Battlefield 3 is the latest installment in the very popular Battlefield series by DICE. Most compare it to the equally as popular Call of Duty series, however they are both very different. The multiplayer, (arguably the most important aspect of this game), is a one of a kind and allows for the player to fully immerse themselves in the game.
Introduced to Battlefield 3 recently was its Premium service. The service provides to those who purchase it all DLC packs that will be released, which judging by the calendar will give players a good year of Battlefield action. Additionally, all who become Premium members will gain two weeks early access to the DLC packs. Periodically, there will also be events that allow for players to gain double experience, as well as videos and guides provided. If you haven’t bought any of the DLC that has been released yet, for the five packs alone it is well worth your money. Of course, Digitally Downloaded will be providing reviews of future DLC packs when they get released.
The campaign is set within 2014. Interrogated by American officials, the story is told in retrospect. I want to say I was interested, but really I wasn’t. It’s all the same. Run for a little bit. Explosion. Shoot all the enemies. Rinse and repeat. Luckily, the amazing Frostbite engine somewhat makes the environment experience a different and unexpected one every time. The destructible cover breaks down with every shot. What may be safe one second may be a death trap another.
The multiplayer though is where this game really shines. It’s simply amazing what Battlefield is able to produce. Sadly, the console versions of the game lose the 64-player matches, but a full game is still a blast to play. In most game modes, within the two teams there are squads. You are able to play solo but it is encouraged to work as a team. Squad members are able to spawn near one another, assuming that they haven’t been shot down themselves. As long as one member can stay alive, the group can continually re-group and assist in achieving their desired outcome.
There are four classes within Battlefield 3. The Assault class fights with assault rifles, whilst also being the medic for the team. Not only can they provide med-packs, but they can also revive members who have been shot and haven’t respawned yet. One of the issues that have been fixed from prior games is that now, once revived, you can choose to re-spawn rather than being forced to accept it. The support class focuses on light weaponry, as well as providing ammunition. Additionally, he has an arsenal that is capable of destroying enemy ground and air units. The Engineer is best suited to vehicles, capable of repairing yours as well as damaging the enemies. The Recon class is best suited to snipers. They can also be used to spot the enemy as well as placing spawn beacons.
In Battlefield 3, you’re rewarded for playing the classes you’re good with. If you main with Recon, not only will you increase your rank but you will gain additional weaponry in the Recon class. Although most like to switch around given the circumstance, if you spend your time with one class, you will find yourself underpowered when moving to another.
When combined with the squad system, you can have one squad that specializes in sniping the enemy, using voice-chat to point out possible blind spots for one another. Whilst you can have one squad that focuses on assaulting the enemy, providing health on the front line in tough times.
A problem that arises with the squad system, at least on PS3, is that not a lot of users utilize the voice-chat. It won’t ruin your game, but the experience may be easier, and a lot more enjoyable if your whole squad used it (given the bile most kids blurt out on these services, this is quite possibly a good thing… – ed).
There are a bunch of game modes in Battlefield 3, and your choices are expanding thanks to DLC packs that are being released. Conquest is your bread and butter. Two teams fight for the control of control points or flags. Whenever a team controls a flag, team members can spawn at that location. What determines who wins are the tickets held by each team. Every time someone respawns they lose a ticket. Revives don’t count (so all of the Assault class should have their defibrillator equipped). However, when one team controls a majority of flags the other team begins to bleed tickets.
The conquest mode has been enhanced through the two latest DLC installments, Back To Karkand and the latest Close Quarters with Conquest Assault and Conquest Domination respectively. Assault sees one team placed as attackers and one as defenders. At the start of the match the defenders have all flags captured, and the attackers (with an increased amount of tickets) has to try and capture the points. Domination matches occur in maps with narrow passageways, reminiscent of old first person shooters such as GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. Flags capture very quickly (only takes a few seconds with one player opposed to about twenty), however the flags are closely placed together so if you do happen to capture all three on the map it won’t be for long.
First introduced in Bad Company, Rush has now become a staple in Battlefield. One team is attacking while the other defends two different ‘M-COM’ stations. Each match is spread over a few stages. After the attackers take two stations, they move forward and the defenders move backwards. It may sound simple, but a good defense will find the choke points in each map, holding the attackers back. It will take a good squad, and good communication to break through and take the objective.
