Monday, 7 May 2012

Best Retrospective

My retrospective is best retrospective. Why? Because it is May. I've had a chance to stroke my stubble on comments on comments on reports on the reception of games that have taken a headline slots for both this year and last. Sales, shit writing teams, shit sequels and shit video game developers, are apparently obligatory fodder for anyone who just wants to talk about Battlefield 3 in peace. My retrospective is best because I'm going to review some games in fact, every other post I make here is going to be a point scorin', nit pickin', shit flingin' shindig. Every other post again will be a review of something else or a bit of news that deserves more than a passing retweet. As I recall it was on the Twittersphere,as pricks insist on calling it, that I said that when this came back I'd give my GOTY to one of a few candidates of your gracious choosing. However you'll have to allow me to shaft your opinion with a Hurley stick and burn through them myself, albeit quarter past midnight. Battlefield 3, for thy initiated, is the sequel to the frenetic, thinking man's Counter Strike, Battlefield 2. From the beginning of development it was set to be a known, loved and honed version of sophisticated multiplayer shooter gameplay with unprecedented levels of presentation and performance to boot. Sounds like a tall order but if generic, techno fetishist set piece and errant industrial shit stain Call of Duty has pulled it off then what's to worry about. That, however' is just it, Call of Helicopters is either fundamentally or ridiculously similar to the intellectual property it has half-assedly imitated depending on weather or not you have ever played a video game before, ever. Yes,I am firmly the camp that Battlefield with its you know, actual battlefields, offers a truly dedicated design effort to just about everything. Before I go into too much praise however, it is important to mention just how little of this affection that the single player story gets. Actually the plot is quite solid, if only that, not counting a few scenario nods (near future of course) that borderline on wannabe Guardian reader bollocks. 'I don't want a Bin Laden style resolution here' enduced a lockjaw of cringe. A rhythm of pretty cutscenes and vaguely interesting set pieces ripped straight from the 'bigger explosions than Black' physics programmer notebook keep things going until its done showing off its lovely cinematography. In fact it's in those visuals that the redundancy sets in. After an entire level took place in the back of a jet cockpit pressing R1 I presumed my theory that the true potential of both the graphics engine and the frostbite destruction engine that reinforced it was to be found in the multiplayer. I set off into a game of conquest, the talk of command posts and spawn tickets warmly reminiscent of Star Wars Battlefront but as My soldier's eyes gained focus on the bay of the Oman gulf I realised just how much of a pathetic imitator it was. A you may have already garnered I was on a console and as far as I can tell it did nothing to marr the beauty. Battlefield 3 seems to have been assembled by cinematographers. The colour palette is ripe and constantly noticeable whilst never being as intrusive. Everything from height differentiation in the buildings to the number of burnt out cars in a given area has be considered with perverted intensity all across maps of tremendous scale. Add to this the transverse that comes out of the destruction engine and the wonderfully overpowered yet oppositionally balanced vehicles and let the immersion commence. Boy oh boy is it send immersion at that. You have goals to achieve for each weapon,class and vehicle not just for simple brownie points but to genuinely enhance your level of situational control. They've boiled down that yearning to go to a high level area in an MMORPG into a lucky tank ride. Various game modes that play on these situations have been tried and tested to a perfect synergy. In one sessn you can find yourselves holding up in the few standing buildings in a city, storming an island from an aircraft carrier or having Mexican standoffs in tubular underground environments. In fact you could probably get that from one map. It's a shame then that a lot of these values are thinned somewhat by kiddy-run rentaservers, bizarrely overpowered combinations of Hightower weapons and explosive rounds and a depressingly steep learning curve for some of the vehicles. Never let it be said however that Battlefield 3 is not a character onto its own. Skyrim's next. Beg me to like it more than this in the comments.

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