Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Battlefield 3 Review

  • Game release: October 25, 2011
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

In the realm of online combat, Battlefield 3 provides thrills that few games can match.

by

When it comes to virtual battlefields, nobody does it quite like the Battlefield series. It has a long history of creating sprawling conflict zones where players have an exhilarating range of ways to make powerful contributions to the war effort. Yet it wasn't until the Bad Company games were released that Battlefield really made a splash on consoles. As you might expect, the PC version of Battlefield 3 still boasts better visuals and larger matches than its console counterparts, but competitive multiplayer on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is incredibly addictive, immersive, and exciting. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the single-player campaign, which fails to capitalize on the series' strengths and ends up feeling like an off-brand imitation. The six cooperative missions fare better and offer a tougher challenge, but only the competitive multiplayer provides a compelling reason to buy Battlefield 3. With online battles this excellent, though, that reason is all you need.

There are many factors that combine to make these battlefields as good as they are, most of which will be familiar to series veterans. Nine great maps set the stage for up to 24 players to fight it out in a variety of urban, industrial, and military locations. These places all look great, though the grassy hills and blue skies of the Caspian Border are naturally more appealing than the drab urban corridors of the Grand Bazaar. The maps vary widely in size and offer diverse environmental elements, including claustrophobic tunnels, coastal roads, desert plains, and a variety of multistory buildings. Many man-made structures can be damaged or destroyed by the explosive tools at your disposal, creating new infiltration routes or removing cover positions. The maps are designed to create opportunities for combat at all ranges, and the element of destruction lets you manipulate the environment to create even more.

Combat is not just about where you are, but also about how you get there, and the variety of vehicles is one of the things that makes Battlefield so uniquely engaging. Small maps might only have a Humvee or a light armored vehicle, while larger ones boast buggies, tanks, amphibious transports, helicopters, and jets. There are a few variations within each class of vehicle that make them better suited for troop transport, anti-infantry, antiair, or anti-vehicle combat, and learning how to get the most out of each one is a blast, even if you're sometimes the one getting blown up. Whether you're piloting, gunning, or just going along for the ride, vehicles offer a key tactical element that can change the tide of battle when used by a savvy squad. Using a vehicle well can earn you powerful upgrades and bonus weapons, but it can be tough to get the hang of the flight mechanics for helicopters and jets. It's a shame there's no way to practice flying them outside of active multiplayer matches (with one exception), though you can take comfort in knowing that you are at least entertaining your fellow players when your jet nose-dives into a mountain.

A well-placed C4 trap can stop an enemy incursion with one click of a button.

The maps and vehicles allow for a great degree of strategic freedom, but choosing your class and loadout is the first and most important decision you make before spawning into combat. Abilities and weapons have shuffled around a bit since Battlefield: Bad Company 2, so now the assault class slings health packs and totes defibrillators, while the support class carries light machine guns and ammunition boxes. Engineers still thrive on vehicle support/destruction, and recon delivers long-range death. New gadgets like robots that can arm charges (engineer) and mark targets (recon) give players more to look out for on the battlefield, and claymores and mortars (support) ensure that the engineer class isn't the only one packing an explosive punch. Unlockables include class-specific weapons and gadgets, gun-specific sights and attachments, and specializations that can make you tougher and deadlier. Focusing on one class to unlock higher level gear has its advantages, but so does spreading around your progress in an effort to be more adaptable to the ebb and flow of combat.

Regardless of what loadout you choose, there are a lot of ways to earn points for your actions. In addition to kills and kill assists, you can now earn points for suppressing enemies who are subsequently killed by your teammates. When a player is suppressed by enemy fire, they suffer from blurred vision and decreased accuracy. This disorienting tactic can help you mitigate the effectiveness of enemies who are peppering you from a prone position, which returns in Battlefield 3 after being left out of the Bad Company games. Battlefield 3 may be a successor in name to Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, but in spirit, the competitive multiplayer is a refined version of that offered in Bad Company 2. Nevertheless, it will be immediately familiar to veteran players of either game, though fans of Bad Company 2 will encounter a few other small but notable differences. Buildings are not easily destroyed in Battlefield 3 and underslung grenade launchers are, as of now, far less prevalent. Furthermore, you can't just run up to someone and stab him in the face for an instant kill; you need to get in two swipes or sneak up from behind. Nor can you simply rely on explosives to destroy M-COM stations in Rush mode because arming and detonating the charge is now the only way to progress.

