For months now, probably before E3 2011, going back all the way to E3 2010 or so; Electronic Arts has been touting the superiority of Battlefield 3 over Modern Warfare 3. Neither game was done. EA wasn't able to play MW3 but still, they felt it was superior. Perhaps it was their way of trying to carve out their piece of the modern military shooter that they couldn't grab with Medal of Honor. Which as history has shown is a multibillion dollar genre. Virtually the exclusive territory of Activision, Infinity Ward, and Treyarch. So EA, after creating a mediocre at best shooter with Medal of Honor; Decided to get Battlefield 3 out there to take on Modern Warfare 3. Which is great on a bullet point press release or a PR board. But in practice it is a little more complicated.
Battlefield 3 is an excellent first person shooter. Battlefield 3 does multiplayer better than anyone else. The game allows the player to not only shoot their opponents, unlock weapons and gadgets, and of course level up. But because the player can pilot a jet, tank, helicopter, or just hop into an Anti-Aircraft gun and shoot a tank with it. Yes, players can shoot tanks with an Anti-Aircraft gun, not that I would recommend doing so. The scale of warfare is much broader than running around in an arena and shooting people. The field of battle is much larger and the sense of being within a battle zone is much greater.
Modern Warfare usually feels more like Football. There is no pretense, it is just a group of players against another group of players. Not that there is a lot of pretense in Battlefield but rarely does the player feel like they are just running around shooting each other. There are stories that come out of Battlefield 3 that aren't going to come out of an infantry shooter. The pace is slower, the game requires the player to have more than fast reflexes. There are tactics, practices to remember, and definitely a learning curve steeper than Modern Warfare, Doom, or anything similar. Where all of this falls apart is that the single player is absolute garbage.
While garbage is a bit harsh. It is apt; The beginning of the campaign contains no less than 3 quicktime events. In a FPS a series of quicktime events smacks of laziness at best. The second scene of the game which features flashbacks prominently which leads directly to a group of soldiers the player isn't introduced to and couldn't care less about. The main character isn't given any prologue or back story; so what difference does all this make? None… Then we are rushed into a mission that involves the beginning of sets of wonderfully inept non-quicktime, quicktime events where if the player doesn't perform EXACTLY as the game requires they will simply be shot and die. No variation, no deviation, just do what we say or die! Which wouldn't necessarily be that bad for the beginning of a game. But it never gets any better. The designer perhaps, had a vision for the game. But they have a very inelegant, heavy handed way of implementing that vision. Just to make sure the player is further separated from getting their bearings, the game then changes everything with an earthquake. I won't go through the whole process blow by blow. But of all the things they copied from Medal of Honor and Call of Duty they SHOULD have copied the small amount of freedom the player to is given so they don't feel like they are being bolted to a rail and thrown down a straight line.
This is a case of DICE and EA overreaching. There was no need to have a single player campaign in a Battlefield game. Most fans of the series rolled their eyes when this was announced. The only reason to include a single player campaign, is to compete with Modern Warfare 3. Which if the game shipped with a large amazing multiplayer, much like it did. Would have been enough to get the game a large amount of sales. But Battlefield 3 is a much more hardcore, complicated game than Modern Warfare 3 and this is evident to anyone who plays it. But that's not what Modern Warfare fans want. They want more of the same. The people who love Battlefield will either play both or play Battlefield over Modern Warfare. There won't be a huge land rush, there won't be paradigm shift. Because that's not what makes Call of Duty games popular.
As much as I love the multiplayer of Battlefield 3 it is very hard to ignore the terrible single player. The multiplayer should have been enough, because in the end; that's all they have anyway. 8/10
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