A poor campaign with a top notch multiplayer, this is a bipolar shooter that will keep you coming back for more.
In the campaign you play as a marine named Sergeant Blackburn. After a brief action sequence you the game drops you directly into the plot. Sergeant Blackburn has traveled across the globe doing various works for the military and has learned of some Intel suggesting a plot of an apparent terrorist attack. Blackburn gets grilled over and over by 2 government officials through out the campaign, asking him questions about what all he knows. As you have probably figured out by now, through out the campaign you are playing through his memories. Not an original concept, but at least it gives the single player a direction along with a solid plot.
Through out Blackburn's journey you will travel across the globe, spanning from Iraq all the way to Russia. As in typical Battlefield fashion you are not a lone soldier who go's it alone. For most of the game you will with a squad. These extra members really only serve lip service to a team. They will not help you out very much and they're A.I. at times can be down right horrid. On 2 separate occasions I witnessed a squad member shooting at a wall as if it had done something wrong to him.
The A.I. is weak on both sides, allies and enemies. Whether it be an enemy rushing you only to make himself easy pray, or approaching an enemy only to find that his back is turned to you. Even with the horrible A.I. the campaign still offers a fun experience. One moment your in an intense gun fight, the next your flying through the air in a jet raining down hell upon your foes, tanks and boats, mixing it all up into a well paces journey that keep you wanting to push forward until completion.
There are many scripted CGI style moments in this game that add a lot of flair. Whether it be a massive building collapsing down right in front of you, or you on top of a moving train using quick time events to dodge shrapnel from an explosion, there is excitement aplenty in the 5 to 6 hour campaign.
What makes the campaign worthy of a full play through though is the well crafted art design paired with the unparallel sound quality. Every level you progress to through out the campaign has it's own unique style and feel. While the graphics are not of the quality that we saw on the pc trailers, it still is a very impressive visual experience. The lighting is jaw dropping, I do believe this is the most impressive lighting that I've seen in a game.
If you've played a recent battlefield title, then you already know what to expect from the sound department. Guns fire with a realistic and satisfying crack. Hearing bullets in the distance really gives you the feel that yes, you are at war. Hearing a sniper just missing you will make you race for cover, hearing a grenade go off in front of you will give you chills and hearing pieces of a building smash into the ground will make you grin with satisfaction.
All in all the campaign in Battlefield 3 is not poor by any stretch. But after completion it just doesn't really leave you with anything to remember. To be honest, it almost feels as if Dice wanted to prepare you for multiplayer and just gave you a plot to piece it together. Worth a play through, but it's not something that your going to play through multiple times. Now it is more fun to play with a friend in the co op missions but it's basically the same problems that you have playing by yourself, but it is always fun to shoot'em up with real people.
Now for why this game got everybody excited. The multiplayer. If you're a battlefield vet, bare with me.
In multiplayer there is 5 game modes. Rush (one team is tasked to destroy 2 points while the other team is tasked to defend them.) Conquest (Teams fight to control selected capture points across the map.) Team death match. Squad team death match and squad rush. (Same thing as rush except with smaller teams.) You can play all of these game modes on any of the 9 maps the game ships with. For team death match, the size of the maps has been restricted and all vehicles have been removed making it a infantry only gun fight.
The multiplayer in battlefield 3 is addictive and will have you returning to the battlefield over and over again. The vehicles change everything and a drivers who strategically use them can change the flow of the battle. Jets, helicopters, tanks, hum-v's and other various vehicles are placed through out the maps. Each vehicle has it's own distinct feel and are all pretty easy to learn how to use. Even the jet controls feel smooth, while not as good as flight sims, the controls are very responsive.
You get to select between 4 different classes. Assault. (Uses assault rifles and doubles as a medic.) Engineer. (Use's sub machine guns and is the who you need to repair vehicles. Also has anti vehicles weapons as well.) Support. (Use's heavy machine guns that are good for laying down suppressive fire, good for pinning your enemies down.) Recon. (Use's sniper rifles and has equipment to deploy spawn points for which your squad can use.) Each class is important in its own way and the key to victory is to have a good mixture of classes on your team.
All of the maps are large, especially for only having a 24 player count. Using vehicles to get around them (with exception to operation metro) and using the squad spawn system is a must. You don't want to be hoofing it from your base to the capture points. Since the maps are large in nature, there are many long sight lines for snipers to rule. This dose not mean that the maps are unbalanced though. There are many tight corridors and choke points that allow for intense gun fights.
One of the most interesting features in multiplayer is the suppressive fire. When you fire your gun near an enemy, it causes they're screen to blur making it hard for them to tell where they are being hit from. This is nice for when there is a good sniper posted up somewhere. Using suppressive fire can pin him down allowing for a team mate to approach him un harmed to get an easy kill.
Team work is key in battlefield. Those who work together and support one another will triumph over a team that is full on lone soldiers. Going alone will not get you very far in battlefield. Staying with your squad mates allows to call out to them for ammo and health packs or even getting revived after you have been downed.
The balance in this game is impressive. Even as intimidating a jet might be, there are anti air missile launchers to help balance that out. While a effective sniper may be able to hold down an area, he will not be able to do much about a tank. While tanks may be powerful, they can be brought down by rocket launchers. Everything has something else that can beat it. It's like a giant game of rock paper scissors, for every problem that there is, there is a solution.
The unlock system in battlefield is deep and plentiful. When you level up your class you gain new items and weapons for that class. When your overall level ranks up, you gain items that can be used across all classed. When you rank your gun up, you unlock new attachments for that gun. Simply put, this is not a game you will max out within a week. The amount of depth for unlocks will keep you around for months on end.
Finally, destruction. Nasty, beautiful destruction. It really dose change everything. When a match ends, the battlefield will look nothing like the way it did when it began. One second your hiding in a building, sniping out the window. The next second you find your self out in the wide open with nothing to defend you. It's nice because the destructibility in this game assures you that no 2 matches will play out the same. If you can see it, you can destroy it. It's fun to just drive around the maps and destroy everything in sight. The destructibility alone adds level upon level of replay value to this already impressive title.
If your looking for a good single player campaign, then Battlefield 3 probably isn't your best bet. If your looking for a good online shooter, then you won't find many better. This a must own for multiplayer shooter fans. With top tier graphics, destructibility, amazing sound design and the depth of the multiplayer all make it hard to find a better option then Battlefield 3 this year. Battlefield 3's unique brand of online combat is sure to please battlefield vets and will give newcomers something to enjoy as well. For every miss step in the campaign, the multiplayer more then makes up for.