The bane of fanboys across the ‘verse, The Picky Geek is a column that takes the glaring faults of popular games, puts them under a magnifying glass, and leaves them there until they’ve been fried by the sun. With snark, cynicism and maybe even a little hyperbole, Ryan Larrabee explores why he never gets invited to any games industry Christmas parties.
Battlefield 3 has been well received by both critics and players alike, scoring 8′s and 9′s on reviews and even winning some Game of the Year awards. It’s commonly brought up as a sort of angelic savior of a market run by the villainous Call of Duty franchise. The “hardcore” will sing its praises until the sun implodes, but does it deserve all this affection? Is it really a prince among men? I’d have to say no, and here’s why.
The story seems like a good place to start, yeah? Strangely enough, it takes a page from Call of Duty: Black Ops and is told from the perspective of a military man on trial trying to prove his innocence. However, this is where the similarities end, and, unless you’ve actually served, Battlefield 3′s story will be the longest, most boring five hours you’ll ever spend behind a gun.
The game’s plot is so convoluted that it seems like the writers didn’t even know what the hell was going on, as there’s a handful of levels that have nothing to do with the plot other than the fact that the level’s playable character and the man on trial once exchanged passing glasses at a Burger King. Additionally, the set pieces are so completely forgettable and unforgivably cliché that it’s immersion-breaking. (A bomb on a train, that’s new and exciting!) All in all, the game tries to pump out the drama while maintaining a serious tone and succeeds in creating an atmosphere similar to that of your garden-variety fan fiction story.
Is sameness even a word? Oh well, it’s irrelevant, as, correct or not, it’s the very root of Battlefield 3′s problems. In its rush to beat Call of Duty, Battlefield has become its spitting image. Sure, it’s shinier and you can have more people in the same match at once, but we’re looking at is just another sand-covered “infantry simulator” whose only purpose is to keep you entertained just long enough for the next game to be released. Which brings me to my next point…
It’s Got No Soul
I hate using the word soul as much as you hate hearing it, but it’s true. In order to illustrate my point, let me give you a comparison. Look at the metascore for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Notice anything? That’s right, it’s got the same score as Battlefield 3. Now, let me ask you something: in 10 years, are we going to remember Deus Ex and Battlefield 3 in the same way? I mean on one hand, we have a game with meaning and relevance. A game that brings up real social and moral issues. On the other hand, we’ve got a game that boils down to shooting anything that moves. Especially if it’s carrying a nuke.
What it boils down to is that Battlefield 3 is fun to play, and just like every game on The Picky Geek, I’ve bought it, I’ve played it, and I’ve enjoyed it. However, are we really getting anything out of it? Does it deserve the reverence it gets? Or am I looking too much into it and can’t see that games are meant solely for entertainment? Actually, don’t answer that last one. That’s a different feature altogether.