If you're anything like most of us at GameSpot, you can't wait to get your hands on Battlefield 3 next week. You might also be expecting to check out reviews of the game this side of the weekend, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen.
Just yesterday we received an email asking us to confirm our mailing address because review copies of Battlefield 3 are coming soon. More specifically, the email explained that the game will be making its way to our mailboxes "early next week." In case any of you have lost track of time during this busy fall season, Battlefield 3's release date of October 25 is also "early next week." Clearly, receiving a game so close to its release makes it impossible for us to deliver a timely review.
The silver lining here is that Electronic Arts' thinking behind not sending out copies of the game early appears to be very much in line with our own reviews policy. Day-one updates sometimes make it hard for us to review the exact same game that you'll be playing on launch day, but we never knowingly review from unfinished builds of games, and on consoles we always insist on testing copies that will run on retail hardware (as opposed to debug/test kits) before committing to a review score. EA and DICE want to make sure that everyone reviews the game that you'll be playing at launch rather than the game that's on your disc, and we really can't fault them for that. Here's the official line:
Copies are set to arrive on Tuesday because there is a Day 1 update. DICE are perfectionists -- they will not stop polishing the game until it is in your hands. The Day 1 update incorporates real-time feedback from the beta, ensuring that the consumer experience on launch day is outstanding. It is the actual consumer experience that we wish to be reviewed. The game with the Day 1 update will be available for review on Oct. 25.
At the time of writing it looks like we might be able to get our hands on a PC version of the game (complete with launch-day patch) this side of the weekend, which is great news for our reviewer and for any of you hoping to read a review before making a purchase. Where the console versions are concerned, though, it looks like we'll be stepping out onto the battlefield for the first time alongside many of you.