Battlefield 3 Review
- Posted October 27th, 2011 at 16:48 EDT by Adam Dolge
- 26 Comments
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A stunning and explosive first-person shooter, Battlefield 3 doesn't quite tip the scales with innovation, but its multiplayer and overall presentation is enough to give its competition a run for its money.
- Looks and sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster
- Multiplayer battles are epic and explosive
- Multiplayer maps are well-crafted
- Single-player mode is generally mediocre
- Poor A.I. leads to frustration
- Some graphical pop-ins and minor texture issues
Forget all the hype about EA and DICE’s latest first-person shooter. Forget about the promises of Battlefield 1943 included in PlayStation 3 copies of Battlefield 3. Forget about all the smack-talk about its ultra-elite graphics. Forget about the other “modern-war” shooter on the horizon. If you can look at Battlefield 3 like this, without expecting-eyes, there’s an awful lot to like about this shooter. But, we don’t live in a vacuum, and perhaps the enormous hype surrounding Battlefield 3 will rub gamers the wrong way, and dash their expectations if they only play through a few missions in the single-player campaign. At its core, Battlefield 3 is a terrific game, right on the level of just about every other first-person shooter on the market, and luckily the multiplayer—the real main offering—makes up for an otherwise mediocre story mode.
Taken right out of the “games made with Hollywood flair” playbook, Battlefield 3 explodes onto your PlayStation 3 with fiery gun battles, epic warzones where jets, helicopters, and tanks blanket the horizon, and soldiers fight alongside one another to maintain any sense of control. All of this takes place in DICE’s high-quality multiplayer, which at times borders between stellar and pure genius. Nothing in Battlefield 3 breaks new ground or unhinges old or current trends, but perhaps its biggest achievement is that playing with your buddies or complete strangers online is simply a blast.
Like most games we play (and review) we start with the single-player campaign experience. Luckily there is a lot of game to play outside of the campaign as DICE seemed to take a pass on some very basic elements in the single-player mode. We know many who read this will be up-in-arms that we even bothered reviewing the story experience because most FPS are only good for online multiplayer, but it’s our job to review the complete game. If you are someone who is a stickler for scores, know our views of the single-player mode, along with some minor issues in multiplayer, helped us arrive at the final verdict.
The story is a globetrotting affair that puts you in the boots of different soldiers. You primarily follow Sergeant James Blackburn as he’s interrogated, Call of Duty: Black Ops-style, and you’ll play through various missions that help fill in the blanks about the events leading to missing WMDs, and the aftermath Blackburn must explain. It’s a pretty basic story, but there are moments it felt exciting.
The excitement comes from breathtaking set pieces. One in particular, an evening sniper mission on city roofs, is downright beautiful. The new Frostbite 2 engine works really well, but it’s not perfect. There are occasionally graphical hiccups and texture issues, but Battlefield 3 is like your friend’s little sister who grew up to become a model—you can’t take your eyes away, and even if your friend asks you to, you’d give him a dumb, dazed look of joy. But, looks aren’t everything, and while Battlefield 3 is a graphical powerhouse, there are some fundamental flaws that make the single-player campaign feel frustrating at times. Little annoyances include relying too heavily on your poor A.I. controlled buddies to open doors, or even worse, the game runs a loop with waves of enemies until you stand in the proper location. From issues like not being able to kill enemies because they are part of some choreographed building collapse, or your allies popping through walls, the issues in the single-player campaign are not so bad that it ruins the experience, it just makes it all a bit dull, especially in the second half.
The levels are not designed particularly well, and there is at least one bottleneck in each ground combat level. Vehicle combat may sound promising, but it’s hard to feel DICE put some of these levels in, like the jet mission, just to have something to look at. The flying level in particular is a massive let down, and consists of pushing buttons when you are told to, and gazing out your foggy window as you wait for something to do. Without giving away too much of the plot, some of the best missions are when you play as Dima, the Russian spec ops soldier. There is also a level that finally gives you a wide open warzone to ... (continued on next page)
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- 11:55am EDT - October 27th, 2011
I'm sick of trailers that end up looking nothing like the final product. 7.5/10
narbytrout | Payton34Fan
- 11:58am EDT - October 27th, 2011
Single player campaign : 8
This is the most fun I've had playing a FPS in years!
Great Job DICE.
