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‘Battlefield 4’ and ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ duel with competing packed story trailers

Two big shooters, two new story trailers. As competing blockbusters from Activision and Electronic Arts prepare to hit the retail battleground, a pair of new story trailers arrive to highlight… well… lots of explosions, mostly. Both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts get extended looks this week with trailers that focus on each game’s campaign. A few thoughts to ponder as you hit play on each one.

call of duty ghosts campaignDogs. Some call 2013 the year of Luigi. Others think it’s the year of the bow. Truly though, 2013 is the year of the poor puppy. How many canines have you murdered this year in video games? Really think about that for a moment (see: Splinter Cell: BlacklistTomb RaiderGrand Theft Auto V). It’s not a small number, is it? Check out that dog being face-punched in the BF4 trailer. Nifty, no? No. Not at all. How many of you are expecting Riley, the poochy star of Call of Duty: Ghosts, to bite the big one in a heroic moment at the game’s climax? Most people have a soft spot for doggies. Video games still struggle to find ways to elicit emotion from players, but an endangered pooch works every time. When Call of Duty 4 shook things up for shooters, we were inundated by a torrent of games featuring brown-heavy/washed-out environments. Dogs are the new brown. 

Smoke on the water. Two shooters, two looks at combat on the open water. Ghosts and BF4 both have their obligatory water missions, and both of the new trailers highlight some of these moments. Prepare for a very wet console launch. Both new machines are going to prop up some pretty games in the early days, but as with any hardware cycle, there’s going to be a lengthy period of adjustment as developers learn how to fully harness what each one can do. That said, water is likely going to look all sorts of great right from the start. Why’s that? Well, big studio developers have already solved for realistic water. The more powerful the machine, the better it’s going to look, but the basic physics of how water moves and reacts to contact with physical objects is well-established. Since making water look “better” on the new machines is largely just a matter of turning the graphics dials up, you can expect to see a lot of it in the early post-launch days. Case in point: both of these shooters, as well as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

10 E3 games Battlefield 4Explosions over exposition. Who needs a story when you can dazzle viewers with big, huge explosions. Both story trailers aim for the lowest common denominator, the Michael Bay-loving blockbuster consumers of the world. Do you know who the enemy is in either of these games after watching their story trailers? Do you have a sense of who the main characters are and what motivates them? You sure don’t! That’s okay; even if these stories were realized as movies, they’d be summer tentpoles rather than Best Picture contenders. No one’s expecting narrative greatness from the studios that make games where you frequently wonder “what the hell was going on in with that?” Of course, that thought is typically followed immediately by, “Eh, who cares, let’s blow up everything now!” In that sense, these trailers are a success. They don’t really sell the story for either game, but they don’t have to. Pull some eye-catching footage from each campaign, cut it up against some music, and call it a story trailer.

Eminem. The whole “Battlefield vs. Call of Duty” debate is really tired at this point. They’re different games, folks. Get over it, and have fun in one or both. That’s the beauty of free will: choice. You can choose one, choose the other, or choose both. You can also choose to not act like an ass online by telling people that the one they like is garbage. All that said, there’s one thing that no one can take away from CoD: Ghosts. Eminem. The rap superstar has a new album coming out next month, and that “Survival of the Fittest” track you hear playing over this Ghosts trailer is hot shit.

Have fun, gamerfolk. New trailers await.

(Please note, these trailers are both intended for a mature audience)

First up is Battlefield 4‘s trailer, released today:

Next is the trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts, which arrived yesterday:

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