What’s up guys? Major apologies for my time away being so long. Personal issues. But that’s all be taken care of, hopefully. Never say never right? Anyway, let’s get on with my third review for The Daily Rotation! In this review, I’m trying something new. Usually I talk about one specific game per review and discuss what I like about and what I think they missed the mark on, or Pros & Cons, so to speak. This time, I figure, instead of making two separate reviews, since these games are so closely linked, since the publishers of both the games were at such a war with each other when both games launched, why not make them face off in a winner take all match! So that’s what I’m going to do! I’m taking two separate reviews for two games and making them into one grueling match up to the death! And if you haven’t guessed by now because you simply didn’t read the link you clicked to get to this page, it’s Activision’s gorilla in the room Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 vs. EA’s second attempt at taking their thunder Battlefield 3!
Now notice, I did only mention publishers there, not developers. We all know that Battlefield 3 was developed by DICE while Modern Warfare 3, after the trouble with the previous title in the Modern Warfare series, was co-developed by Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games & Raven Software. Since I’ve never done a review like this, I’m new to this, so how about we just wing it, and see where that gets us?
Maybe we’ll start off with a bit of history on both games. First up, Battlefield 3. So DICE finally decides to go back to the basics with this one and basically ignore all the games that they made in between. This game, while most people think might be a sequel to the popular Battlefield: Bad Company series, has nothing to do with that series in the slightest way. Now, when the summer months get here and there’s major downtime in game releases, you will find out that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was one of my favorite shooters of all time when I start reviewing back catalog games. This game has nothing at all to do with it. Battlefield 3 is actually a sequel to Battlefield 2, surprise surprise. Battlefield 2 was a very popular First Person Shooter (FPS) on the PC when it came out back in time in a year called 2005. I know! People these days are like, “They had video games back then?” Well yeah, they did! And Battlefield 2 was one of them. That of course is not to be confused with the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat game that was made for consoles, because that game sucked. Battlefield 2 for the PC was actually a VERY good FPS. It was the sequel to Battlefield 1942, which is still one of the best shooters ever made.
Instead of releasing Battlefield 2 for the PC and then jumping into Battlefield 3, DICE decided to completely alienate their PC fans and head into the console market. I mentioned the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat game, which was horrible in this reviewer’s opinion. But then DICE decided to try something new on their next game that would change FPS games forever, in all honesty. They developed a new engine for the console exclusive game, Battlefield: Bad Company. It would be a Battlefield esque game but it would have something that was quite simply new to the series. Not only a new engine, dubbed Frostbite, but a standalone story with engaging characters. This new engine would allow the environments to be destructible. Meaning no longer could an enemy camp in a building and rack up the kills, because now a player could shoot the building and eventually collapse the ENTIRE building, killing anything inside. And the story, while bad (which was intentional), was memorable. I still to this day remember every mission in the campaign and I haven’t played that game in over 3 years. It also allowed something that its direct competitor, Call of Duty, did not. Vehicles. Because the maps for these missions were so large and the missions themselves could take upwards of 30-45 minutes to beat entirely, DICE gave the player vehicles from jeeps, to tanks, to helicopters to get around. Mind you, the helicopter was only around when it related to the story. But it was intense action. DICE decided to follow up that game with the very popular sequel, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, two years after the release of the first game. This was the game that showed, in my mind, DICE at their finest. They got every aspect of this game right, to me at least. The story was one of the best stories not just in the Battlefield series, but in gaming. The multiplayer was top notch and is still one of the best ranked multiplayers on consoles.
I LOVED this game. But then DICE went silent for the most part for about a year. They did pop up to do the multiplayer for the controversial EA FPS, Medal of Honor. But the Multiplayer for that game was one of the weaker points to that game, because EA wanted to compete with Modern Warfare 2 and wanted the maps to be small. This killed the multiplayer portion of the game which if they let DICE do what they do best, could have been huge. Hopefully they learned their lessons when they release Medal of Honor‘s sequel soon. So when DICE announced Battlefield 3, everyone got pumped. Not only would DICE be going back to the well, but when they released the 10 minute trailer for the game, the internet exploded. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s intense. They also upgraded their engine to Frostbite 2.0, which still allowed for destructible EVERYTHING but also made the players movements much more realistic. The game would launch on October 25th, 2011 and go on to sell 8 million copies its first month.
