There was a time EA were considered an arrogant, evil company but somewhere down the line those feelings receded to a certain extent. Now with Battlefield 3 on the horizon, it seems they may have come back. You, me, heck even the crazy old lady outside my house who yells at passing cars knows how EA have been pimping this game like it was the best thing since sliced bread. And they’ve been doing it all along while constantly passing remarks at their biggest competition, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3).

At every possible occasion, EA has been taking digs at MW3 be it through subtle taglines for their trailers like “Go beyond the Call” or outright anal remarks that advise Activision to get out of the kitchen if they can’t take the heat. And even though a lot of gamers thought EA was taking things a bit too far with this trash talk, things were in their favour as Battlefield 3 looked like it would live up to the hype. The single player footage looked incredible and after the Caspian Border gameplay video released at Gamescom 2010, people pretty much lost their marbles. It looked that good.

Last week EA released the multiplayer beta to the world and what was supposed to be a momentous occasion has actually turned against them as a large majority of gamers aren’t too pleased with what they saw. For one it was real annoying to have Origin forced down their throats to install the game. And since Origin is still buggy as hell, I nearly had to download the beta twice since the client never recognised the files the first time. But perhaps the biggest gripe for PC gamers at least was the fact that this game forced them to launch an external application through their web browser as a hub for this game. Only through this application called Battlelog could players choose servers and admire their stats. Honestly this isn’t much of an inconvenience as it is a weird decision taken by DICE, the reasons for which we’re yet to see.

I got 99 problems and  loud mouth sure is one

I got 99 problems and loud mouth sure is one

There are many gamers out there who are still constantly facing connection issues because like all DICE games at a pubescent stage, this game is full of technical issues. It happened with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and it’s happening with this one as well. I remember how for nearly a week after Bad Company 2’s launch, me and a couple of mates couldn’t get into a single server and even if we did, we got booted to the main menu within seconds. It was exasperating as hell. With the way EA have been promoting this game, it’s a wonder how they never anticipated the tremendous load on their servers. The final nail on the coffin however was when DICE locked out Caspian Border, the one map people were dying to play. Now this is the map that can showcase what Battlefield is truly about with large scale combat, vehicles and of course jets. And isn’t the whole point of a beta to let people test out the map for you so why lock it to a bunch of selected gamers in the first place?

But all technical issues aside, people seemed pretty upset at the core gameplay itself since the (unlocked) map offered in the beta is strictly an infantry one. This means the game’s now in Modern Warfare 3 territory because let’s face it, these guys have pretty much nailed infantry combat all the way from Modern Warfare. And then there’s the whole ability to go prone that has given birth to a bazillion campers making gameplay a tad annoying.

I for one enjoyed the game and am still looking forward to the 25th (which is when the game releases) but I honestly think EA have bitten off more than they could chew. Now I understand this is a beta, not a demo and the whole point of a beta is to help the studio improve the game but you can’t tell me it’s not a bit unnerving to see these many issues so close to launch date. Sure the technical issues may get ironed out by launch but what about the other stuff? Will DICE be able to complete the game before the 25th? And if the game’s supposed to hit stores by the 25th it obviously has to be ready well before that time since the replication process takes time.

This puts DICE in a predicament; do they ship a rushed product just to meet release date and then proceed to patch the hell out of it or do they postpone the game to make sure it’s in playable form? Either way EA better get ready to face the music because I’m sure Activision will have something to say if Battlefield 3 does not end up beating Modern Warfare 3 in sales.

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