The Battlefield/Call of Duty debate rages on as both franchises are set to release their latest installment in a matter of hours/days, respectively. Both companies have handled this competition respectfully and professionally, and by that I mean they have acted like children trying to one up each other in the battle for FPS dominance. While name calling between businesses doesn’t exactly endear me to them, anything that has been said between them pales in comparison to what is debated in the forums online. What has amazed me the most is the sheer enthusiasm of Battlefield players, and the overarching contention that Battlefield takes skill and is the epitome of realism, while Call of Duty is nothing but a haven for Ritalin-junkie prepubescents to practice their racial slurs. For a fun example, take a look at a screengrab I got from a debate, where people are actually using their Facebook logins to debate the merits of two video games.
While his arguments make good use of “alternative” grammar structure, what may worry me the most is that he’s a security guard, which presumably means he carries a gun. At least we know that he’s developing real skills to use in a war game, instead of such non-essential skills like “running and shooting”. But I don’t want to spend my time ragging on some poor weirdo, especially because there are just so many more hilarious posts out there supporting their respective franchises. The basic trend I’ve noticed though is that Battlefield, at least in the gaming forum community, has far more adamant supporters, spending almost as much time supporting their game as they bash Call of Duty. And that’s fine. If it was 1997 and people were shitting on Goldeneye because they thought Turok was better, I’d certainly be jumping into the fray to tell them how stupid they were. But something seems different this time.
First of all, in the overarching scheme of things, the games really aren’t that different. I know I may get some flack for that, but seriously. BF3 and MW3 are both first person shooters, set in the modern day, striving for hyper-realism and the top spot in the uber competitive e-sport category. Because of this, they will both inevitably feature similar weapons, in similar locales, with similar physics. Now, I realize there are some significant differences in the games, and those will ultimately determine not only which game you get, if you don’t end up getting both, and also which ends up selling better. But I think the debate that is currently ongoing, over which franchise is actually superior, is frankly a little bit silly. The games both cater to a very specific demographic, those that like war games and competitive online multiplayer. That needs to be understood by everyone. It is not like there are two different demographics that each game specifically is geared towards. To an outsider, they would be perceived as basically the exact same game. So the major difference is subtle preferences of those within a set and well defined demographic, and that will ultimately determine who buys what. And for me personally, that will be Modern Warfare 3. I had originally planned on getting both, but after playing Bad Company 2 and the BF3 Beta, as well as the sheer amount of games around the corner, I will only have one slot available for my FPS category, and that will be occupied by Call of Duty. Allow me to explain:
First, I am not in the least attempting to say that BF3 is or will be a bad game. Not in the least. In fact, it looks like it will be simply amazing. But it doesn’t work for me for a number of reasons. First, it is too realistic. I die way too easily. Call me a n00b all day long if you need to, but I’m 26 and for some reason I just can’t keep up with 18 year-olds with that trigger twitch anymore. Also, I absolutely love to run and gun. And if I get killed every time I step out into the open, I’m going to get frustrated. In Bad Company I died constantly, it was an exercise in respawning, running towards the action, instantly dying, and then doing it all over again. It got tiresome. Maybe those BF3 supporters are right, and maybe it does take more skill. But it also requires something else, something I just don’t have, and that’s patience. I’m not a patient person, and when I’m required to hide, like real life, for a long time in order to do well, I end up just getting bored. Not to mention that on top of all that, I’m just not a team player. I don’t typically like other people, and I don’t typically see myself as some vital cog in the machine. I see my online personality as a lone vigilante, and my main competitors are my teammates, stealing all those precious kills. To force me to work together with people, after a long day at work, working together with people, is too much to ask of someone like me. See, unlike anyone who’s ever drank the mercury that is online forum debating, which magically makes people stupid, I don’t think that because I will prefer Call of Duty that that somehow makes BF3 a bad game. Its a great game for a certain subset of the demographic, but I’m not a part of that demographic, and I don’t think I ever will be.
I am the type of person that wants instant action, overwhelming, Mountain Dew overdosing action. Both games have tons of action, to be sure, but I’m the type that wants to run constantly towards the action like some sort of suicidal maniac with a death wish, just wanting to take out as many people as I can before I inevitably die. (In hindsight, maybe the poster above has a point about COD = Insurgents). Regardless, I don’t want to die instantly. I don’t want to have to hide and wait all day. I want smaller maps, I want modes where I can run, gun, and say to hell with cooperation. I was shorter matches where I don’t have to commit tons of time to just one game. Furthermore, COD is what I’m familiar with. I’ve been playing that franchises’ games for years. Its what I know, its what I’m used to. I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone, and there is nothing unusual about that, in video games or anything else. The most important factor here is that I have fun playing COD games, and that’s why I buy video games in the first place. See, I had a great time with Deus Ex, I raved about Rage, I can’t put down Batman, and I loved Resistance 3, but there are only two games this year that had me playing, without significant down time, for most of the year. That was Mortal Kombat and Black Ops. And if nothing else, I know myself, and if I bought both BF3 and MW3, I would beat both games’ campaigns, and then be forced into a position of wanting to level up my character as much as possible. I either divide my time evenly between the two games, thus wasting half of my energy playing whichever game I inevitably find less enthralling, or I only play one games’ multiplayer in order to keep as much XP in one place as possible. And because I’ve experienced both styles of gameplay, I can safely say that I would end up choosing COD over Battlefield. And because of that, I personally will pass on Battlefield 3 and wait until November 8th for Modern Warfare.
That all said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on BF3, those of you getting it tomorrow. Let me know what you think in the comments below!