Extra Punctuation: Battlefield 3 Is Scary

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You mean people actually expect the single player in a shooting game to have a decent story or to try and justify war? I don't know about anyone else, but the reason I like the Battlefield series (1942 and BF2) is the large, open maps and the ability to use the vehicles. Get tired of killing each other? Have a jeep race, or try and to stupid aerial maneuvers in the planes.

Squilookle:
Wow this is crazy- I only just posted this in another thread-

That said, people theorising that expanded content = less interesting story is also true. But this is not the fault of the genre, or even the mechanics of the game. It is purely a conceptual mistake, with dev teams thinking that maximum freedom with a large range of toys is enough work done, without giving us meaningful things to do with them.

A perfect example from another Genre is Battlefield 3- it's got jets, and choppers and tanks and jeeps, but how many singleplayer missions took place entirely within any of those vehicles? Battlefield has all the tools and kit at it's disposal to create the most varied, wide reaching kind of singleplayer gameplay this side of ARMA II- and they utterly blew it because their creative team are, like many creative teams, just programmers at heart. This is why Crysis games always look so good but utterly waste the potential of any plot they have, as do most other games that shoot for cutting edge graphics above all else.

Oh and by the way:

Cues, and a restriction of choice, often lead to the player's greatest enjoyment of a videogame

I find the complete opposite is true. Walking into a courtyard in Call of Duty and seeing a skyscraper fall over or whatever doesn't interest me at all, because I know it's scripted, and will happen that way every single time. Sometimes the game even forces your view towards it. Getting lost in the wilderness in GTA and finally stumbling across a road, and seeing a dirt bike pull up at some lights only to have a 4WD brake too late and shunt the rider right off his bike? Unscripted? Completely random?

Now that's enjoyment

See, from the very start I've always thought Battlefield had this enormous potential for varied singleplayer missions with all it's weapons and vehicles. Just one look at the insane variety of Battlefield's grand-daddy Codename Eagle shows what can be done. Operation Flashpoint, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and later the ARMA series are really showing how you can have a true open world warfare game with emergent gameplay- and this fits right up Battlefield's alley.

It just makes it all the more crushing a disappointment to see battlefield tossing out it's wide expanses for exploration, to instead go with narrow channeled scripted corridor sections- just like COD.

What a complete and utter waste of potential.

The weird thing is that pretty much how Battlefield Bad Company 1's single player campaign played. It took place on big open maps and had multiple ways to approach an objective. You know like how Battlefield is supposed to be played. Battlefield is not a linear corridor shooter like Call of Duty or Halo. It's single player campaign should reflect that. I don't why they decided to go that direction, maybe the people who designed Bad Company 1's single player were laid off in one of those EA lay off sprees. If that's the case bring them back. Also put in the dinosaur survival mode that Battlefield 3 was rumored to have.

Adam Jensen:
I absolutely despise modern military shooters, and patriotism. Bertrand Russell said: "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."

While I personally like Russell's and Whiteheads work on the Principia, I am also reminded that the declaration of independence of the US was fashioned on the rhythmical styling of Locke's treatise concerning natural rights. The exception being the Thomas Jefferson change of of "right of property" to "pursue happiness". If again, to pull from experience, most of those that I have known that have served in the modern armed forces were asked, "why did you sign up"? The answers having some degree of range trend to "good deal", "shoot guns", with maybe 10% or less referencing some vague concept of patriotism. Strikes me as a "pursuit of happiness" as any... perhaps misguided values... but who is to say?

That being said, what Bertrand said seems true to a degree, especially in the context in which it was written, however, holds little water for reasons today. Like anything Patriotism is more of an excuse after the fact as justification, rather than the causal reason to engage in conflicts.

To reel this back into topic, BF3 SP demonstrates a nuclear detonation in Paris, now, that done, the trope, meme, or what have you, of "reason" is immediately justified by the "see, that is what happens when one does not act". It is a very "minority report" construct of modern civilization, even if 20/20 hindsight, has not happened yet. The idea that it "could" happen is all the justification in the world to coerce poorly educated landless peasants into whatever action is the most profitable and to that end, possible.

