The Techtv101 Battlefield 3 Review
Today sees Battlefield 3 holding the weight of the gaming world on its shoulders. With the unavoidable comparison to Call of Duty, all eyes are on DICE and EA to create something awesome. Since June, we’ve seen little to no news of progress beyond several demos of Operation Metro, a touch of the campaign, and a glimpse of what it’s like to fly jets. Additionally, the public beta birthed widespread concern over whether or not the game can live up to the hype.
Well Good News..It Can!
Powered by DICE’s homegrown Frostbite 2 engine, the technical marvel is not just the face-value visual effects — glorious lighting, smoke, lens-flare and particle effects — but equally importantly, the epic-scale level design that doesn’t skimp on the finer detail, an amazingly fluid and dynamic animation system, an absurd amount of authentic weapons and vehicles with an audio-system and effects that creates an eerily realistic soundscape and, of course, destructible environments.
The biggest additions this time around are the inclusion of a story-driven single-player campaign and a set of supplementary two-player co-operative missions. Both the aforementioned prequels were multiplayer-only affairs, and successful in their time, but the landscape has changed a lot since then and with most competitors now offering the complete package – and as EA are so clearly posturing the Battlefield franchise for genre-domination – a solo-campaign has arguably become a mandatory ingredient for that level of success.
Many of you reading this will never even load Battlefield’s solo campaign — heading straight for the multiplayer servers and never looking back — but it’s difficult to deny the strengths of a good solo experience as a gateway to online play, giving us more new blood to punish. The risk, however, is that a poorly executed single-player offering can tarnish an otherwise good multiplayer game, as we saw all too recently with the likes of Brink and Homefront.
It’s a relief then to say, that Battlefield 3’s single-player campaign is wholly adequate and visually amazing, Clocking in around the seven – nine-hour mark, it might feel a bit brief for some tastes, but high-octane action and blockbuster presentation result in very few dull moments.
Single Player Campaign
Set in 2014 and loosely based around real world locations in Europe and the Middle-East, the story is told as a retrospective from a US Marine Sergeant who relates his tales to a pair of interrogating government agents. These stories put the player in the boots of Staff Sergeant Blackburn and other various soldiers as the narrative slowly comes together.
The game is actually surprisingly mature and responsible with its narrative too. Having an American protagonist and using real-world countries could quite easily have been a recipe for a lot of cultural stereotyping and insulting references, but even with Iran being the game’s terrorist hotbed, it’s careful to note that the fictional PLR is a radical insurgent faction. And in the case of the Russian involvement, it makes efforts to paint both sides of the story as things get politically grey.
Nine maps at launch for any modern shooter would seem quite generous, but with the scale and the level of detail offered in these, it’s frankly astonishing. The maps also play remarkably different in each different game mode as play is limited to smaller areas for the tighter modes and opened right up for Conquest. Add on the four Battlefield 2 map remakes also coming in the already announced Back to Karkand DLC and it’s going to take a while for these to get old.
Multiplayer Game Modes
The game modes on offer are Rush: the objective-based mode where two large teams have to either attack or defend a series of detonation points, Squad Rush: the same as Rush with smaller four-man teams, Team Deathmatch and Squad Deathmatch: good old vanilla frag-fests and finally, Battlefield’s iconic Conquest: the map-domination mode with the largest scale and 64-player skirmishes.
Multiplayer Character types
You have the option of playing as one of four classes Assault, Support, Engineer and Recon, all balanced quite well and good at promoting teamwork. The biggest change from previous games is that Assault — as the primary frontline fighter — now has the medic abilities. Support handles the heavy weaponry and can dispense ammunition, Engineer is your anti-vehicle man and Recon is the sniper class.
Also on offer is a huge amount of rewards to unlock — some class-specific and others available to all. Each class has an assortment of advanced abilities and gadgets to attain and most weapons and vehicles have a complete assortment of attachments and enhancements to collect.
The sheer quantity of weapons in the game (I’m not even going to attempt to count them all here, so let’s just go with dozens) and the variety of other modifiers creates enough goals to keep the average player busy for a long time to come.
After a rather a considerably buggy beta, I was quite astonished at the overall integrity and stability of multiplayer. It was only a few short weeks, but DICE appear to have ironed out most of the serious issues experienced during the test. As for the Single player, well it is definitely up there with the best with rough campaign time of 7-9 hours to complete the game.
There’s certainly room for improvement, but there’s no denying that so many different aspects of the first person shooter experience being dished out here are best-in-class. The multiplayer component alone is more than worth the price of admission and the solo campaign and cooperative offerings thankfully bring more to the table than they detract.
With Battlefield 3, DICE have at long last raised the bar to bring us a game that’s finally worth spending your money on. We await the showdown when Call Of Duty MW3 comes along but untill then this is really and truly an amazing overall game