Posts tagged ‘Modern Warfare 3’

February 28, 2012

Modern Warfare 3 DLC: Liberation and Piazza


For months now I’ve hated on Modern Warfare 3, complaining of its unoriginality, bemoaning it’s failures in comparison to Battlefield 3, and in general just letting it collect dust while I enjoyed other games.  But I had an epiphany last weekend.  When a friend of mine came over for drinks, we ended up playing MW3 the entire night.  This is because, despite all it’s percieved faults, MW3 did

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November 24, 2011

Up Close and Far Away: Battlefield 3 v. Modern Warfare 3


I had to put Skyrim aside while I finish up a mountain of work for the next few weeks, and have instead focused my breaks on shooters lately.  And while playing both Modern Warfare and Battlefield, I’ve obviously noticed some substantial differences.  But today I want to focus on two main differences, both in the area of one-hit killing:  knifing and sniping.  Both games take a somewhat different approach to these integral aspects of combat, and in my personal opinion, Battlefield 3 has done a better job with both.

Yes, obviously...

Knifing

Call of Duty’s knifing system hasn’t changed much over the past few years (but honestly, what has?).  It’s simple really, you’re guaranteed a one-hit kill if you get close enough to an enemy and take a swipe at him with your knife.  It’s become such a second nature to the games that when two players come within a specific distance of one another, continuing to shoot is simply foolish and suicidal.  It has caused every gamer across the world to shout out in rage as they pump their enemy full of bullets, only to be felled with one swipe of the knife.  I personally find this a problem.

Close enough.

First of all, in what world do the game designers live on where a cut is always more deadly than a gunshot wound?  Not that MW3 doesn’t have stab animations, but all too often we’re presented with a mere swipe of the knife and the enemy is dead.  In the above picture, the guy’s backpack might get torn open, but to have us believe he’ll keel over and die because of it is a little too much for even a gullible guy like me to believe.  When your blood is quickly being replaced by bullets, giving the guy a papercut isn’t going to stop it.  I know we need knifing to be one hit kill so that we’re not left with a slapfest like in Goldeneye, but at least make it realistic.  Maybe something like below?  A little animation where you turn the guy around and actually, you know, put the knife in him?

Like this?

Yes like that!  Modern Warfare, you should have done it exactly like….well hell, like Battlefield.  See, in Battlefield you don’t just limp-wrist your knife at a guy and hope he’s a hemophiliac, you let him know you’re stabbing him.  It’s all the more satisfying to do it, all the more enraging to have it done to you, and all the more realistic.  Plus, not only does it make things way more balanced, but it actually makes knifing more ruthless.  Knifing is far more difficult to pull off, but if you do it, it is a great feeling.  You don’t feel like you got a cheap kill; you feel like you just brutally killed someone.  And when you’re playing a war game, that’s usually the effect you’re going for.  Oh, and did I mention you steal their dog tags?

Kinda a dick move though...

Sniping

I saw someone say that Modern Warfare 3 is like laser tag and Battlefield 3 is like paintball, and I have to agree.  Whereas in laser tag you run around constantly in a small room shooting each other and giggling until the nitrous wears off, in paintball you move slowly and deliberately; the opposing sides are more delineated and precision, teamwork and patience pay off in the end.  In MW3 I don’t really care if I get killed.  I immediately respawn and run back into the action, guns blazing until I die.  I’m more of a kamakazi; death is inevitable, so why not take out as many people as I can with me.  But in Battlefield, it takes forever to get to a good spot and hold it.  I don’t want to die, I have a real incentive not to.  This is true for all classes and play styles.  And though I’m mostly an SMG man in both games, I’ve recently tried my hand at sniping.  In one game I had fun, in the other I did not.  I’ll give you a hint.  Laser tag doesn’t have sniper rifles lasers for a reason.

My dad wishes I played fooooootballllll!

