Leaving the Bad Company series behind, DICE has set out to finally give gamers an authentic Battlefield experience. It felt like forever ago that I was driving jeeps around a mine-laden bridge, and tossing grenades at the plane spawn campers on the airstrip of Wake Island in Battlefield 1942. Some of my greatest gaming moments come from the Battlefield series — and it’s these moments, these Battlefield Moments, where the game truly separates itself from the rest and will always hold a spot in my heart.
A single player campaign is not completely new to the Battlefield series, as the two Bad Company games each had a story component. The last title, Bad Company 2, even tried a story laden with humor. Battlefield 3 however goes for the clichéd wartime story with terrorists, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Russians — because all war games need Russians. The story is told through flashbacks by Sgt. Black as he is being interrogated, which sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? It’s a highly scripted adventure, with plenty of quick-time events mixed into each mission This in itself starts the identity crisis the single player campaign has: for a series that has prided itself on its open combat style with vehicles, it surely doesn’t have much of any of that here. Expect to face wave after wave of terrorists as you inch your way forward to the next checkpoint where the spawning enemies start all over again.
Would I recommend Battlefield 3 for its single player? Hell no. It’s too constricting and doesn’t feel like Battlefield at all, but thankfully the multiplayer has the best multiplayer experience of the year.
Multiplayer is where the differences between the current consoles and PC starts to show up. Consoles are able to support 24-player matches while PC matches can have up to 64-players. The maps on the consoles have been adjusted to play better with the smaller player count, but for the authentic Battlefield experience you may want to pickup with PC version. From skydiving off the top of the cliff on Damavand Peak to rolling a tank through downtown Paris at the Seine Crossing, to the oil fields in Iran in Operation Firestorm, the maps feature almost every type of terrain and map layout. Where are the snow levels that were prominent in Bad Company 2 though?
Making its return to the Battlefield series is the soldier’s ability to go prone which was absent in the Bad Company series. This should make all those “bush-wookies” happy, but also make for a more satisfying knife kill when you sneak up those selfish non-team players. But I digress. Players are able to choose between 4 different classes, each with their own set of weapons and equipment. Killing players on the other team is not the only way to earn experience, but rather playing as a team is the true way to earn experience. Newly added to the game is the ability to apply suppression on a target. Spot your target and supply suppression fire as your team flanks their position to get a clear shot and earn suppression points. While being suppressed, your vision will begin to blur and your accuracy will be reduced greatly. Heal or revive a player, repair a damaged tank or supply your squad with fresh ammunition and earn more experience. There are tons of ways to earn XP while supporting your team simultaneously.
Each of your main weapons has 3 slots for add-ons such as a red-dot sight for aiming, a heavy barrel for added power and a foregrip for better accuracy. Each weapon has to have these add-ons unlocked separately, so if you want to improve your weapon of choice, you have to use it. Once you get a set amount of kills with it, the next piece will unlock. You earn XP for each of the time spent in your class in a match.
The animation used in Battlefield 3 is hands-down the best animation I have ever seen in a first-person shooter. Something as simple as the angle of the player as he runs around a corner gives of a true sense of weight and momentum that has never before been seen. This is all possible due to DICE’s new in-game engine, Frostbite 2. While the amount of destruction has been reduced compared to Bad Company 2, the environments have never looked so good. With so many things going on at once, it truly is impressive. Of course, you may see the occasional pop-in or blurry texture next to a crisp texture, but with the amount going on it’s to be expected, especially when all of this is happening online.
Battlefield 3 is the game for you if you enjoy team-based shooters, especially if played with friends. Coordination becomes key, and I believe you will simply have more fun when communicating with your squad mates. There are still the Team Deathmatch and Squad Deathmatch modes for those who just want to run around and kill each other, but even then, I’ve seen some impressive team support even in these modes. The sound is even more impressive as a warzone never felt this real with gunfire coming from all directions. You know you have something special when you can simple recognize what is around you by the sound of the gun or explosion.
If you are only interested in single player, would I recommend Battlefield 3? No, I wouldn’t. The majority, if not all, of the players won’t be buying it for single player, but instead for multiplayer, which I would recommend it to everyone. You will not find a better online experience out there today, not to mention the co-op missions as well as the multiplayer portion and this is why I give Battlefield 3 a 4.5/5.
Note: The Battlefield 3 review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.