To address Bertrand again, is to ask the question, what is "not a trivial reason" to be killed or kill? In the context of the post modern existential nightmare of pseudo narcissistic nihilism, life is pointless and with respect to life, death is also pointless. So... why not?

Why not kill people and die for resources? Isn't that the LCD of all conflict? What could be more American than to get someone else to do it for one self?

Speaking as someone who was locked in a cupboard for my entire childhood before my parents grudgingly allowed me to go to a very private school - The Binding of Isaac is not funny.

Hint for the Binding of Isaac players: use a gamepad (and get joy2key if you have one that doesn't natively support key mapping).

Dual analogs are much better for Robotron play even when they're digitally mapped.

This is one of the reasons I don't play these games.

I just feel bad shooting 'real' people, I don't even like shooters taking place in the WW2, and couldn't play GTA4 because I felt so bad accidentally driving over people.

In general, I prefer shooters with cartoonish human opponents or monsters. Also that tends to be more varied and interesting than plain old humans.

Also ridiculous guns that shoot flashy laserbeams or magic missiles is just more enjoyable than a realistic gun, to me anyway.

mrhateful:
I think Yahtzee just really wanted to talk about Binding of Isaac :p

But it is a great game! I didn't finished the Womb yet... really though section (don't have time to learn the new enemies partern before I died...)

I like the recomendation of the Binding of Isaac game, cause is adictivly awesome :D

Yeah I've always been creeped out a bit by the whole modern shooter thing. But I think for me it's because of the way they fetishise guns and war. Like when I hear fans of these games talking about them they are often talking about guns in a very dry technical way, they sound like they're neo-nazis planning a murdering spree or something. And the multiplayer too seems to addict people to very unhealthy levels. We've all heard the news stories about what people have done online and what they do to get hold of a copy of said game, but also I've never been in a room (or online party) with anyone playing CoD online who didn't seem to be very irate. Yet they continue on their repetitive fruitless never ending quest.

Wolfram01:
Speaking as someone who was locked in a cupboard for my entire childhood before my parents grudgingly allowed me to go to a very private school - The Binding of Isaac is not funny.

Ouch... sorry about that man...
But, still, it's black humour. It suppose to be harsh. I don't think the developer wanted to flip the bird at Christianity (*spoilers* In the first ending, GOD helps Isaac *spoilers*). I understand, specially with your childhood, that it CAN be "tasteless"....

It really is sad that people don't take a moment to look at the deeper implications of their chosen areas of entertainment, and what liking them means (or at least appears to say) for their character.

Though I do remember the original Modern Warfare game being not so cut and dry as it originally appears (the American soldiers being shortsighted and dickish/the British soldiers being competent but amoral). Still, it missed out on any actual depth in the issue when the enemy insurgents were almost cartoonishly villainous.

Of course, you'd never see a modern warfare game from the perspective of the insurgent groups that you slaughter wholesale. That would make an actual artistic statement- and spark more controversy than any issue has any right to draw.

Drake666:

Wolfram01:
Speaking as someone who was locked in a cupboard for my entire childhood before my parents grudgingly allowed me to go to a very private school - The Binding of Isaac is not funny.

Ouch... sorry about that man...
But, still, it's black humour. It suppose to be harsh. I don't think the developer wanted to flip the bird at Christianity (*spoilers* In the first ending, GOD helps Isaac *spoilers*). I understand, specially with your childhood, that it CAN be "tasteless"....

Thanks for the sympathy, but... ever read Harry Potter? ;)

Wolfram01:

Drake666:

Wolfram01:
Speaking as someone who was locked in a cupboard for my entire childhood before my parents grudgingly allowed me to go to a very private school - The Binding of Isaac is not funny.

Ouch... sorry about that man...
But, still, it's black humour. It suppose to be harsh. I don't think the developer wanted to flip the bird at Christianity (*spoilers* In the first ending, GOD helps Isaac *spoilers*). I understand, specially with your childhood, that it CAN be "tasteless"....

