Battle Field 3 The Game Review

By Muhammad Faisal 1 comment
Release/Out Now
battle field 3 the game reviewIs DICE's latest iteration of the Battle Field 3 franchise a beautiful, yet incredibly destructive, walk in the park, or does it get lost in the tall grass of overarching ambition?

A helicopter just buzzed over my head, thirty feet above the ground. It's moving quickly, skirting around a hill, firing its main guns at an enemy i can't see. I stop running and just stare at it. I do this a lot in Battle Field 3. The game's multiplayer makes me want to stop, sit and watch the chaos happening on screen. On its best maps - such as the 64-player Caspian Border - every pixel flickers with battle.

I'll climb to a rooftop and just freeze. In this distance, smoke stacks rise from a burning forest. In the air above me, jet fighter planes twirl, chased by artillery. On the ground below, an M1 Abrams tank has smashed through the lower floors of the building. I'll spot a glimmer from a hillside 300 meters away and I'll know its lenses flare from a sniper as he readies himself to kill me.

If someone had told me fifteen years ago that this is what online gaming would be, I wouldn't have believed them. Battle Field games have always been grand, ridiculous, futuristic designs. Wouldn't it be cool if death match had vehicles? Wouldn't it be cool if it wasn't death match, but teams, and squads, and objectives? Wouldn't it be cool if there were tanks and jeeps and helicopters and fighter planes? Wouldn't it be cool if the maps were enormous and buildings could collapse?

Yes, it would. Yes, it is. No other modern combat shooter provides the feeling of playing Battle Field 3, when you watch a chopper fly over and wonder where he's going. It's the feeling of living a war movie in miniature, with you as its director and star.
battle field 3 single player
Battle Field 3's single player though is not a move. It's a waterslide with pictures scrawled on the insides. It's a ten-hour long exercise in contractual obligation; here are the multiple protagonists, here are the vehicle sections, here is the terrorist intrigue and appropriate level of moral grittiness. It's an under cooked potboiler. Or, if you like, it's the world's most expensive audition tape for the job of development the next Modern Warfare game.

Battle Field 3 One long corridor

You play Sergeant Blackburn, who starts the game by leaping on to the roof of a moving train, kicking in the back window and then shooting his way through each carriage helpfully filled with terrorists.

The game never gets any less on-rails. At the end of the train, we're taken back eight hours. Blackburn is being interrogated by two government agents. He's telling then tales of his adventures in Tehran, fighting the PLR, and you play each of his missions in turn. If, however, he were to tell his story accurately it would go something like this: "I shot a man, and then I shot ten men, and then I got shot and my eyes felt like they had jam on them, so I hid behind a wall for a bit and then i felt fine, and then  I shot three more men, and then i threw a grenade into the next room, and then i shot six hundred more men, and then i realised that they were infinitely respawning."

When you find the right weapon, and in moments where the level design is particularly solid, all the shooting is fine. The guns feel punchy and responsive, and enemies mostly go down with just a couple of shots. A section set in Paris, in the middle of the game, is as good as it gets. But too often making your way from area to area, from cover to cover, feels like a dismal slog through uneven checkpoints. Death can be an instant affair, and you'll play through the same three or four rooms again and again until you crack the one area that's giving you trouble.

The government agents never flinch at the ridiculous, super-soldier adventure either, but instead play good-cop/bad cop and occasionally interject with their own anecdotes. "What about Lt. Jennifer Coleby Hawkins?" asks one. "Hawkins? Never heard of her," says Blackburn. You then leap in to her story; she's a jet co-pilot, and it's one of the most beautiful looking on-rails gun sections I've ever played, and one of the least interactive bits of game. At its end, after you've fired all your rockets, launched all your flares and bombed some targets with the expected black-and-white bomb-o-cam, it cuts back to the room. "Nice story," says Blackburn. "But i don't see how it's relevant."
battle field 3 jet selection
It's not relevant, and Hawkins is never mentioned again. Battle Field 3 is so desperate to hold your attention that it throws new experiences at the screen without them being relevant to the story.

