There’s been dirty tricks, there’s been trash talk and there’s even been calls for a cease fire but most of us have chosen a side – Battlefield 3 versus Modern Warfare 3 is heading straight for us and many would have you believe that you have to choose a side in what is becoming gaming’s new Fifa vs. Pro (in more ways than one). But, y’know what? As a gamer, I’m probably going to get both.
Now let me get this off my chest – I am a Battlefield fanboy. It wasn’t always the case, back before the days of console wars I’d happily while away the hours with my gaming buddy John (who, despite gaming with since 1999, I didn’t meet till 2010). When we weren’t MMOing (I’ll save that for another blog) we traded pot-shots across Medal of Honours and Call of Duty. I have a lot of fond memories of battles in Carentan, which tied in with the newly-aired Band of Brothers. But the one we kept going back to over and over again was Battlefield Vietnam. I know my way to the control points of those maps better than I know my way to tube stations.
The time came when I had to leave the comfort of my dad’s gaming pc and head out to find myself in the world, I became a student (a poor one at that taking up a job at GAME to help pay my rent) and good old John sent me down his old rig so we could keep on shooting each other. With no small amount of trepidation Call of Duty Modern Warfare rolled into view and I blew my beer money that week on what seemed a better long turn investment. As it turned out, it was my induction to the world of “you should check your specs on the back of the box”. Dismayed, I tried several times but didn’t get past the loading screen and without the option of getting my hands on a next gen console I feared my days of head shots and belt fed machine guns were at an end. Enter the saving grace that was Battlefield 2. It turns out, while I had been learning my trade, Battlefield was back and in a big way.
At this point we could start fanning the flames of where both titles have merely ‘improved’ on aspects that have gone before, but listen – Battlefield was there for me when Call of Duty wasn’t. I thank it for its sparingly low graphical requirements which allowed me to spend many sunny afternoons on a rooftop, with John machine-gunning noobs below. Eat your hearts out Dom and Marcus – this is what BROMANCE is all about.
Fast forward a few years and poverty and a rapidly changing career mean I can’t afford to get in on the Bad Company action but I hear good things, and here I am sitting in an office reviewing videogames for a living when the much touted Modern Warfare 2 drops. The bosses are out – the office stops – we play it, we love it, I take the game home that night and stay up to 5am completing it to pass it on next day to Sam who is supposed to be reviewing it. Speechless, a great game. And I know what you’re thinking… “complete it? A mere 24 hours is not enough to experience multiplayer!” Well my friends – I am a gamer who ENJOYS single player campaigns. I have never yet played Modern Warfare – one or two – online, I get it, I’ve watched it and night after night I see many of you still playing Modern Warfare 2 together but it just never captured my imagination. I’ve done my time on Black Ops – I’ve taken names on Black Ops!!! – but it lacks the freedom Battlefield grants you and for that reason alone when it comes to multiplayer Battlefield wins every single time.
One thing I did learn from my time with Modern Warfare 2 however is how a video gaming hero should be done properly. Preston Marlow, you are an emo moaner compared to the double hard bastard that is Soap MacTavish! Not only is he British (bonus points for being Scottish), this is a guy that takes a knife to the chest and still keeps on trucking. I have a strong feeling that, no matter how many people have died by his/your hand, in Modern Warfare 3 many more will die before he is done… (wouldn’t it be terrible if it opened on Price scattering his ashes?)
Don’t get me wrong, Modern Warfare has had some great characters and I am genuinely interested to find out what happens to Price and Soap – also if they think that was enough to kill off Ghost… I’d bet you a shiny sixpence he makes a comeback like the guy at the end of Die Hard.
Now Battlefield 2, when it hit the 360 had a story, a lame one. But Bad Company more than made up for this. It was dumb, it was action movie, it was AWESOME and I love the cast – actual characters – dysfunctional, greedy and yet always ready to do what’s right. I’d love them to make a cameo in Battlefield 3, but I don’t think we are going to see that. No, this one seems fleshed out with its own cardboard cut out military types. Well, heed the warnings of the rebooted Medal of Honour – no one likes regular soldiers! You’re either Soap MacTavish or you’re not. I need/demand camaraderie among my NPCs or I will not care about them.
So what can we look forward to from the big hitters this year? I’m looking for different things from each. From Modern Warfare 3, I want a conclusion to the story with all loose ends tied up – and we haven’t yet been promised this so I’ll be interested to see how it pans out. The multiplayer demonstrated thus far (and the return of Spec Ops) doesn’t do enough for me – I’ll give it a whirl, sure, but will it have an edge to keep me playing?
Battlefield 3 on the other hand, if the trailers for this game get any more exciting I’m just going to go ahead and get a catheter installed. The single player (as with MW3) will be a great spectacle but I have no vested interest in the characters, nor did I in battlefield 1942, Vietnam or Battlefield 2 – save the stories for Bad Company you know we are just here for the multiplayer – and what glorious fun it looks. I have minor reservations at some of the indoor fighting – always the weakest part of Bad Company 2’s online matches but this just builds on that fine reputation and given how long I pumped into that I don’t even need improvements to the formula – but therwise I’m ready to go right now!
In conclusion I owe it to both franchises to continue to support them. I’m chasing an experience that Call of Duty first gave me many years ago, which Battlefield has continued to accentuate since then. I’m invested in the single player of Modern Warfare – an aspect so many gamers overlook and yet its multiplayer holds no thrill for me, running around in Black Ops still felt like being back in Carentan. I’ll be ready and waiting for team work and jet fighters for Battlefield 3 – the preorder is down for the whoop de doo edition but, for every player I take down, I’ll be living by the motto ‘What would Soap MacTavish do?’