Posts tagged ‘battlefield’

March 18, 2012

Battlefield 3 DLC: The Good, The Bad, The…

Battlefield 3 came out back in October, around five months ago.  And in that time I’ve sunk over 100 hours into the game.  As disappointed as my parents surely are in my life’s progression, and as clearly as my love life has withered, I’ve still managed to find happiness in what I considered 2011’s greatest game.  Not long after the

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February 6, 2012

Open letter to DICE

Dear DICE,

It’s no secret that you’ve created an amazing game with Battlefield 3.  I bought it on a whim while picking up Arhkam City and haven’t put it down since.  Skyrim took a two month hiatus just so I could pad my Battlelog stats a little more.  I’ve now got service stars with 17 weapons and all assignments but one.  I wrote, when I first got the game, that no BF3 multiplayer game is the same and that they all leave you with crazy stories.  This still holds true

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November 17, 2011

Animals, Video Games, and PETA

This week Nintendo released Mario 3D Land for the struggling 3DS.  And while many have given the game great reviews, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come out swinging against them game, claiming that Mario’s Tanooki suit glorifies the wearing of fur and, more specifically, supports the fur industry in Asia, which they claim skins the animals alive.  See, a tanuki is actually a real animal, also known as the Japanese raccoon dog, and its fur is harvested in Japan to make fur coats and other types of clothing.  So PETA, an organization known for its rather outlandish stunts, such as hosting a porn site to promote vegetarianism, has created a Flash game to protest Mario by allowing players to play as a skinned tanuki, chasing Mario to get its bloodied fur back from him.  And while I’m certainly against animal cruelty, I have to wonder about the protesting of “animal cruelty” in games like Mario, where any relation to actual cruelty is tenuous at best and disingenuous at worst.  A tanooki suit may be available in the game, but it takes a special kind of detachment from reality to then assume the game promotes the killing of animals to gain powers they don’t even possess in the first place.   Mario may wear a tanooki suit, but I think it’s a stretch to claim that this:

Promotes the skinning, alive, of these:

Regardless, most sources I’ve read have come out against PETA for its somewhat misplaced focus of attention, and I have to agree.  But it did raise an interesting question in my mind.  What does PETA think of some of the more graphic depictions of violence against animals in video games?

The Battlefield Rat

In Battlefield 3, you find yourself trapped in Iran’s capitol city after a devastating earthquake. While trying to crawl through a ditch to avoid detection, a squeaking rat comes up and starts biting at your fingers.  Rats are nasty, and in this case, can even get you noticed and killed from the noise it’s making.  So you have the option to do what a soldier would be inclined to do, kill the rat lest you be killed.  Now, it’s important to remember that before and after this scene, you are tasked with killing waves and waves of people from all over the world.  You can cut their throats, pepper their faces with a shotgun, or, like any other shooter, simply blast them away as you make your way forward.  And in one level you even kill innocent policemen in the streets of Paris.  But, and don’t be surprised, PETA has ignored the gratuitous people killing and moved on to condemning the game because “Killing virtual animals can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience. There have been repeated cases of animal cruelty in Germany, where young people kill animals. Inspiration behind these acts often came from movies and computer games.”

Snitches get stitches?

As I’ve emphatically argued before, violence in video games has never been shown to correlate with violence in real life.  Furthermore, the dubious claim PETA makes, that the inspiration behind acts of animal abuse came from movies and computer games, is shockingly misleading.  Any animal cruelty cases in Germany I was able to find make no mention of any sort of motive at all.  Its doubtful that video games inspired any of these acts, but rather they stem from the fact that they’re fucking Germans.

Red Dead Redemption

I have to preface this by saying that I really am totally against all forms of animal cruelty.  I eat meat, but I don’t think we should treat food animals poorly, and we especially shouldn’t treat pets or even wild animals badly.  Hearing about some kid burning cats or some lady hoarding dogs makes me sick to my stomach.  But unlike some people, I realize that video games are not real life, and I think PETA loses tons of credibility for what could otherwise be a good message by attacking video games like those mentioned above.  And so when I sought out PETA’s inevitable complaint about Red Dead Redemption, I was left scratching my head.  As far as I can tell (and I absolutely combed their website), they didn’t utter a peep about Rockstar’s blockbuster hit Red Dead Redemption.  You know, the game where you can shoot and kill countless wild animals, get a trophy for killing one of every type, hunt buffalo to extinction, and then graphically skin the animals for their fur?  Yeah, nothing but silence from them.

The game is pretty historically accurate, especially in the sense that people back then lived off the land and gutted the animals they hunted.  I see nothing controversial about this depiction in Red Dead, but I am stunned, absolutely stunned, that PETA had nothing to say about this.  As an aside, some might claim Red Dead influenced this guy, but my bet is on moonshine:  Man field dresses deer in parking lot, arrested.

Riverwood Chicken

Lastly, it appears the realm of Skyrim may have its own brand of environmentalists in the form of the citizens of Riverwood.  As many people have recently discovered, at the beginning of the game if you kill their chicken, the townspeople flip out.  And they don’t just scold you sternly and post porn on the internet to protest you, oh no.  They arm themselves to the teeth and try to slaughter you.  While its probably just a weird bug, it is nonetheless fun to do if you’re bored.  (Bored in Skyrim?  Yeah, yeah, I know).  So far PETA hasn’t had anything to say about this newest installment of the Elder Scrolls, but there is still plenty of time.  With an open world like this, and tons of animals to kill, I’m sure we’ll hear some grumbling sometime soon.  In the meantime, why don’t you enjoy watching a man try to kill a mammoth with his bare hands, naked.  (Spoiler alert, he loses).