Here’s my main beef.  Modern Warfare 3 has tons of great weapons in it, just like Battlefield 3 does.  In fact, they have tons of the same weapons, both being modern shooters.  But while in Battlefield you can make good use of really any of the guns, in Modern Warfare you really only need the SMGs or the assault rifles.  I mean honestly, when each map is the size of a Wendy’s, why do you need a sniper rifle?  Quickscoping?  That cheap method of running and gunning with a one-hit kill weapon?  Who here honestly believes that’s how snipers work in real life?  I know video games are able to take liberties with reality, and sometimes that can be good, but what is the point of having a sniper rifle in Modern Warfare?  Some may make good use of it I’m sure, but not to the extent you could if it was on a far bigger map.  This isn’t really what you should see when you’re sniping:

Close enough to knife him, really.

That’s like someone sniping their neighbor in some twisted Hatfield-McCoy feud, except in the suburbs.  The beauty of sniping is the incredible accuracy these weapons offer, matched with the skill of the shooter.  In Battlefield, with the maps as large as they are, one has to take into serious account leading the enemies and the effect of gravity on bullets over an extended distance.  That’s why a kill like in the image above may be sort of satisfying, but it’s nothing compared to a Battlefield snipe:

See, that is sick.  And while I’m nowhere near close to that good (my Battlelog shows my longest headshot at a paltry 112m), it is quite fun in a game of Rush to hide atop a hill and watch the combat below, waiting for that one shot.  And though I miss a lot, and when I do choose to snipe I get very low overall game scores, when I do get that headshot from a distance, I feel very accomplished afterwards.  Because I feel like an actual sniper, licking my finger to test the wind, aiming above their heads so I can watch that white orb drop and pop them a split second later.  Modern Warfare gives us the guns, but they don’t give us the ability to actually engage in all types of this so called “modern warfare”.  We’re only given a part of it.  This very claustrophobic close-quarters combat type of warfare, without any of the rest of it.  So we’re left with guns that can’t be used to their full potential.  And that’s why I keep coming back to Battlefield as my game of choice over MW3.

Plus, you can tell this isn't MW3 because there aren't kids calling you a fag in this picture.

In the end, this is a very partisan approach to it all, and my inner fanboy towards BF3 is clearly showing.  I’ll either preach to the choir or generate disagreements.  So please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

November 10, 2011

First Impressions of Modern Warfare 3


Note:  This is nowhere near a complete review, nor is it my final thoughts about the game.  It’s just a good ole fashioned, knee jerk rambling, born from playing the game for just a couple of days.

Context is everything.  This game, like it or not, doesn’t exist within a vacuum.  And because of that, comparisons are inevitable.  With that said, I’m judging Modern Warfare 3 from the perspective of someone who up until Tuesday had been playing tons of Battlefield 3 online.  As a reference, let me tell you a story.  DorisfromNoris and I logged on the other night and formed our own little squad.  We were playing conquest, and as I jumped into a jeep, a stranger jumped onto the 50cal behind me.  We drove from checkpoint to checkpoint, blasting people away and rising up as the best squad on our team.  When our vehicle was destroyed, Doris met up with us and we three proceeded on foot to continue dominating the game.  We were the Navy SEALs of the game so to speak.  And we didn’t know this other guy at all.  But over the course of a number of matches, the teamwork put in by all three of us not only allowed us to win some major games, but to also become a friend to this new guy.  It was not only a memorable evening, but probably the most fun I’ve had since COD4 came out, in terms of online FPS.

Maybe you had to be there.  Regardless, it was a great time.  Now, fast forward to Tuesday.  I pick up MW3 on my lunch break and go home to play a couple of games.  The first game I get into, the match is already underway.  There is an enemy Huey just decimating my team, so I pop a Javelin rocket at it and bring it down.  Yay teamwork!  Everyone was stoked, and we all agreed to get beers if we were ever in the area again.  Or wait, that doesn’t seem right.  No, they said, and I quote, “Goddamn Mortar, wait until the chopper’s leaving before you shoot it?  Fucking n00bs on our team, what a bitch.”  I’m torn between three options.  Asking why he didn’t shoot it down, trolling him hard just to start an argument, or muting the dude.  I went with the third option; it had been a bad day and I didn’t feel like arguing with some meth addled hillbilly about strategy and the merits of who’s actually a bigger prick.

