Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Call of Duty and the Battlefield (Games)

My plans for a family holiday got foiled due to mock exams. So to get rid of my sadness/boredom, I had a choice to do a blog post about games or complete an assignment. Guess what I did? Hint: You definitely aren't gonna see any photos of me writing papers in this post.(Besides you won't want to would you? You can still read this if you don't like games.)

Topic today. Two men walking towards you with guns in their hands. And also Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3.

First Person Shooters(FPSs) are probably the most recognizable form of video gaming. Yeah platforming games like Mario are known, but when you say video games, especially if you're part of the whole "video games = violence" movement, the first thing that pops up in your head is an FPS.

Most gamers have played an FPS. From Counter Strike to Portal. And pretty much everyone knows about the Call of Duty(CoD) franchise. But somehow, quite a few people don't know about the Battlefield(BF) series.

These are two very different games. Call of Duty focuses more on the single player aspect, the story. Narrative is tight, focused, sometimes confusing(warranting a second play through) and full of lots of amazing set pieces(scripted events,things happening without the players intervention)
It's great riding a little bird on the way to a high security prison.(CoD:Modern Warfare 2)
But it's also great being in the cockpit of an attack helicopter while taking out a main battle tank.(BF:Bad Company 2)

The Battlefield series was never bought for it's single player component. Its multiplayer and gameplay that made it worthwhile.

But why am I talking about these 2 FPSs in particular? Look at the title images. Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3, sequel to Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and successor to Call of Duty Black Ops releases on November 8th.
And Battlefield 3, sequel to Battlefield 2 and successor to Battlefield Bad Company 2, comes out on October 25th.

Another good reason to talk about these games is because, they represent 2 very different thoughts about not only FPS's but video games in general.

The Call of Duty series has been called a lot of things, linear, series of repacks, lacks innovation, etc. It's not like they're false accusations. The primary game engine hasn't changed in quite awhile. There have been better textures, more post processing, but the physics, the method of portraying bullets even the animation hasn't changed in 6 years. That's A LOT in video game time. But Call of Duty still sells way better than any other FPS. In terms of pre-ordering and post release sales.
The story has amazing set pieces(CoD Modern Warfare 2)

and great pacing.(CoD Modern Warfare 2)
They get brilliant reviews too. Why? Because the game really is awesome. And the moments wherein set pieces are triggered, the game truly shines. If you understand the story, it will be a pretty action packed and intelligent experience(It's very hard to find media with both those qualities.) with amazing amounts of detail too. Personally I've not dabbled in it's multiplayer, but Ive heard its extremely competitive. There are a lot of toys and modifications. Though people say teamwork and strategy isn't really expected.

Yeah, it's got crossbows(CoD: Black Ops)
Now that's where the Battlefield series shines. Their single player story has been non existent(literally) for the first 4 games. With a moderately entertaining one in the first and second Bad Company games. The game engine is updated often. The new frostbite engine has fully destructible physics(person hiding behind wall? Blow up wall.), Bullet drop due to gravity, etc,etc. This makes it need a lot more strategy than going in guns blazing.
And that's what makes their multiplayer component amazing.
shoot a missile at a building and it will literally collapse, VERY realistically.(BF 3)

I mean. Imagine a squad, communicating with each other using VoIP(voice chatting) and coordinating a joint strike on an enemy base with snipers providing recon, for helicopters which take out enemy tanks, helping friendly tanks move in and clear out machine guns, so that infantry can move forward and capture a base and then redo all of the above in the next 3 minutes after taking care of the enemy counter offensive. All the above happens in about 5 minutes. Per squad. And its usually a 20 minute long match with 4 squads per team.The fact that a few people won't fully understand that in the first read through, should tell you how awesomely complicated it is. You will NEVER see this amount of teamwork(being rewarded) in Call of Duty. It's class based combat at it's best. With the perks and limitations of each class forcing interdependency.

Helicopters taking out tanks(BF:Bad Company 2)
have as important a role as infantry flanking and capturing positions(BF:Bad Company 2)

And that's why I like Battlefield. Every new match has some planning and execution to be done instead of all out crazy shooting(though that doesn't stop people from doing so).

You play BF for multiplayer and CoD for story. Simple as that.

 Now. That was the back ground.(Yeah, I know, bear with me) What I wanted to point out is how they're different as video games. There's been a lot of name calling between CoD and BF communities. Even though they're kinda essential to each other.

Think about this. Do most people like getting into new things? And if they are getting into something new, are they good at it? No. And we all know, people don't like being 'not good' at things.

What I'm desperately trying to say is if you're introducing your younger sister to music, you won't directly jump to Beethoven. You'll start off with something a little easier to understand, John Mayer maybe.(I'm not a music expert, so if that was a bad example, bear with me.)

Anything made for the masses needs to attract a newer user base, and hence needs to be easy to understand. While something that takes the medium forward won't be easy to break into.

