From the first second it looked fantastic. Sublime. A perfect combo of graphics and attempts to murder my lovingly crafted PC. Never before, not even in the likes of Crysis, have I seen this much beauty packed into 1 PC game. Even with all settings on low it looks like a masterpiece, something done by one of the great artists of our ages. Standard Definition videos do not flatter this game, they make it feel underdressed, the viewers are only seeing the standard, nothing special but the people playing the games know just how jaw-dropping the scenes are.
I honestly expected a little more from the singleplayer but these days it seems if it has explosions and around 5 hours of missions then it should be the only thing in a military first-person shooter that you experience alone.
And a decent singleplayer experience is just what dice served up, filled with the old Russian bad guys and plot to blow up New York. EA were trying to beat Call of Duty but it seems they just ended up making the same singleplayer game as their slightly bigger competitors. More of the same as your competitors with the same idea may sell but it never makes it sell more.
This was of little importance of course. What really matters in these games is the multiplayer. In theory Battlefield‘s multiplayer is a great blend of teamwork and big guns, combining the 2 best aspects of war games and mashing them in with prone – a feature that has not been seen in the Battlefield franchise of years. All of these features combined can surely take down the might of Call of Duty MW3 which is in all probability the same game as they released 4 years ago. That was what Electronic Arts believed, so they made a game that struck the target market where Activision did not.
Call of Duty caters to the casual market, whereas Electronic Arts decided that the hardcore PC player should be playing their games. If they can’t win in sales they can win in their audiences skill level would be another thought running through EA’s CEO’s mind when marketing this game. His tactics here seem to have worked, you have people of very high skill level who have undoubtedly been playing First Person Shooters with their keyboard and mouse for years, so much their gameplay is near impeccable.
Of course all these professional champions who are skilled enough to induce rage in the opposing team and clear entire servers makes it hard for people who are not natural-born perfectionists at military FPS’s with a keyboard and mouse (such as myself) to get a foot in the door. Thankfully EA have realised all the new arrivals to their franchise have to learn to play well with friends somewhere and have put in a superb co-op mode, based on the missions in the campaign. For me these missions are of a higher quality than those in the campaign so I think we can be expecting some DLC for those missions.
The Multiplayer maps, as always in the Battlefield franchise, are huge. The highlight map has to be Seine Crossing, with house to house action unseen in a game this large. An honourable mention though to Caspian Border, I just can’t resist hopping in the jets whose only purpose seems to be crashing, going far to fast and blowing up other jets. More useful are the helicopters. Though hard to master they can act as valuable tools in the heat of battle, whether it be covering a bomb sites and conquest flag or troop transports to swiftly manoeuvre your men from one side of the fantastic and beautiful map to the opposite end, and drop them off at a bomb site and rain down hot lead from the heavens to stop them being slaughtered by the mass of enemy troops on the opposing team.
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64 players has to be one of the best features, bringing the constant action up to the fast pace of Call of Duty at times, but people nick the vehicles so you often have to think (and walk) on your feet. At this point I have made the game seem like a paradise nobody but the sternest anti-FPS gamers could hope to resist the allure of. Sadly this idea I planted in your head with this review is quite mistaken. I absolutely despise this game as much as I love it.
To be specific I detest the EA servers that host the multiplayer games and co-op. The game is riddled with holes (not bullet ones either) and glitches. It will crash for no reason and refuses to run if I have steam open. Origin is terrible and even more shocking is the battlelog system implemented. It was quite obviously a rushed response to Call of Duty‘s Elite service and it really shows. Whatever happened to using in game menus EA? Tiptoeing outside the regular gaming box with their in-game things was a terrible idea and really marks this game down purely for awkwardness with doing anything with your friends.
Joining a game is hell, servers will be full the moment you click join and if you by some unearthly miracle do manage to get into a game with 3 other friends in tow you shall be split up into different squads, forcing you to delve into the multiplayer in-game menus, which I have to say are superb, and leaving your squad and joining another.
EA have been so badly engrossed in their war with Activision over their sales they forgot to produce a great game, which is why I am giving Battlefield 3 a 7. Not because it isn’t good, but out of pure frustration that Dice could have done a far superior job sorting out the game.