Byte vs Brick: Foot-to-ball vs Battle-to-field

Last week was a big, big week for on-off gamer-enrager EA, with the absurdly highly-promoted Battlefield 3 finally launching – but to mixed reviews, technical woes and bewildering media outlet favouritism. Was it enough to put DICE’s latest at the top of the charts? In the UK, that’s a resounding ‘yes’ – it topped the all-formats charts as well as the PC chart individually, with list-compilers Chart-Track revealing that its week-one sales exceed those of all 17 previous Battlefield games/expansions put together, and that it’s the tenth biggest-selling week-one game of all time in the UK. Crikey. And an alarming sign of how little reviews, or the lack thereof, can affect the success of heavily-marketed games. C’est la billboard-based vie.

What about Steam? Well, with EA and Valve still at quiet loggerheads, BF3 didn’t show up there – leaving the way clear for a game about a man in a tie to take the top-slot instead.

Steam (including pre-orders):

1. Football Manager 2012
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
3. Dungeon Defenders
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
5. Stronghold 3
6. Payday: The Heist
7. Grand Theft Auto: The Complete Package
8. Left 4 Dead 2
9. Dead Island
10. Dead Space Pack

Good times for Dungeon Defenders and Stronghold 3, while the crazy discounting on GTA seems to have paid off. And the reappearance of Dead Space suggests EA would definitely be foolish to continue to steer clear of Steam.

UK Retail (including etailers, not including pre-orders):

1. Battlefield 3
2. Football Manager 2012
3. The Sims 3: Pets
4. The Sims 3
5. The Sims 3: Generations
6. Stronghold 3
7. The Sims 3: Late Night
8. The Sims Medieval
9. Rage
10. World of Warcraft: Catacylsm

6/10 of those are EA games, then. All eyes on Modern Warfare 3 in a couple of weeks – it’ll be big, but will it be as big as the other ones or are people finally starting to tire of having the same meal at the same time every year?


  1. Flappybat says:

    A 90 Metacritic score is mixed reviews now?

    • bear912 says:


    • CMaster says:

      100-75 on PC (with plenty of 80s).
      95-70 On 360 (with lots of 70s)

      That seems mixed, even if in general it is positive. Compare to HL2, where almost all the reviews are 90-100, with one 85. Also, increasing numbers of the genuinely critical review sources don’t do scores.

    • President Weasel says:

      I preordered it ages ago, which I like to think was based more on positive press than on advertising (although even positive press is part of a highly planned marketing push), so it wasn’t possible for me to be swayed either way by the reviews.
      I haven’t actually got round to installing my preorder yet though, maybe I will suddenly get a wave of interest.

    • Jumwa says:

      Wait, why would we compare the review scores from consoles to PC?

      I haven’t followed this game much, and I don’t intend on buying it ever even, but I do seem to recall that they were trying to target this game towards PC gamers with their stressing features for PC. Wouldn’t it make sense then that the PC version got better scores? Especially since people have been talking about its graphics and how high end they are on PC (something console gamers wont get).

    • CMaster says:

      @Jumwa. Because most sites review multiplatform games only once.

    • Jumwa says:

      I’m not sure how that really changes this picture.

      Looking at the metacritics here nothing about it appears particularly wild to me. When I think fluctuating metacritic scores I think of something like Duke Nukem Forever, not a game that has all reviewer scores planted firmly in the green.

    • bear912 says:

      Also, I loathe Metacritic and all that it stands for.

      That said, it highlights some of the problems with games journalism (and publishing) these days, so I guess there’s something to be said for it there.

    • The Hammer says:

      Yeah, meself, I’m not seeing how the game received ‘mixed’ reviews either, other than in ‘suffering’ a couple of 70s-80s.

      It definitely seems to have garnered a lot more critical acclaim than other hyped-up juggernaughts that end up doing poorly.

      EDIT: like Duke Nukem.

    • Alec Meer says:

      From a publisher point of view for a game of this kind of scale/budget, they’re looking for 9s and 10s across the board, not a load of 7s and 8s alongside them. It’s very hard not to conjecture that this is the reason they strictly limited who they’d give early code in the hope of affecting the average.

    • psyk says:

      9s and 10s should be near perfect and perfect games, 7s and 8s are above average just not perfect what is wrong with that? yep the scale goes from 1 to 10.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Tell the publishers that.

      There’s a reason we don’t give scores, y’know.

    • psyk says:

      More Wot I thinks less scores

    • Nick says:

      thats what they get for bundling meh singleplayer to drag the score down I guess.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Lord Smingleigh’s handy Wot-I-Think Metacritic Equivalence for publishers and other debased blighters:

      Wordthinks are all rated 5/10 on the standard Curmudgeonly scale. Optimus thumbs up are worth (1 + 2i) each. Optimus thumbs down are worth bluebottles. Group WotThinks are rated 10 for each Hive Mind Node participating, averaged over the number of times John is insulted. Add 1 each time someone complains about Steam in the comment thread, then divide this subscore by the number of puns. Total it all up and take the negative logarithm of this value to get the true Metacritic score.

      You’re welcome, publishers.

    • CMaster says:

      @Lord Custard Smingleigh
      So you’re saying RPS Verdicts have a complex score?

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      @CMaster: More like partially imaginary.

  2. hjarg says:

    Well, my condolences to all the people who brought Stronghold 3- and there seems to be quite a lot of these poor unfortunate chaps.

  3. Njordsk says:

    BF3, one of my biggest letdown ever.

    • Flappybat says:

      I didn’t preorder until after the beta. It was a pretty safe bet anyway after Bad Company 2.

      My biggest recent letdown has to be Brink, followed by Dragon Age 2.

