Posted by John on November 23, 2011

Battlefield 3 (PS3, 360) Review

Battlefield 3 (PS3, 360) Review

Posted by Trace Aber on 11.24.2011



GenreAction RPG
Release Date


Is Battlefield 3 the new King of FPS, or does it fall short of expectations?

Game: Battlefield 3
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1-24 (online)
Developer: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated M for Mature

When it comes to multiplayer first person shooters you have two main camps – the Call of Duty camp, and the Battlefield camp. Both sides wage a verbal war against one another online, constantly comparing the two games and incessantly pointing out why their game is the superior title. Outside of this explanation, my goal is not to do what everybody else has already done and compare the two games, and instead will look at Battlefield on its own merits.

My reason for this is because the two franchises offer completely different experiences. Call of Duty is for nonstop, almost arcade-like action, while Battlefield feels like an actual war where there are times where very little happens, and other times where there’s bullets flying everywhere. It depends on your playstyle, as both games are excellent at what they do. With that introduction out of the way, let’s get into the heart of this review, and our specific title in question, Battlefield 3.

First things first – this game will disappoint you if you’re only interested in the single player campaign. While DICE was clearly going for an epic, “fate of the world rest in your hands” story, it instead comes off flat, generic, and phoned in. Unlike previous games, this campaign follows a serious tone as you recall certain events from the past during an interrogation to uncover a secret plot. While the campaign itself isn’t terribly boring, it’s not terribly original either. The plot structure has been done recently by Black Ops, and instead of flying jets you are reduced to being just the gunner. It’s still fun, but it feels like you’re missing out on the full experience. Even worse, many of the dramatic action segments have been done before, and the entire thing feels like a case of, “been there, done that.” As most have come to expect from this genre, the campaign is short so it never feels like a chore, but again, there’s not much motivation to finish it either.

The game also features six cooperative missions that require some teamwork to complete. These missions are actually more difficult than the game’s campaign, but through practice and solid communication the experience is actually quite rewarding. Enemies seem to be tougher, the quick time events actually feel urgent, and you can unlock weapons for use in multiplayer. Unfortunately you’re left begging for more when it’s all said and done, especially when your only other option for a narrative is the drab solo campaign.

The bulk of your gaming experience will come from Battlefield 3’s standout feature – the multiplayer. While the console versions can only support 24 players (compared to the PC version’s 64), this does little to deter the game from becoming one of the most realistic war simulations on a console. There are nine maps, ranging from urban to industrial location, and each of them feels unique and varied in their own right. Outside of the beautiful landscapes of the Caspian Border, there’s also the grittier Grand Bazaar, an area filled with dark and unforgiving corridors.

What’s great about the multiplayer experience is that sometimes you can wander around for a few minutes before finding anybody to actually attack. While some may find this boring, I find it only immerses me further in the game. That time spent walking (or driving or flying) into battle is spent thinking about my approach, what went wrong last time, and how I’m going to get out of this one alive. With maps being as well-designed as they are, it’s difficult to get bored looking at the game’s beautiful scenery, even if it means a bullet to the head (which was my excuse for my first twelve games). Of course, if you’re not fond of the beautiful scenery, or tired of having to worry who or what is waiting for you behind that wall, you could just destroy the thing. The new Frostbite 2 engine allows players to manipulate the environment more than even, and can create some pretty spectacular moments and provide a plethora of new strategies.

As I alluded to earlier, and as longtime fans should be aware, a lot of the fun from playing online comes from the different modes of transportation. If taking a long walk isn’t your cup of tea, you could always hop into a jet plane and make a grand entrance. Or you can hop into a tank with a friend while you two walk into battle with guns a’blazin. Even if you end up getting blown to smithereens, it’s still fun because you did it in a frickin’ jet! That being said, each vehicle is completely unique and has its own ups and downs, meaning that certain vehicles are only applicable in certain situations. Some might find this a downside, but to me it only adds to the depth of an already deep multiplayer experience.

Of course, all the vehicles and pretty maps in the world don’t matter if you’re not properly prepared for battle. That’s why choosing your character’s loadout is among the most important decisions you’ll make. Things have changed a bit since Battlefield: Bad Company 2, but the basic idea is still there. The Medic class has been replaced by the returning Support Class, who can throw down ammunition boxes for teammates. They also suppress opposing players, which causes them to have no health regeneration and distracting visual effects. The Assault class is essentially the medic, and is able to heal and revive fallen teammates. Engineers are largely the same, though they have robots that can arm charges now. Recon is the final class, and they can mark targets on the map. Within each class is a variety of unlockables including weapons, gadgets, sights, and specializations. Character customization is done so in a way that working in just one class will make you an expert, but spreading your skills out may make you a better all-around player.

Experience is earned through an assortment of ways in addition to the standard kills and assists. Suppressing enemies who are then kill nets you some points, as does working as a well-oiled machine. The idea in each battle is to work in squads of complementary loadouts, and to earn maximum experience points you’ll want to work together as best as you can. That tank you drove is now much more effective with a gunner on top, as is that buggy that now has multiple squad members with you. While you can lone wolf the battle all you want, there are few things more rewarding than taking out an enemy squad with your friends through the power of communication and hard work.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous on consoles despite not being as powerful as the PC version. A lot of it has to do with the game’s excellent lighting, which sets the atmosphere perfectly. These effects aren’t just for aesthetics either – if you’re in a brighter area you’re going to have trouble looking into that dark window hiding the sniper within. Trying to take out a jet while the sun is directly in your eyes is just as difficult as it sounds, but not in a bad way. It’s actually a pretty cool moment the first time it happens. Of course, packing all of these extra details come at a price, and mostly in the form of graphical glitches. Screen tearing comes and goes, models pop in and out of place or magically switch positions, and this can become a nuisance in multiplayer. On a normal looking game these glitches wouldn’t be so prominent, but for a title that prides itself on how it looks they become almost too evident. That being said, it’s still one of the best looking console games out there, even if they had to make certain tradeoffs.

-Fantastic multiplayer action
-Co-op missions are challenging and rewarding
-Beautiful environments
-Varied action

-Disappointing single player campaign
-Graphical glitches deter from gameplay at times

The 411
Battlefield 3 is a must buy if you’re looking for a more realistic first person shooter experience. The battles are long and take place over vast lands, and require careful planning and teamwork not found in any other game. Unfortunately, the single player effort leaves a lot to be desired, and is not worth the purchase if that’s your main motivator. As a complete package, however, Battlefield 3 manages to not only live up to the hype, but be well worth the purchase.

Graphics9.0Despite the glitches, the game as a whole looks absolutely gorgeous and the lighting effects are top notchGameplay9.0While some may deem it too slow paced, those looking for a more realistic experience will find themselves right at home here Sound9.0Often overlooked, Battlefield 3’s sound crew must be commended as the sounds of battle sound as accurate as I’ve heard from a game. Lasting Appeal9.5As with all multiplayer games, your replay factor is dependent on how much you enjoy playing online, especially considering how short the solo/co-op missions are Fun Factor 9.0Any game in which you can drive a buggy, fire a tank, and fly a jet in one battle is fun enough for me! Overall9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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