As with the previous Battlefield games, the focus is on teamwork. Diverse loadouts encourage you and your squad to make complementary choices, and point bonuses reward you for working together. Every vehicle is better with teammates in it, and even the simple act of spotting enemies is an effective way to contribute to your team's efforts. Teamwork is woven throughout the fabric of Battlefield 3's multiplayer action, and when your team is working well together, it's one of the most gratifying experiences you can have in a game.

Battlefield 3 also has six cooperative missions that require teamwork on a smaller scale. These stand-alone sorties have a narrative connection to the campaign, but they are tougher to complete than most campaign missions and you can unlock some nice weapons for use in the multiplayer. Chatting with your teammate is helpful here, especially in the stealthy sections, because the spotting mechanic doesn't sufficiently differentiate enemies at long distances. Your foes are fairly tough, even on normal difficulty, though some unexpected quick-time events can also catch you off guard. The most notable mission here puts you in the cockpit of a helicopter, which provides the only chance outside of multiplayer to practice your flying skills. Earning all of the weapon unlocks requires repeat playthroughs of these missions, so it's a shame there aren't more of them to keep you busy.

Finally, there's the campaign. Battlefield 3's single-player adventure tells a harrowing tale of a fictional modern conflict. It follows a familiar formula by delivering a short campaign with diverse combat scenarios and dramatic set pieces. The story is solid and has some good acting, but the "Now tell us about this mission" interrogation mechanic makes the structure feel stale (having made a notable appearance in last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops). The focus on realism makes the unrealistic elements like the heavy-handed linearity, quick-time events, and reckless foes even more noticeable, but most disappointing of all is the campaign's utter failure to capitalize on any of the series' strengths. The lively personality of the Bad Company games is nowhere to be found, nor is the operational freedom on which the series has thrived. When you climb into the cockpit of a fighter jet, you are merely the gunner in an on-rails sequence rather than the hotshot pilot. There are some beautiful environments and a few exciting sequences, but these are outweighed by the overly familiar cityscapes and set pieces that were clearly inspired by other shooter campaigns from the past few years. This contributes to the pervasive sense that this campaign is not only outdated, but also outclassed.

If only there was a quick-time event to knock out the pilot and take his keys.

Fortunately, Battlefield 3's competitive multiplayer is among the best in its class, providing immensely rich and immersive combat zones. Though there are still some intermittent server issues that might cause you to lose your connection or put you in an unpopulated game, these are infrequent occurrences that aren't likely to keep you from having a blast online. Battlefield 3 may not offer much beyond the multiplayer, but there are so many ways to contribute and feel like a powerful soldier that after hours and hours of playing, all you'll want to do is play more.

The Good
Deep and varied multiplayer competition
Awesome array of vehicles
Many attractive environments
Rewards teamwork handsomely
The Bad
Campaign is disappointing and dull
Only six cooperative missions
No way to practice jet flight outside of multiplayer
8.5
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Battlefield 3

About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

42 comments
watchdogsrules
watchdogsrules

battlefield 3 is an awesome game but its like the developers didn't even try with the campaign. it was predictable, short, and boring. but the multiplayer is what got the game's recognition. team deathmatch and conquest (capture the flag) are the best multiplayer modes in BF3  

lostiq
lostiq

bad campaign levels

aguatacaluseo
aguatacaluseo

Best game ever. 800hrs of multiplayer just for $110

Saskatoonian
Saskatoonian

In campaign mode, how do you take down the helicopter in Mission Kaffarov?

WaveyDL
WaveyDL

Why is this on the front page of the PC section as a new release?

m-miky
m-miky

Single  player good enough....but MP is another arcade noob game....so any idiot can buy it & play.I mean 21 century & games still have fck health on head which i think is fck retarded.....instead going more to realism where any weapon could kill you with 1 shot if shooted in the head or 2-3 in chest but here you need 5+ bullets to kill some fck noob playin it ofc shooting him in the head.....rly EA go fuck yourselfs ..,..even fck heroes & generals so buggy & shity but headshot is headshot not this EA BS or game for every idiot on this fck planet......but your loss...me & at least 15+ of my friends stop playin it cause arcade games should stay in 90's.....MP rating  2,Sp rating 8....bye bye EA.....no more money form us.

antpm
antpm

By the way, at what platform is this review played (PC)? At least my Xbox 360 game doesn't look that good even after hd install and all updates. I am very disappointed, I bought premium edition for 50 bucks.

