The war between MW3 and Battlefield 3 is probably old news to you folks. The general consensus of the gitk's (an acronym for Gamers in the Know, or people who regularly visit gaming sites and have an informed opinion on games) is that Modern Warfare 3 is the game for the other people; those who like to trashtalk their work and drinking buddies over the top of a pair of dual wielded light machine gun, and play mainly for bragging right and to let off steam at crappy/less experienced players. The likes of Hardhat and Village are the dwelling of no-good hicks, bro's and general people of lesser intelligence. I myself only dipped my toes into this world very late, with my first major experience with the online component of the Call of Duty series being with this latest iteration. I have sunk forty-five hours into Modern Warfare 3, enough for me to reach level 80, reset my stats (prestige) and start all over again to the tune of re-reaching Level 22. I had a lot of fun. Simplistic, lonely fun.
See, as some of you who regularly read my blogs (all two of you), I have a major love of Left 4 Dead 2. Never before had a game put you in a position where you didn't perform for your own mere existance, but also for your three teammates. If you didn't meet the grade, they were all going to meet the same sticky end as you. Fact. No amount of FPS skill was going to save you if you rushed ahead and didn't wait for your three pals to keep up. You WOULD be picked off and killed, so that when they can eventually catch up to your bloody ruined corpse, they could merely chuckle at your misfortune and selfishness before kicking you from the server. Equally, playing as the Infected relied a lot on heavy tactics and co-ordination between you and your team. "I'll Smoker this guy at the back, you Hunter the guy at the front". Chances are, the other two would go to save the nearest one, whereas Victim 2 would be receiving giant-enemy-crab loads of damage.
This is what makes the Versus mode of Left 4 Dead so different to anything else. Pure reliance on teammates. without them, you're just a sharpshooter with a target on his (or her) back, at best.
I feel this is something missing from modern warfare sims. In real life, you rely completely on your squadmates. Even in paintball, you don't wander off alone. You need the extra eyes and guns to have your back, or you're just another fatality statistic. Modern Warfare 3 does nothing to emulate this element. Sure, you're on a team, and sure, you might rush a known enemy position together to increase your chances, but that's about it. No particular specialisation, no skills beyond "aim and fire". Nothing. That said, a team with microphones does stand a better chance. Agreeing on attack formations and sharing enemy positions does a lot to increase your chances of making the day yours, but it's nothing special.
Battlefield 3, on the other hand, is rather different from the outset. Whilst both it and MW3 have "classes", all that amounts to in MW3 is a slight alteration in killstreaks, weapons and equipment, which doesn't radically change the way you play. Battlefield 3 however, can be played so radically different, depending who you pick.
I've dipped my toes in the alternative modes, such as Conquest (the series� prime mode, from what I understand), which is basically an invasion style game mode where you must capture and hold points in order to slow your loss of tickets. Reach zero tickets, and it's game over. However, after a long day at work, I'm usually in the mood to jump into some straight out Team Deathmatch. And I�m considerably better at Battlefield 3 than I am at Modern Warfare 3. Prime reason? More customisation. Every single gun has multiple attachments which really add to the experience, and whilst MW3 has these too, it just seems to make more of a difference in BF3. A grip, iron-sights and a tactical light to blind nearby enemies is my perfect combination for a 2:1 Kill/Death ratio on Norshair Canals; an expertly built and comparatively small map which lends itself perfectly to the game mode (bar that annoying part where there aren�t enough places to spawn, so the game spawns you right next to an enemy who happens to already have his crosshairs on your cranium). It has something for everyone; narrow corridors between shipping containers for the light machine gun and shotgun enthusiast, slightly more open spaces for the assault rifle specialist, and a viewpoint for snipers to try and hold against the onslaught of flanking enemies. It is the perfect proving ground for those who wish to turn around and say �In straight out combat, I own you�.
Other maps are fantastic also. Each map lends itself perfectly to the mode in question. Operation Metro is a sprawling map which sees you attempt to sabotage enemy positions in stages. First, you must make your way through a treacherous park. Once this has been accomplished, it�s underground through the Metro to tackle more enemy strongholds, before bursting back out into the open air for a final assault on the Caf� and the business park. This is but one example.
Statistics tracking is fun too, as it allows you to see exactly what kind of player you are. My overall K/D ratio of 1.9:1 tells that I�m generally an asset in most situations. Between me and the average player, I stand a better chance of staying standing. But also, you can judge what guns give you the best performance, which you�re more accurate with, and what class suits you best. I generally get more points as the Assault class, as my medic abilities find plenty of use reviving and healing soldiers, which is another thing that trumps MW3; co-operation. If you and you�re squad are in a bother, you can take cover and heal up by throwing down a med-kit which heals those within its radius. Therefore, when you join a squad (a team within a team which allows you to spawn next to each other and generally stick together and co-operate) some communication may be needed. Say three of you are hoping in a tank. Here, a medic may be handy, should you all need to abandon the vehicle and flee for cover. You might also want an engineer, who with a blowtorch equipped can repair damaged vehicles to the point where they�re as good as new. You might even want a Support class trooper, who can replenish the squad�s ammo and give covering fire with a heavy machine gun while you run for the hills. It just makes all situations that little more tense, tactical, and more satisfying when it all pays off. More than any other popular online FPS, you can cater the game to how you want to play, and play the games you feel like playing.
So, whilst I may have sung Modern Warfare 3�s praises before (I gave it (H)8 out of ten), what do I think is the better online game? Battlefield 3
for sure. It looks gorgeous, and simple touches like the way you hurdle and obstacle and the way your head bobs when sprinting feels more realistic, putting you more in the situation, adding tension and�well� fun! Modern Warfare beats out Battlefield 3 for single player, but Battlefield 3�s multiplayer component cans its sorry ass and unleashes a predator missile on its ass (ironic, due to Battlefield 3 lacking killstreaks, which I kind if like). If you want a decent war story mode with a bit of Tom Clancy and Andy McNab (who ironically, wrote the Battlefield 3 tie-in novel) Call of Duty is your game. If you want an engrossing multiplayer experience, as deep as you allow it to be, Battlefield 3 is your game. 10
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