Battlefield 3 Beta Review: Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

There is a flash of flight as fire reflects off a sniper scope. I see it out of the corner of my eye and jump to the ground—but, too late. The bullet zips right through my head and Battlefield 3 cheerily sends me to the all-too-familiar YOU ARE DEAD screen. Fortunately, respawn times are so short that I can hop right back into the foray in the metro, but there’s a second of hesitation before I click that deploy button.

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FPS+RPG=4EVA?

There is a recent trend in first person shooters to include role-playing game elements. Once upon a time, the two genres were polar opposites: one was about brutal, raw action, pitting two teams against each other, while the other was the princess of videogames, the refined, elegant gameplay and storytelling.

I was a fan of both genres back in the day. I remember the first time I played Chrono Trigger and Duke Nukem. Both were entertaining in their own rights, but I found myself drifting naturally towards Chrono Trigger. The story in that game, while not the greatest, was a lot like reading a novel. The characters were interesting and they changed. That was the biggest deal.

In comparison, Duke Nukem was a bloody mess. It was face-paced, and all you did was shoot with increasingly crazy weapons. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun in its own right. But it felt like to me it was lacking something: why was I killing everything I saw? Yes, there was a flimsy pretense, but no rationale really, not in comparison to something like an RPG.

Now, the two genres are closer than ever. Opposites have attracted, and like the Odd Couple, two genres once at the polar ends of the videogame spectrum have been united. But is this a good thing?

Yes and no.

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