I ask that you please don't like my review just because I'm on your friend's list. If you don't like it, constructive crtiticism is not frowned upon so if you feel that it can be better in any way please say so. If you do like it, feel free to thumbs up though. Please ignore any spelling error. Spell check and grammar check are both messing up on me for some reason. Feel free to skim. I can be long winded at times. EDIT: Gamespot seems to be offended by the word c l a s s. Every time you see ****, that's Gamespot censoring the word out.
- Fantastic team based multiplayer.
- Superb audiovisual presentation that actually effects the gameplay.
- Entertaining, albeit short, cooperative missions.
- Unremarkable campaign that is extremely linear and has no ideas of its own.
- Dissapointing story with a laughable ending.
- The entire package has no personality whatsoever.
- Dry, uninspired art design that doesn't match technical prowness of the visuals.
- You've likely played something just like it before.
- Short campaign and only six co-op missions means you must rely on online to get money's worth.
The Battlefield series has always been known for its award winning multiplayer and ****based gameplay. DICE has plenty of experience in this category and once again delivers at it. However, Battlefield 3 suffers from a number of problems that hold the game back from being all that it can be. The multiplayer action is as in depth and rewarding as you'd expect from a Battlefield game. However a disappointing campaign combined with an underwhelming lack of personality, less than engaging storyline, borderline ridiculous linearity, and dry art design makes you feel like the game could have done more. Battlefield 3 is still a good game, boasting a fantastic audio design and visuals that are so technically impressive that an uninspired art design doesn't hold you back from wowing.
Set in the year 2014, a majority of Battlefield takes place in modern day Iraq and Iran. You play as Sergeant Blackburn, who is currently being interrogated and tells the game's story through a series of flashback. If this sounds awfully similar to last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops, you're definitely not the first person to think so. In fact, an uncountable number of moments from Battlefield 3 are ripped strait from the past four Call of Duty games to come out this generation. That wouldn't be so bad, but BF3 manages to make many of these moments that were either exciting or potentially exciting into something boring and unremarkable. Instead of being strapped to an electric and being ruthlessly interrogated by unknown captors in a distorted voice, you're simply in custody of homeland security, being questioned by a completely uninteresting agent. Moments like this make the campaign seem worse than it should be not only because you've seen it all before, but because you've seen it all done better before. When not trying to play exactly like a Call of Duty game, Battlefield 3 will usually resort to just another war cliche.
This might not all be so bad if it was backed up by good action, but Battlefield 3's campaign only delivers a handful of times. The game is extremely linear, but it tries to hide it with seemingly open environments while in actuality you're limited to a corridor. Set one foot out of line and a danger symbol will immediately start to flash warning you that you have five seconds to get back to the battlefield. When not resorting to this normally there will be either a ledge just a little to high to grab or a wall that can't be destroyed. There's even moments where you need to sneak up on an enemy and if you're fifteen feet behind him and hit the melee but to swing your knife, the mission fails even though no one hears you. Apparently getting your knife ready is too out of line with their pacing.
Another thing haunting the game is an overabundance of quick-time events. They appear multiple times throughout the campaign and will start to get old really quick. Usually, and long drawn out animation will follow and involve multiple punches and moves, but consist of merely one or maybe two button prompts which makes the quick time events even less engaging than they already are. And half the time the button prompt doesn't even make sense. When X means jump for the whole game, you'd think that a QTE to jump a gap or climb a wall would be X instead of O or R1. One level where you are "flying" a jet is nothing but cleverly disguised QTEs. Being the so called gunner, your only objective is to look at a plane and press R1 to let your auto-lock missles to do all the work, and occasionally hit L1 to deploy flares, but only when told to. This seems even more unnecessary once you hop online and realize that there's a perfectly fine control scheme for flying a plane.
There are cutscenes more engaging than this level.
Despite everything said, Battlefield 3's campaign isn't entirely bad. There's a handful of entertaining moments, and the game does have multiple moments where it gets to show off its incredible audio design or impressive graphics. The before mentioned jet mission in particular looks stunning. And a firefight in a Paris parking complex sounds absolutely superb, where the sounds of gunshots are drowned out by the roaring fires of burning vehicles, car alarms going off in every direction, and the sound of water from sprinkles splashing onto the pavement.