And that's why Angry Birds is such a runaway success. It's simple. You're throwing birds at a building with pigs. The birds are pre-arranged too. There's no going to the inventory and selecting which bird you need to use to break through.(I love angry birds by the way, bored of it, but loved it)

And that's also why CoD is successful too. It's(relatively) easy to learn. Walk/sit around. Shoot/throw grenade if man in front. I know it goes deeper but the basics are relatively easy. It's nothing compared to the complexity of Battlefield, but it's more instant gratification, and sometimes more fun.
Battlefield needs all the amateur gamers CoD ropes in to be successful.(Of course this kinda backfires when people try to play Battlefield like CoD, and a lot do)
There's a lot of shooting involved. But lucky for the players, it's easy to click a mouse.(CoD:Black Ops)

Another reason for CoD's success is because it shares a lot more similarity with a much more well known form of media. Movies. The massive set-pieces, the great dialogue all of it point to a great action movie. Some stories were over the top(Black Ops I hate you for that) but hey, so was Commando(Schwarzenegger one). This makes it easy for it to be adopted by a person who doesn't play video games but watches action movies(Nearly every guy above the age of 10)
Black Ops combines a good Vietnam story with an above average conspiracy movie(It's still confusing as hell and I hated it)

Many people are against Call of Duty, and a lot of other games which use a lot of scripted events for this reason(they're called cut-scenes). "Games are not Movies". If you insert something that the player has no control over, then you're just making him bear witness to an important part in the story. A reward for taking the right decisions in the game.

Do this too much though, and you're making him bear witness to an ENTIRE story, not experiencing or creating one. So much so, he might as well be watching an action movie. That is not the point of a game. CoD does it way less than many other game titles, but it has been doing it quite a bit. And if it doesn't bring in some amount of innovation, then it may be left behind.

 I'm not saying cut-scenes are bad, but there really isn't a point in converting a game into an 'interactive movie'.  Games should test your mental and reflexive skills, and the best games(like any other good form of media) make you realize things about yourself.

Games are in the best position to do so because they give control to the player. Wrestle control away from the player, then your game may be entertaining and fun, but it isn't a great game.

Also a slight comparison with the evolution of the 2 games may help.

The Call of duty series
Great story, great multiplayer.
Great story, great multiplayer, newly improved engine.(The engine won't change too much now)
The best Call of duty and maybe FPS story ever, great gameplay and refined multiplayer. And class unlocks.
(Do well, you get toys)
Back to World War 2, good gameplay. Slight improvements.
Very very good(slightly confusing) single player. Second most awesome call of duty story.
Very very confusing and over the top story, but still good. Multiplayer's kinda the same with new toys.

 The Battlefield series
It has authentic weapons AND vehicles
Same as above, in Vietnam, introduction to helicopters.
Shift to a modern setting, amazing command structure(literally), including a commander and squad leaders. VoIP.
And then a future setting. New class unlocks. Sports upgraded graphics AND WALKERS!!
Rather successful console game. The first introduction of single player campaign and the frostbite destruction engine.
Successful multiplayer only game. Sort of like new age BF1942.
A little simplified, but upgraded graphics and a new destruction engine make bad company 2 an amazing game.
 Modern Warfare hasn't changed too much over time, but it is perfected to a science. Battlefield gets improvements quite a few times, be it new features and physics engines or players building up new strategies. The Graphics are also improved. It may not be as well known as it should be, and maybe its a little better than Call of Duty, but that doesn't mean that Call of Duty sucks.

 I'm not a CoD hater, I like their single player story. And I love Battlefield. They're both two very different games. Yes, you need to think a little more in Battlefield(and that's why I like it more) but anyone whose played CoD has to admit, it's fun as hell(And that's why more people play it). So why do people feel like taking sides? Heck, humans like arguing. Simple as that isn't it?

By the way check out these 2 trailers, for Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. What's better? (Defeats the point of the post right? I like Battlefield more. Just saying) Try watching them in HD.

This is Modern Warfare 3
 And this is Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is also aiming to deliver a much more authentic campaign, showing a potential war scenario(like all video games do) in it's single player campaign. In other words it's gonna try to out-do CoD at being CoD. Truthfully speaking, they seem to be succeeding.
There will be jets.
There will be tanks.
There will be places to fight in.
There will be guns.
There will be lighting.
And there will be awesome.

Side note: Once again, I'm not saying that CoD is bad at multiplayer, I haven't played too much of it myself. But I am stating things from what in my experience is general opinion.


  1. "So why do people feel like taking sides? Heck, humans like arguing. Simple as that isn't it?" so true.

    The games look fun and the graphics look amazing. I am so ready for November and hope (really really hope) that Skyrim doesn't get pushed back on its release date.

  2. Pretty much sums up the difference between the two series. I think a lot of veteran CoD players were alienated when they started to get rid of the dedicated servers... so that didn't help CoD's case with regards to multiplayer. As you say, many are attracted to its single player though (even if it only takes a few hours to finish the game :)).

  3. Wow, this is an excellent article, and definitely sums up the two series, and their differences, really well! :D

  4. In reply to my Top 5 Gaming Heroines list (as I don't think Blogger lets you know I've replied, which is a pain!): Personally, I've never played Half Life 2. I've chosen my personal top 5, from games I have played, rather than the general popular opinion. :)

  5. These graphics are crazy!! They look amazing...


  6. I'm not a major fan of either series, I've only played one Battlefield game, but it was pretty good, so if I had to choose just one it would be BF3

  7. MW3 looks like it will be decimated

  8. Both games look great! What strong competition between them both!

  9. I have to admit I'm not much of a gamer, but my brother LOVES Call of Duty - I'm going to point him to this post! :-)

  10. I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips on this review.


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