Hinge Problems Easter Basket 2013 #6: Rudie vs. Battlefield 3

I checked my Battlefield 3 playtime today, it is at 11 days, 9 hours.  That’s a lot of time to play one game. That I still go back to it everynight after a year is either a testament to its quality, the “free” expansions I got with the Premium pass, or that I just like shooting dudes with friends.

We’d been Call of Duty players.  After a month of Black Ops 1 I had sold the game because it was the same exact game as Modern Warfare 2.  It had the same bullshit where you shot in front of the target.  It had same knife physics where brushing someone killed them instantly.  It had plenty of teenagers and tweens and children calling me the foulest stuff on Earth.

So we went to Battlefield with it’s wide open spaces and wonderful vehicles and lining those vehicles with C4 and driving them into tanks.  With using teamwork to take down jets and choppers.  Being in those same jets and choppers and using teamwork again to save friends.  Also jumping up and laying down usually got you killed instead being the winning strategy.

There are problems, well one major problem that has bothered me since I started playing the game a year ago.  The maps are gigantic, the control points are static.  They never change on a map.  So you have these areas in the map that are never ever used.  This is “fixed” in the expansions by having everywhere that isn’t a control point not be interesting.  The expansions feel lazy and cheap and level editor-like because almost none of them use new architecture.  It is like the same private company dropped in the same warehouse and half finished buildings.  It’s still fun because Battlefield 3 is fun, but I’d have been angry if I was buying the expansions piecemeal.

The last expansion just came out, and it is the weakest of the lot.  Almost zero new buildings, 4 kind of neat maps. The new vehicle is bikes.  They are fun, but you just wish you could put them on different maps.  Or have crazy amount of vehicles.  As a console FPS I started wishing for the PC Mod scene, then considered they are selling the expansions on PC too.

But now you have CTF, which isn’t bad but still is disappointing.  They at least didn’t’ screw up the balance as bad as some of the expansions.  It’s boring to describe, but if you were on the defending team in Rush, you might as well drive to Starbucks and get a coffee and come back.  The next round would have started and you would have died a lot less.

Let’s describe Rush at least.  That’s like half the reason for this article.  The other half is that I just wanted to say Battlefield 3 was super super fun and I’m still having fun.  I will say that sentence a few more times before we get to the score.

Yes!  Rush.  In Rush one team is defending two ATMs.  The other team wants to make a transaction for the sweet honey trapped inside.  The transaction takes time, and the defenders can cancel it.  The ATMs are unstoppable as long as they have money in them.  They can be C4ed, tank blasted, bomb plastered, pew pew laser gunned without a scratch (there are no laser guns in BF3).  If the attackers steal the money though, the ATM is left without a purpose and self-destructs.  The attacker move on to the next ATM and the defenders try to defend that ATM.

There’s a problem that comes up, proving the the player base either doesn’t care or doesn’t think.  In Rush, the defenders win condition is to kill the attackers a set amount of time.  Since the game introduced rentable servers, the owners could change certain aspects. They could make the defenders have to defeat an absurd amount of attackers.  Most servers raise this amount, making it almost impossible for the defenders to win.  The defenders need to only screw up once, and at a 100% game it takes 15-20 minutes.  When I see 500% in the server title I really question the sanity of anyone in it.  On some of the other game modes it is fine, but in Rush it just feels defeatist.

——

After a year of playing I still couldn’t tell you if you can cheat in this game or not.  It sometimes seems like you can.  There are servers that complain about no glitching.  EA/Dice must be good at patching it out because I so rarely see it.  Usually you can work around it.  If your friends are strong, they can get out of any situation (usually).  Borrowing the Modern Warfare 2 term, it’s often a good play to be an excellent distraction against a troublesome enemy vehicle.

Though sometimes you just want to get on top of the extremely tall radio tower and fail to snipe anyone.  Unlike CoD and it’s awful hateful hitscan (pull trigger game then rolls dice to decide “yes you hit the dude” “no you didn’t”), in BF3 you have wonderful bullet physics.  You have to account for bullet drop and sometimes, maybe, wind resistance.  Sniper battles don’t devolve into boom headshot, but peaking and trying to find your distance before the other guy.

—–

About this time last year we took a break from laughing about running each other over and crashing our chopper to steal the enemy’s chopper to try Modern Warfare 3 again. We had played it enough to Prestige at least once.  Prestige is where you give up all your abilities and weapons for a tiny reward just to earn all the abilities and weapons again.  Sometimes that reward is just being able to set another custom class.  Meanwhile in BF3 you reach Eagle and then you have 100 pointless Eagle ranks to raise up.  I haven’t played this game a trifle amount, I am a 21 Eagle.  My friend who has played for 2 weeks of his finite life is 37.  We’re not terrible at this game; the amount of time you have to play to achieve 100 Eagle is frightening.

So we took a break to go play Modern Warfare 3.  We immediately had teenagers calling us horrible things and making fun of being “only” prestige one or two or three.  Then they murdered us.  I felt sick.  We went back to Battlefield 3.  I guess they won by making us not play their shitty game.  I sold the game with a heavy heart.  Not because I like being called gaylord vagnad, but because of Spec Ops Mode.  You and a friend are given wonderful awesome little video game stages to complete.  I want to remove those sections from the rest of the terrible game to play forever.  If you have a friend that loves video games and you love video games you need to get Modern Wafare 2 and/or 3 and play through the Spec Ops missions.  They aren’t even linked with the main game.  You can even play split screen.

You can’t split screen in BF3.  You can’t even play a private match.  When EA pulls the servers, the game will end.  Even right now on March 19th, the weekend after the last Premium event, the game has already had a huge drop in player base.  I’m going to keep playing until it stops being fun, but today was almost a wake up call.  The game is dying.  I guess I’ll get BF4 if it is PS3.

It has stopped being fun, but I fear for people starting now.  You’re playing against assholes like me that have played for a year.  It took me 6 months of playing to be able to successfully use the jet.  It isn’t like the single player teaches you anything, in the jet mission all you’re doing is marking targets and looking at the pretty.

Did I ever mention this game is beautiful? Like call your mom and show her the pretty Iranian countryside?  Also the terrible single player takes place in Iran.  There is the slightly less terrible co-op mode. It should be telling the 5 expansions did not include anything for the single player or co-op mode.  They at least tried in those 6 missions, you can at least learn how to fly the chopper in one of them.  In the single player you’re dealing with a story ripped from every FPS of the past 5 years and it is cute almost in how it fails to be a Modern Warfare campaign.  It uses interrogation as story-telling.  That just reminded me of Black and Black Ops.

Battlefield is the best, because supposedly you can shoot the pilot out of a chopper with a sniper rifle and after a year I’m still trying.  You can also commit many many acts of being a complete idiot, and sometimes you come out alive and endorphins flood your brain and you start hopping around like an idiot only to get sniped and all your friends scatter.

——

I closed this essay and didn’t even mention. This is by the Mirror’s Edge guys.  You have an absolute sense of weight and body that is wonderful.  You can look down and see your feet.  That’s ruined me for other FPSes.  If I can’t see my feet in 2013 I feel like that’s some bullshit.  I really don’t like Halo (hey everyone!) but that was 10 years ago and I could see my feet in that.  In BF3 I really feel like I’m carrying a bunch of gear.  This game is king for sound design.  Oh man.  Get a good surround system and just enjoy what BF3 brings to your living room.  Okay I’m done.  Battlefield 3 is the best everything if you have friends to play multiplayer with until the online community dies which might be soon.  Also you can only hear people on your team so there is less chance they are going to call you horrible horrible slurs.

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