Call of Duty has also earned itself a spot in FPS lore. Call of Duty although not big with PC gamers today, at least not Battlefield big, was once, just like Battlefield, a PC exclusive. With its first game, of course titled Call of Duty, releasing on the PC in 2003 and not finding its way onto consoles until the game was ported as an arcade title in late 2009. Call of Duty, unlike the Battlefield series, started off as Campaign only and only later shifting its focus to its uber-popular multiplayer. In fact, had it not been for EA, Call of Duty would have never happened. The people who started Infinity Ward originally worked for EA and worked on the Medal of Honor titles. But when EA shot down a lot of their ideas, like a level where the player doesn’t have a gun, they left the company and started Infinity Ward and ended up with Call of Duty, which to this day is still one of the top rated FPS games on the PC despite its lack of multiplayer. Even though a year before, DICE started up their Battlefield franchise with the immensely popular Battlefield 1942, which really set the standard for FPS games with online multiplayer that we have today. Call of Duty followed up their success with the release of Call of Duty 2, no shocker on the title there, another PC title that also launched with the Xbox 360. It is not to be confused with Call of Duty 2: Big Red One which is a console only title that wasn’t developed by Infinity Ward, but by Treyarch.
This would later become a very common trend for Call of Duty. After Call of Duty 2 launched in 2005, Infinity Ward was done with World War II shooters and decided it was time to move towards modern combat instead. They also wanted to put out their games on consoles as well as PC. But when they weren’t finished in time with their game, Activision wanted another Call of Duty title, so they gave the rights to Treyarch once again to make Call of Duty 3, the first and only major Call of Duty title to ignore the PC community. Call of Duty 3 was console exclusive. By the time 2007 rolled around, Infinity Ward was putting the finishing touches on the game that would go on to be one of the greatest FPS games ever made. Finally on November 5th, 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare would be released. Its shift to Modern instead of WWII would prove to be for the better as it was the top selling game of 2007 and by January 2008 would sell through over 7 million copies. It is also one of, if not THE highest rated games, not just FPS but games to date. Its fresh take on multiplayer and a very stellar campaign would prove to be just the fix Infinity Ward and Activision needed to become the new juggernauts of gaming.
So how would Activision follow up in 2008 after having the best game of 2007? Well Infinity Wards next game wouldn’t be ready in time, so they again shifted to Treyarch to make the next title. Many fans expected to be thrusted into the Modern era again, but not this time. No, Treyarch would dip back into the WWII pool once again with the release of Call of Duty: World at War. Despite having Infinity Wards IW engine in the game and a pretty good story in my mind, the game would get somewhat lackluster reviews from the media, mainly for its shift back into the past again. But despite the reviews or the setting of the game, it still had multiplayer and went on to be the top selling game of 2008. It also was the first title in the series to have the Zombies feature, a feature that was loved by most. By the time the E3 expo rolled around in 2009, everyone was eager to see what Call of Duty we would be getting this year. Well, Infinity Ward would show them and later release the sequel to the ultra-popular Modern Warfare title with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. And it would be with this game that all hell would break loose for the company. Even though Modern Warfare 2 would go on to be the top selling game of 2009, and at the time be the biggest launch of entertainment media ever, beating out Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto IV, strange times were ahead.
