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Wednesday
Nov162011

Battlefield 3 Review

I played the game's single player on the Xbox 360, and have played the multiplayer on both Xbox 360 and PC.

My experience with Battlefield 3 was more than a little confusing. I found myself hating the game in points, and loving it in others. There's a clear division between the game's single-player and multiplayer that was unfortunate. I had completely different experiences with both modes, so much so that I feel like the game would get unfairly dragged down if I judged it as a whole package, so I've decided to split this review in two.

 

Battlefield 3 – Single Player Review

Toughie, this. I wanted to love Battlefield 3's single-player, I really did. I had watched the lead up to the game intently; gasping in glee at every new trailer and biting my lip at every sexy-looking explosion and intense fire fight; drooling over every new screenshot that showed a building falling over or the most realistic heat-vision I have ever seen; and, most importantly, getting excited to be a part of these huge battles that are only really possible in a Battlefield game. It let me down.

 

I'll start with the positives, as when they're great, they're pretty The game looks stunning, even just going down generic alleywaysdamn great. The game is absolutely gorgeous. In all the build up to the game's release, it looked incredible, but I grew more and more concerned that the visuals just couldn't hold up on a console. Thankfully, they look great. Of course, it goes without saying that the PC version will look better than the console, but it still was constantly making me stop in my tracks, just to stare at how gorgeous the game was, usually over something as simple as a neon sign reflected in a wet floor. The game has a fantastic art design, which is hard to do in a game trying to emulate reality. Lighting is intense and constantly glaring right in your face, causing little flecks of dirt on the “camera” to becomes visible; lush green fields will stretch out ahead of you with the summer sun casting perfect shadows as Russians rain down from the sky; explosions will cause dust to coat the battlefield, impairing everyone's vision and causing light to stream through in streaks. The game really is beautiful, and a great technical accomplishment.

 

Tell me you're not excited to play this!The other area the single-player excels is in the vehicle sections. Early on in the game there is a level that takes place with you sat in the back of a fighter jet which is fantastic. The gameplay during the level is minimal at best, but the feeling and the views you get during the experience is unlike anything else I've really had. Another level later on (the now infamous E3 Tank Demo) takes place with you being a single member of a convoy of tanks racing across the desert. The sense of power you get from being a member of this tank battalion is awesome, and really makes you feel like a bad ass, whilst also delivering that “part of an army” feel that is so awesome.

 

Unfortunately for the rest of the game, that feeling is seldom seen. For the most part the game is a Call Of Duty-like experience but with a different plot. You play as various characters over the course of the campaign, switching between them depending on whether their whereabouts were relevant to the story being told. It reminded me a whole lot of Black Ops, with a single character being interrogated to stop a terrorist attack, although to give the game credit, I feel like it's more coherent than Black Ops, whose campaign I actually hated. Without giving too much away, the bad guy feels evil enough, and the threat is big enough to justify somebody doing something about it, but the execution is flawed in nearly every way other than the fantastic presentation and vehicle sections. If you bought the game and never touched the single-player I wouldn't blame, especially considering the multiplayer...

 

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Battlefield 3 - Multiplayer Review

 

Battlefield 3 came out just over a week before Modern Warfare 3, so inevitably the two will have to get compared at some point. For my money, Battlefield's multiplayer experience is the superior of the two. Like previous Battlefield games, multiplayer contains a smattering of modes, all revolving around 2 teams attempting to capture (or prevent the capture) of various objectives using a multitude of classes and vehicles to do away with the opponents team. The maps are bigger and more varied than Modern Warfare's, and the inclusion of vehicles really sets it apart from it's duty calling counterpart.

 

If you've not experienced Battlefield multiplayer before, the best A good example of one of the game's massive mapsway for me to describe it as methodical. In a single game of Modern Warfare, you may get a kill/death score 18 kills and 22 deaths and consider that a pretty average game. In Battlefield games, typically a good k/d score would be maybe 8 kills, 6 deaths and a whole heap of extra points from healing, repairing, resupplying and spotting for your team. The game is much more about teamwork, and less about running around with a revolver out because it lets you knife faster. The game encourages you to help your teammates with plenty of points awarded for healing them and giving them more ammo, and lots of bonuses given for suppressing enemies (firing in their direction will blur their vision) and for pointing out their locations to your team. As such, the game delivers on something Modern Warfare can't: Teamwork.

 

You actually have to base jump off this cliff to attack your opponents in the base below....The 2 main modes in the game are Rush and Conquest. In Conquest mode, both teams start off with a certain number of respawns which tick down every time a member of your team dies. Your team's respawns will also slowly decrease if the opposing team holds more of the map's capture points than your team does. Capture points can be captured by 1 person, a squad of people, 20 guys, or 2 or 3 in a tank, leading to some great capture/defend gameplay as you attempt to hold off rushes on your control points whilst also slowly creeping your way into your opponents points. With the enormous size of the maps in the game, this mode definitely favours the PC version, which allows 32 vs. 32 multiplayer matches, as opposed to the Xbox's 12 vs. 12. The game's other main mode is Rush mode, a multi-level mode where the attackers (whose respawns are limited) have to attack and destroy 2 objectives, and the defenders (who have infinite respawns) have to whittle the attackers' respawns before they can complete their goal. The mode is a bit more focused than Conquest, so works fine on the Xbox, though I find 16 people each attacking/defending a single point absolutely ridiculous.

 

Your multiplayer character is split up into 4 classes: Medic, Oh, and did I mention? Still plenty of shooting dudes in the faceEngineer, Support and Recon. The Medic is a combination of the old Medic and Assault classes, so this is your basic infantry guy; Engineer deals with vehicles, both in their destruction and upkeep; Supports will carry machine guns with large clips to provide suppressing fire whilst resupplying their team-mates with ammo and grenades; and the Recon is your sniper class, pointing out vulnerable targets whilst also popping a few heads from distance. The classes are very well balanced, with enough team working options that you won't ever feel either surplus to requirement or ineffective on the Battlefield. Each of the classes has it's own weapons, weapon-specific attachments and gadget unlocks, with your soldier levelling up separately and earning perks that can be applied across all your classes. The upgrades feel satisfying, and don't unlock too
easily, meaning the multiplayer will last you a hell of a long time if you let it.

 

As you can see, you're never short of options out in the fieldBattlefield's multiplayer is awesome. While not as fast paced as Modern Warfare, the game makes up for it by incorporating actual strategy and teamwork; the game's maps are so much huger than Modern Warfare's and the maximum player cap so much higher (on PC at least) that every battle feels infinitely more epic than the kill boxed Call Of Duty provides; the selection of vehicles in the game, from jets, to helicopters, to tanks, to Jeeps, to amphibious APCs, to boats, all add to that feel of a huge battle going on around you (nothing quite like firing an RPG at a tank whilst a jet shoots down an attack helicopter overhead); and perhaps most importantly, you don't have be great at shooting games to be a valued member of the team due to the many other ways you can help your team-mates out.

 

Overall, the multiplayer stands on it's own, triumphant and glowing with a halo above it's head. It's so much fun, and so easy to get into that really I would recommend it to almost anybody. The game will still be being played 10 years from now, and I for one can't wait to get back on there and blow up some tanks, bring my fellow troops back from the brink of death and crash a fighter jet into the side of a troop-filled building. Bliss.

 

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