Review – Battlefield 3

By: Louis Edwards

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The long awaited, much hyped release of Battlefield 3 has come and gone, and we have went to war with the game for a week. Did it live up to its expectations, or was it dead on arrival? Check out our review to find out.

 

The Battlefield franchise has long been a staple in the online world of first person shooters. The online multiplayer is where the series has always shined, but more emphasis was put on the single player aspect this time around. While other Battlefield games took a more humorous approach to a story, Battlefield 3 takes a more serious turn.

The story starts out in 2014 and follows several key players. The main character is SSgt. Blackburn who is being interrogated by the C.I.A. as the game opens. Missions are then played out in flash backs while the full story unfolds during his interrogation.

Mount Up

As you play through the story, you’ll travel to the Iraq-Iran border and eventually end up in Tehran, Iran. The story makes a few twists and turns as you progress along, and seemed a little forced at times. One scene in particular went for shock value, but seemed to fall flat instead. Battlefield has never really been known for a solid story, but all-in-all the story itself is worth the short time to play through it. Depending on your skill level, and difficulty setting, you’ll probably go through it in 6-8 hours.We played on Normal and went through it in around 6 hours.

Vehicle combat in the story is limited and would have been a great way to introduce different aspects that will be used in the multiplayer modes online. A short jet mission will have you being a wingman and gunner, using rockets and your cannon to take out enemy aircraft while someone else pilots the craft. We’re not sure why developer DICE felt the player couldn’t handle everything themselves. Flying a jet and taking out bad guys simultaneously isn’t exactly rocket science, and most gamers would have excelled at it.

We'd Rather be Flying as Well

The graphics for the game are really where Battlefield 3 leaves most shooters behind. The new Frostbite Engine allowed for things that weren’t readily available before. like head turning and realistic body dragging to get your buddies out of harms way. Body animations look impressive and the ragdoll effect has been retired for the most part.

Move that Man

Destruction abounds everywhere, and seeing entire buildings crashing down mimics real life to an extraordinary level. Being able to take someone’s cover and turn it into mulch, piece by piece, is also impressive. Concrete pillars don’t just come off in large chunks when shot with small arms fire. It literally comes off piece by piece.

That's Not Going to End Well for Someone

The campaign environments are highly detailed, with realistic lighting and shadows that are ever changing. The graphics are top notch in high def. If you are one of the unlucky gamers who only have the Xbox 360 with the small 4GB flash drive, HD graphics aren’t readily available, and you really are missing out on some of the best multi-platform graphics to date.

The sounds of the game are clearly defined and if you have a decent subwoofer and surround sound, you’ll be shaking your place to pieces with the thump of rifles and the blasts from artillery and grenades. The soundtrack from the campaign fit the game play nicely and the tempo rose and fell at all the right places.

Accurate Sounds Can Rock the House

While the story was decently written and worth your time, the Battlefield franchise is better known for its online multiplayer. This is where Battlefield 3 really shines. There are 4 different soldier types: Soldier, Engineer, Assault, and Recon. Each type has their own set of unlockable weapons and tools and each type brings something different to the arena of war.

There are 5 multiplayer game modes:

Team Deathmatch

Team Deathmatch makes its first appearance in a Battlefield game since the original Battlefield 1942. In Team Deathmatch, two teams of 12 players each duke it out on tight knit maps with a distinct infantry focus – there are no vehicles available in Team Deathmatch. This is the perfect place to start for anyone just wanting to get their feet wet.

Squad Deathmatch

Squad Deathmatch is a larger and more dynamic variety of deathmatch that also features the inclusion of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The IFV can help break a deadlock, as long as you keep it alive with solid Engineer gameplay. Each squad consists of 4 players. The 4 squad setup (16 total players) means that there is a constant battle throughout the game to gain and maintain the lead. Sticking together, keeping your squad healed up, supplied, and repaired are the keys to victory. The squad that can combine the potent Battlefield mix of team play and combat prowess will be proven the winner.

Rush

An objective based mode, the attackers have to arm and detonate pairs of M-COM stations in each area of the map to unlock the next area and the next pair of M-COM stations. While defenders have an unlimited amount of spawn tickets, attackers only get new tickets every time they destroy a pair of M-COMs. If all M-COM stations on the entire map are destroyed, the attackers are declared the winning team. If the defenders manage to deplete the attacker’s tickets to zero (by killing them), the defenders are declared the winners.

As an all-out warfare mode, Rush features a large variety of vehicle setups tuned specifically to that map’s landscape and features. Players can find all types of vehicles on Rush maps, including transport vehicles, armored vehicles, helicopters, and of course, jets. Why they didn’t let us play with these jets in the campaign mode is beyond us, as that would have been the perfect arena to try it out.

Squad Rush

Squad Rush is an extremely tight duel between two squads that borrows the main rules from normal Rush, but in a much more intimate setting. In Squad Rush there are only 2 bases with 1 M-COM station per base, meaning that every M-COM taken or defended in Squad Rush is vital to the victory or defeat of the game. There are no vehicles in Squad Rush, so it’s all down to your infantry fighting skills. Teamwork and planning are the keys to victory here. Each 4 man squad should be balanced with each of the main player types to best compliment your game play.

Conquest

Set over a series of large-scale maps, Conquest is the game mode best suited for the experience of all-out vehicle warfare. In Conquest, two teams fight for control of a number of flags by being the dominant force in the vicinity of each base. Capture and keep control of a majority of the flags and the enemy team will bleed tickets. Killing enemies will also reduce their ticket count, and the first team to run out of tickets loses.

We truly feel that all online muliplayer shooting games will now be measured by Battlefield 3. It truly set the bar for online play and for the online experience overall.

The Battlefield series has come a long ways since it’s first title back in 2005, and seems to get better with each release. The introduction of a serious, albeit short and confusing at times, story was a nice addition for the franchise. A little more thought could have taken it to the next level, but the series has always been about multiplayer and DICE didn’t disappoint there.

If Battlefield 3 doesn’t win Multiplayer Game of the Year, we will be surprised.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has its work cut out for it to best this game.

9

 

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