I won’t get into the long story over it, but on March 1st, 2010, Jason West and Vince Zampella had a meeting with Activision, but neither returned to the studio upon the end of the meeting. The next day, we found out that the two were dismissed from the company and since then all hell has broken loose. They said Activision owed the company and them money and Activision says that they were working with EA. After all was said and done, West and Zampella were gone and started Respawn Entertainment with EA and 46 members of Infinity Ward were gone. 38 of which were confirmed to be working with Respawn Entertainment. To this day, all we have seen from Respawn is a blurry teaser photo of their unannounced new IP (Intellectual Property). All of this didn’t do anything to slow down the Call of Duty train because months later, Treyarch released their new title Call of Duty: Black Ops, moving away from WWII but still not in the modern times, even though the Multiplayer aspect was modern. Black Ops‘ campaign focused on the Black Ops of Vietnam and the surrounding times. Forgive me as it’s been awhile since I played the story. It was also, I believe, the first time that we would see and hear the main character of the campaign. And as with World at War, it would feature the Zombies mode. It would once again go on to be the top selling game of the year and the biggest launch of entertainment media ever, beating out Modern Warfare 2. It was at this point that Call of Duty fans had no idea what to expect for the 2011 game.
Then on May 13th, four trailers found their way to the internet. Titled as such, Am3rica, 3ngland, Franc3 & G3rmany. The trailers wouldn’t show much but they were meant to announce the game. Fans blew up and it seemed like new details were leaking every week. It wasn’t until E3 2011 that we got solid footage and details. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 would be a direct sequel to 2 and come out November 8th, 2011. Call of Duty had become so huge a name, they it held its own convention in September 2011 in Los Angeles. Titled Call of Duty XP, the event was basically to hype up the upcoming release as well as announce the collector’s edition and to unveil their new idea, Call of Duty Elite. Acting much like a season pass, Elite would give you all of the DLC for Modern Warfare 3 for free as well as a bunch of other features for $50 a year.
Well then the date came. November 8th, 2011. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launched to sell 6.5 million copies within 24 hours making it once again the biggest entertainment launch of all time. And that brings us to today. Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3! Which is better? Well let’s sort it out to the two main factors of each, Campaign & Multiplayer. Also throw in the Co-Op aspect of Battlefield 3 as well as the Spec-Ops & Survival aspects of Modern Warfare 3.
While both campaigns have some strong points, both have some weaknesses. It really will come down to which one has fewer weaknesses. Heading into the launch, at least from the trailers, Battlefield 3‘s campaign had such promise. Battlefield 3‘s campaign takes place in the year of 2014. The US Marine Corps is engaged in a grueling battle with the People’s Liberation and Resistance or the PLR. You start out on the border of Iraq-Iran later moving into Northern Iran and Paris. You end the game in New York. The entire game is pretty much a flashback to try and find out what happened to the main character. Where BF3‘s campaign excels is in the combat. The straight away gun fights are intense and engaging like no other campaign I’ve played before. It felt real. But early on, you find out that there’s a mission where you will be piloting a fighter jet! You instantly get a gaming boner because this is where Battlefield games shine like there’s no tomorrow, vehicle combat! However, upon entering the jet and taking off, you realize that you have no control of the jet. You are the back pilot that shoots. That’s it. When a campaign is supposed to prepare you for the intense multiplayer, BF3 does not do this when it comes to the jets. The jets are a big selling point of the multiplayer but you’ll get no practice on how to fly these difficult vehicles in the campaign, and that saddened me to no end. You do however get to drive a tank early on in the campaign. In a mission titled Thunder Run you really get an aspect of this games scale. And it’s FUCKING HUGE!
But the biggest flaw in the entire game is the MANY times in the campaign you will run across quick time events. I can’t begin to express how easily this takes you right out of the story and makes you realize that this sucks! From pulling along a downed soldier who just got shot to the final moments in the game, the moments that are supposed to be the most memorable. It just flat out sucks! For everything BF3‘s campaign did right like when you and your squad have to run and hide from a Russian jet that has spotted you before blasting it out of the sky to the missions like Thunder Run and the mission depicted in the 10 minute Fault Line trailer, it does twice as much wrong. It really hurts a gamer like me who was just so hyped and sold on this game from the very first trailer to finally own it and see that this is the final product. I wish I were in the meeting when they were discussing aspects of the campaign so I could absolutely slap the hell out of whoever thought of putting in this god awful quick time events. And not just putting them in, but putting in so damn many.
