact. However, the over the top cinematic experience of CoD wasn’t there (Battlefield went with gameplay), and the gunplay was similar to the multi-player – much more complicated than it’s Call of Duty counterpart.
I personally found Bad Company 2 to be overly simplified for a Battlefield game, yet I thought it was still complex enough to hold my attention. Online, it had a simpler class system that was pretty well balanced – yet it just didn’t have the excitement that Call of Duty had. Battlefield has a learning curve, not a necessarily high one, but it’s there. Call of Duty has next to no learning curve, anyone can jump in and play. There is nothing to learn with Call of Duty, there are no game mechanics to understand – just know what the kill streak chain is and you’ll do fine. Call of Duty is more open to casual gamers and is more polished as what it is than Battlefield. This goes far beyond console vs console vs PC, this is challenging gameplay vs first person camera dolly and simplified run and gun multiplayer.
Modern Warfare 3 will outsell Battlefield 3. I don’t doubt that one bit. Battlefield 3 should sell extremely well and could convert some Call of Duty players over, but only if EA knows how to market the better engine, the vehicles and the different type of gameplay. Perhaps, if Battlefield 3 does well enough, the next Battlefield game will over throw the next Call of Duty game. One can only hope. Ultimately, it would serve Battlefield 3 better if they and EA stopped comparing themselves to Call of Duty.
If gamers want to play Call of Duty, they’ll buy Call of Duty, not Battlefield 3.
Are you looking forward to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 or both? I’m personally looking forward to the PC version of Battlefield 3 – but which do you think will come out on top? Does it even matter…?