While the campaign isn't top notch, the multiplayer thankfully most certainly is. Unlike the shallow campaign, it is incredibly in depth, able to provide hundreds of hours of fantastic online action. Despite the short campaign, any online first person shooter fan will, more likely than not, get plenty of bang for your buck.
There are nine well designed maps and five game modes. The two big ones are Rush and the Battlefield ****c, Conquest. There's also a throwaway Team Deathmatch mode for attracting player of less objective based online games, and two squad sizes modes. Rush and Conquest are easily the best, offering large scale objective based battles on huge maps. Conquest is a capture the flag variant with 3-5 bases scattered around the map serving as spawn ponts that need to captured and held. At each point vehicles and reinforcements spawn, and they're usually fortified with defenses such as sandbags, barricades, and anti tank launchers. Each time a player respawns a ticket is taken from a bar that represents the entire team. When the ticket bar runs out, a team loses. The more bases owned, the quicker the enemy's bar goes down.
The other major mode, Rush, is more focused leading to more intense encounters where both teams are funneled towards a general area, There are two M-COM stations that need to have explosives planted on them and detonated. The attacking team needs to punch through the defenses of the other team and set the charges before they run out of a set number of lives, that reset every time a base is taken. Defenders obviously have the advantage with unlimited lives and the fact that they're on the defensive. To win, the attacking team needs to form an organized rush on each station or slip a small team behind to plant the charges. When both charges and detonated, the defenders fall back to a new position and the process repeats. It's incredibly fun and addictive.
The two smaller modes, Squad Rush and Squad Deathmatch also have a charm of their own because having only four people per team requires extra teamwork and communication to win. Squad Deathmatch is especially fun because it's divided into four teams of four and only have three allies to face off against twelve other humans makes sticking together and watching each other's backs an absolute must. Each map is obviously scaled accordingly, and takes place in small chunks of a map.
Like the previous Battlefield games, BF3 is ****based. The medic from Bad Company 2 has been ditched, and the ****s have been rearranged in some ways. The Assault ****is for frontline soldiers. Their powerful mid range assault rifles makes them the best choice for heading an attack on a position, and their medical equipment is what helps keep the front lines strong.
Like every other **** the Assault relies on support from the rest of the team. When the vehicles come rolling it, it's the Engineer ****you want to call. Each engineer carries a powerful rocket launcher perfect or anti-armor and bunker busting. There's launchers that lock on to ground vehicles, air vehicles, and ones that free fire, and they're the only ****that stands a chance going toe to toe with a vehicle, meaning all the other ****s revolve around keeping them alive in vehicle heavy matches. They also carry a repair tool to keep friendly equipment running that can be swapped with a remote controlled EOD bot that can defuse mines and set charges on objectives.
The Support ****does exactly what you'd expect and helps out the rest of the troops in any way he can. Without his ammo kits teams will run dry on ammo after extended firefights, and he is key to moving since his light machine gun is perfect for the game's suppressive fire mechanic. Mortar tubes also provide indirect fire provided he has someone to spot for him, and C4 charges work great for taking down structures that can cover an enemies advance.
The Recon ****s powerful sniper rifles making running out in the open suicide, and pick off any stragglers who don't hug cover closely enough. They're also the only ****that's effective at taking on other recon players making them necessary to keep the other team in check. The long range scopes they use are also vital for spotting players and when used in tandem with a mortar wielding support soldier, can create devastating effects.
The way each ****relies on each other is impressive and it's satisfying how you can come in first place with very few kills by being a good team mate doing good at helping other people. The gunplay is no slouch either though. DICE has obviously put a lot of consideration into the shooting and it shows. Too offbalance the ability to go prone players using long range sights can give off a lens glare and the game's impressive lighting comes into play with gun mounted flashlights capable of blinding players or lighting up dark corridors. The laser can also be used to impair vision but it also gives away your position. Points can be earned for shooting around a player or his cover. This suppressive fire impairs vision and accuracy as well as blocks regenerative health. Bipods that increase accuracy can be deployed on surfaces, effectively turning that player into a portable turret. Vehicles can be disable so the turrets and guns still work, giving the vehicle a chance to defend itself before being destroyed. Each of the numerous guns feels and sounds just right, and are all well balanced so nothing feels too overpowers.