Modern Warfare 3‘s campaign is actually quite the opposite. Typical with the series, this game shuts out what is realistic and just goes all out with those moments in every single mission. From witnessing a plane rip in half while inside of it to being thrust out the window of a towering building, it’s these moments that stick with you. Call of Duty has never really been about sticking to just realism, their campaigns have been over the top since the start. Remember getting nuked in the first Modern Warfare? Or the No Russian mission in Modern Warfare 2? My point exactly. And this one is no different. Actually it is because EVERY mission is over the top. From the opening scenes to the final mission. It just grabs you, pulls you in and does not let you out till those credits roll. The only problem I have with this campaign is the quick time events. Yes they even appear here as well. Nothing new, honestly. They’ve been in Call of Duty games before. The worst part is that both games final moments use them. I hate that. Honestly. I can’t even use words to express how much I hate it. But aside from that flaw, MW3‘s campaign does literally everything else right. You couldn’t believe how happy I was when I got home to find that my game had been delivered from Gamefly.
While not the biggest fan of the games ever non-changing multiplayer, I’ve always loved Call of Duty‘s campaigns from the time I played the first game on my PC. It’s the memorable moments that pull you in and keep you into the game. And unlike every other Call of Duty game, this one stands alone as the game with more of those moments than any other. And for that, I say it’s not only the better campaign of these two games, but it’s the best of the series!
Winner: Call of Duty Modern: Warfare 3
Let me start off by stating that I have played multiplayer on every Call of Duty title since the first Modern Warfare and every Battlefield since 1942, the game not the year. So I know not only how each of the games play but what to expect from each passing title. Now anyone who has played a COD title online knows that with each game, very little changes when it comes to online multiplayer. For example, Modern Warfare 2 added things like custom kill-streaks and Black Ops added a multiplayer currency. However, Infinity Ward opted to not use the additions that Treyarch added in Black Ops with Modern Warfare 3. Why? I have no idea. I personally loved the COD points and the Combat Training mode that allowed you to play against AI bots to prepare yourself for multiplayer and learn the maps. But in Modern Warfare 3, all of these positive add-ons are missing. And it sorely lacks. Almost to the point where you feel as though you just bought a $60 map pack for Modern Warfare 2. And speaking of map packs, holy hell, why am I paying $15 for 5 maps every time? And sometimes those map packs are just rehashes of old maps. It seems very unfair. Black Ops for example had 4 map packs in total. $15 apiece, so you buy the game for $60, and then buy all the map packs for $60 only to turn around in a year and do it all over again? And as with every Call of Duty game, the hackers get worse and worse. No amount of additions could make up for some of the hackers & cheaters in these games.
But I’m not one to fault the actual game for that, just the developers and the stupidity of the players. Although both of these games have done a pretty good job of bringing down the ban hammer on those cheaters, DICE has been doing a better job than Infinity Ward. The only way I could justify Call of Duty‘s current model of multiplayer as being the best would be if they were to implement dedicated servers. If I could jump ship real quick, a little game known as Gears of War by Epic Games basically had a great multiplayer title with their first game, but then totally ruined their second game by not backing it up with ban hammers or updates and the game was just one big lag fest that was a hacker’s paradise. It very much turned me away from the series and I said when playing 2 online that I had NO interest in 3. Well a buddy of mine by the name of Mark who happens to be a big Gears of War fan kept me in the know with the news of the third game and by the time the beta rolled around I heard they were doing dedicated servers. Holy crap what a difference! Even for a beta it played so smooth and was one of my favorite things to jump on and play! Then when the game came out, I had my fears of either it still being laggy or still being hit with hackers galore. Well sure enough the full game played just like the beta, if not better!
It’s such a smooth playing online shooter that it makes me have faith in dedicated servers. No Call of Duty game has ever given me that feeling; It’s just constant lag and hackers and cheaters paradise. Do I knock the game for that? Not as much as I knock the developers and Activision for A) not putting more time into the game and implementing better precautions against such things & B) not taking any risks on BIG new things to update the multiplayer. I can compare playing Modern Warfare 3 online with playing Modern Warfare 1 online and to the naked eye, there isn’t much difference. And that’s sad.