Deathmatch makes an appearance in three forms, regular deathmatch, team and squad. Your regular deathmatch is a free-for-all. Team deathmatch has two teams with squads, whilst squad deathmatch pits four squads against one another.
The Frostbite engine, as mentioned earlier, really shines in multiplayer. Your environment is constantly changing, and for most of the times it’s not for the better. Holes emerge in walls so if you’re not careful your entire squad can be flanked.
The recent DLC pack, Close Quarters is such a great addition to the game. Most of the maps have large expansive areas with some narrow corridors which is all fun, but Close Quarters brings me back to my roots. As I mentioned earlier, the small corridors with lots of corners is just a shining a nostalgic spotlight of past first-person-shooters.
With it you’re given the newest mode Gun Master. All players start of with a pistol, and through killing others they are able to upgrade their weapon, until they get to the knife. A kill with that and you win the game. It’s not an original concept, inspired from Counterstrike and Call of Duty, but it’s still fun. It only takes place on the Close Quarter maps, which tight corners leads to a lot of getting shot in the back.
Battlefield 3 also offers a co-op campaign, separate to the single-player campaign, however I was unable to check it out for this review.
Battlefield 3 is just a great game. Its single player could be improved, but a lot of people wouldn’t haven even played through the entire campaign. With its squad-based multiplayer, and its fun game modes it’s hard to find genuine, serious, gameplay flaws. Any shooter fan should pick this up. Additionally, the Premium service is a great purchase, for players new and old. It will provide months worth of new content at a great price.
– Sam M
Solid review. I like my FPS games in small doses, but overall I think I enjoyed the online of BF3 more than MW3.
A problem that arises with the squad system, at least on PS3, is that not a lot of users utilize the voice-chat. It won’t ruin your game, but the experience may be easier, and a lot more enjoyable if your whole squad used it (given the bile most kids blurt out on these services, this is quite possibly a good thing… – ed)."
Seems to be the case with most games, as for the majority of users not utilizing voice-chat. When I played the Beta of this on the PS3 though, Keith from RespawnAction and I did use voice-chat either by our cells or via Skype. It's definitely beneficial to have a teammate you can communicate with, and try to plan different attacks.
Unfortunately, while I had a lot of fun with the Beta, the Beta showed me why I wouldn't play the game very much…the matches take a good bit of time to complete, and my gaming is a lot more sporadic now, and not like it used to be when I could sit down for a few hours straight and play.
Random question, but am I the only person that, when playing shooters online with random people, automatically mutes everyone?
Tactics are just not worth listening to the bile over 😛
No lol, you're not the only one- but I think we're probably in the minority. I don't even really play multiplayer modes any more (on PS3 or XBL) for just this reason. It's just not all that much fun.
Nope. That's my was my complaint about the online in the Beta, there was not "MUTE ALL" button easily accessible that I can remember, and I had to spam my list every single time muting the people blabbering about chewing bubble gum, or drinking cups of tea (who drinks tea!). I didn't want to hear that garbage.
Keith and I were talking to each other directly, so there was no other feedback from other people.
Agreed. It's enough to make me wonder whether I need to get a new hobby. Surely the filmgoer community is not as relentlessly juvenile.
Sounds to me like you got the good ones 😉 I generally have to listen to Rap/ Metal music, homophobia and racism.
I'm not entirely sure that's true if action/sci-fi/fantasy buffs are anything to go by. And the superhero movie fans! Good lord, the superhero fans… 😉
My multi-heyday was Halo 2 BTW. I haven't really gotten into a shooter (or anything else) online since.
Oh yes, good point. The superhero fans… *shudders*.
Mabye I'll just go hang out with the Star Trek people. They realise they're nerds, and they're cool with that 😛
The online multiplayer game I got most into was Battle for Middle Earth. God that was a great RTS. In terms of shooters, it was the original Aliens Vs Predator. Way back. Before voice chat could ruin games.
AvP was great, lots of good memories there!
BTW- Totally OT, but what are you're thoughts on the JJ Abrams Star Trek? I miss the Next Gen universe.
I loved it. I thought it was the 'reboot' the series needed 🙂 I hope a sequel continues the good work Abrams did.
I think that this review score is spot on, I stepped away from BF3 for a long time pretty much since the initial month of playing rite after launch i got sick of the same old but then i bought the close quarters maps and I am blown away. they really are fun