First Person Shooter: Battlefield 3 review

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Battlefield 3 boxPlatforms: Xbox 360, PS3 & PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Dice
Rating: 18 Release
Date: Out Now
Review Author: David Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 


Storyline

After much anticipation and hype, EA's Battlefield 3 is finally here. Will it be good enough to challenge Activisions critically acclaimed, Call of Duty series? Or will it fail in its attempts to take the FPS crown once and for all.

Battlefield 3 follows the story of Sgt Blackburn, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps leading a small squad of soldiers on a search and rescue mission. Their task is to locate fellow U.S. patrol squad investigating a possible chemical weapons site in Kurdistan, Iraq. The plot unfolds in the form of various interrogation cut scenes as Blackburn is questioned by two forceful CIA agents. Each mission is a flashback of previous events as Blackburn desperately tries to explain his side of the story to the CIA, but why is he being interrogated?

Battlefield 3 screenshot 1

The Battlefield campaign does follow the usual FPS cliché route, but the epic set pieces and interesting plot twists will keep you entertained throughout the six hour campaign.

Playability

This is where Battlefield 3 really differs from other shooters in the genre; going down the route of realism as opposed to arcade action. Playing through the campaign on hard was a challenging yet rewarding experience, without auto aim to assist you, the action can be extremely intense. Like most other FPS games, Battlefield 3 has a regenerating health system but at times one bullet from the PLR army is enough to kill you instantly.

Physics play a big part in the campaign and online experience. Thanks to EA's new Frostbite 2 engine, bullets fired from long distances suffer from bullet drop. This creates a whole new challenge for any of you budding snipers out there. Another plus point of the physics engine is simply the way you move around the warzone, you can feel the weight behind every movement you make, from hurdling a low obstacle in your path to taking aim to fire on the enemy. Everything about the experience feels extremely authentic.

Presentation

With months and highly impressive looking trailers emerging on the internet in the build up to release much has been made of the graphics in Battlefield 3. With the PC obviously leading the way in this respect, the consoles versions had a lot to live up to, thankfully they did not disappoint.

Battlefield 3 screenshot 2

Having installed the HD visuals pack every location in the game looks incredible: From the war torn streets of Kurdistan to a fast moving subway train, Battlefield 3's visuals are top of the FPS class. This also goes for the sound effects in the game, with each weapon offering its own incredible audio punch that resonates and echoes around the battlefield.

Multiplayer

For a lot of gamers, online multiplayer is the most important factor for the many first person shooters on the market. With the competitive nature of the multiplayer keeping users coming back for hours on end. Call of Duty has led the way on consoles in this respect but the Battlefield series has always maintained a large following. Often these two games are pitted against each other in a straight comparison to determine which is better but in reality the online multiplayer couldn't be more different. Much like the single player campaign, Dice have gone down the route of realism whereas the Call of Duty series has very much gone for arcade action.

The two main modes in Battlefields online multiplayer are Rush and Conquest. Conquest has both teams fighting it out for control over various points on the map. The team that holds each point for the longest wins the round. Rush sets one team as attackers and the other as defenders. It is the attacking teams job to destroy two M-COMM stations being heavily guarded by the defending team, if they manage to do so the map expands adding two more M-COMM stations to attack. Rush is my personal favourite mode as the feeling of advancing with your team across the huge maps to the next target is something you cannot find in other FPS titles.

Battlefield 3 screenshot 3

Vehicles play a large part in the multiplayer experience. With Tanks, Jeeps, Helicopters and Fighter Jets to choose from, whichever team uses them to their advantage the best will often come out on top of the battle.

Another huge difference to Battlefield's online play is the ability to choose different classes. There are four classes to choose from, Engineer, Assault, Support and Recon. Each class enables the user to play each round in a number styles. As an Assault soldier, not only are you able to shoot the enemy, you also have the ability to provide your team with health packs or revive any fallen comrades. The Engineer class allows you to repair damaged vehicles or place anti tank mines. The inclusion of the class system adds greatly to the team work within the game, it also rewards gamers for using their special abilities, for example reviving a team mate rewards you with the same amount of points as killing an enemy.

Best Points

The main highlight of Battlefield 3 is the Multiplayer. Offering huge variety in customization, vast warzone environments and a great sense of teamwork. The Frostbite 2 engine is another huge plus point for the game, offering incredible sound effects and similarly impressive graphics with destructible environments. The single player campaign is very well told and offers a few twists and turns and epic set pieces along the way, it is quite short but that is nothing out of the ordinary nowadays. The inclusion of some co-op missions is another great addition to keep you coming back for more.

Worst Points

During the campaign I did come across a few minor bugs. On a couple of occasions my allies would walk through doors instead of opening them and in one instance a well placed grenade sent my enemy rocketing 100 meters into the air. None of these issues were enough to ruin the experience but will hopefully be ironed out in time for Battlefield 4. Some gamers might be put off by the steep learning curve within the multiplayer. Having gotten used to the pick up and play FPS games over the years, Battlefield's realism could prove to be a shock to the system for some players.

Battlefield 3 screenshot 4

Overall

5/5 - Battlefield 3 is an incredible game. The online multiplayer is the overall star of the show here, immensely authentic action fought over vast areas of terrain with a huge sense of teamwork will keep you coming back for months on end. The Frostbite 2 engine can be breath taking at times as buildings crumble around you and your squad in the heat of the battle. Add to this a solid solo campaign and the added bonus of some co-op missions, Battlefield 3 is a must have title for any of you shooter fans out there.