Thanks for the sympathy, but... ever read Harry Potter? ;)

Everybody said I should have, but the first books were marketed and written for kids... so I never read them. I've seen one or two of the movies. Not bad.

I'm more of a Song of Ice and Fire guy :)
Or Discworld.

Why do I have the feeling that you didn't have the permission to read the harry Potter's books ?

Adam Jensen:
I absolutely despise modern military shooters, and patriotism. Bertrand Russell said: "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."

Good quote.
It's funny, I don't like blind patriotism and war but I have gotten into the military shooter. There's a few things I don't like in the real world but I like in games: war, driving, arson, police and defending with towers; in the real world it's just not practical.
But honestly, if the next CoD was all patriotic about some other random country, I probably wouldn't even notice. It's just guys shooting other guys. I don't think the draw for games like Battlefield or CoD is a depiction of any particular government; it could be any military that's highly funded...oh, I see.

"And the teddy bears would need to have had a history of backing the overthrow of South American democratic governments for the benefit of wealthy fruit corporations."

As if the British didn't invade CandyLand for Cadburys...everyone knows that was you guys.
Admittedly Candy Land was a monarchy.

Scrustle:
And the multiplayer too seems to addict people to very unhealthy levels. We've all heard the news stories about what people have done online and what they do to get hold of a copy of said game

Blame the people, not the game. The game does not create chemical addiction, a word that's massively overused as it is. The game does not make people threaten each other to get a copy. The game does not replace rational thoughts with a torrent of racist drivel spewing into a headset. As comforting as it is to think that the depths to which people sink come from an outside force like a game, they're largely just incredibly unpleasant or unhinged people.

Blind patriotism is especially scary when placed into plots which are glorified snuff films and placed in the hands of foulmouthed kids who will threaten death against other players, reviewers, and even developers.

Oh, I think most of the kiddies are harmless enough, but when you combine THOSE moments with THOSE people, it's a briefly frightening thought.

Should I put on "Born in the USA" now?

I predict a million posts along these lines:

OT: I would like Yahtzee to more Indie games, as they seem to be interesting and innovative. But if he does, I demand he animate his hipster beard and glasses.

CD-R:

Squilookle:
Wow this is crazy- I only just posted this in another thread-

That said, people theorising that expanded content = less interesting story is also true. But this is not the fault of the genre, or even the mechanics of the game. It is purely a conceptual mistake, with dev teams thinking that maximum freedom with a large range of toys is enough work done, without giving us meaningful things to do with them.

A perfect example from another Genre is Battlefield 3- it's got jets, and choppers and tanks and jeeps, but how many singleplayer missions took place entirely within any of those vehicles? Battlefield has all the tools and kit at it's disposal to create the most varied, wide reaching kind of singleplayer gameplay this side of ARMA II- and they utterly blew it because their creative team are, like many creative teams, just programmers at heart. This is why Crysis games always look so good but utterly waste the potential of any plot they have, as do most other games that shoot for cutting edge graphics above all else.

Oh and by the way:

I find the complete opposite is true. Walking into a courtyard in Call of Duty and seeing a skyscraper fall over or whatever doesn't interest me at all, because I know it's scripted, and will happen that way every single time. Sometimes the game even forces your view towards it. Getting lost in the wilderness in GTA and finally stumbling across a road, and seeing a dirt bike pull up at some lights only to have a 4WD brake too late and shunt the rider right off his bike? Unscripted? Completely random?

Now that's enjoyment

See, from the very start I've always thought Battlefield had this enormous potential for varied singleplayer missions with all it's weapons and vehicles. Just one look at the insane variety of Battlefield's grand-daddy Codename Eagle shows what can be done. Operation Flashpoint, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and later the ARMA series are really showing how you can have a true open world warfare game with emergent gameplay- and this fits right up Battlefield's alley.

It just makes it all the more crushing a disappointment to see battlefield tossing out it's wide expanses for exploration, to instead go with narrow channeled scripted corridor sections- just like COD.

