Battlefield 3

2011 August 23

I originally started writing a relatively long post imploring gamers to look at Battlefield 3 over Modern Warfare 3 for their contemporary military shooter fix, especially if they’ve bought the previous three Call of Dutys set in the present-day. Then I saw that the console player limit is 24. Sure, that’s the same deal as MW3, but BF3 is meant to be played on a grand scale. I can’t imagine the console versions coming close to the massive 64-player battles that will take place on the PC. That’s without throwing in the graphical advantage any halfway decent PC will have over the half-dozen year old tech of the 360 and PS3.

So while the above video is absolutely ridiculous looking, it’s the PC version featuring a 64-player battle. I don’t know if the graphics on the consoles will approach that level, but I’d put my life savings on them not coming close to a computer that satisfies the recommended specs. The little research I did on the matter unearthed a quote from an EA employee working on the game saying they limited consoles to 24 players and shrunk some maps in order to keep the graphics and other features intact. Either way, it’s obvious that the PC version will be superior, but PC gamers are already the ones who want BF3 much more than MW3. The consoles are where the battleground for market— and mind-share will take place.

And is there truly anything that I can say to change anyone’s mind on their decision? I haven’t played either game and I’m already an outlier with regards to the usual console COD player due to not owning Black Ops. Everyone owns Black Ops. Overhearing a conversation about the game is a somewhat regular occurrence. My 13-year-old cousin complains about his baseball teammates talking about Black Ops even during a close game. Battlefield doesn’t have anywhere near that popularity, so it’s going to need to blow people away upon release.

People know about Battlefield 1942 and the Bad Company games much like people knew about the Call of Duty games before Call of Duty 4 released. But COD4 created a phenomenon and an absolute monster of a franchise. It was a beautiful, responsive, 60-frames-per-second breath of fresh air among console shooters. I never felt completely comfortable playing a FPS with a controller until that COD4 beta. BF3 will need to be the COD4 of its series, and I’m going to take that thought to its logical conclusion and say that EA is smart in having a multiplatform beta. I think that’s the type of action needed to create hype of a critical mass. I look forward to getting a code somehow at the last minute so I can enjoy stunted 24-player vehicular action on my 360 or slightly prettier 64-player action on my newly acquired (hopefully), but gaming-mediocre laptop. Maybe then I’ll actually be able to write something of substance about BF3.

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