Friday, 20 April 2012

MW3 vs MW3

It's been a long time coming this post.  Two years after buying my 360 and an owner of a PS3 since launch you might think I'd be in a great position to write it.  Sadly for much of the last two years my 360 has sat looking rather glum under the TV.  Budget restraints, largely sorted since giving up smoking, led to me just not bothering with any release if it wasn't out on the PS3.  You could have easily made an argument that I'd wasted a chunk of cash on the 360.  I'd have argued with you.  I'd have been wrong.
A fortnight ago I bought Modern Warfare 3 on the Xbox.  I already owned it on the Playstation and was steadily improving my kill death ratio, so why the extravagance?  Nagging from some colleagues predominantly.  'It's harder on the Xbox,' they cried, 'That's where the hardcore play,' they said and so, after a few weeks of holding back, I folded.

Is it harder?  We'll get to that.

The first thing I noticed was the noise.  It's just better on the Xbox.  For whatever reason the surround sound just works much more effectively and I've tried playing around with the sound settings on my PS3 since but to no avail.  But it's not a deal breaker.  

Graphically at first it's almost impossible to differentiate between the two.  Then I started noticing little things, flashes of animation I'd not noticed before.  Now it might just be me but it definitely feels like the frame rate might be marginally higher on the Xbox, but again hardly a deal breaker.

Lots of Xbox owners will bang on, pretty much relentlessly, about how much better the online experience is on their machines compared to the PS3.  Personally I haven't seen much difference.  The odd game still crashes when people quit out and I've seen more games suffer from lag than I have on the PS3 version.  What is better is the private chat option.  It's kind of surprising that Sony have never implemented it on their machine but it brings another level to gaming with friends.

But is it harder online?  

No.

What it is though is different.  Very different.

On the PS3 every map online has a pattern of play to it.  On the 360 the same maps have different patterns.  It's actually quite odd at first and it took a while to figure out why it was happening.  Essentially,     yes, there are more of the 'pro' players on the Xbox.  You get them on the PS3, there's just less of them.  What this leads to is a whole bunch of average players, who have a bit of COD knowledge about them, using perks they'd never touch on a PS3.  UAVs for example will often show none of your opponents because everyone is using a perk to hide them from the radar.  If the 'pro' players are running about, killing at will, it's going to be a lot easier to catch them out if they don't know where you are.  Get a Predator missile and half the time you'll struggle to hit anyone because they're using perks that don't show them up to air support.  All this leads to a completely changed experience.

Needless to say I am now hidden from radar and I went from an awful KDR to a reasonable one in a matter of days as a result.  It feels like a different game on most of the maps, I've almost become stealthy, even camped a bit...  Anyone that's played with me before on the PS3 will know it's hardly my style to sit in a corner cowering, but on the 360 it's the only way I can play at times.  

Am I enjoying it more or less?  

Hmmm.

It's marginally slicker and I like being able to hear footsteps behind me properly.  The controller, which I've not mentioned, is probably better suited to a first person shooter than Sony's iconic Dual Shock but it's pretty marginal to be honest.  What I have liked is feeling like I'd bought a new game, not just bought the same one on a different machine.

If you've tried it on one but have both consoles, give the other a try, I'd be interested to know your thoughts.