What a complete and utter waste of potential.

The weird thing is that pretty much how Battlefield Bad Company 1's single player campaign played. It took place on big open maps and had multiple ways to approach an objective. You know like how Battlefield is supposed to be played. Battlefield is not a linear corridor shooter like Call of Duty or Halo. It's single player campaign should reflect that. I don't why they decided to go that direction, maybe the people who designed Bad Company 1's single player were laid off in one of those EA lay off sprees. If that's the case bring them back. Also put in the dinosaur survival mode that Battlefield 3 was rumored to have.

Yes, I was thinking that. Bad Company 1 had a brilliantly fun campaign - Crahs and Grab was a really good level, pretty much completely sandbox. Plus, it was tongue-in-cheek and genuinely funny, which a lot of modern combat games lack. Even BC2's singleplayer had shades of this - it railroaded you a bit more, but you still got a lot of choice, there were still funny moments.

I think I read somewhere that BF3's campaign, while not new in terms of the shooter genre as a whole, was a new thing for DICE. DICE are new to singleplayer campaigns, so this was actually an experiment for them, something different. That's why they did it - they know they can do that without losing their customers, because Battlefield is primarily a multiplayer game.

(Also, Halo is a hell of a lot less linear/corridor than Call of Duty).

I think it's pretty obvious that The Binding of Issac is my game of the year. I can't even remember what games came out this year, outside of Radiant Historia. That's how forgettable most of the AAA titles are to me.

Literally laughed out loud at the spotted dick joke.

I know this isn't the main focus of the article, but I think I've realized why Nathan Drake can bother me.

I by no means dislike him as much as Yahtzee, but there is something about him.

And it's this: Whenever he acts like a goof ball, he just expects everyone o roll with it. But when someone else tries to crack a joke, he's all, "hey, be serious" as if to say "Hey! I'm the funny one around here".

I have to agree with Yahtzee about Black Ops. I liked it more when the main character was fighting against impossible odds to save his squad, his friends. Whenever it turned on the period-specific rock songs and showed off America's military might, I started to feel like someone was saying that the Cold War was a good thing.

I think part of the point of these sorts of games is that you aren't the underdog, that you have such fancy and interesting tech and such a large support network. The attempt appears to be making the player feel like a real life superhero, as sad and masturbatory as the concept of making killing other people and promoting xenophobia out to be heroic is.

Speaking as a born resident of the United States, though, I also find the concept quite questionable, if you couldn't tell from the above; I don't see anything glorious or heroic about the way these things are presented. There are ways to paint a soldier in a positive light, certainly, but "shoot those dirty Russians while 'oooh'ing at the scenery" isn't it. War as a whole should never be glorified.

As another one, who does not have a faynboydegree in US Military jerkoff I kinda got to agree, maybe thats what stopped me from buying those games since Battlefield 1941.
Since then, CoD and Battlefield felt more like recruiting stuff with the message "we are edgy, but still the awesome good hero guys".

This article makes it clear. Thanks Yahtzee!

Baradiel:

Also, theres a subtle Christianity vibe (read: bleeding obvious from items and enemies) which I quite like. It's not a positive look at it, but even someone who is Christian would find interest in all the different references.

I haven't played the game yet, but a minor point: "The Binding of Isaac" is a story that exists in Judaism and Islam as well, since all three religions trace their origins back to Abraham.

UNHchabo:

Baradiel:

Also, theres a subtle Christianity vibe (read: bleeding obvious from items and enemies) which I quite like. It's not a positive look at it, but even someone who is Christian would find interest in all the different references.

I haven't played the game yet, but a minor point: "The Binding of Isaac" is a story that exists in Judaism and Islam as well, since all three religions trace their origins back to Abraham.

Very true. 'Mom' is a devout Christian (From your knowledge of the title, guess why she is the enemy...? :P) but a lot of the items are named on the Old Testament, which is shared by those three religions.

