Monday, April 19

Point and Click

Once every couple of months, a mate stays at my place and we stay up to ridiculous hours playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 online. We both lack a sufficient level of skill to make an impact on any match we play in, but the experience is enjoyable nonetheless. I thought that this time around we could perhaps try an alternative FPS which I, in all honesty believe is a superior multiplayer experience. I am speaking of course about Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

I was wrong of course, change doesn't work for everyone and there are several reasons why.

*Please note that while I am aware there is more to Modern Warfare 2 than Team Deathmatch, the majority (read: all) of my playtime is spent playing this mode. Conversely, I frequently play all the different modes in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and encouraged my friend to do so as well*

When you play on a round on, round off basis, the amount of time spent as a spectator presumably affects your enjoyment of a game. Standard MW2 Team Deathmatch games take a maximum of 10 minutes and can be shorter depending on the skill level of your fellow players (especially if someone sets off a tactical nuke). A match of BC2 can take exponentially longer depending on the game type, skill level of players and the map. Understandably, after watching me listlessly defend M-COM stations for the better part of an hour, Dave wanted to go back to MW2.

Team Deathmatch in MW2 is team based game ostensibly in name only. Very rarely would you see a team (knowingly) flank oponents, defend choke points and provide general assistance. Every player in a MW2 Team Deathmatch game is a maverick, slaying opponents with the singular, selfish objective of raising their ranks and unlocking equipment. Last night I watched as a teammate shot a player to the point where the "Last Stand," perk was activated and then I opened fire to steal his kill. Seconds (and about 5 deaths) later, I was victim to the same self-serving behaviour. When you play MW2, you are one of many rabid jackals scrounging desperately for your next feed.

BC2's various modes demand that you work in concert with your teammates. There will be mavericks on your team, however if you want to achieve a decent score you'll endeavour to save them from themselves as well as provide support to your squad and team at large. In the Rush and Conquest modes you can mark enemy soldiers and vehicles for your team to attack, you can ride shotgun with your squad and repair vehicles during heated conflicts. You can also abandon hunting opponents to defend flags and M COM stations, you can heal and revive friendlies. BC2 is the rare FPS that provides so many meaningful alternatives to killing. Even in Squad Deathmatch, defeat will be the only outcome if you allow a friendly combatant to wander off unescorted. You are rewarded for acting selflessly, even more so if you manage to kill some enemy combatants in the process.

Play Area
MW2's largest maps would struggle to be anywhere near as expansive as even a mid-sized map in BC2. With that said however, the maps in MW2 are expertly constructed and allow for conflict to play out dynamically, especially due to the movement of spawn points in accordance with your team's advances.

In BC2, you are able to spawn at bases and on your squad members. As a result, players can have greater control over the effectiveness of their lives. The ability to take to the skies, in addition to the highly destructible environments make for (in my opinion) more varied and exciting battles and empowers players to use a variety of strategies to attain victory. The level of freedom afforded to players is almost paralyzing at times, as you struggle to decide how to get to your objective, the route, who to bring along or accompany and how best to use the environment to your advantage.

There are many other reasons Dave preferred MW2, such as the Killcam: an ingenious invention which allows you to observe the skill (or luck) of the enemy combatant who killed you. There are also reasons why he didn't take to BC2, such as the beautiful, but distracting graphics and his inability to feel safe behind walls that can disappear in the blink of an eye. Bottom line is, MW2 is a better game to share a controller over. The conflict is more consistent and less time-consuming. There is also less to divert your attention from the ultimate objective of the game. If I was playing solo on a Friday night however, 9 out of 10 times I am going with BC2.

What's multiplayer shooters are guys playing at the moment? Anyting I should try out?


  1. Great rundown, sir. I've never actually played a Call of Duty game, WWII or Modern, so a non-biased, non-fanboy comparison makes for good reading. I'm a Bad Company man, myself, though. I lust for vehicles and big open maps.

    At the moment, though, I'm in love with Section 8. It's so damn intriguing, with such a wonderful take on the objective-based multiplayer set. It's hard to describe without a running commentary of the game, but suffice to say, there's nothing else out there quite like it. Big fan.

  2. I was going to pick up Section 8, but then Capcom went and released Final Fight: Double Impact!!! Final Fight is good, but the included classic Magic Sword is where I have been spending most of my time. I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

    Probably should mention that my lovely Carls, my mate Dave and my Mum and Dad have made substantial contributions to the Dutch Museum of Gaming. So much stuff to play through in the coming weeks.

  3. It really depends on what kind of mood I am in on which game I want to play. If I want to just go do some absolutely bullshit, MW2 is where it is at. Quick scoping, double and triple kills with one bullet, throwing knives, etc make for a fast paced action that can't be match by BC2 (which BC2 really shouldn't be trying to emulate in any case).

    How BC2 is more when I want to test my actual aiming and tactical skill level. There is no aim assist, there is actual bullet dynamics, you HAVE to play the object, and it is in your best interest to keep your squad alive, so you have somewhere to spawn that won't result in massive spawn killing.

    The thing that I find is annoying me most about BC2 at the moment is the useless team mates I seem to be getting lately. I mean they are absolutely retarded. And that is where BC2 kinda falls down. If you don't have a semi decent squad, then you might as well quit back to the menu and try again. That and the fact that I got kicked backt o the main menu the other night after racking up 50 kills and about 20 revives in a game of Rush. I was not impressed!

  4. Was Magic Sword the prequel to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round, that "sword 'em up" with the gorgeous sprites on SNES?

    Looking forward to more Dutch broadcasts.

  5. No, I believe King Arthur and the Knights of the Round is a port of the arcade classic Knights of the Round which was a stand alone franchise. KotR is actually playable on the second Capcom Classics Collection released on the PSP.

    Sambo I hear you man. I feel like I am the only one in my team (let alone my squad) attempting to defend M COM stations. It is nearing deal-breaker proportions.

  6. Nothing more infuriating than spawning on a team of goddamn wookies.

  7. It's not the fact that they are recon which annoys, because I will occasionally play as recon myself (I have finished unlocking everything), it is the fact that they sit up the back of the map and do.. well... nothing. They don't kill anyone, they don't cover people arming the M-Com, they don't kill people arming the M'COM. I mean seriously, they are useless.

  8. Word. Each team is usually at least 60% Recon, 30% Assault, 10% Medics and Engineers.

  9. Not even that good for me last night. I had an entire TEAM, not squad, TEAM, of medics using M60s with 4x Scope and Recon using M95s dropping mortar strikes. I was the only one running with the engineer class taking out tanks.

  10. That's too bad man. The over dependence on certain classes is starting to kill fun. Still, I love crazy nutbags in blackhawks as per the video above.