Now on the other hand, if anyone has played the Battlefield titles online, you know what you’re getting. All the way back to 1942 up through Bad Company 2. No title has disappointed me with its multiplayer. And let me put your wondering minds at ease, Battlefield 3 is the same way. What a breath of fresh air from the nonsense of playing Call of Duty all these years. Battlefield bucks the trends of 2 teams of X amount of players fighting each other and splits each team into squads. Squads can have up to 4 players in them and it’s very easy to sign on with your friends and jump into a game together. DICE knows multiplayer. It’s where they shine! And Battlefield3 is a PRIME example of that. The scale of the maps, especially on conquest mode, is insane. I feel sorry for the people who don’t get into a vehicle right away because they have a long way to run. And the vehicles, just wow. The first time I got to fly a jet on multiplayer, yeah sure, I crashed and burned with ease, but holy hell was it a blast just to pilot one of them after being disappointed by the jet mission in the single player. It’s just all out fun from the beginning of the match to very end. I found myself not caring if my team won or lost like I did in Call of Duty, I just cared about how my squad performed and how much fun I was having in the process. And I couldn’t wait for the next match to start up so I could rush in and kill even more enemies!
Winner: Battlefield 3
Now don’t get me wrong, these games do begin and end with Campaign and Multiplayer. No, thankfully, we live in an age where they feel the need to add more to change up the experience. While Battlefield 3’s only addition aside from the basics is a small Co-Op campaign, Modern Warfare 3 brings the heat with new Spec-Ops missions and a new Survival mode. Was that heat enough to burn away its competition? Not even close, honestly. While I enjoyed Spec-Ops, it felt a little like the same as Modern Warfare 2 except it didn’t feel as fun. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it was just missing something. Survival on the other hand is very hit or miss. It’s basically a glorified Horde mode with waves of enemies coming after you on one of the multiplayer maps. If you have a group of friends, it can be fun for a few waves, but if you want to wing it solo, you won’t find much here that will satisfy. And as much as I would love to sit here and type to you that Battlefield 3’s Co-Op campaign is the thing you’ll be dying to play, it isn’t. Much like Modern Warfare 3’s extras, it felt rushed and as if they added it within the last few months thinking it was going to be the thing to give them the edge on the competition but all in all, both games fail on this mark in this writer’s honest opinion.
Winner: No one.
So that about wraps up my dual/VS review. I’ve discussed pretty much every important detail of the games, or at least the points I felt needed to be or deserved to be discussed. Now if that last part felt harsh or anything, it wasn’t. Those modes aren’t bad by any means, I just felt they didn’t do the job they were meant to which was to expand the length of which the specific games disk spins in your disk tray. However, it would be flat out wrong of me to do this review with the end not having a winner. It would make both games look bad, and that’s not my intention, because neither game should look bad. You have the people on the net, I call them fanboys, who root for either game and stick to it. But those people rarely if at all play the game they bash. I’m not like that. If I feel the need to bash a game or say negative things about it, then I have to first play the game to know why I am bashing it. For instance, every foul or bad point I made towards Call of Duty or Battlefield in this review, isn’t me reading something on a message board or some website from someone else’s experience.
As much as I dislike the Call of Duty multiplayer aspect for how little it changes year after year, I have easily spent over 50-60 hours in each titles multiplayer before Modern Warfare 3. With Modern Warfare 3 I spent a bit less time because I only rented it from Gamefly. But with Gamefly as we all know, it’s keep it as long as you want, and I did. Until I felt I experienced everything the game had to offer me, then I sent it back. Now to finally decide a winner in this match up, I feel we should look at overall best bang for your buck. What title could you easily spend the most hours playing to get out of the game every dime you spent on it? And while I discussed both games strong and weak points here, I, personally feel that you would spend many more hours playing multiplayer with your friends than you will beating campaign on every difficulty. And seeing as how Battlefield 3‘s multiplayer far outweighs Modern Warfare‘s, I have to give the slight edge to Battlefield 3. Despite their not so stellar single player campaign going up against arguably the best Call of Duty campaign, Battlefield 3‘s multiplayer could be enjoyed for dozens and dozens of hours on end and still not get boring.
Overall Winner: Battlefield 3