Though in fairness, he made an astute point.

And that’s when I realized it.  For whatever reason, these two war games gave me totally different reactions.  And Modern Warfare’s reaction wasn’t positive.  It got me mad.  It got my blood boiling.  I’d mute the guys but then immediately spawn on a live grenade.  I’d be in the middle of reloading when my sprinting would cancel the action.  Not to mention the clusterfuck that happens when the game thinks 3 people should spawn on top of each other, causing the game to sputter and rubberband like a Japanese kid watching that Porygon episode.  When Doris got on, we couldn’t party chat thanks to the ingenuity of the PS3, and thus we were stuck in lobbies of people blasting music into their mics, people going so racist it’d make a Klansman blush, and kids screaming for no discernible reason.  I hated to admit it, but from the FPS wars I’d seen in threads, it seemed the BF3 fanboys may have had a point.  And all that time, I’d been on the wrong side of history.

But maybe its not the  games themselves, maybe its the players.  I had to judge the game itself and not its audience.  I love Nirvana, and that love didn’t go away when the goth kids appropriated grunge.  Just because they thought Kurt Cobain would have made a great Slipknot frontman didn’t make Lithium any worse.  It just made them stupid.

Smells like team spirit, amirite?

So I hopped offline and decided to take a stab at single player.  And this is when my frustration subsided.  Because say what you want about Call of Duty, they can still make one hell of a campaign, and this is no exception.  Its so intense and crazy, you’d be inclined to watch First Blood only when you need to fall asleep.  I won’t spoil anything, but there is a certain Inception-like fight scene that totally blew my mind (and eerily resembled a Perfect Dark 64 level, if any of you out there are keeping track).  And here’s where I noticed something else.  Whereas Battlefield is clearly made for PCs, and the graphics dumbed down for their console brethren, MW3 is fully rendered on my PS3.  60 frames per second does wonders for the fast paced action, and the guns are beautifully rendered, complete with Remington or Colt etched into their sides to give that added touch of realism.  And the cities are just great looking.  Ah yes, I was loving this game, and I could finally breath a sigh of relief.  Nothing worse than hating the first 10 minutes of a game you just bought.  That’s certain to bring you down.

See, I loved Black Ops; loved it with a passion.  I didn’t really play games for a year or two there, and so when I got Blops I got into it with a vengeance.  And I played the multiplayer nonstop.  So I was worried.  Just what was it about Modern Warfare 3 that was getting me pissed off?  If all the complaints were that MW3 was just more of the same, that wouldn’t mean I’d be getting this mad at it, especially since I loved the same this was supposedly more of.  And I realized a couple of things.  First, I didn’t get Blops when it first came out, I got it in late December.  By that time the Ritalin munching kids had grown tired of it (to an extent) and so there were more serious players online.  Secondly, coming from BF3 with all its teamwork and mostly polite-player goodness, I was drowning in a sea of teenage angst, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since I was in high school.  And lastly, I was playing the matches that drew in the most weirdos of all, Team Deathmatch.  I decided it was time to hop on over to something a little more serious, and haven’t left Search and Destroy since.  It has made a huge difference.

So what do I think overall?  I really don’t know.  Its still far too early to make a definitive judgment, let alone try and decide which game I like better for FPS of the year.  I will say this, it does have it’s problems, and it isn’t a whole lot different from its predecessors.  The graphics have been improved, and I think it looks better than BF3, at least on the console.  The survivor mode is simply a ton of fun, though I do miss my Nazi zombies.  Last night I got into a group of about 7 of my friends and we all played together, something that just doesn’t happen on BF3 (because more of my friends have MW3, by far).  The campaign is sick, maybe the best campaign of a single player FPS I’ve ever played, and the multiplayer can be very, very addictive, especially if you mute the morans and have some friends to play with.  The maps are small and cramped, certainly in contrast to what I’ve been used to for the past few weeks, and you will die a lot quicker, especially if you have “skills” like me.  Though I wanted to get on here the first day I got the game and trash it like everyone else has done on Metacritic, I had to remind myself that this is a franchise I’ve loved for years, and have had some great times in.  Maybe all the hate had subliminally influenced me and my opinion.  I had to go back and remember what made Black Ops so special, and try to reclaim that passion in this newest installment.  And so far, I have.   The screaming kids didn’t create the game, and they certainly don’t have to define my opinion of it.  So with tons typed and nothing really said, I’ll leave it with a big “we’ll see…”  Not a satisfying answer, but I want to make sure my review, and ultimately my MW3/BF3 comparison, are well thought out and not based upon pure emotion.  So I’ll leave you with this:

