Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 both feature co-op campaigns. DICE decided to throw six missions and entice players to play it by locking some multiplayer weapons behind it.
On the flip side, Infinity Ward and gang created a completely separate offline only profile featuring its own set of unlocks and progression system. They didn’t dangle any carrots because they were confident that they’re Spec Ops co-op mode was good enough to stand on its own.
I picked up Modern Warfare 3 for its Spec Ops and a bit of curiosity with its campaign and multiplayer. I picked up Battlefield 3 for its multiplayer alone. I would have been glad to have paid full price to have them not include the co-op and its single player campaign.
I’ll take time to talk about the Battlefield 3 single player campaign later this week, but I feel it and the co-op actually detracted from the overall package.
The Same, but Different
Both games were restricted to two players and they both had their share of scripted and basic terrorist hunting missions. However, Infinity Ward had a lot more variety and creativity with its mission design.
I’m a fan of asymmetrical co-op modes like one player is on the ground while the other is clearing a path with an AC-130 high above. Infinity Ward’s game had at least four of those out of its 16 available missions. DICE only included one and it wasn’t particularly well laid out.
Battlefield 3’s missions had many points of failures and they usually averaged over 10 minutes in length. Having to start a mission over because of a missed shot or errant shot against an NPC at the end of a mission was incredibly annoying.
Modern Warfare 3 had one or two missions that were demanding like Battlefield 3’s, but they usually averaged 6 or 7 minutes in length. Despite having a recommended approach or theme, the majority of the missions didn’t punish us for not adhering to their suggestions. Sometimes we made it harder for ourselves, but that was our choice.
A Clear Winner
There’s a fine line between “what are we doing wrong?” and “what can we do to improve?” when it came to these co-op missions. Battlefield 3 with its limited and annoying missions often landed on the wrong side. It was bad enough that we had to grind through these missions numerous times to unlock multiplayer weapons, but repeating them because it wasn’t entirely clear what we were supposed to do made me dread DICE’s inclusion of this mode.
Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops mode wasn’t flawless, but they made up for the shortcomings with numerous quality moments. Although this instalment’s missions weren’t fundamentally broken in spots like in Modern Warfare 2’s, I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by what they delivered this year. I was hoping for more. Survival mode was a decent addition, but it reminded me too much like Infinity Ward’s spin on Black Ops’ Zombie mode.
There’s some amount of disappointment all around these co-op modes, but there’s a lot more in Battlefield 3’s offering.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops’ verdict: Recommended
Battlefield 3’s co-op’s verdict: Stay Away