It’s that time of year again (November, for those who haven’t stepped outside in several weeks), which means the FPS big guns (obligatory awful pun) are going head to head to vie for arcade military supremacy; but mostly for your money.
For those of you not reading this on Google Glass while your Ferrari automatically navigates you through traffic on the way to your supervillain lair in the side of a mountain (obligatory sentence over-extended past the point of comprehension), this means making a choice.
Being the frugal person (cheapass) that you are, you’ve only really got room in the budget for one blockbuster shooter this November. So, which one is it going to be?
At this point I could provide an eloquent breakdown of frame rates, resolutions, Metacritic scores and other insufferably dull information which might actually be of some use to you. If you’d been paying attention at all to my columns, however, you would never have expected such dreary wiffle-waffle (obligatory made-up word) in the first place.
So then, to help you make this tough decision, here is a breakdown of enormous use to me, and likely very little use to you. I guess the spirit of giving has come early to me this year.
Steven Spielberg vs. Michael Bay On A Meth Bender
Playing Battlefield will be a bit like watching Saving Private Ryan. It’s a compelling drama set in the context of a war. People will be making serious faces and fighting serious battles with serious consequences.
It’s Steven Spielberg in a chair, hands steepled under his chin, adjusting the lights hitting Tom Hanks’ amorphous face.
Call of Duty, on the other hand, will be more like watching Transformers, if everytime Megan Fox gratuitously bent over one of them exploded. Or everytime Shia LeBeouf made a horrible joke a nearby building would collapse.
It’s Michael Bay on the peak of a methamphetamine-induced rampage, running around the set flipping demolition triggers.
HMS Faceshooter vs. Lassie
Battlefield prominently features naval combat in its various trailers; which is a fancy way of saying you shoot other boatfaces with your boat, or human face from your boat, or human face with your boat or some other combination of boat and human shooting of faces.
Drama, emotion, motivational speeches and dog punching. That trailer really does have it all.
Call of Duty, on the other hand, features an all-American canine companion who will bite off faces on your command. Its name is also Riley, which I think we can all agree is a stupid name for a dog. It’s like calling your dog Jonathan. Or Pete. Or James. When really it should be named Facebiter.
Riley vs. wolves, sliding down the side of a building, Eminem and freakin’ astronauts. No dog punching though.
Realism vs. “Realism”
Battlefield offers you the genuine war experience, right down to the crippling PTSD and bad pay. The guns make the right noises, the people say the right things and there’s no invincible dog murdering hundreds of Russians or Nazis or whatever’s trying to kill America this time around.
Call of Duty, rather amusingly, also likes to describe itself as realistic. I remember the claims of Modern Warfare 2 being “ultra-realistic”, which I gleefully reflected upon while hanging off the back of a snowmobile, committing SMG genocide as I drove off a cliff.
Good Game vs. Bad Game
Elitists and purists will generally tell you that Battlefield games are “better”. They’ll talk about graphics and engines and developers. They’ll tell you about realistic gameplay and reasonable deadlines.
I used to be one of those people.
This kind of argument is often met with a simple rebuttal: “Noone cares.” It’s a good argument too. Sometimes I’d rather watch a ten-year old Adam Sandler movie than Schindler’s List, what’s wrong with that?
Just because something is “better”, doesn’t mean it’s more fun. In fact, if something is less fun, is it “better”? And what the hell does “better” even mean, if fun is a subjective experience, and “better” is an objective truth?
The point is, I bought Battlefield 3, and I hated it. The campaign was boring and the multiplayer was unsatisfying. It also forced me to put Origin on my PC, and I’d sooner poop on my keyboard than do that again.
So this year, I’m getting Ghosts. While you’re reading this, I’ll be installing it, and listening to my crappy 1mb internet line groan under the strain of a 3GB Day 0 patch.
I’m getting it because I want to zig-zag my way between exploding buildings while headshotting henchmen by the hundreds. I want to parachute off a collapsing skyscraper seconds before death, Facebiter in my arms. I want to do stupid, impossible things because it’s a game and I want to have fun.
What do you want to do this November?