The vehicles are also just as fantastic and varies. Light vehicles like motorboats and jeeps are weak but can zoom around the battlefield at high speeds, effective for flanking enemies or closing the distance between objectives. IFVs and APCs are a bit more armored and have increased fire power. Their guns can rip infantry to shreds, but they need a squad supporting them to act as eyes and make sure that a crafty engineer or C4 wielding soldier doesn't get too close. Tanks own the land, able to rip any smaller vehicle apart with the main gun, and the mounted heavy machine gun on top keeps any pesky ground troops out of its breathing space.
Just another day at work.
Land and sea is only one part of the battlefield though. In many maps the battle also takes to the sky. Helicopters are divided into fast ones that can get around the battlefield quickly, and beefier attack helicopters armed with rocket pods and miniguns. Like light ground vehicles, the smaller helicopters are perfect for getting to objectives before the enemies even knows what hit them. The attack helicopters in general are designed for making the life of anything on the ground miserable. Being able to take on heavy tanks with little risk and stop any fleeing soldier in his tracks, their only real threats are anti air missles, portable AA, and other helicopters. Jets also make an appearance, although they seem to stick to themselves more, They move too fast to effectively take on any moving ground targets without anti-tank missiles, but are great at killing anything in the air.
Vehicles even level up just like ****s now, unlocking knew weapons, gadgets, and specialties. This adds even more depth to an already deep online experience. Certain acts on the battlefield, like repairing a number of vehicles, destroying an objective, using suppressive fire effectively, or even getting spawned on enough earns you ribbons to show for your efforts. Weapons unlock new attatchments, which there are plenty of, as you use them. Earning ribbons can unlock you new customizable dog tags to create (similar to creating an emblem in Black Ops but less in depth) that is displayed on a deceased player's screen every time you kill him. A player can also melee kill you and take them, collecting them as a prize for his collection. Earning points in co-op mode unlocks even more weapons to use for multiplayer. For any active multplayer enthusiast, there's enough here to keep you busy for months. You need to work to unlock stuff and it isn't spooned out to you the the truckload like in many other online games, but it makes earning them all the more satisfying and ensures that you will be kept busy.
When you combine the air, sea, and land battles that take place across huge maps of 24-64 players (depending on the version you get) Battlefield 3 has an epic scope that just isn't in other multiplayer games. When you factor in the outstanding destructive cover introduced with the Bad Company series, the multiplayer matches really do feel like a battlefield.
If you're looking for a bit more structured fun with a friend, there's also six cooperative missions to play through. At fifteen to thirty minutes a piece, they don't extend the game's value by a whole lot, but they are more fun (and challenging) than most of the missions present in the game, and feature a good amount of gameplay variety. One mission has you flying a helicopter with a buddy in a pilot seat, and another involves sneaking in to secure a high value target then escorting him into the green zone through an on rails humvee ride with both you and a partner in gunner seats. The only real bad thing about the co-op is that there isn't enough of it, and while it's a worthwhile distraction, it's not enough to warrant $60 if you're not interested in multiplayer.
As mentioned before, the audiovisual presentation may have you oodling, but that doesn't mean that it is also without fault. The visuals, while amazing on a technical level, are help back by an uninspired and generic art design. Like literally everything else in the game, they simply lack personality. And while the sound effects are some the best in the business, the voice acting isn't doing the game any favors with their cut and paste delivery and dry voice acting.
In a nutshell:
Battlefield 3 offers an amazing multiplayer suite and an amusing co-op, but for anybody looking for something more, you may walk away disappointed. To call the game generic wouldn't cut it, because to be generic you need to copy a personality. Battlefield 3 simply doesn't have a personality, or a soul. While the multiplayer is a step forward, the game as a whole almost feels like a step sideways, or possibly a step backward for the FPS genre as a whole. It foreshadows a possible future for the genre where a pretty face and some good multiplayer is all it takes to sell millions. Is Battlefield 3 a great game? Objectively, yes. If that's all you need to hear go out and buy it right now. The multiplayer surely doesn't disappoint. But does being great mean that it doesn't need to do better? No.