I’ve been asking myself this question since the very first trailer was released for Battlefield 3 and based on those trailers alone I would have told you that Battlefield 3 had a great chance of dethroning Modern Warfare 3, but now that Battlefield has been released I’m not so sure.
I’m a huge fan of the Call of Duty series and have been a fan of the multiplayer since Call of Duty 2 on the Xbox 360, but at the same time I was also a huge fan of Battlefield 2. I’m not usually bias when it comes to video games like this, I’ll play what I enjoy and won’t let the masses determine what games I should be playing. So with that being said I still whole heartedly believe that Modern Warfare 3 is going to remain at the top even though Battlefield made a valiant effort.
Up until the week it was being released I told myself I wasn’t going to buy Battlefield 3. I don’t know if it was because the beta was so poorly executed or what, but I was really adamant about not buying the game. The only thing that changed my mind were the videos that were released that week. I’m not sure what it was about those videos, but something in them restored my faith in the game and I picked it up on launch day. I got home and immediately fired up the single player campaign on hard and got about an hour into it and then became extremely frustrated at a certain point. I figured I’d put down the campaign for a while and give multiplayer a shot. And here’s why I think the game won’t dethrone Call of Duty.
Server issues and glitches aside, the game itself is a lot of fun to play. I’ve been playing the multiplayer since launch and have really had no problems with it outside of the server issues and lag, but when I say that I’m only referring to the gameplay. I know the gameplay is the most important thing when it comes to actually playing a game, but when the game is online and meant to be played online with friends, then there is more you need to look at. Let’s start with the menu system, the main menu is ok, but everything else is absolutely terrible. Who thought it would be a good idea to hide the squads behind the start button? They have tons of empty space on the right side of the screen, why not just put the squad/party there without having to make you press start. This makes it not only confusing to the person trying to invite people into their squad so they can join a game, but it makes it confusing for the people joining your squad because they have to press start to make sure they are actually still in a squad. It just seems like a terrible way to lay out the interface and the Call of Duty games are much better at this system.
The other part of the menu system that I can’t stand is the loadout screens. I know they can’t all be like the CoD series, but I feel like they’ve incorporated too many things into one screen when you’re trying to change your loadout. It took me forever to realize that I could press ‘X’ to actually go in and modify what was in the individual loadouts, I thought every time you unlocked something it just automatically added it to your gun because it was the best option… I don’t know, maybe it’s just cause I’m not used to the Battlefield way of doing things, but to use RB and LB to move back and forth and then ‘B’ to change things out, it was just too confusing and annoying to me. I can’t tell you how many times I was changing something and accidentally hit ‘A’ to approve and was then deployed back into the game. I’m just not a fan of the menu system at all and it seems to be the worst part of the multiplayer experience. Like I said, the game itself is actually a lot more fun to play than I thought it was going to be, but in order to compete with the ease of CoD they need to make it easier to squad up with your friends and join games together. Right now it’s a mess.
So ultimately because of the reasons mentioned above, I don’t think that Battlefield 3 will put a dent in the online user base of Modern Warfare 3 when it comes out next week. I’ll be honest, as much fun as Battlefield 3 is to play online, it’s going to take a backseat to MW3 for a while. I will say this though, the Battlefield 3 menu system looks prettier than the videos I’ve seen of MW3, but it’s more about functionality to me than visuals (in terms of a menu system). The menus in MW3 look like the menus in MW2, which is a good and bad thing at the same time. It’s good because it has that familiarity that people will like, but it’s also bad that they couldn’t come up with anything else. I actually like the Black Ops menu system much better than the MW2 system, the MW2 system just looks cartoonish to me.
So I don’t know, I guess we’ll wait and see what happens next week, but I’m glad Battlefield 3 did as well as it did. I think the CoD series needs some good solid competition to keep them from getting too comfortable and not pushing themselves to make a better game and just relying on the CoD name itself. One day an FPS will come out that will knock Call of Duty off it’s throne, but I’m not sure that Battlefield 3 is that game…