Robber attempts to take MW3 at gunpoint

Man threatens to blow up Best Buy over MW3

Criminals tear gas truck, steal 6,000 copies of MW3

November 7, 2011

The Eve of Modern Warfare 3


Days before Battlefield 3 was released, I wrote an article about how I predicted my favorite of the two big shooters this season would be Modern Warfare 3.  I recanted later after having the opportunity, nay, the privilege of playing Battlefield and seeing first hand just how amazing that game ended up being.  I’ve played so much Battlefield over the past two weeks that Arkham City has sat lonely and desperate under a veil of dust and neglect.  And while that’s not entirely true (I’ve got one hell of an Arkham City review coming up soon)  what I found was that Battlefield 3 had taken all the things I loved in shooters and improved them.  This wasn’t just an expansion pack over previous shooters with minor tweaks here and there, it was an entirely new title, it brought an entire new perspective to shooters.  Intensity, violence, and teamwork.  I only stop playing once the flashes of the gunshots permeate my brain to the point my eyes dilate and my body teeters on the brink of seizure.  Its like a drug, the adrenaline pumping through my veins, my epinephrine gland akin to a junkie’s needle, Battlefield pushing down the syringe more and more.

I love Caspain Border

Ok, maybe that’s all hyperbole.  But anything can seem intense when your day is spent discussing wrongful termination lawsuits.  Regardless, what I found I loved the most about Battlefield was that it was something new.  It gave me that feeling you get when you experience something new, something unknown.  The novelty of it all overwhelms you.  And so, in direct contrast to my previous posts, I fear I may be disappointed with Modern Warfare 3.  It is simply inevitable that one will draw comparisons between two games so similarly situated in terms of gameplay.  And when all signs point to MW3 being more of the same, banking on its successful formula to offer an improved (but not much different) game, I fear that I will be left wondering why I can’t do certain things that I otherwise could in Battlefield.  Call of Duty plays their cards so safely, keeping players in a comfort zone and refusing to take chances that may screw up their formula, that it may end up lagging where BF3 soars.  Its understandable that when you have something good, why mess with it?  Coca-Cola has always been the dominant force in their industry (sound familiar?) so when they tweaked too much, we ended up with New Coke, something people hated with a passion.  Fear of backlash inevitably will handicap innovation, which sometimes keeps you safe from the failings not unlike the soda industry, but can also keep you from grasping success with new changes like many developers have seen before.  You could be Mortal Kombat introducing 3d fighting and screwing everything up, or you could be Grand Theft Auto introducing 3d gameplay and becoming legends.  Battlefield went with innovation and it has been great, and now its hard to think that playing more of the same can be as satisfying as it was before.

No, no it didn't

None of this is to say that I think Modern Warfare 3 will be bad.  I know the story will be awesome, and I’ve heard some pretty controversial things that the campaign may include (but I won’t spoil it for all you good people out there).  And the formula has always been one I’ve liked, and I’ve liked it a lot.  I’m going to the midnight release tonight, I can hardly concentrate I’m so excited about it, and I know the multiplayer will steal countless, Skyrim-like hours of my time.  And I would be willing to bet that my review will be pretty damn positive too.  But in the end, whether I want to or not, subconsciously I’ll have chosen a winner.  And right now, Modern Warfare is looking like  Casey Anthony OJ Simpson Amanda Knox an underdog.  Sure, it might end up winning, but before the jury gets back, its not looking good.

October 24, 2011

Why I Want MW3 More Than BF3


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.

If you buy Call of Duty, the terrorists win

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.