September 19, 2011

Battlefield 3 versus Modern Warfare 3

Battlefield 3 is set to be released in just over a month, with MW3 to follow shortly thereafter.  And in the leadup, there has been no shortage of fanboys on both sides arguing over the merits of each franchise.  This bickering has famously erupted between the two developers themselves, each apparently thinking that talking shit about the other franchise is a better marketing strategy than talking about their own game’s offerings.  Personally, I’ve always played more CoD than Battlefield simply because it was what I was used to, and thus I have currently preordered the Hardened Edition of MW3 while my second preorder skipped right past Battlefield and right into the arms of Skyrim.  But all that aside, as the release dates near, there has been an eruption of videos showing gameplay footage from both games and some interesting facts can be gleamed from watching them.  For instance,

Modern Warfare 3 is just more of the same

Yes, I’m sure it will have all the same gameplay mechanics that made Black Ops and all the other Call of Duty games before it fun.  And I’m sure there will be a few differences here and there: newer guns, newer maps, a newer story.  But it’s looking to be basically an elaborate expansion pack.  Vice City wasn’t an entirely new GTA; it was the same game, repainted and given a new story.  Not until GTA IV came out could we say we actually had a sequel.  Sadly, that appears to apply here as well.  I’m sure that MW3 will have a great story, I’m sure I’ll waste hours trying to beat it on veteran, and good God I’m sure I’ll waste weeks playing online.  But just as I recently got burnt out with Black Ops (and sold it back), I worry the same will happen with MW3 but far sooner.  This fear, in my opinion, is well grounded considering that MW3 looks to just be an huge map pack bonus with new weapons and nothing truly new or innovative.  Of course, I’m not asking that they create an entirely new engine and revamp every aspect of gameplay.  They will obviously stick with what works, and more importantly, what makes money.  That makes sense to me.  But at the same time, any form of excitement for MW3 (and trust me, I have plenty) is still somewhat stifled by the fact that I worry I’ll be getting more of the same.

At the same time, I will say that I have heard promising reports about Call of Duty: Elite.  Apparently, because it blends the social networking aspect into the gameplay, it should reduce the amount of screaming 12 year olds online and not a moment too soon.  It’s yet to be seen if that will be successful, but it would be great to actually discuss the game with teammates as opposed to now where you’re barraged by racial slurs by a kid in his mom’s basement, smoking his dad’s weed.  And Elite comes ‘free’ if you buy the hardened version, which also will come (unconfirmed) with a special gun and all released map packs will be at no extra cost.  Considering those can add up over the course of a year to be about the same price as a second game, the upgrade seems financially worth it if you’re a serious CoD fan.

Whether or not the game is just more of the same, CoD is undeniably a fun series and one I look forward to playing.  I had taken a break on CoD and didn’t get MW2 when it came out, so I was refreshed and ready when Black Ops was released.  I played it hard for months on end.  Now, I’m worried MW3 won’t be a different enough experience to keep my interest or give me a sense of newness that draws me in.

On a related note, it appears that MW3 will not contain the wildly popular zombies mode, but instead will feature a survival mode, one similar to Hoard on Gears of War.  While I’m sure it will be tons of fun to play, especially locally, I can imagine that there is disappointment in the fact that zombies had a certain lore, an overarching story behind it, something I doubt a simple survival mode would have.  But at least we’ll be getting maps that allow the amount of players the maps were designed for, unlike:

Battlefield 3 is strictly limiting the amount of players per map on consoles

Battlefield is certainly the franchise trying to catch up to CoD’s success here, but what it may lack in genre dominance may be compensated for in the overall gameplay experience.  Battlefield 3 adds vehicles, multiplayer class systems, and huge 64 player multiplayer, which are all things CoD doesn’t have.  And 64 player multiplayer is something Battlefield 3 itself doesn’t have if you’re playing on a console.  That in itself is not something to detract from Battlefield 3 to be sure, especially seeing as CoD doesn’t allow for close to that many players on a map.  But its something that Battlefield can’t hold over CoD’s head either.  The real problem becomes apparent when you consider that the maps were created for PC play, as DICE has repeatedly stated as their platform of focus.  This means that you will have certain maps, certain HUGE maps, that when ported to the console, will be huge empty maps.  Playing a 24 person game on a map designed for 64 player battles will leave a lot of lulls between the action.  That in turn detracts from the other offering in this game, vehicles.  Take a look at this.

Ok, in theory, that looks awesome.  To hop in a jet, to bomb the hell out of the players on the ground, to get into dog fights with other players, that would be amazing.  Hell, that should be enough right there to tip the scales in Battlefield 3’s favor, right?  On a PC, I’m sure it plays out that way.  And if I had a computer good enough to run that game, and if I didn’t just prefer a controller to a keyboard so damn much, I’d probably buy it on the PC.  But I’ve got a great TV and no interest in computer games that are more easily played on consoles, so that leaves me with the console version.  And that leaves me with this scenario.  Getting into that jet, but there aren’t enough people to bomb, there aren’t enough people to dog fight.  It seems that DICE created a great game and then stripped it of its most important component when porting to console:  the players!  Hell, they’ve already got only half of the framerate that CoD boasts, so cutting graphics might not have been an option.  But reducing the size of the game’s participants, in a game made for epic multiplayer, really almost kills the entire concept for me.

All in all, I’ll probably get both, I’ll probably play both, enjoy both, and have a terrible K/D ratio in both.  Some people of course will inevitably like one over the other, including myself, but I think it’s too early to conclude which may end up having the better online gameplay.  In my experience, CoD will keep me in my safe zone, Battlefield is the risk taker.  Battlefield leaves a lot of room to disappoint, but also a lot of room to blow me away.  CoD will be familiar, but will it be too much of the same?

In the end, at least I know I’ll be getting Skyrim.