With Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 both hitting shelves by the end of the year I think that it’s about time the issue was addressed. Will Battlefield finally topple Call of Duty? Over the past few years Call of Duty has become an unstoppable juggernaut of popularity whereas, although having a big following, Battlefield has always been far less popular on paper anyway. But is this lack of popularity without justification?
When Call of Duty 4 arrived bringing the Modern Warfare brand to the attention of the world it was the must have game but why? Yes at the time the multiplayer was pretty good but over time it became stale and hugely one sided. Unfortunately entering a game and getting beaten into submission was not just because of your skill as a player but a lot of it was due to the amount of modding and hacking that was going on. The release of Modern Warfare 2 was a new era but again only for a short time before games where being ruined by hacks which would allow players to walk through walls etc. The multiplayer was pretty samey and the campaign had little to no story.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 however was a bit of a game changer and seemed to bring a far superior experience for all. The games where more evenly matched and as your skill rose so did your level of success, there was little to no modification and the main campaign story was far superior to Modern Warfare although not the specific focus of the game which went with the tagline “Defining Online Warfare” and it appears to do exactly what it says on the tin. The whole online experience was just a more pleasant affair with more players and a destructible environment adding to the experience.
Battlefield also had the distinct advantage of being more about team work than COD. With Battlefield the different classes allowed you to hone your skills in such a way that wasn’t just a change in weapons and abilities but more about helping your team. If you weren’t too good at one you could, for example, hone your skills as a medic more and that way prove invaluable to your team whereas Modern Warfare was just a wham bam thank you mam of being shot to pieces or cutting someone else down in their prime. While this kind of play is fine and enjoyable the fact remains that it got boring and samey.
The other players on Modern Warfare have always been a massive problem for me. Constant abuse or squeaky ten year old voices flying back and forth over the chat system is just annoying. It’s not enjoyable remotely whereas when everyone is in the zone on Battlefield you are all focused. Don’t take this in the context that I hate all Modern Warfare players I’m just saying that there seems to be a different mentality going on which is more than likely due to its popularity.
The whole Call of Duty Elite system due to be implemented is another example of Battlefields superiority. It is fact that pre owned games contribute little to the developer so online pass and VIP code systems work brilliantly to help developers cash in off an ever growing market which they currently don’t see any piece of. Whereas the Elite system has the same principles charging for it monthly is just another example of how Call of Duty seems out of touch. Why pay a monthly subscription for something that you already bought and paid for? The Bad Company 2 VIP system is a great example of how developers can reward those who bought the game from the developer rather than recycling it countless times with a system that only benefits game stores.
Popularity is key to the problem COD fans will sit there thinking “oh yeah, well what about sales?” and as I have said time and time again sales mean nothing in comparison to a games overall experience. Whilst some of the experience is derived from personal preference and expectations the issues which Modern Warfare 3 needs to address are key to many peoples enjoyment of a game. Call of Duty is like the kid at school with all the latest clothes and the most friends on Facebook but in the end Battlefield being the more obscure kid with fewer friends is the one who’s going to come out on top in class because the overall quality is superior.
In short Modern Warfares overall experience has so far has been terrible compared to that of Battlefield and I think over coming games, unless Modern Warfare 3 can make some huge changes, that the gap will just grow and grow. Unfortunately the fact remains that Call of Duty is more popular than Battlefield but hopefully gamers will start to sit up and realise that the Modern Warfare games are just spoon feeding them the same old same old, over and over.