My first blog post in a while. And I thought it'd be swell if I came back with something gimmicky, something catchy.
In this new KETCHUP blog series of mine, I play a little video game catch up (geddit?). And I won't be running out of games to use for this anytime soon, because not only are there plenty of games out there I haven't yet picked up, I'm probably the only guy you'll hear of that has about 85% of his game library either not finished or not even played. I honestly do get around to almost finishing a lot of them, but my cursed attention span makes my brain always crave for something new.
Well, I've been trying to fight that for several weeks now.
As a result....... I've finished one game. Which we'll also talk a lot about. But this first blog post is mainly going to be about last year's attempt to decimate CoD's reign in the online space, Battlefield 3.
Now the only reason I'm playing this is because that certain other game I had just finished just so happens to be Modern Warfare 3. Which, I suppose, put me in a generic modern shooter mood. Something like that. This usually happens when I play a certain genre of game. And you better believe at this point the generic military shooter is it's whole genre ala the WWII shooters of yesteryear.
But that's not to say I didn't enjoy MW3. On the contrary, I thought it was great. Well, as far as single player and Spec-Ops went. Although, I bought it to once again give the popular CoD MP a try. As before now I've always felt it was plain awful. Unbalanced, housed the worst of the gaming commune... just overall stupid. Yet there was always something about it I liked it. No doubt, it was the extreme level of customization.
My two weaknesses in gaming for the longest time have been loot and customization. While CoD MP doesn't necessarily have loot (beyond scavenging for ammo/weapons), it does have a scoring/points system. Which would probably be the next best thing for me. Seeing that +100 come up for each kill, or even seeing a +1200 for a completed challenge/goal, it's all so pointless and satisfying.
As it stands, I have played about 4 hours and 15 minutes of MW3 MP and I'm starting to lighten up on my critical thoughts on it. But, I still can't help but feel cheaped out of a kill every now and then. I've never felt that with say... Halo, for example. Or really almost any other MP shooter I've played pending any lag trouble.
BUT HEY. I should probably start talking about Battlefield 3.
Right now I'm on the Operation Guillotine (?) mission in the single player campaign and I have to say I'm enjoying myself. Though my enjoyment has been halted by the occasional bug, flow disruption or predictable/underwhelming action setpiece.
*MINOR SPOILERS BELOW not related to the story but spoilers nonetheless*
I mean, who DIDN'T sense an ambush where you were trying to move that car near the bridge? And how many times were we already shown that earthquake sequence before the game released? I think I need to slap EA upside the head for that one. It's just not that amazing. I honestly felt more intensity from when my teammates were shaking in their boots about a bomb trace they were telling me I needed to deal with.
And the bugs I mentioned? They're not just simple AI quirks or a wonky hit detection, I almost had to reset my checkpoint a couple times. Hopelessly wondering around the last two areas trying to figure out why it's still telling me to shoot the bad dudes. Thankfully, it was solved by exploding two unmarked explosive canisters totally unrelated to the objective. Then most recently I had a tank to deal with and a javelin to make it asplode. But the javelin hits wouldn't register until I moved from the area where I fucking got the javelin from. And no, there was nothing in my way. [EDIT: There was something in my way, apparently. Tried the mission again in the same exact spot and I found that a nearly invisible lamp post was blocking my way ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ]
Considering it begs that this game gets compared to MW3, a game that's all but completely polished outside a couple very very minuscule things, these really stand out. Heck, without the comparison it's still an issue for sure.
Finally, we have times where I'm wondering things like "Why can't I get out of this turret position? I wanna use my gun now.". Until I realized it was because the parked jeep I was in was supposed to explode me out of it. I know that's probably a dumb thing to complain about as times where your movement is restricted happens all the time in games, but I can't remember the last time I was made to stick to a turret of all things. Usually the scenario will simply convince you the best way to deal with things is to use a turret, but you had the freedom to not use it at anytime. It's either that or the section would be on-rails, which this wasn't.
But, of course, there are the upsides.
For instance, I much prefer Battlefield's tougher and more "realistic" approach to the gameplay. I've actually already died around 5-6 times on Normal. Maybe more. I also really appreciate that the game is obviously not trying to be like Call of Duty with it's campaign as well as it's MP. There's a lot more downtime/build-up and subtlety and it was both somehow hilarious and refreshing to not see enemies running out of cover with a death wish every 5 seconds.
Supporting all this is some really fantastic voice-acting.
Interestingly, the best part so far has been the fighter jet sequence. A section I've seen more than a few complain about. Maybe it's because I went in expecting not to actually fly the thing, but only to call out attacks, which was more than enough exhilaration for me. It just all felt very well-paced, realistic and plain cool. Keeping my eye on the enemy fighters, knowing when to fire the missiles, making sure I timed the flares correctly, witnessing those couple close calls, I loved every second of it.
It goes without saying, but the game is also a real visual/audio treat. Even though I sort of prefer CoD's cleaner, more crisp aesthetics and the varied thunks of CoD's armory. During my time with MW3, I was always noticing how each and every gun sounded. Especially the pistols. Here, guns just.... sound like guns. Maybe if I turned up the volume on my TV a little bit....
Overall, as I've said, it's been sort of a mixed bag so far. But the big meat of the game is and has always been MP. Which I am really really looking forward to trying outside the beta.
And who knows. Maybe the single player will pick up a little bit too and I won't end up running into anymore invincible tanks or magic explosives.