Over this past weekend, we were graced with a good selection of gaming goodness to enjoy. I thought I’d talk a little bit about the two games with new polish that I played over the weekend along with my early thoughts on the Battlefield 1 announcement. We’re still a month out from E3, but we’re already getting some big bits of news.
Let’s start with the quick hitter – Black Ops III put out a hotfix going into the weekend that added in a new feature to the Black Market. Treyarch put out Contracts – eventually they’ll be daily and weekly features, but for now there’s just a featured Contract. Complete it – win 75 games – and you earn a weapon bribe for the Black Market along with 10 free rare supply drops. On top of that, Season Pass holders were gifted that same prize upon logging on this weekend. I was super lucky with my packages, netting the HG-40, Brass Knuckles and MVP baseball bat, but I know that there were lots of people who only got the one guaranteed weapon. What I really like with this new patch is it looks like Treyarch/Activision have heard the arguments from the broader community about supply drops. It’s early on with the new elements of the Black Market, but if this is a way for Treyarch to reward players with rare supply drops or even gear bribes for completing the Contracts it is bound to up the level of engagement with the Black Market. It’s a positive sign from a publisher that tends to not back down on secondary purchases like the CoD Points are. If it’s an early signal that Activision is going to be a little more flexible omoving forward, that is a great sign for their other big games – Destiny, Infinite Warfare and soon Overwatch. We just have to hope that it is the start of something.
The other quick thing I want to talk about is the Overwatch beta. I played a good handful of games with a few different heroes and I have to say, I think it’s a very fun game. It is drawing comparisons to Battleborn, mainly because they both are dropping close to each other and both are hero shooters; but I actually think the two games are really different. Battleborn is a lot closer to a MOBA, both in terms of game modes and the way the heroes have to level up each match. Overwatch is a lot closer to a game like Team Fortress. It’s an arena shooter, just each hero has their own powers and roles. Widowmaker is a lot of fun if you just want to focus on killing the enemy team, Bastion is basically a built in Play of the Game hero, Mei is awesome for crowd control and power plays and Zenyatta is a really great hybrid support hero. Overwatch wasn’t really on my radar aside from a couple stream clips I had seen going into the Beta, but coming out it’s a game I could definitely see picking up.
Finally, let’s talk about that Battlefield announcement. Not even a full week removed from the Call of Duty announcement, EA and DICE came out swinging and reignited the military FPS wars. Sort of. I’ve never seen the two franchises as direct competition – they appeal to two different markets. That said, I think there’s a lot to be excited about with Battlefield 1. This is the first time that a major Triple A shooter has gone back to the First World War. I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that the setting presents, especially in terms of set pieces in the campaign. The multiplayer side still has a couple questions that I think need answering – it’s going to have to be a slower pace across the board, and Battlefield has always been relatively slow paced outside of time to kill. The games are long, and with technology that’s older than any game we’ve played yet, the weapons/vehicles are going to be a tricky thing to nail. I have three hang-ups going in though – two directly relate to the game, the third is more about the developers/fanbase. As sson as the Call of Duty trailer dropped, there were a number of DICE developers casting shade on the looks of the trailer, saying it looked like a ten-year old game. Firstly, saying that is utterly ridiculous – ten years ago we were playing Oblivion and the first Gears of War, which looked nowhere even close to that good. Secondly, at least from that trailer, we got wehat really looked like gameplay. The Battlefield 1 trailer was all pre-rendered footage. Just because it says “game-engine footage” doesn’t mean that it’s showing actual gameplay footage. DICE pulled the same thing with Battlefront – which definitely doesn’t look like that first trailer did in-game. So maybe cool the jets a little on that, especially when your trailer looks a lot less polished than the Infinite Warfare trailer. The other issues I have are more directly related to the game. Firstly, that name is dreadful. Battlefield 1 – but it’s actually the fifth main series game. I get that the “1” is in reference to the WW1 setting, but take a page out of your own playbook – call it “Battlefield 1918” or something along those lines. That not only draws the focus to the setting, but also acts as a throwback to the first Battlefield game. Secondly, DICE really hasn’t proved to me that they can do a campaign at the highest level consistently. Bad Company is usually put out there as the example of the franchise doing it well – but that was almost ten years ago! And it’s the only one – Hardline wasn’t terrible, but it sure wasn’t on the level of some of the other FPS campaigns. So the campaign is a question mark that I have, but one that I really hope DICE answers. I have a feeling E3 will be plenty exciting this year.