Way back when, before modern warfare ruled our videogames and man had found joy in using his consoles to play in the mystical online space that PCs dominated, IGN fell in love.
Sweet Battlefield 1942 stole us away from our homes, families, friends and jobs for a good while. And we cherished it so. It held us tightly and forced us to giddily partake in endless hours of its FPS goodness. No shooter had warmed the stony hearts of IGN editors for so long before, and nor would one ever again (maybe). We were glowing. We were in love. And we even made a cool desktop to represent our unstoppable team's fondness of all things Battlefield! It took us hours to pose just right under those clouds and with that tank. [CHECK IT OUT]
But that was the past. That was before IGN was lured away by the bittersweet song of Xbox Live and PS2 online, where little orange rat-men like IGNPC's Tom McNamara could berate us over voice chat.
And now we're older -- hardened by battle and winter. We're gruff and we've been exposed to all that leprechauns like Tom have to offer. Can we once again fall in love?
Modern Combat is a great game. Strangely, it's not just a great multiplayer game. Battlefield on PC has never featured a particularly exhilarating singleplayer mode, or even a good one, so when Electronic Arts vowed to deliver the ultimate Battlefield experience for current generation consoles, it had to create a compelling solo mode. Boy did it ever!
Taking the basic open-ended fights of Battlefield and throwing a few objectives in was one way to feature an exciting and fresh BF experience, but EA wrapped the game in an interesting multi-sided storyline complete with slick intro and outro pieces. While the game's backdrop is a typical East meets West World War III scenario, playing as all these factions and experiencing their overly dramatized viewpoints really adds personality to Battlefield. And more than that, the storyline helps believably deliver a series of distinctly varied and nicely scripted missions that focus on necessary Battlefield skills -- even using them to achieve objectives that involve infiltration, protection, escort, recon and annihilation.
There's also a very cool progress tracking system that records accomplishments throughout the course of the game and rewards players in a way that allows them to achieve greater ranks and access better equipment. That's even accented by a lovely challenge mini-mode where gamers can work at earning more points by completing a series of weapon mini-games, races, on-rails segments and other challenges.
We really like the new singleplayer mode. Though the AI is a bit too ambitious (because it'll run forward to its death at all times), the emphasis on shooting down large waves of enemies within the confines of some taxing mission of high priority is pretty exciting, especially considering how diverse our arsenals are and how varied the enemy's attacks can be.
For a clearer picture, we decided to ask IGNPC's Tom McNamara what he thought, given how much he plays multiplayer games and how much we hate him for it. And yes, these are real quotes.
Thank you, Tom! But did you know it's not just the story and the scripting that make the singleplayer game great? There's Hot Swapping, the process by which a player can assume control of any other NPC on the battlefield by simply looking at them and clicking a button. This speedy transport allows gamers to always be the focus of action. Try leaping from one person to another to setup better shots or score a kill on a hard to reach enemy. It's fabulous, and a terrific way to maintain the pace. Don't slow down! Don't walk for hours across barren terrain. Just leap into the body of some random man downfield to secure another position or advance on an entrenched foe with a different weapon set. Since the singleplayer game is primarily about swaying a balance of power to achieve victory, forget the wellbeing of one man and use the greater army like stepping stones to traverse the map and put down all comers.
What do you think about Hot Swapping, Tom?
Hot Swapping? What's hot swapping...? Oh, okay. That gets me hot... Sure. Why not? It's fun. Let's do it.
Behold, our Knowledge Wizard of Brisbane.
Hot Swapping, unfortunately, does not carry over to multiplayer. Nor do any of the fancy scripts and objective-based missions, actually. And this is what really hurts Battlefield. After so many versions on different platforms, the series still neglects to incorporate the more team-oriented objective-based modes of some other shooters (Return to Castle Wolfenstein much?). It has also omitted the tangible rewards for progress system that the singleplayer mode has. Not even the excellent Commander class of its PC counterpart has carried over, but Conquest is at least quite a lot of fun.
You can't create your own servers? That sucks.
Right. Thanks, Knowledge Wizard.
What you can do is enlist in an online war. 24 players. 13 maps. Total insanity. The on-foot and vehicular combat of Battlefield is peachy. The weapons have heft; they're lethal. Most of the vehicles also bounce and roll with enthusiasm, as if they've been designed to adhere to the same laws of physics that made the PC original so much fun.
In terms of control, expect a game tight enough to allow for some pretty amazing shots but clumsy enough to make powerful vehicles like the attack helicopters vulnerable -- a single pilot shouldn't ever be capable of effortlessly dominating an entire map. Though the cluttered environments and back and forth nature of BF's control point capturing Conquest mode should prohibit that anyway. Think about it like this: When you're stuck in the middle of a third-world urban sprawl and a helicopter comes darting by missiles a firin', there are thousands of places to hide. These maps reflect that, but also offer a good amount of choke points and roads on which to fight. In other words, they're nicely designed.
When online, feel free to pair with buddies and clans, tracking stats and killing folk left and right. The options to socialize are there and we like them, as we do the generally solid performance, but some more multiplayer functionality needs to be implemented. We need to at least be able to carry the action over to our LANs.
Even without the bonuses, Battlefield multiplayer still delivers a remarkably solid shooting experience that offers a very good sense of approachability. I can go there. I can shoot that thing. I can kill that man. It's quite cool and can be particularly hilarious when you fall out of a helicopter for the first time or manage to avoid getting killed by a tank long enough to draw its driver out in frustration and then stab him to death.
So Tom, what do you think about the whole game now that we've spoken?
I don't know. Why are you asking me all these questions about this game? I'm not saying anymore because you're putting me in the article.
Yes. Yes I am.
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