To its credit, the experiences never reaches the manipulative, frothing madness of the latter Call of Duty games, but it never aims higher than providing a pretty looking slideshow, either. The fighter plane section is beautiful, but you're merely the game's co-pilot, along for the ride. The tank section might put you in the driver's seat, but only so you can be the game's taxi driver. You survive an earthquake, rappel down a building, and skydive from a plane, but in every instance, you're a puppet going where you're told so game can show you the next razzle-dazzle animation.

Bored yet?

If someone had told me fifteen years ago that this is what single player games would be like, i wouldn't have believed them. It would have been a too depressing prospect.

The co-operative mode isn't much better, either. It provides six unique missions specifically designed to be played with a friend, but they serve as a kind of hardcore mode, and each is much harder than the regular single player. I found them more frustrating than fun.

If you want your games to be games, don't play Battle Field 3's campaign. Play the multiplayer instead, where the spectacle is far grander, more exhilarating and more cinematic for being entirely under your control. It makes you want to sit back and watch.

But you can't. Your friend just blew up the last M-COM station in the area and the defenders are falling back. You need to move up fast, so you sprint towards the cliff edge, jump and begin to free fall, and open your parachute at the last possible second. It's a moment that happens to you in the single player, but here you get to do it all by yourself. It's like graduating to big boy school.

If you've played Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the last game in series,battle field battle roll the multiplayer will mostly be familiar. The most visible and talked about change is the new jets, returning for the first time since Battlefield 2. They shouldn't make a big difference, but they do. You'll spend only a fraction of your time piloting them - they spawn at base, but it's first come, first served, and you'll be lucky to get there before everyone else.

You can be my wingman

Jet are ineffective against ground units, meaning that pilots are almost playing an entirely different game to everyone else, but the spectacle they add completely changes the way battles feel, turning small skirmishes in to all-our war. They're constant fixture in the skies above the maps that include them, and after playing Caspian Border and the others, the smaller maps feel like they're missing something.

The multiplayer is at its best on the larger, or at least more open maps. I've rolled across Tehran Highway in a tank, levelling buildings and capturing bases in Conquest mode. I've rattled across Operation Firestorm in a jeep with a friend riding shotgun, and swerved as enemy jets have dive bombed us. I've bailed out of helicopters hundreds of feet in the air and parachuted on to enemy sniper's nest atop cranes.

Unfortunately, not enough of the maps are large an open, and too many force everyone in to the same choke point, halting all progression for ten minutes until one team gets a lucky surge. Operation Metro is the worst offender, but Grand Bazaar and others do the same.

The other major change since Bad Company 2 is classes together, under the Assault name. It's still my favourite class in the game, and the progression system is much faster this time at unlocking those precious defibrillators.

That progression system still won't be fast enough for some, though, especially players who are used to the fast pace of Call of Duty's temporary killstreak bonuses. You'll earn unlocks and ribbons in every round of Battlefield 3: from gathered experience points; your kills for each weapon; or for performing helpful actions, such as reviving your teammates, but the unlocks are paced to compel players still enormously rewarding in the early stages to get, say, an M-COM Defender ribbon at the end of a match, or a new scope for your primary weapons. But the best unlocks in the game don't come for a long time, and it'll take an aeon if you want to get the best goods for all four classes.
battle field 3 in tehran
All of your stats and progress are tracked on Battlelog, a website which acts as Battle Field 3's social network, server browser and menu. It is brilliant, bizarre and broken.

If it's broke, fix it

I love that it tracks everything I do in game, form individual weapon accuracy, to how many kills, to my wins and losses. Sometimes it's fun to watch numbers tick up. But i have no idea why it had to be the game's server browser and menu, and why those things aren't part of Origin. When a website is down for maintenance, i don't want to have to switch Origin in to offline mode to launch the single player campaign. When i want to change servers, i dont' necessarily want to close the game down and open a web browser.

For all its similarities to the previous games in the series, and for all its technical faults, Battle Field 3's multiplayer is still fresh and exciting enough to justify playing the game. There's no other game out there that can provide the same chaotic spectacle, or feeling of lying in the grass, watching a battle roll towards you form the horizon. Buy it when it's been patched.

Vital Statistics
Price Battle Field 3 $40
Developer DICE
Publisher Electronic Arts
Multiplayer Up to 64
DRM Origin

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1 comments for this post

  1. Hi,
    Great post and good review, I just loving to play battlefield 3 servers game and your post is too good, thanks for sharing it.

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