Battlefield 3 Review
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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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