And now I want to play it :P

Adam Jensen:
I absolutely despise modern military shooters, and patriotism. Bertrand Russell said: "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."

"Patriotism is the belief that your country is the best because you were born in it" George Bernard Shaw. Says it all,really.

Hm, this looks a bit like Charlie Brooker's piece on Modern Warfare 3...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/13/charlie-brooker-modern-warfare-3

The Gentleman:
I wonder how he feels about MW2/3's enemies, which was the equally strong and technologically powerful Russian Army

Which is just retreading the old "Escalate the Cold War" cliché. It's been done ten thousand katrillion times already and it was neither funny nor politically correct the first time.

Watching blips on your radar representing someone's son or husband disappear with a plop as someone in your earpiece congratulates you and laughingly points out the remaining ones who are running for their lives.

I guess why I don't have any problems like that is because they aren't someone's son or husband. They're some polygonal models and code at best, and literally just the blip at worst. I guess I'm unable to always shake the fact that it is just a game and immerse myself that far into it. To me, they're just random enemies in a game. I suppose I can see how taking the game that seriously would make these situations creepy, though.

Thinking about the lives of those that you kill in war will drive you mad. That's a fact. Just talk to a WWII vet about the subject, and they'll be happy to tell you all about it. In a real war, you cant view your enemies as human. You have to view them as evil, and believe that your cause is just. If you don't, you will either go mad or die. That's why we give our enemies nick names like "crout" or "diaper head", so that we don't think of them as human. This has been true throughout history, and it is doubtful that it will ever change. War in general is creepy. The only reason modern war games creep people out more than fantasy / historical war games is because there is a greater sense of disconnect between us and the game. Obviously, I will probably never see a large force of armor-clad orcs marching on my house. An army of infantry & helicopters? Still unlikely, but much easier to imagine.

On another note, wouldn't it be cool if a war game touched on the concept of dehumanization? Maybe in a WWII game you strike up a conversation with a German captive, who it turns out moved to Germany from your home town. (Band of Brothers reference)

For once, I second his points and find them not just entertaining.

Stories loose tension when there's no doubt about the moral and militaristic perfection of the good guys? No way!

The best thing about Call of Duty 4 (the game that started all this nonsense) was that it was supposed to be scary. Everything in it, AC-130 level in particular, was cold, clinical and alien. The U.S. was portrayed as it actually is, an overzealous warmongering force that has bitten off more than it can chew. Meanwhile, as Yahtzee has pointed out, the British troops come off as borderline psychotic. Almost every setpiece was special because, until that point, wargames were about putting you face-first into the horrors of war, while COD4 put you in situations where YOU were the one killing off enemy troops like plastic army men, totally desensitized to their plight. So when the tables finally turned, and players were presented with a nuke right in their face, it was one of the most shocking video game moments ever. The bloody spectacle was memorable because it contrasted with our modern clean, detached perspective on warfare that the game also portrayed.

The Rogue Wolf:
Not to shunt the discussion into politics, but I think this dichotomy is also represented in the current evolution of American patriotism: We at once celebrate the overwhelming power of our military and the ability it gives us to dictate to other nations, and at the same time perceive ourselves as the misunderstood underdogs, struggling to guide a world that just doesn't see how right we are.

It's some bizarre mental contortion when you really think about it, and I can certainly see why many of those outside (and within) this nation don't understand it.

And within? May I ask where?

@Yahtzee

On the off-chance that you read these comments, I just wanted to say that I'm surprised to see you say this:

It's still another triple-A shooter that succumbs to what I'm starting to call "sightseeing tour syndrome" - where every slightest movement on the part of the player is rigidly predetermined in order to show off the spectacular set pieces. Where every now and again an attempt is made to break up the monotony by locking you into a vehicle or turret section which you are permitted to enjoy for an allotted fun period before being kicked out for the next predetermined point.

This is something I hate in games, and have hated ever since I first saw it used extensively... in Half-Life 2. Valve (the company that you are so openly enamoured with) are IMO almost solely responsible for the popularisation of this sort of gameplay.

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