War is perplexing.
It’s been a long road to release for Battlefield 3. When the game debuted, we saw stunning visuals that were almost surreal for a videogame. We also saw well-scripted moments from the game’s single-player campaign that told a story of hot-blooded action and gameplay that’s second-to-none. That was then, however, because after playing Battlefield 3 for quite a while, I’m left feeling split. Yes. Battlefield 3 is a game you should buy, and at the same time it’s a game you absolutely should not waste your money on. The decision, however, depends on where your loyalty lies.
The opening cinematic of Battlefield 3 is something taken directly from Call of Duty’s playbook. In truth, the entire single-player campaign we’ve seen before from either Infinity Ward or Treyarch, but the sad thing is, DICE fails terribly at imitating. So much so that you’d think you’re playing a rather poor version of Black Ops.
The story, well, there’s no story. You are disgraced marine Sgt Blackburn, who’ve been tasked to make sure rogue middle-Eastern men don’t get their hands on nukes as they seek to destroy the world. You’re eerily in a room similar to the interrogation chamber Black Ops main protagonist was held in, confused as to what was really going on. Only in Battlefield 3, you’re well aware of your surroundings.
And so it begins. Battlefield 3′s linear as can be, press A to do this and B to dive out of a window. Then inadvertently, the soldier you’re assigned to follow takes the lead from there. In fact, sometimes you’ll feel as if the game’s playing itself because most of the time you’re following men yelling vulgar words as if they had not brains. Almost every other word is F**K this and MotherF** that, as if soldiers in real life could utter nothing else but profanity.
The pace is mighty slow, too. In trying to beat Call of Duty at its game, DICE managed to only magnify how accomplished both Infinity Ward and Treyarch are at what they do. It continues. Painstakingly, almost like a chore, I labored through the campaign and between silly deaths and some bugs, Battlefield 3 is a stunning piece of work visually. And I say this from a multiplatform perspective. The game’s beauty is to be beheld in every location: from the nights of Iran to the streets of France. From the deck of a warship to freedom of the open skies, Battlefield 3 is a stellar accomplishment in the visuals department. However the very moment you begin to take in the beauty in the cockpit of a fighter jet, you’re brought low by the inevitable gravity dragging you back down to the realities of the game.
Even the jet ride lacks luster. It takes too long to load up, and even when you’re in the sky battling enemy jets, you feel lost. The story doesn’t relay clearly why you’re fighting in the skies, or on the ground. Your guns ricochet off broken walls with sounds only DICE could achieve, yet you’re being killed from unforeseen enemies. They’re barely visible. The momentum that was clearly intended to be built as the game proceeded, always ended with an anti-climax. Like blah.
Battlefield 3′s single-player don’t have many memorable moments, bar the game’s conclusion, but even that was too short. You can beat the shooter in about 4-5hrs, and never feel like going back to it again. Perhaps if the game’s AI was clever, you’d feel more challenged, adding a bit of excitement, but the AI in Battlefield 3 are the dumbest I’ve come across in a long time.
The game also includes a co-op feature in which two players team up to tackle a variety of missions,and although the mode holds promise, it fails to deliver a lasting, memorable experience and, like the campaign, is linear. There are six stages in co-op and you proceed to the next defeating the enemies without dying. The mode could be fun at times but then everything becomes repetitive, and instead of actually waiting in anticipation for the horde of enemies coming your way, you’ll know exactly where to hide and take out the enemies as the AI always lineup in the same location.
EA and DICE talked up Battlefield 3 as a Call of Duty killer, the new standard of FPS games. They claimed it would change everything, and promoted their trailers as “above and beyond the call”. But in earnest, Battlefield 3′s single-player portion plays like different scripts taken from multiple war novels and patched together rather confusingly, and if your loyalty lies in single-player, don’t waste your time or money. Multiplayer on the other hand, is a totally different beast…
It seems as if Battlefield 3′s single-player was just plastered on the disk just to add more dollars to EA’s coffers. I actually believe DICE should have made the game multiplayer-only because it’s obviously where the developer is strong. Really Strong.
Battlefield 3′s multiplayer puts the beta to shame. Everything runs smoothly with almost no glitches (at least I haven’t spotted any).
In MP, there are four classes to choose from: Assault class (medicine in mind), Engineer class (repairs in mind), Support class (with ammo in mind) and the Recon class (bastard snipers!). Every class is well balanced and none feels overpowered as the weaponry in each class are comparable. There are three modes in multiplayer: Team Deathmatch, Rush and Conquest.
If you’re a FPS fan, you know Team Deathmatch is kill or be killed. The team with the most kills at the end of a match is the winner. Battlefield 3 does Team Deathmatch with real war intensity. DICE has curtailed the maps for said mode to make sure people are not too spread apart, and it works nicely. In fact I enjoyed Team Deathmatch more than any of the modes, and constantly found myself going back to the action.
The game’s visuals holds the same fidelity in the multiplayer as it does in SP, and with all the nine maps being playable in every mode, you’ll be mesmerized by the amount of detail that went into making Battlefield 3′s multiplayer on not only the visual level, but in every thinkable aspect.
Conquest mode is basically Capture and Hold, but the problem with said mode is how far and wide it is. There’s a huge focus on vehicles and sometimes you go around roaming for minutes trying to find some action. It actually got boring after a bit. You’ll want to enjoy Conquest, and for a time you will, but if you’re used to jumping in a game and getting into the action, you’ll leave Conquest for the hardcore. I also must make mention of the number of vehicles available to you in Conquest, from choppers to tanks, jets and trucks, DICE held back no punches. Yet, it feels like something is missing. Perhaps, like I said before, there’s too much emphasis placed on vehicles.
Rush is the last mode, the very mode made available in the beta. It’s a mode in which one team attacks while the other defend their M-COM stations from being destroyed. If the attacking team is successful, the defending team is pushed back to defend even more M-COM stations. Rush is the best suited mode for the big maps of Battlefield 3, and it too is very enjoyable and intense.
Make no mistake about it, there’s a mode in Battlefield 3′s multiplayer for everyone, and a gun for even the youngest of recruits. No other developer has been so ambitious as to bring such a massive game to consoles. You can swim in the ocean, man any vehicle, jump over walls and crawl like a snake. Yet that’s just the beginning: the rewards you get for just about doing anything are endless, and without ever shooting a gun, you can go from Private to Commander in Battlefield 3. That’s the beauty about it.
To conclude, I’ll remind you of my opening question: where does your loyalty lie? Are you big on single-player? If so, don’t buy Battlefield 3. It’s not worth your time. However if you’re multiplayer-only type of person, then absolutely, buy Battlefield 3.
One more thing, it’s not a Call of Duty killer.
Reviewed on PS3
Also on: PC, X360
Genre: First Person Shooter
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Digital Illusions CE (DICE)
M for Mature: Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language