Stunning visuals, a fantastic sound design and a full blown hectic multiplayer experience is in store for you in Battlefield 3.
Let’s get on the battlefield.. uhm.. three…
The Battlefield franchise has been very popular, ever since Electronic Arts released the first one in the series back in 2002. The shooter is known for its use of vehicles, which includes tanks, jeeps, helicopters and now the developer has brought back jets. It also has a gameplay that revolves around team play to a degree that is far more evolved than before. That’s both good and bad at the same time. For example, the squad dynamic in the online multiplayer is not only unique to the Battlefield franchise, it’s also a very entertaining way to play the game. Provided you find yourself a decent squad where people have a good sense of making decisions that benefit the team as whole. But that’s the thing. It’s not as easy to pick up on for the casual gamer as for example a game in the Call of Duty series, where you pretty much run around on your own most of the time.
The swedish developer DICE, have been busy getting this title ready for a relatively early christmas season release. It’s with great anticipation that we finally got our hands on a review copy so we could experience the latest release to the Battlefield series.
Whenever DICE presents us for a new game, it’s guaranteed to have a fantastic sound design and Battlefield 3 certainly doesn’t refrain from that. The sound effects are just so crisp and.. well, I promised myself I wouldn’t use the word “realistic” in this article, but that’s the word that comes to mind.
The game launches through a web browser, which sound very outlandish for a game like Battlefield 3, but make no mistake, it has been implemented very well. With statistics detailing your every feat and a full blown social community, the Battlelog website gives you plenty of reason to hang around and interact. It just works surprisingly well and when you launch the game, all files are initialising in the background, leaving you with the option to do other things until the game is ready to play.
The singleplayer campaign is too short
If you end up buying Battlefield 3, chances are you aren’t buying it for the singleplayer experience. Although the game has a singleplayer campaign, it’s evident that the developer didn’t put too much effort into making this a lengthy experience. They darn well know it’s the multiplayer aspect that makes people hand over their hard earned money for a copy of the game.
The campaign is not bad if you look at it from a storytelling perspective. But there’s not much shooting going on for a game in the first person shooter genre. The campaign plays out like an interactive hollywood movie which, granted, it does offer a kickass story, told in a very cool way. We would have liked to have a lot more freedom than the game offers as you’re basically playing a series of well-scripted scenes, where you’re often told what to do and when to do it. It’s spiced up by missions in a jet, a tank and a sniper mission, where you’re tasked with covering your buddies on the ground from a rooftop. But even in those sequences, you’re told what to do and it feels like you’re locked to a set of rails.
To supplement the singleplayer experience, you have six co-op missions you can play through with a buddy. It provides a good challenge and it prepares you for much more dynamic interactions with human players, which you’ll experience in the online multiplayer modes.
You’re not alone.. it’s time to get social
The multiplayer is where it’s at. Maps with up to 64 players are limited to the PC version, where you’ll see a maximum of 24 players on the console version. And here’s where the PC version has a big advantage. Because a game of BF3 is so much more entertaining with a huge player count – the more the merrier, one might say. The game modes are what we expected to see, comprising of traditional deathmatch, conquest and rush. Conquest being the classic Battlefield game mode, where you skirmish around the map and try to dominate flags scattered throughout the environment. The rush game mode sets the two sides in a defensive and an offensive role, with one team defending specified sites and buildings, which the other team is tasked with blowing up.
You once again have the choice between four classes, which supplement each other very well. The assault class is your typical all-round soldier class with medic abilities. The support class is a heavy weapons class with ammo support and you of course also have the opportunity to go the stealthy way with the recon class. With a scoped sniper rifle and C4 packages, this class can be deadly to infantry at a distance, as well as heavily armored vehicles up close. Last but not least, the engineer works his magic with mines, rocket propelled grenades and his repair tool is great for keeping armored vehicles working, even after a few hard hits.
As you play and use the different weapons and gadgets, you’ll rank up and unlock new along the way. While you don’t have the all too essential defibrillator at the get go, you don’t have to play long to unlock it. But there are a lot of weapons to unlock, so you have an incentive to keep playing, even after the initial new-game-factor has worn off.
Your success in online multiplayer depends a lot on who you have on your friends list. A good squad with players of equal understanding of the tactics deployed is essential to have a great time and to contribute to the success of your whole team. Although if you’re the lone wolf kind of person, finding an acceptable open squad to jump in to is not completely impossible.
There are nine multiplayer maps including Caspian Border and Operation Metro, which has featured in well produced gameplay trailers before the game’s release and with the Back to Karkand DLC coming this December, four classic BF2 maps will be reintroduced and added to the BF3 map rotation. The maps Gulf of Oman, Sharqi Peninsula, Strike at Karkand and Wake Island 2014 were some of the most popular and will surely be a welcomed addition.
The last words
With the releases we’ve seen this christmas season (which game-release wise starts mid-october), we’ve started to see the PC versions overtake the console equivalents by quite a margin graphically and it would be of no surprise to me if Microsoft and Sony already have their respective next generation console under heavy duty development. Because they should be.
Battlefield 3 has been out a couple of weeks now and with sales numbers that surpasses 5 million copies across all platforms the first week, EA should rightfully be happy with the reception so far. Now that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has been released as well, we can start to compare the two and statistics on PC shows that Battlefield 3 comes out on top, with quite a margin. That’s an interesting statistic, because while the gung ho all-for-one type gameplay in the Call of Duty franchise would appeal to most casual gamers that just like to pick up a game and start playing, the BF3 experience offers some unique dynamics, that takes some getting used to. At least for newcomers to the franchise.
While the singleplayer experience definitely could have been better, the multiplayer will be the one convincing the players that this game is worth every penny. With a sound design that is up there among the very best, you’re in for a ride and with a decent sound system or a good headset, you’ll be tempted to turn up the volume to extreme illogical levels. It’s. Just. So. Fricking. Awesome!