Nothing can compare

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:

The debate really boils down to whether you prefer to shoot AK47s in the desert, or if you'd rather shoot AK47s in the desert.

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.

Get out of my way you idiots!

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!

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.

September 14, 2011

The FN P90


After last week’s look at the Skorpion, its time to jump back over the Iron Curtain and take a look at the NATO SMG of choice for users ranging from police SWAT teams to international counter-terrorism units.  Yes indeed, its the FN P90’s time to shine.

The P90 uses a 50 round magazine, unique in that it is horizontally loaded onto the top of the weapon, which can easily be seen above.  It fires the FN 5.7x28mm round which is small caliber and designed to penetrate Kevlar.  The spent casings are ejected directly out of the bottom of the weapon, preventing any obstruction in the user’s view.  It is symmetrical, meaning that left-handed users are able to use it unmodified.  It fires at an incredible 900 rounds per minute, and if you held the trigger down on a full magazine, it would be depleted in just 3.3 seconds.  An SMG in this respect is thus better suited for semiautomatic fire, and in fact FN later produced a semiautomatic version of the P90.

The P90 was introduced in 1990 (hence the 90 in its name) by the Belgian company FN Herstal.  Their aim was to produce a new SMG that was more than just an automatic pistol, something that could penetrate body armor.  To help achieve the seemingly conflicting goals of obtaining both high penetration like an assault rifle and the mobility and compactness of a small machine gun, FN used a new concept at the time, the bullpup design.  By having the firing mechanism within the stock of the weapon, they were able to greatly shorten the weapon while allowing the barrel length necessary for accuracy and high velocity rounds.  The gun is visually unique in that it has ergonomically designed grips and trigger guards.

I see your taillight's out

The first I had heard of this gun was, you guessed it, in Goldeneye 64.  In this game it was called the RCP90 and was one of the best weapons offered in the multiplayer.  The game designers decided to bump up the magazine capacity to 80 rounds and retained the bullet penetrating and high rate-of-fire characteristics of the weapon.  At times it was also possible to duel wield the guns, though in reality blazing full-auto with two bullpups would be unbelievably difficult.  But to hell with realism, I doubt anyone was worried about it while running through the jungle, RCP90 in the right hand, grenade launcher in the left.  In multiplayer games with power weapons, often times the games would revolve around who could control the RCP90 respawn area, a testament to the gun’s impressive statistics, which, though exaggerated, still remain largely true to life.

Cartridges do not fly out the side of the FN P90, but instead the bottom

The FN P90 is currently used in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and is expected to return in Modern Warfare 3.  It has also been featured in games such as Perfect Dark, Metal Gear Solid, Timesplitters, Battlefield, and Fallout.  The bank robbers in Taxi, multiple characters in multiple Bond films, the police in I, Robot, and the fake police officers in Hostage all use the P90, as do countless more.

The P90 makes an appearance in the Fallout series

The FN P90 made its debut in the Gulf War, used by Belgian forces.  It was used later that decade in the successful Peruvian military engagement that ended the Japanese Embassy hostage crisis in Operation Chavin de Huantar.  The hostage takers were equipped with body armor, yet all were killed and 71 hostages rescued, greatly aided by the fact that the P90 is one of the few SMGs that fire armor-penetrating bullets.  More recently that bastion of democracy, Muammar Gaddafi, had his troops use the P90 and other weapons on his own citizens, which worked well when most of his supporters refused to fire on their countrymen and defected.  This gave the impoverished rebel forces a significant cache of weapons that were used in the successful uprising.

We won, but we still live in Libya. A mixed victory, to be sure.

The FN P90 is now twenty-one years old, but continues to see wide use in over forty countries to this day.  The Houston Police Department was the first American department to adopt this weapon, and to keep ahead of the game, were the first to use it in a shootout.  Now it is in use with over 200 organizations in America, including the secret service.  Its originality of design, bullpup configuration, use of small caliber, high velocity ammunition, and wide acceptance among NATO countries has allowed the FN P90 to be an originator of concepts in this next generation of firearms.  I attempted to buy a P90 off the internet to test it out myself, but wound up with something else entirely.

Either way, I got some guns out of it