Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Call of Battlefield

If you were to strip all the branding from Battlefield 3, everything game, on the box, on the disc, or in the manual, it would be virtually indistinguishable from Call of Duty to the casual and not so casual observer. Gritty modern day psuedo squad based shooter, check. Story told as flashbacks of person who may or may not be the good guy who is being interrogated, check. Levels from the point of few of soldiers' from varying nationalities, some of whom die in gruesome ways regardless of what the player does, check. Nuclear explosions in densely populated areas, enemies who aim for no one but the player character even when his squad mates are sitting right out on the open, vehicle based levels to break up the shooting, and at least one section thrown in just for shock value, check.

Not as good as No Russian, but the idea is the same.

Here's the problem: Battlefield 3 (at least the part of it that I will be exposed to) is really good. It is pointless to complain about who it doesn't has a single original idea pressed into either of the discs it came on when what is here is enjoyable. Yes, I annoyed when some smarmy bastard shoots me from across the map, killing me before I even knew he was there, but this has been a problem since shooters took a step or two in the general direction of 'realism' and may never be fixed. It's also very obvious when there are enemies that I am supposed to kill instead of hiding behind cover and letting the rest of my squad kill them, as they will sit there outside of cover for minutes at a time waiting to get shot. This leads to more hilarity than anger, something that Battlefield 3 has very little of. The Bad Company games were just as good as shooters, but were more enjoyable because there were not so intent on being grim-dark the entire time.

That games from competing companies come out so similar should not be a surprise. This is what sells. If you want to make money you just need to sell what sells. I can see the developers walking into Castle EA with head full of ideas, things that they want to do to stand apart from CoDBLOPS (that is my favorite acronym ever), then walking out with their tails between their legs after being beaten with rolled up papers labeled 'profitability' and 'Activision is bigger than we are now, we need to do exactly what they are doing.'

What I am hoping for is big cross over in the next few years. Battlefield vs Call of Duty! I never thought I would live the see Street Fighter vs Tekken (and from the looks of it and its gem system, I may have been right to hope for that), which proves that if there is money to made nothing is impossible.

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