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.
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?