It’s been just over a week since Battlefield 3 landed on my desk and while I’d prefer to continue levelling up for a few more weeks before doing a full report it’s most probably about time to give you my thoughts on EA’s attempt at taking down Call of Duty.
And don’t be fooled this is exactly what they are trying to do and while they can’t beat Call of Duty this year have they done enough to make them a serious contender when Battlefield 4 comes out?
Battlefield 3 offers 3 unique gameplay elements, single player; co-op and multiplayer. The single player section can be viewed simply as a training simulator for the much meatier and far better multiplayer section.
The co-op can be viewed as a team mate training simulator for the much meatier and far better multiplayer section.
The multiplayer section is what Battlefield 3 is all about, it’s not about a story or saving the world or anything as low level as that. Battlefield 3 is about teaming up in a squad and decimating your opponents with your tactical know how and massive ability.
So to be fair to the game I’m not even going to review the two training simulators and am only going to talk about the reason this game exists in the first place, the multiplayer.
When first jumping into a game you can choose to fight as either an assault soldier, an engineer, support or recon (ie. Sniper). The assault soldiers also double up as your medics and dispense health packs from the get go. As you rank up you can unlock the defibrillator which allows you to revive recently fallen comrades.
An assault or 2 are vital to holding a building as you can turn your 8 soldiers into 16 with the liberal use of the defibrillator.
The engineer comes packed with a rocketlauncher and a repair tool for taking out or repairing vehicles. These are the guys you want in the tank with you as they can hop out at any time and patch you up before you continue on to dominate the map.
The recon is your sniper, I can’t use the sniper. If it was physically possible I would likely shoot myself in the foot while playing as the sniper. But the sniper is a great class as I can attest to by how many times I was taken out while rushing a MPC or flag from someone in another galaxy.
The support is one of my personal favourites as he comes armed with a LMG for some quality spray and pray gameplay and is also the one who gets to play with the C4. Nothing saying Battlefield like bringing down a building with the enemy holed up inside.
And that’s really the key to what makes Battlefield so different from other titles out there, the tactical destruction has been improved from Battlefield Bad Company 2 and while not everything is destructible you are able to take out pretty much any building that hasn’t been created out of iron.
But here is where I did find a small disappointment, in BFBC2 I used to love being the lumberjack in the tank and taking out an entire forest while out for a leisurely Sunday drive, unfortunately in BF3 they have either tweaked the destruction to be more realistic and that’s why it takes so much more effort to bring down a tree or they decided to give the tree’s some super powers. Either way it’s a little less fun and a little more serious which isn’t really a good thing.
The other big selling point for Battlefield is the liberal use of vehicles. You get tanks, APC’s, helicopters, JETS, and transport vehicles to play with. The helicopters and jets are by far the most difficult to control and yet as you get to grips with them you can start dominating the maps with your aerial prowess.
The tanks are fantastic at striking fear into the hearts of a squad of assault soldiers but be careful of those engineers who can really cause you problems with their rocket launchers.
I haven’t been the least bit disappointed by the vehicles in Battlefield 3, not even the weak but incredibly quick jeeps which are fantastic for turning fully armed soldiers into road kill.
Then we have the maps and ignoring the horrible Metro map that the beta was played on all the maps are great. They are expansive and offer a multitude of ways to attack your targets. It’s very hard to setup choke points that can withstand any reasonable offense which makes for a great free flowing game.
And lastly we have the gameplay types which are broken down into Conquest where you need to dominate flags to win points, or rather make your enemy lose points. Rush where you need to destroy 2 points per stage of the map which makes for some great offense vs defence plays and then a few variations of death match where you simply need to take everyone out.
All in all it’s a great game that’s ludicrously addictive as you level up and unlock new weapons and abilities. But…
There’s something missing from Battlefield 3, it’s not that the game isn’t a lot of fun and well worth the investment. It really is, but it’s not what the hype made it out to be.
Battlefield 3 was meant to be innovative and different, it was going to turn the FPS market on it’s head and show us what we’ve all been missing in our COD induced coma over the last few years.
But in the end it feels like they’ve de-battlefielded the game and taken too many queues from the COD franchise. It feels like in their effort to dethrone Call of Duty they’ve tried to beat it on it’s own ground and that’s a fatal mistake.
Battlefield 3 is an excellent game but so was Battlefield Bad Company 2 and this is just a sequel. The jets are a nice touch, the slightly rejigged class system is possibly better (jury’s still out on that) and the graphics are better but in all honesty I wasn’t blown away by them.
To nutshell that, if you have been looking forward to a sequel to Battlefield Bad Company 2 then Battlefield 3 is exactly what you wanted. It’s everything BFBC2 was plus more. However if you wanted something that felt like a large jump forward in the FPS world then you may be walking away with a bad taste in your mouth.
It’s great, it has a few bugs and glitches that really shouldn’t exist anymore and the servers are having major problems but… it’s that good that it still scores a 9
Design and Presentation: 8/10
I can’t help but feel disappointed at the graphics, they could have done so much better. The foliage isn’t even close and the general look and feel just didn’t blow me away. The audio on the other hand in incredible and the majority of the map designs are fantastic.
The single player is a waste but the multiplayer is going to keep you going for over a year. 365 days of entertainment for R600, that’s fantastic value.
It’s quite a statement in itself that 8.5 feels like a bad score but that’s how much I expected from this game. I expected Battlefield 3 to blow me away and change the FPS landscape forever and in the end it did neither. It’s an incredibly solid, fantastically entertaining online shooter and if that’s your thing then you are going to love Battlefield 3.[Reviewed on a PS3]
Last Updated: November 4, 2011