- 12:01pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
Pc was the lead platform so most of the trailers that were shown was runnin on a high end pc
- 12:05pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
^Not when I watch them on the PSN Store^
- 12:08pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
What a flop.
- 12:08pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
@4 - that's actually a fair point. Commercials on TV are most likley showing PC footage, but at the end you get that PS3 logo ad. Graphics aren't everything, though, but I understand people are upset about that.
- 12:17pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
@6...I'm from the Nintendo era, where graphics were everything and gameplay was a given. What happened along the way to where now, it's one or the other? We deserve both. Just sayin...
narbytrout | Payton34Fan
- 12:20pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
Certainly you are entitled to your opinion but, as a game developer... do you expect them to spend the time and money making 3 or more trailers? Most gamers who see a trailer for a multiplatform game know that the trailer they are watching was "produced" with the best stuff they could find to show you. This has been the routine practice throughout the industry for years.
Like I said, you certainly are entitled to have your opinion on this... and I am not saying your opinion is wrong, but is it legitimate? Really?
- 12:36pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
I'm from the Nintendo era, too, and I just don't think the grahpics are bad in in BF3. Again, as I mentioned in my opening pragraph of this review, if you can look at this game without the hype, it's easy to praise this game, but it's also easy to find faults. It's not perfect, of course, but I think the graphics were really solid and I can't take tons of points off because the promos used PC footage. Does that make sense? I do understand your take, totally.
- 1:26pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
"...dash their expectations if they only play through a few missions in the single-player campaign." If the campaign is non-existant, then to me the game is like a pizza without a base- the multiplayer is like the cheese and pepperoni on top! I'm not going to jump on the hate bandwagon, but i've already heard enough to sway me from purchasing this game- i play games for their core, their single player, their story (their pizza base!). No multiplayer can truly make up for another generic, same-old FPS war game.
- 1:35pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
Adam, setting aside the "hype" in your review was a great idea and your write up is fair and well done. As for the consumer though (me), I naturally bought into the "hype" and expected way more graphically. People often say graphics aren't everything...but to me, they are (I swear). They immerse me in the experience...and when it comes to war games, well it's important to me to feel like I'm there.
- 1:47pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
Totally undertand Spotted. If you can get this on PC, I imagine there wouldn't be much complaints. At E3, we only had access to the PC version, and I must say we were blown away.
- 2:06pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
great review but i still think a 9 is the most accurate low score for bf3. :)
- 3:19pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
I never played the Single Player mode on BF:BC2 and probably won't on BF3. The new Frostbite engine is great. I didn't know they could get more out of these aging consoles, but they have!
The multiplayer is where it's at with this game, and on that point it's an 11 out of 10. Try it with a full surround sound system cranked up on a movie-sized screen. Insanity.
- 6:44pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
BF Series were soley based on multiplayer gameplay. I could care less on how good the single player campaign is. I bought the game knowing that it was largley and basically fully multiplayer based. Anyone who bought this game for a single player experience wasted their money. Subtract the single player completley from the game and you get a fantastic multiplayer experience which surpasses Call of Duty in so many ways. IMO! Destructible enviornments, large scale/smaller scaled maps, plethor of vehicles, and all while maintainin 60fps and great visals cross-broadbrand connection. There is no doubt this game beats out any competition in its class.
Drebin296 | Drebin296
- 6:51pm EDT - October 27th, 2011
If MW3 gets any higher than this I'm going to blow a fuse and that'll likely be the end of my life.
- 2:29am EDT - October 28th, 2011
interrogation in a campaign was also done in a game called Black (2006) on PS2, just sayin. But great review. Awesome game all around
- 4:41am EDT - October 28th, 2011
I refuse to spend money on a game that has a "poop" campaign mode.
Networks go down and then what ?
The original Battlefield Bad Company had an awesome Campaign AND great multi-player. If developers don't want to create a decent SP campaign they should just leave it.
- 12:49pm EDT - October 28th, 2011
The game was universally a GREAT entry on the part of the developers. Keep up the great work DICE! I loved the 'Gone Hunting' campaign mission. The most realistic flight simulator I've ever seen. Thankx
Nakatomi Uk | Nakatomi_Uk
- 4:53pm EDT - October 29th, 2011
You cant complain about the graphics for consoles people should be happy it dosnt have major pop in and jaggies from what I have seen its not a bad job but I dont think it should slame the rating down and put it as a bad point.
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