Battlefield 3 review
The hotly anticipated first person shooter Battlefield 3 is now out, but will the shooter fall to much hype or prove the hype right? I reviewed the game on the Xbox 360.
First of all let’s look at the single player campaign which let’s face it is not the Battlefield series strongest point, although the Bad Company series did show some improvements in the area of single player, but alas with BF3 the improvements seem to have disappeared as the BF3 campaign is pretty much pretty poor.
It is no exaggeration to say that campaign is heavily quick time event focused with some parts going down to press x to not die, but the game gives you as much time as possible to press the button. While quick time events are rarely an annoyance for me the fact that during operation guillotine mission a quick time event involved you bashing b to push open a door was pushing it over the edge.
The campaign is also very linear to the point where if you run ahead the game will break. For example I ran ahead of my squad to a locked door waiting for them so we could flank the enemy, when the squad caught up the open door animation triggered, but the door was still locked and the ally AI’s walked through the locked door. This left me scratching my head and having to restart the game.
Other issues in the campaign included frame rate drops at random times, destructible environment is almost nonexistent increasing the linearity of the game and finally during cut scenes there seemed to be lip synch issues.
The one positive I have is the story in the campaign. Ok sure it is over the top Russian rebels stealing nukes and a possible war with Russia over it, but it is told in a nice way. It is ran well with the story been told by Sergeant Blackburn as US Marine who is being interrogated in New York after he says there is a nuke in NYC and Dmitri Mayakovksy of the Russian Special Forces who is trying to recover the nukes. The story starts in Iraq and heads to Iran where the nukes are found, you are lead to believe it is the Iranians who are threaten, but obvious twists happen, a skirmish with Russians and a nuke blowing up part of Paris.
Now for the part that people want to know the multiplayer side. As always this is the best part of the game with Battlefield 3 showing why it is a favourite among those who love large scale warfare with infantry and vehicles (tanks, jets and helicopters). If you have played any other BF game you will know you have 4 classes which are assault, engineer, support and recon all with their own set of gadgets (there are 2 gadget slots per class).
- Assault is the medic class and has medic kit and weapon addition for gadget 1 and defibrillator for gadget 2.
- Engineer is your class of choice for taking our vehicles. The class gadgets include RPGs on gadget 1 and mines, repairing tools, and a robot on gadget 2.
- Support is the class of choice if you prefer a support role in combat (think the name gave it away).The class gadgets include ammo box to help you and your allies stocked up with ammo in gadget 2 and explosive placing tech Claymores, mortar and C4 are available in gadget 2 to give some explosive help.
- Recon is your traditional sniper class of the game and is based around tracking down targets. The class gadgets are based around trackers on gadget 1 to help with tracking infantry and vehicle movement and gadget 2 allows you to put down additional spawn beacons to help with rush and conquest objectives.
You unlock gadgets, weapons and weapon attachments by scoring points for your class. You cannot use one class to get all class gadgets for example if you use a Recon you can only unlock recon based gadgets, weapons and weapon attachments. Attachments are unlocked with assists and kills with your weapon get enough kills with the weapon and you unlock a new attachment for that gun. You can have 3 attachments on at a time which fills the role of optic, primary and secondary. Optic sees you get red dot and ACOG scopes for accuracy, primary are attachments which help improve your accuracy with bipods and foregrip and secondary proves tactical light, laser sights, flash suppressor and suppressors for hiding and spotting help.
The maps are quite large, but in some cases to large for 12V12 with you having to wait a while to find an enemy. Beyond that the maps are great for vehicular combat with tanks and other land based vehicles and some jets and helicopter which are as traditional difficult to control. There is not much to say about it apart from the fact, if you are looking for a large scale multiplayer fps then BF3 is the game for you.
As I mentioned earlier helicopters and jets are difficult to control, while this can be annoying to new players it does give a good sense of pride when you get it working correctly, unfortunately you are pretty useless at the start with the jet as most of the useful weapons require unlocks. Personally I have tried both, with helicopter being the most difficult with me going down on takeoff, jets are easier then helicopters but on my first try with them I did find myself going nose first into a building. Land vehicles are pretty simple to drive so don’t worry about that. Also each vehicle has upgrades in the form of upgrade, gadget and weapon. These are unlocked through points gained with a particular vehicle if you get all upgrades, gadgets and weapons then you will truly control the battlefield (until I run up to you and strap on some C4).
There are various modes available which include rush, conquest and team deathmatch (each mode has squad version of it).
- Conquest: Is a capture the flag style game with 3-4 flags on each map. To win you must get the enemy down to 0 tickets which can be done by enemies spawning or by controlling the majority of the flags.
- Rush: This is an attack and defence game. The object is to capture all targets (M-COMs) to win with a set number of spawns. There are usually 2 M-COMs for you to destroy and when you do this you unlock more of the map and have to take the other 2 M-COMs until you have destroyed them. Every time you open up a new area of the map the attacking sides spawn count is reset. For the defending side to win you must tick the attacking spawn count to 0 (defenders have unlimited spawn).
- Team deathmatch: This is your traditional game. Kill the enemy until you meet the required amount of kills.
While there are only 3 game mode Conquest and Rush games can go on for a long time and are full of twists if you have 2 good teams and watch out for the vehicles in these modes.
One thing to point out is the online servers do seem to have issues (well on the Xbox 360) with gun lag and spring boarding happening to myself.
Personally I am not a co-op fan so I didn’t try this portion of the game.
Outside of single and multiplayer content the DICE’s new Frostbite 2 engine makes the game look beautiful with improved lighting, sound, destruction and animation. The lighting is a tad annoying with some lights/lens flare blind you (not including the light on guns in multiplayer), the sound is great as you can hear the guns go over your head and makes you feel like you are in a war. Destruction seems to stay the same from the previous engine but turned down in the campaign. The animation which had issues in the beta is a pretty good with it being smooth.
Overall the game is fun, but the poor campaign is a real kick in the teeth to what is a great game.
- Great multiplayer
- Above average story
- Beautiful looking game
- Sound draws you into the game
- Poor single player campaign
- Issues with online servers
- Lighting and lens flare can be blinding at times