  4. Richard Beer says:

    Absolutely loving the multiplayer. What a fantastic game. I am going to sink whole days into this over the next year.

    Single player though? Good God. It’s trying and failing (badly) to be Modern Warfare, and it’s not even as good as MW1. The bit in the F18s is SO bad I would have laughed if it hadn’t bored me to tears first.

    • psyk says:

      Needs more co-op, those missions are surprisingly fun on hard.

    • Njordsk says:

      That’s quite interesting.

      I mean I a so-called BF vet (playing since 42, and a lot). I stopped playing BF3 multiplayer after 13H of brainless meatgrind.

      But on top of that I absolutly LOVED the single player part. I was completly absorbed in the story, the setting, the “cinematic experience” as they call it. Sure it has QTE, it has rail sequences, But I was so much INSIDE. Loved SP, every setting and scene was a masterpiece to me (expect the one before the karrasoff house fighting russian on something like caspian border). I accepted the fact it was an interactive movie and enjoyed it, way more than COD.

      I also enjoyed coop missions as mentionned, they were surprisingly fun.

      I found MP to be abysmal trash, aweful map design, aweful flag placement, too much noob friendly and so on.

    • Carra says:

      Maybe they should have just dropped the single player game.

      Nothing wrong with being a purely online shooter.

    • simonh says:

      I’ve played BF since 1942 as well, and I couldn’t really detect any specific changes in map design philosophy (except perhaps the close-quarters map Metro). Are you sure it’s not just that you haven’t learned these new maps yet? Until you know roughly where to expect enemies and how to move about the different areas it always feels a bit random.

    • Eskatos says:

      To be fair, MW1 did have the best single player of all CODs.

  5. Dreamhacker says:

    It sounds like I’m going to get tarred and feathered for even insinuating that I liked BF3…

    • gamma says:

      Wrong place for that… specially if asking for it.
      Enjoy BF3, have as much fun as you can with it :)

  6. Shooop says:

    Some people love CoD so much they’ll buy it no matter what else it’s called obviously…

  7. aircool says:

    There’s a single player game in BF3?

  8. Signum_01 says:

    Having an absolute blast on this game. Played through the SP campaign first to get a ‘feel’ for it, pretty underwhelming really. Generally mediocre, punctuated by a few moments of excitement (and no I don’t mean lame QT events). I appreciate what DICE was trying to do with it but I was confused about some elements of the story.

    However, multiplayer is obviously a different game altogether. Weapon unlocks make a huge difference, improving on the variety that BC2 had to offer. Especially enjoying being able to have multiple gadgets and weapon for vehicles. Taking out someone in a jet with just your canon has got to be one of the most satisfying gaming moments in recent history. Haven’t played all the maps in every mode yet, but absolutely loving the rush one where the attackers get to base jump off a cliff.

    This game is unrivalled when you have a decent squad to play with. So much fun.

    • psyk says:

      Yeah needs more temwork, had my first game last night where my calls for backup were answered

    • buzzmong says:

      (Warning, long post. Slightly ranty)

      I actually dislike all the unlocks in BF3. First of all is the fact quite a few are just blatant upgrades meaning new players are at a disadvantage (Red Orchestra 2 suffers from this as well). Second is the fact some things like flares for jets/heli’s should not be unlockables (trying flying now it’s been out a few days without them, you get pummled by AA) and should be standard equipment. Thirdly, there’s far too many of them.

      Unlocks to me were always meant to be well thought out sidegrades and earning them was meant to be an achievement. With regards to BC2 I knew what every one did and picked the best for the server and the players on it. BF3 just chucks torrents of them at you and cheapens the whole thing.

      However, I think BF3 is inferior to both BF2 and BC2.

      Certain things like:
      The horrible to use UI,
      Lack of actual program menu (for settings/keybinds outside of a game),
      The poor minimap,
      Not being able to do anything for 10 seconds after being shot (not even Esc works)
      Only being able to manage squads when spawned, but only being able to change load outs while ready to respawn.
      Pistols having the range of a wet fart in terms of damage falloff.
      Joystick remapping not working.
      Single shot headshots being questionable (or non existent for the starting sniper rifles)
      Et all..

      All those things make it feel like a massive step backwards in useability and well…fun. I have to say I’m not actually enjoying playing the game currently.

      Yes long post and no, I’m not apologising for being disappointed with a release.

      Co-op’s quite poor as well. They just weren’t that interesting.

      Yes long post and no, I’m not apologising for being disappointed with a release.

    • psyk says:

      Start offline and you get a menu

  9. Tony M says:

    “an alarming sign of how little reviews, or the lack thereof, can affect the success of heavily-marketed games” I think its more a case of the last couple of Battlefield games having generated so much good will that people are willing to ignore those other factors. BF2 and BC2 were wonderfully good games, they deserve to cash in big time.

  10. cairbre says:

    Well I have been enjoying the game. I haven’t tried the single player yet but that’s not why I bought the game.

  11. Kadayi says:

    Spent most of the weekend playing with my clannies and had a blast. Engineers feel like they might need a bit of a nerf when it comes to the small arms side of things, as the SCAR is a tad too effective in the mano-to-mano mix (and I say that as someone who plays Engie/Support mainly), and a couple of the maps need some work done on them with respect to balance (no doubt DICE are pulling a lot of data from metrics and will address this in time). One thing I think DICE & EA should of added was some kind of video tutorial with respect to the multi-player, to explain the principals of rush & conquest to people. Finding yourself on a Team on conquest where in yours is seemingly the only squad that understands that sitting back with 2 control points whilst the opposition has 3 is not the route to victory is a tad frustrating at time (Hint: If you’re in a tank, idling at A on Damavand Peak whilst C is being overrun is neither big nor clever), still such is life.