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Review: Battlefield 3
The Frostbite 2 engine is an amazing piece of work and Battlefield 3 is a game that remains true to the roots of its franchise while looking stunning pretty at the same time. You get to enjoy destructive environments, amusing vehicle combat and the squad gameplay that is core to the Battlefield series on another level.
I admit to being greatly surprised by a lot of the feedback on the BF3 campaign. Yes, it is woefully short at about 5 hours. True, the storytelling mechanic is different from how it’s been done in the past. However, I liked the style where the pieces of what’s going on (though we all have our assumptions through it) are put together bit by bit.
While the jet-sequence was well done, while it was also one of the more boring portions of the campaign. The quick time events were amusing, but a bit odd to find in a FPS (and annoying to some of the individuals I spoke with). I personally found the tank level (seem during the EA press conference during E3) fun and some of the character dialogue amusing.
I think the biggest strength of the campaign is the realism. Many of the environments are what I imagine it would be like in a real warzone; the lack of ideal conditions and difficulty spotting enemies. Added to that, there were several situations that really pissed me off, but are things that happen in war. Does it make me angry? Yes! But it’s a small part of what really occurs in war that made its way into the game and I give the team props for that.
Added to that, I really love the environmental destruction. The scale is just ridiculous. Ignoring that a tank drove through a concrete wall and right over me; in campaign and MP you have to be distinctly aware of what you hide behind. Vehicles can easily take down cover; even enemies with machine guns can chip away at concrete pillars and leave you vulnerable.
Overall, the campaign itself definitely wasn’t the best I’ve ever played, but I didn’t think it was nearly as bad as many people’s complaints had let me to believe. It’ll be a short jaunt through an interesting back and forth storytelling mechanic. But I do have to say I think it has one of the most useless and get in your way AIs I’ve seen in a while.
The game also features a co-op mode that has a variety of missions that are relatively short and require different skill sets. One is a helicopter based mission that peterocc and I fail so miserably at piloting that we haven’t moved past it yet. While I dislike it for the fact that it basically requires me to play on a super easy setting or find a partner that’s much better at flying, I enjoy the variety it provides.
Of course, the gold of Battlefield is really in the multiplayer. Admittedly, there are some connection issues and minor game glitches that are still in the process of being fixed up, but the core of the MP is still great. True to its past games, BF3 continues to have the varying classes you that level up and unlock items (such as guns, attachments and toys like the little robot) while still contributing to your overall rank. Getting to some of the weapons I want is a little tedious, but they don’t start you out with too crappy of guns.
Again, environmental destruction in MP is important as walls, vehicles, and even entire buildings can be taken down. I’ve watched David2SLY drive a tank in between two buildings, taking out walls in both to fit through. It was hilarious while equally scary as I scrambled to get out of the way. Off topic, but the spawn beacons (which you parachute from) and the base jumping on a few of the MP maps are super fun. Well, at least for me.
What I think separates this game from others in the shooter genre is the reliance on tactics. Rare are the times where you can just run in and gun everyone down. To advance, complete objectives, and hold locations requires a certain amount of cooperation between players. Yes, it is possible to win even if your entire team is not communicating. But, in general, you’ll have much better results when players in squads work together just as much as the individual squads on the teams. I find I enjoy this aspect of the game very much.
Different storytelling style in campaign
Co-op offers short missions that contribute to MP experience
Amusing vehicle combat (I swear I’m not that bad a pilot)
Beautiful visuals & graphics
The co-op missions can be too easy/hard based on your skill set
Minor bugs in the game
The Final Word
Battlefield 3 is a solid game coming out of EA and DICE. You’ll enjoy many of the elements that are standard for Battlefield games such as squad based MP and environmental destruction. The campaign and co-op missions may seem a little bland for some, but offer some hours and replay-ability on the side of a good MP. A few bugs are still hanging around, but the team has been doing a good job at working on fixing those. In the end, if you enjoy FPS, tactics and aren’t a raving COD fan (and even if you are), Battlefield 3 is worth a test run.
Copy of the game (Xbox 360 version) provided for the purpose of review.