It’s a double review this week from me, as I take a look at the two shooting heavyweights – Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. I’ll be looking at both the single and multiplayer and seeing just how well they stand up, but first – the Campaign gets my attention before I go for the multiplayer. Let’s dive in.
Battlefield 3 – Campaign
The game starts you off chasing down a terrorist on a train as it teaches you the controls as you move through the train. Unfortunately for you, you get knocked out and wake up eight hours earlier in an office with two federal types, interrogating your character – Blackburn. In a style similar to Dragon Age 2, the story is filled in from the start by an interview by someone wanting to know the truth and you play through said memories. You primarily play as Blackburn, but on occasion you get to play as other people that you never really find out about. They try and make you care about one soldier you play as by showing you his child’s small toy, which comes into play later in the story, but he’s there and gone again that fast, it’s questionable why they even included him. The shooting works well, but that’s the only thing in the campaign that does.
Through out the campaign, the AI – both friendly and enemy – seemed determined to cause your death and failure. The enemies constantly ignore the other dozen soldiers and aim straight for you when you had yet to fire a bullet as well as taking you down in a grenade and bullet combo that takes you from full health to dead without time to gain cover. I’m all for a bit of a challenge, but creating unfair challenges ruins an experience. You will die a lot, and this was on normal – the loading times did not help matters, reminiscent of Duke Nukem Forever where you could be waiting around fifteen seconds. It’s an incredible visual experience, but before you get a chance to really experience it, you’re either dead or grinding your face against a stone wall, praying it blocks the bullets.
The friendly AI seem determined to run in front of you, and you get penalized for shooting your teammates. One instance half way through the game saw me crouched, taking aim at a group of enemies – the moment I start firing, my teammate runs through me – not around, not over, through – and takes half a clip in the rear, all of a sudden a message saying shooting my teammates will get me in trouble, and the game slowed down for a second as the shot teammate turned to face me. Game over, restart at checkpoint. The six to seven hour campaign is summed up with full of moments like that that will make you want to play something else. A wholly forgettable experience, and not one that would make you want to go back again and go through it all.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Campaign
After the frustration of dragging my sorry self over the finish line for Battlefield 3, I was praying for a less frustrating time with Activision’s offering for their campaign, and I got it…sort of.
The game picks up where it left off two years ago – “Soap” MacTavish, token Scot, has a knife in his chest, the world is approaching World War 3 and is generally screwed, and instantly the story has more interest to it than Battlefield 3 as we’ve been following the Task Force 141 since Modern Warfare 1. What put me off Battlefield 3’s story is that I just didn’t care – I didn’t care about these new people, I didn’t care about what was happening, they were all strangers and when one died, it wasn’t that big a deal. As I said, the characters were just meant to make us care right then and there, with no real time to form an emotional attachment, where as Price and Soap have been with us since the first Modern Warfare, so we are much more used to them. Mind you, the story is still ridiculous at times and we control brand new people for half the game, but it at least makes us care a bit before trying to kill off the soldiers.
The game, unsurprisingly, plays like Battlefield 3, except the melee button is at the natural crouch button and vice versa. This got me killed a few times as I went to duck, and slashed at the air harmlessly. The control scheme works, and is nothing dramatically different. Something that works for Modern Warfare 3 is that while you will die, it’s at least fair for when you do. You can sneak up on enemies when they are distracted, your teammates will aim and throw grenades, so a fault on your part will contribute to your death. The loading times are noticeably short – five seconds to let you get over the rage, then plonks you right back into the fight, no menu, just a foggy screen and a random quote. However, it’s still way too short for what a campaign should be, and is just as short as its rival.
It also does what a trilogy should do, and closes the chapter for any more games – at least, we shouldn’t get any more Modern Warfare games, personally, I fully expect Call of Duty 9 to pop out in the next year or so, but the story of Captain Price, Soap and the rest of Task Force 141 is done, and the ending underlines that.
If you can’t tell, then I massively preferred Modern Warfare 3’s campaign to Battlefield 3’s in term of gameplay, story and the overall experience – I will attest that Battlefield 3 is the prettier game, but just because it’s pretty does not mean that it is good. In fact, if you ever do get Battlefield 3, just avoid the campaign altogether as you will just be put off the game.
Now, I’m not dismissing Battlefield 3 as a game, as this review is not done. Next week, I will be going into both the multiplayers, then give you a final score. So keep in mind that this week is just for the single player Campaign, and not overall. I would have both, but my internet has denied me the chance to give both a fair shot thus far.
Battlefield 3 Campaign Score:
out of 10
Modern Warfare 3 Campaign:
out of 10
Battlefield 3 Campaign Pros Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Pros
– Looks beautiful – Looks beautiful
– Gun shoots things – Story feels finished
– Quick loading times
– Poor AI, both friendly and enemy – Random grenades of death
– Too short for a “Triple A” Campaign – Feels way too similar to Modern Warfare 2 for comfort
– Long loading times – Too short for a “Triple A” Campaign too
– Weak story
– Occasional glitches force game reset