I believe this is a fitting title for a review of two games that critics and developers are hailing as the most anticipated games of the year: Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. Of course, these accolades mean nothing without substance or proof. What I’m sure most of you who are interested in discovering about these games are two things. First, since these are games coming from well established series, what is new, improved, and changed about each game from their predecessors? Secondly, and the biggest question on all your minds…which one is better? Well, we can answer the first question no problem. The second is left for you to decide based off your personal preferences, likes, dislikes, and evaluation of the different elements of both games. Without further adieu, here’s the review.
Battlefield 3 (written by Tim)
In 2005 the world was introduced to Battlefield 2, a game which quickly became known for its multiplayer. Now, six years later, Battlefield 3 has been released with many improvements. Run off of DICE’s brand new Frostbite 2 Engine that takes full advantage of Direct X 11 and 64-bit processors, Battlefield 3 has gone leaps and bounds beyond what Battlefield 2 looked like and played like, but the core aspects of game play has stayed the same. Huge !@#$ing maps with lots of people, lots of explosions and tonnes of vehicles you can drive around in. Here is a quick video which shows what the Frostbite 2 engine looks like.
I can say why Battlefield 3 is an amazing game in a few simple words. Battlefield 3 made me feel like I was in the game, which has been something lacking from other games I’ve played. During the single player campaign, there was only one point in the entire 5-6 hour campaign that I felt like I was just playing another video game. I felt as if the graphics, sounds of the guns, controls and environment put me into the game. The lighting throughout the game was absolutely amazing, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. But graphics aren’t just the whole story behind why Battlefield 3 is such a good game; the narrative was also very well done. While it seemed similar to the campaign in Black Ops, the story felt much more fleshed out and more realistic than the campaign in Black Ops. I know saying that is going to get some backlash, but it was honestly a more enjoyable campaign than Black Ops because it felt more realistic. We all know what happened in the past, and you can’t really sway much from what happened in the past. For the most part, we don’t know what will happen in the next year, five years or even ten years from now. With the future as a backdrop, a story can be much more creative and speculative. You can add things in that could happen and really flesh out the story in detail.
Now I’ll get into what most people buy an FPS for—the multiplayer. While the maps aren’t the same as the maps introduced in Battlefield 2 with shifting boundaries, these maps are still gigantic. The Frostbite 2 engine is a perfect fit for the multiplayer because it really helps bring you into the game play (not as much as the single player, but still very engaged). The game types are all the same, but something that they are trying is having the menu for Multiplayer, Singleplayer, and Co-op all done online at http://battlelog.battlefield.com. While you may be thinking this is a stupid move, I feel it was a smart move on their part. Everything is now simple to find. They have more room to show stats and a place where you can customize something then go directly into a game. Finding a server is as simple as clicking a button, or if you have the URL for a server, you can use that to get directly into a server your friend is in. You can easily make a party with friends and use the in-game voice system which is like Ventrilo and Skype. It’s like Call of Duty Elite (which might never come to PC) and then the game menu all online, which could be the way of the future.
Modern Warfare 3 (Possible SPOILERS!!!)
On the heels of Black Ops and tying up some loose ends from the Modern Warfare series, Activision’s newest game is not a change from the normal Call of Duty formula (in terms of the singleplayer, or multiplayer for that matter). Continuing the story from the previous games, the main characters (the player) find themselves in the middle of trying to stop World War III from happening. Again, it’s the Americans and the British pitted against terrorists (and the Russians, of course). Characters die, bombs explode, but in the end you get your man and prevent a wide scale nuclear war. It’s an unoriginal story with a typical and expected ending. Now I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy playing the campaign, but it sure felt cut and dry. One thing I’ve never quite gotten over is the lack of creativity on the part of Activision. As Tim mentioned before, creating a story in the future leaves so much open to play around with. Granted, you have to continue the story from the previous games, but you still can do as much as you want in terms of what will happen or how it will end. Activision seemed to throw that notion out the window a long time ago. So in terms of story, MW3 gets low marks. The game play was very similar to MW2 and at times I felt like I was still playing MW2 rather than a brand new game. As always, playing around with an AC-130 gunship and raining down pain on the enemy was fun, but seemed to be the only enjoyable part of the whole thing. Overall, it felt like a slightly improved cut-and-pasted version of MW2. Perhaps the multiplayer redeems the shortfalls of the singleplayer. A little, but not much.
Just like MW2, MW3 has many of the same perks, weapons, and game play. As always, there is the option to prestige and be rewarded for basically playing more and more. Nothing new there. Of course, there are new maps, a few new modes, and new equipment, but the overall game play and design haven’t changed that much. Again, I cannot stress how much this game ha s not changed from MW2. It plays the same and feels the same. Granted, there is nothing wrong with keeping things the same, but after a while it can turn players off and make the game stale. Hopefully, when Call of Duty 9 comes out (yes, one has been announced for next year already), it will deviate from the standard routine of all the previous games in the series. Paying $60 for the same old thing isn’t going to cut it for me anymore. I want to see something improved for the $60 I’m paying.
As I mentioned at the start, this is something for you, the reader, to decide. But based off of what Tim and I have seen and know about each of the games, we do have our own opinion as to which is better. While the class customizability, perks, and prestige system are good for the Modern Warfare 3, it can’t beat the realism, game play, and map design of Battlefield 3. DICE really went above and beyond the Call of Duty [franchise] (har, har, har…bad pun) and created a greatly improved, fantastic game. Modern Warfare 3 still plays and feels like Modern Warfare 2 which is disconcerting to me as a gamer. I for sure hoped that Activision would have something new to bring to the table to compete with DICE, but this clearly did not happen.
Personally what we would like to see is a combination of the two. If you could take the maps, vehicles, and game play from Battlefield and combine it with the perks and customization of Call of Duty, we think it would make for one of the greatest FPS games to ever be created. Taking the best of both worlds and combining them into one would be the FPS gamers dream. Of course, this will never happen, but it is one’s right to dream, is it not? Regardless, it is what it is. Between BF3 and MW3, I believe that Battlefield takes the cake and deserves your $60 this holiday season.