Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Battlefield 3 - Zero Stars

I've been a fan of Electronic Arts' Battlefield series for a few years now.  Battlefield 1943 was the first one I played, and whilst it was limited in weapons and landscapes I still have to rate it as one of the best computer games I've ever played.  It's one of those fantastic games that is open enough to allow you to develop your own tactics and strategies, and the satisfaction of playing as part of a tight team with players from all over the world is something else.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 came next.  It's a more modern version, more weapons, more maps, but much the same game overall.  The added "rush" mode which splits the two teams into attackers and defenders is a great addition and takes the whole thing to a new level.

So I was quite excited to hear Battlefield 3 was coming out.  More new maps, more new weapons, more brilliant!  Except it's not.

Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good for the first month, I was enjoying it.  And then it stopped working. 

Within a month of release it required an update.  Nothing unusual there, it's fairly common, but this required a 2 Gigabyte update.  This is clearly crazy, it implies that nearly 50% of the game required replacement.   Looking into it a bit further it wasn't all replacement code - in fact the update to the code itself was pretty minor and would have taken a few minutes.  Most of the "update" turned out to be extra maps which you could pay £15 to activate. 

But I don't want the extra maps.  I don't want to pay £15 more, I just want my game to work.  You don't have to pay the money of course, you can just download the extra content and leave it taking up 3% of your hard drive.  You do, however, have to download it.

This is a ridiculous situation - a 2Gb download of junk data to continue playing a game you paid £35 for last month?  That works out at over a pound a day before EA disabled my copy.  I certainly won't be giving them any of my money, ever again.

So I'm not a fan of a game that doesn't work.  It gets worse.

I tried to ask EAs help system if there was a way to download the update without the extra content.  They refused to talk to me because my "date of birth was wrong".  Six months and a few emails later and I've finally managed to use the Data Protection Act to get the information they hold on me.  Guess what?  My date of birth is correct on their system, so I've got no idea why they won't talk to me.

In summary, the game lasted 30 days, cost me over a pound a day and I had to use legislation just to get them to talk to me.