Battlefield 3 is here, but does DICE deliver another faithful addition to the franchise?
Large online warfare is what Battlefield does best. It stands out from other first person shooters with it's large environments and variety of vehicles. Battlefield 3 stays true to the franchise and delivers a deep and rewarding multiplayer experience. Unfortunately, the single-player fails to deliver the quality seen in past Battlefield games, like Bad Company for example. Having said that, Battlefield 3 doesn't need a strong campaign to be great.
Multiplayer is the real reason you should purchase Battlefield 3. The large scaled maps, variety of vehicles and unlocks make Battlefield 3 stand out like a sore thumb. This is without doubt the most intense and exhilarating online experience DICE have created yet. It's very similar to the Bad Company series with it's layout and modes. There's the typical team deathmatch aswell as objective based modes like Conquest and Rush, but Battlefield 3 feels different to past games in the series. Weapons feel more authentic and react better to your movements, like swaying from side to side. Moving around the environment also offers a more realistic feel, with the ability to go prone. Crawling though long heaps of grass, or along a narrow wall can create some intense and thrilling moments.
The amount of unlocks available in multiplayer are overwhelming. Depending on which class you prefer, if it be Assault, Engineer,Support or Recon, there's always enough to keep you busy. DICE have reinvented the customization system and it will take much longer to unlock weapon attachments and other accessories. When you unlock an attachment you will need to unlock it again for another weapon. The more you use one weapon, the more unlocks you will earn for it. From a red dot sight, silencer and more. It doesn't stop their though. There's also a ton of gadgets, vehicle upgrades and camouflage for your character.
Team work plays a big role in Battlefield. Everything you do to help your
team and squad members earns you points. If it be repairing a vehicle, healing a team member or stopping them from dieing a horrible death. Everything will earn you points towards ranking up and unlocks you new weapons, attachments etc. It's extremely addictive and is one of the most fun progression systems in a multiplayer game.
Each of the environments in multiplayer look stunning. The new DICE engine, Frostbite 2 delivers some spectacular visuals. The lighting effects are what really makes Battlefield 3 shine. At times you can be blinded with the sun glaring in your face, or a red beam from an enemies laser sight. Moments like these are a visual treat, but it can be very distracting and sometimes feels over done. The single-player and multiplayer environments both look amazing, but if you want the best visual experience you will need to install a texture pack first. It might sound a little bizarre but doing so will enhance the visuals dramatically.
The campaign also looks visually stunning, but that's not to be said for the
plot. Here you take the role of Sergeant Blackburn. Blackburn is been
interrogated by two government agents, for reasons unknown. As he tells his
story, you will go back as Blackburn and live through them. I wont give away any big spoilers, but I will say it involves stolen nukes. Whilst the plot isn't
that great, other issues let down the campaign. At times, the game is far too
restricted. For example, one section has you boarding a Jet. You never get
a chance to fly it, but instead you are taken to the gunner seat. Moments like
this are still fun, but with Jets a big focus in multiplayer, you would expect a
taste in single-player. Quick-time events are also placed in certain sections
and feel unnecessary. Despite these problems, there's still some fun and memorable moments.
Aswell as campaign and multiplayer, you can play in a selection of CO-OP missions. These are levels taken from campaign but are slightly different. They offer a greater challenge and take some different paths. There's only six available but they are all fun and make use of team work. One of the most compelling reasons to play them are for unqiue weapons that can be unlocked for use in multiplayer.
Overall, Battlefield 3 might not have the strongest campaign, but it holds the most deep and rewarding multiplayer experience in the series yet.
Review by Gareth