Published By: Electronic Arts, Developer: EA DICE, Genre: Modern First-Person Shooter, Release Date: October 25, 2011, Systems: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Rating: M.
Presentation – Battlefield series has always been known for its big scale war-like competitive team-based matches. The first two Battlefield games were PC exclusives. Since DICE had success with the Bad Company series on consoles they decided to bring its big brother (Battlefield 3) to consoles. For this particular Videogames Source article i played Battlefield 3 on my Playstation 3 which is half the size of its PC counterpart regarding player count and map size. The PC version has double the players 64 from 32 online with maps often times being twice the size of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. The console version is much smaller than its PC counterpart but does hold its own in my opinion.
Battlefield 3′s presentation is broken down into three gameplay modes. You have the story campaign which i thought was really good. There is also six separate online/offline co-op missions that loosely tie-in to the single player locations. And last but not least the reason you buy this game, multiplayer. For the most part Battlefield 3 handles and presents all gameplay aspects really well. However the game isn’t perfect. There were plenty of slow downs, small glitches and framerate issues during the single player campaign. I was disconnected from a few co-op and multiplayer matches also. I saw floating guns and bodies disappear when dead in single player. So when i look at the entire package surrounding Battlefield 3 it does have performance issues indeed. Now can the issues be corrected with patches that has yet to be seen.
Story – The single player story campaign i thought was good and i actually enjoyed it. I can’t tell you if its a copy and pasted rehash since i don’t play many modern military games in general. But for what it was i enjoyed it. The story is told through interrogation cutscenes in between chapters involving chief protagonist Staff Sergeant Henry Blackburn. Blackburn believes the PLR led by a man name Solomon are planning a nuclear attack on New York City. The first level in Battlefield 3 Semper Fidelis actually shows Blackburn catching up to Solomon but not before being knocked out unconscious. The game and its story then backtracks to the actual beginning of Blackburn’s story and how he became involved in the entire mess.
As you play through Operation Swordfish, Uprising, Going Hunting, Comrades, Thunderun, Nightshift, Fear No Evil, Rock and a Hard Place, Kaffarov and The Great Destroyer your on a real roller coaster. You get to take part in a jet on-rails sequence with full pre-flight checks. You get to play as Miller of a tank platoon (who gets executed on TV by Solomon). You play as Russian Spatnez Dimitri “Dima” Mayakovsky who like Blackburn was trying to stop the nuclear attack in Paris but failed. Blackburn ends up shooting his CO Captain Cole to let Dima escape in a later scene. Blackburn felt he had to do it in order to stop the nuke attack on New York. Misfits 1-3 (Blackburn’s company) all ended up sacrificing their lives before the game ends (save for Blackburn). The story is layed out like other modern military games before it however Battlefield 3 has a realistic atmosphere that isn’t over the top.
Not once did the story get “corny” or phoney as Blackburn, Dima and the Marines hunted down Al Bashir, Kaffarov and Solomon. The story grabbed me enough and kept me interested up until the very ending with Blackburn stopping the nuclear attack in Time’s Square. The interrogation sequences are the best elements regarding Battlefield 3′s story. There i witnessed good voice acting along with outstanding visuals which created a believable interrogation scene. Is Battlefield 3′s story great? No its not a great story but its good for a modern military game and i enjoyed it.
Visuals – For this particular article i played Battlefield 3 on my Playstation 3. I know for fact the PC version will look better but wow i was still impressed by the console version. The halo jump scene in the beginning of Kaffarov was a wow moment. What’s impressive to me about Battlefield 3′s graphics is its scale. It didn’t matter if you are playing online on a big map, co-op or single player. The textures are spot on almost everytime when looking at vehicles, character’s faces and the entire map design for that matter. Going Hunting was really impressive from a visuals standpoint. Putting your flight mask on and hopping into the jet for pre-flight checks was a visceral experience.
Anybody that played Battlefield 3 will tell you the game has amazing lighting. God-rays, flares, tactical lights were all amazing in Battlefield 3. In the few chapters that took place at night i would often times find myself just looking at how good the light bounces off the rain soaked ground. The detail is staggering when you combine textures with the light engine found in Frostbite 2. And lets not forget the destruction. You might not be able to knock down entire buildings like in Bad Company 2 but you don’t need to. For example while shooting up Kaffarov’s villa, glass, walls and pillars broke apart everywhere creating a deep immersive atmosphere that also effects gameplay greatly. When i analyzed the graphics i see amazing lighting, destructible enviroments, good textures and a nice realistic art design.
Sound – Sound design is great. Ok i’ll elaborate more for you. DICE is known for they’re sound design from the Bad Company series (by me). I say that because i thought those games had great sound design. Battlefield 3 in my opinion has some of the best sound design in videogames. It didn’t matter what sound the vehicle, gun or person made. The sound was crisp, clear and accurate. Surround sound is practically a must for this game. It engulfs you into its gameplay throughout every shootout. The music was few and far between but good enough and original enough to warrent respect.
Gameplay – Lets start with the guns shall we? By now most of us played a first person shooter and know how guns should feel. I played with many of the guns (all types) in Battlefield 3. For the most part they are accurate in design and function. For instance, a stock LMG has horrible accuracy from long distance. Shotguns are very powerful up close and some have huge spray radius’s. SMG’s are awesome for wreaking havoc in close quarters as well. Pistols are very useful when your almost out of ammo and have no time to reload. Assault rifles are the all around best gun with great secondary fire if the gun has it. Sniper Rifles were great for taking out long distance targets. Auto-aim was ok and makes up for not using a keyboard and mouse (in my case).
Battlefield 3 isn’t a videogame where you just shoot stuff. Matter of fact i will say this regrading multiplayer. If all your team does is shoot the enemy on foot you will lose the match. Battlefield 3 is the ultimate team modern military shooter. If your not spotting enemies, repairing vehicles, healing teammates or handing out ammo you will lose i practically guarantee it. And to be honest its that gameplay that always draws me to Battlefield games. Vehicles are also a big part of gameplay. I do not like the fact that there isn’t any real way to practice operating vehicles. In the co-op mission Fire From the Sky you can practice flying the helicopter. There needs to be a gamemode where you can just play around with all of the vehicles on one map for practice. That way you won’t see so many gamers online kamikazeing jets and helicopters by accident!
Replayability – The single player campaign will last you just over 6 hours. However we all know Battlefield is about multiplayer and their isn’t a game out there that has you more covered. There are 6 co-op chapters that you can play with a friend local or online. The co-op is really challenging and fun. You will need teamwork and mics to communicate. The maps and settings are from areas relating to the story campaign. You start only able to play on Operation Exodus and Fire in the Sky with more to unlock. Each co-op mission lasts between 15 to 30 minutes.
The competive multiplayer is the one and true reason to own Battlefield 3. Yea the single player campaign is good and the co-op is fun. However its all about the big massive battlefields and teamwork in the end. Battlefield 3 sports 64 player matches on PC and 32 player matches on consoles. The multiplayer is deep in practically every aspect. Its also a class based system that takes true teamwork to win. The maps are pretty good for the most part and huge. DLC such as Back to Karkand Expansion Pack is already available if your tired of the stock maps. With all of the soldier/vehicle progression, ribbons, medals, assignments, customization options and dog tags to collect you can play this game for years.
Final Verdict – Good single player story campaign check! Fun and challenging co-op mode check! Deep team based addicting competitive multiplayer check! Glitches and performance issues check! Great graphics and sound design check! Battlefield 3 a great first-person shooter check!