This week, breaks down Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3.
With the release of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, Shooter Season 2011 is gearing up for a shuddering, sticky-fingered climax right into our eye sockets, and as the two giants of modern war gaming stand head to head, Battlefield armed with a realistic, faithfully-depicted sniper rifle and Modern Warfare with a neon space bazooka that fires venomous hedgehogs, only one question remains unanswered: Why haven't I reviewed Skyrim yet? Alright, two questions: Of these two mindless celebrations of state-sponsored violence designed for paranoid shitheads who sit stroking guns while unblinkingly watching subtitled foreign movies, which is the least horrible?
Rather than dryly breaking down Modern Warfare 3 on its own this week, I thought I'd do something I haven't done in a while and go over the two opponents InFamous-vs-Prototype style, although hopefully this one won't end with a hardened military veteran lingerie fashion parade. I mean, if it comes down to a tiebreaker again, it would need to be something more humiliating than being the protagonists in these games in the first place!
Modern Warfare 3 starts off with the advantage for being a continuation of the ongoing Modern Warfare plot and then it fumbles the advantage and serves directly into the umpire's flask of tea. Once again the action switches back and forth between the US military fighting off the sinister Russians and Captain Price et al in pursuit of some bastard who was apparently responsible. I love how that always works, don't you? Remember when they killed Osama bin Laden and now there's no terrorism anywhere in the world ever? Occasionally you also play as other characters who always have the life expectancy of a rat in a homeless man's mouth, but more on that later. For me, Modern Warfare 3's plot makes its signature turn right around the bend when Russia invades Europe. As in, all of it. Simultaneously. Now I've never invaded Europe except for that one time, but I would think that's a project you might want to stagger out a bit if you haven't forged an alliance with any galactic empires lately!
But I'm still giving this one to Modern Warfare, because whatever the strong points of Battlefield's plot, it was mostly ripped off from Call of Duty games so Modern Warfare basically gets the prize either way.
It should be a given at this point that if you don't like endlessly pointing and clicking at armored brown blokes who are differentiated from the other armored brown blokes you're not supposed to shoot in ways that won't become clear until the third or forth glance or first round of bullets, then maybe you should go back to your pony-riding simulators, you little girl. But there were many points in both games when I'd be in the middle of a warzone, unable to see the baddies through the dust and smoke while my NPC allies all stole my kills and I'd reflect that shooters seemed to have lost their way.
Both games seem to mix it up with vehicle sections though. Battlefield 3 lets you ride a tank and a plane but spends the entire time flashing up big arrows telling you when and where to press what buttons, but on the other hand, it is at least possible to fail if your head has recently caved in. In Modern Warfare 3's vehicle sections, you're usually just dropping conflagration on ground targets from high above like you're God armed with a giant magnifying glass.
So I have to give this one to Battlefield for at least remembering that games need to in some way challenge as well as satisfy your psychotic armchair genocide fantasies.
Let me just say that if realism is a make or break factor for you in a game about shooting enough foreigners to be classified as a medium-sized natural disaster, then you're exactly the kind of gamer that the rest of us disassociate ourselves from when the mainstream media finds out about you. For what it's worth, Battlefield 3 is more realistic. You die much easier under fire and sniper bullets even have drop-off. Wow, drop-off? I love that because it reminds me of my flaccid impotent cock. And even the terrorist group with three nukes and a seemingly bottomless supply of reinforcements is more realistic than the Russian army somehow having the man-power to simultaneously invade every capital city in Europe within days of pulling out of a full-scale invasion of the United States. Presumably while waiting for the order, large groups of Russian soldiers were all camped outside each European city disguised as trees.
So Battlefield 3 gets the point even though Modern Warfare 3 is more fun because even if all your arms and legs have been shot off, you can still flop your way behind cover and suck on some nourishing gravel until it all grows back.
The ongoing plot of Modern Warfare involves the Russians basically being tricked into war by that bastard Makarov making them think the Americans shot up that airport in Modern Warfare 2, and I assume they set all that up so as to avoid painting Russians as inherently evil but it must be said that the Russian populace really don't seem to have needed much persuading and their soldiers gun down unarmed civilians like free candy comes out of their earholes.
The driving plot point of Modern Warfare 3 is tracking down the Russian president who was kidnapped on his way to working out a peace treaty with the West. Now if the Russian government was committed enough to peace that he was already on the plane puckering up for some imperialist bottom kissing, who the hell gave the order to invade Europe? Cause when the president finally does get into that meeting with the Western powers, there are going to be some fucking awkward items on the agenda. Full-scale chemical weapon attacks on civilians, that's a hard thing to blame on a few bad apples. I think the problem might lie with the orchard, mister President. You might stop watering it with liquidized children.
So yeah, a point for Modern Warfare again because I could never quite tell what Battlefield 3's main villain's accent was supposed to be.
The Shocking Moment!
After nukes in Mwar 1 and fun with massacres in Mwar 2, we've come to expect a shocking moment in Modern Warfare games although since we are expecting it, it would be more shocking if there wasn't one. But sadly no six-year-olds were around to explain this to the developers that the shocking moment is hollow, token and manipulative: A child dies. Whoop de fucking do. Children die all the time especially if you tie them to the rear bumper of a car, it's not even difficult.
Meanwhile, Battlefield 3 nukes Paris. They don't dwell on it and it never comes up again. They could at least have a bloke fly past the camera with a baguette stuck through his head.
So after all that, who's the winner? No-one! Nobody is the winner. The loser is the entire games industry and human society in general when the people who like these games grow up, become president and call the Secretary of Defense a faggot for not wanting to nuke Switzerland.
But maybe it's not too late to save us if we start making games about nicer wars, like the Anglo-Zanzibar war of 1896 that lasted thirty-eight minutes. You'd barely have time to shoot one British sailor before declaring peace and spending the rest of the afternoon beating them at cricket.
Just loves killing (time, that is): Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
Oh I see they turned the M upside down so it looked like 'WW3' or World War 3 that's pretty clever I guess
Skyrim is next week alright it's the busy period