BATTLEFIELD 3 Review [Xbox360]

The Battlefield 3 review has arrived. Is it everything we hoped for? Read on to find out.

rating: 4.5

Since its announcement, Battlefield 3 has been one of the most anticipated games of the year. It has sparked controversy, mainly in the apparently unavoidable war with CoD, but it has also had fans of the series clinging on to every new bit of information, and every video, that made its way to the internet. The big day has finally arrived though, Battlefield 3 is here, and I have the honour of being able to review it, and the challenge. It is a challenge because it very much seems like two games packaged in one case, aided by the fact that the campaign is on an entirely separate disc to the co-op and multiplayer. As games go, it is difficult to speak about Battlefield 3 without thinking about Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Not just because they€™re part of the same franchise, but because I spent hours on that game, and it might be burnt into my mind. For fans of BFBC2, if you pick up Battlefield 3 in the hopes that the campaign will be similar then you will be disappointed. Not for entirely bad reasons though. It has been said in various other reviews floating about the net that the campaign is something of a letdown in general. It has all of your usual modern war type antics. You have your Russians, some terrorists, a world crisis and the old favourite of the Middle East. It can be argued that considering the setting that this cannot be avoided, but the fact unfortunately remains that the charm that has been present in previous games in the series is rather absent in Battlefield 3. It makes for a more serious tone, but by all means this is not a bad thing, it just depends on what you are looking for in a campaign. A rather odd addition, for me anyway, to the campaign in the use of quick time events. These tend to pop up when you€™re having a one-on-one fist fight with an enemy, with the usual €˜press this button now€™ type thing. While I appreciate these are used in a few games, I really didn€™t see the need for it in Battlefield 3. While the campaign is relatively standard in story, it is visually stunning. When you start up you will be asked to install a HD texture pack, it takes up 1.5GB of your hard-drive but trust me, it is absolutely needed unless you want to be playing with graphics akin to the PS2. For me it is small details in the visuals that make the campaign that bit more worth playing, particularly aspects like water, or dust clinging to the screen, or looking at the glass of the hatch of your jet and being able to pick out all the scratches and imperfections. In conjunction to the details in the visuals, is the work that has been done with the sound. Sound is something I have always thought the guys at DICE excel at. One of the best examples of this that I can think of is relatively early on in the campaign. You walk through the belly of an aircraft carrier out at sea, things are muffled but you€™re inside, that€™s expected. When you then go outside to get to the deck noise washes over you from engines and the sea. Again, once you put your helmet on everything is suddenly muffled again. Just in that short instance it is easy to see the work that went into the sound of the game. On the whole if you are looking for an open and easy campaign, this is not the game you are looking for. It plays the way it has been scripted and often you will feel like you€™re in for the rather pretty ride. This should not put you off playing though; as shooter campaigns go I still feel it is one that is worth playing, while it is scripted almost to a fault, it is still a challenge and an enjoyable experience. As I said earlier Battlefield 3 is very much a tale of two games, and where the campaign felt restrictive the multiplayer makes up for in the sheer maelstrom that is a multiplayer match. For those unfamiliar with a Battlefield multiplayer experience you will, I hope, be pleasantly surprised. It is very much a team effort, even more so in modes such as Rush, with a constantly changing array of tactics and environment, it is rare to get a game that is ever the same as a previous one. One thing I have consistently said about a Battlefield multiplayer experience is that it is fun. So much fun, that if you die, it is still fun. I cannot count the number of times I€™ve jumped into a jeep, or any other vehicle for that matter, with some team mates just in the interest of shenanigans and tomfoolery. It doesn€™t seem to induce the same kind of rage that other games seem to, it really is a game of €˜team spirit€™. This team ideal is engrained into the multiplayer; you play in squads of 4 players, who then form the larger teams who are at war. It€™s a somewhat odd experience when even with not using the mic everyone knows to work in their squads, and support the team as a whole, rather than look out for themselves only. Okay so this is admittedly aided by the fact that one of the ways to score points is by using support actions such as healing other players or resupplying their ammo stocks, but it works regardless. Despite the big focus on team work, this does not mean that your role is lost. As an individual you can turn the tide of a battle, or at least a section of it, be it by rushing in as an Assault class and overwhelming them with numbers, picking people off as a Recon or just aiding via support actions. Everything counts. As may be expected, the more objective based modes like Rush and Conquest seem to have more of a place in Battlefield 3 than the €˜standards€™ such as Team Death Match, which in comparison seem rather boring, but viewed on their own TDM matches are as crazy and fast paced as any other game mode. You are able to go prone now, something that wasn€™t available in the Bad Company games, but think again if you plan on camping as a sniper. Stay still too long and your sight will glint in the sun, essentially broadcasting where you are sat. Also new to the game is the introduction of Co-op mode. These missions provide two player slices of gameplay, be it a mission providing ground cover for a squad, covering fire for each other as your move up in another mission, or something like a horde mode. There is a little something for everyone. On the whole, Battlefield 3 is the game I expected. While the campaign was a slight letdown compared to other DICE titles, the multiplayer more than made up for it. Out now, Battlefield 3 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Battlefield 3 is available now on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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