I can honestly say with a straight face that I’m obsessed. Can’t put the controller down. Can’t turn off the system. Can’t not scream “Oh my Goooood” every time I get picked off from the side in multiplayer. I can honestly say that because there are millions of people out there who have the affliction A LOT worse than I do. There are few things on the sticks that irk me more than an online lobby where I’m at a four skill level, and some of these other dudes are at 62 or 65. I’m talking playing for 35 hours after the game had been released just two days earlier. How does someone do that?
Normally, my qualms have been saved for the Call of Duty series alone. First-person shooters always require some level of expertise. You can’t take weeks off at a time and expect to come back and dominate. Every split second counts. Life and death is a fine line. You have to know the maps inside and out and you have to know your weapons. This year was one of the first times a second game – made in basically the same mold as Call of Duty’s newest edition, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – was built up on a commercial level as perhaps not only equal to the legend, but even greater.
With both games scoring an 8.5 by Gamespot, I figured for once I’d give both games a shot and compare them. I knew what I was getting out of the Call of Duty series. I didn’t know about Battlefield 3 because I had missed out on so many games previously. And like many of my friends, I’m sure there are still people out there who are on the fence about which game to purchase: do you go with the safe choice, or take a chance on a game that you may not have a ton of experience with?
For starters, MW3 was easy to pick up and play. I knew that going in. The campaign hasn’t given me any new thrills so far. It reads like a story – with video clips filling in the blanks, and it’s a nuisance to try to find the right difficulty level. Either you’re dying too often or not enough. But that’s the same with every first-person shooter. The campaign is good enough that it stands up to other Modern Warfare editions, but doesn’t stand out.
In Battlefield 3, the opening sequence had me hooked immediately. It was different. It was unique, perhaps just in the sense that I felt alone on the map, but unique all the same. It felt larger, and yourself a smaller part of it, making you feel more vulnerable. But as the campaign wears on, it breaks for the dull rather quickly, and I don’t think it quite lives up to MW3’s edition (especially since the basis of it is almost EXACTLY like Black Ops).
Battlefield 3’s co-op levels are solid enough, but they didn’t leave me with a feeling of “Oh s—, I need to play that again.” The time didn’t pass quickly. I wasn’t engulfed. I wasn’t wasting hours away, which is both a negative and a plus when you’re talking about a video game. MW3 doesn’t necessarily have a co-op mode, but it does have Spec Ops, which is probably my favorite thing out of either game. In MW2, I loved Spec Ops, but they’ve stepped it up even more now. The Survival mode is insane. Literally, I could play that for hours. It’s basically zombies, but with real people on real maps. It’s at the point now where I’d rather play that with one of my boys than go online; There are just too many basement-living, snack-eating, never-coming-up-for-air teenagers who play online so religiously that it’s almost not even fun.
And what’s the deal with the MW3 maps? Off the bat, I noticed one map that was clearly taken from one of the older games. Every map is similar in the sense that it’s close combat. You can’t ever hide without feeling someone behind you and you constantly feel squished. My biggest sticking point is that hardly any of the maps are set in anything other than an urban area. Where are the jungles, the field bunkers or the cliff sides? For some reason, I’ve always loved the more natural environments. It makes me feel like I’m hunting something, and offers a variety rather than just running from building to building.