Bobbobjones111
Bobbobjones111

I disagree that the campaign is disappointing and dull. I think it's pretty intense, especially setting it more difficult. The thing that really brings it down is the fact that the game is in control too much. A lot of the excitement comes from not knowing what's around the next corner and progressing through the game. 90% of the time, you just follow an NPC to your next point, then fight a little, then you're out of control again. Stop telling me what to do and where to go; let me play the game. If you have to have NPC's in the single player campaign, make it so the player is the leader and they can't go out in front.

feezy22
feezy22

i was so excited for this game when i first heard about it. love shooters like the bad company  and cod. but really tried to like this game but i just couldnt. once u played call of duty and u see the graphics and the spot on character animation and their attention to detail. i just couldnt play this game and i bought it twice to give it a second chance. its just ugly. the guns are ugly the character models are ugly. one point i seen a soldier skate across the concrete lol. i will not lie i dont really like cod as much since infinity ward left. but i cant get into bf3 ill stick to call of duty

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

I dont need to be a fanboy to like Battlefield 3 and to ignore COD, except for Black Ops 1 wich has a fantastic sg experience on my opnion. With this point of view i just think that, i have not played a better multiplayer than btf3 from a long time now. If the money is saved, i just take the expansions for btf3 and one good Blackops 2. This is video game i just want to play it. Wich one of them is better is trully irrelevant if im having fun.

LINUX1997
LINUX1997

I totally agree with The Bad.

muserocker16
muserocker16

I actually liked the campaign and the multiplayer is unparellled 

GenDNA
GenDNA

about the pass code, its a good thing cuz now days everyone want to copy games for free and play for free.

Velvet-Valentin
Velvet-Valentin

BF3 Doesn't have any hack, does it?? Cause MW series have a lot of misuse due to hacks. When you wanna play and enjoy, why do you run a hack that;s upgrades you to max and then there's nothing to discover?? A$$holes.

berghg12
berghg12

my only complaint is they took the music out from BF2. I loved that tune at the menu

Essullabi
Essullabi

I do agree with (PixelAddict) in how BF3 rips off Black Ops in how they tell the campaign/story For me the COD is the best.

monjistar
monjistar

با سلام و خسته نباشید من یکی از گیمربازهای بتل فیلد3 هستم خواهش دارم به دلیل پایین بودن کیفیت اینترنت در ایران برای انجام بازی ،سرورهای ویژه وقدرتمند جهت اتصال به سرورهای شرکت ویژه گیمربازهایی که دارای اینترنت با پینگ پایین هستند طراحی شود i from IRAN

BLADE7715
BLADE7715

Battlefield 3 = Game for Adults Call of Duty = Game for Little High Pitch Annoying Kids End of Story

Conner90
Conner90

Great game, best online tactical play since Rainbow Six Vegas 2.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I have a question for y'all... how has nobody else but the reviewer mentioned how BF3 rips off Black Ops in how they tell the campaign/story? The game itself has more graphical gloss on it than BO or MW3, no doubt.. and reminds me very much of KZ2 and KZ3, but the story takes straight from BlOps. MP is better than BlOps or MW3 for sure. I hate that EA is doing this online pass thing. I have a friend who wants to buy it used so we can do the co-op missions, but he doesn't want to pay for new. Guess EA will force his hand. Or he just won't buy it!

devilgonnatempt
devilgonnatempt

I ain't a fan boy of bf3 or CoD but I've got to be 100% honest, the multiplayer on bf3 is fantastic. A little hard to get used to at first but it is truthfully miles better than MW3. There seems to be a better class of players on bf3 aswell. I came across boosters, campers, hackers and tons of dirty players on mw3 within minutes of playing online :-( Battlefield 3 is my new best friend.

scarlov87
scarlov87

Well 8.2, I would give it a 9.8 story gets that 0.2, but that game is damn awesom on multiplayer, no point of comparison with COD, the stories of COD are very involving, but in multiplayer are a cheating disgrace

another_drew
another_drew

go figure you gotta mention cod in a battlefield article. stop pouring the kool aid

LINUX1997
LINUX1997

 @BLADE7715 I would like to know how old are you if you are writing so stupid comments.I'm giving you 10, max 12.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

 @HaLoMaNiAc18 LOL spoken like a blind fanboy.  I love the counterpoint you offered.  All the insight.  Fantastic.

HaLoMaNiAc18
HaLoMaNiAc18

 @PixelAddict Actually it was spoken by someone who owns all the cod games, all halo games, all battlefield games, and many more. And I think all cod games after call of duty 4 are repetitive and have no real changes.

Battlefield 3 More Info

First Release on Oct 25, 2011
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • + 2 more
  • Wii U
  • Xbox 360
Step into the role of elite US Marines in Battlefield 3.
8.3
Average User RatingOut of 11666 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Battlefield 3
Developed by:
EA DICE
Published by:
Electronic Arts
Genres:
Team-Based, Shooter, First-Person, Action, 3D
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms