Review by SilentXwing
Since 2002, EA and Digital Illusions CE (DiCE) have brought us many games in the critically acclaimed Battlefield series. From the gritty World War II backdrops in Battlefield 1942 to the Far East madness of Battlefield: Vietnam, all the way to the modern-day strategics of Battlefield 2 (and its many add-ons) and the Bad Company games as well, this is a series that has seen its share of ups and downs over the past 10 years. The long-awaited sequel to one of 2005's most popular multiplayer games fails to disappoint, showing that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.
The game is split between two discs: Disc 1 is the Multiplayer/Co-Op disc, which includes online functions through Xbox Live. Disc 2 is the Single Player Campaign, which may seem more akin to the recent Bad Company series. For the single-player, you play as a handful of different characters, though the main story revolves around your first character, Staff Sergeant Henry "Black" Blackburn. He is recounting his previous operations to a pair of CIA agents who have brought him in for interrogation. As the game develops, you learn more about his original mission, the people he was sent to take out, and the operations that nearly cost him his life. The campaign, while not nearly as riveting or controversial as others, adds flavor to the overal process of the game and, despite its weakness, is worth a playthrough or two, if you feel it's that good.
The online multiplayer is where this game (and many others like it) make their money. Much like other first-person shooters, there are multiple modes to play, but unfortunately, the variety is lacking. To be honest, though, that is the only thing I have wrong with it. Everything else about it is a cut above the rest. You choose your loadout (Assault, Support, Engineer, and Recon) much like Battlefield 2, and you take to the field to complete your mission. The modes range from Domination-style rules (Conquest or Rush) or simple "kill the other guys" rules (Team Deathmatch or Squad Deathmatch), and with the use of squad-based combat, the game becomes more engaging and easier to look after; keeping track of a group of 3 or 4 is much less cluttered than keeping track of a team of 8 or more, in my opinion. The maps are generously large, with much ground to cover, similar to what was seen in the previous Battlefield games. While this seems unnecessary in smaller matchups, the larger matchups (24-player on Xbox and PS3, up to 64 on PC) are more suited for these ample playing fields. The game itself is tougher to master than other FPS's of its kind, which can be frustrating, but only frustrating to the point where you want to keep trying to better yourself. Rather than bother with perks, killstreaks or other nonsense, the game also takes a realistic approach to gameplay. Weapon upgrades are earned with continued success with that particular weapon or loadout, and vehicle upgrades are earned with continued success with that particular vehicle, and...
Whoa, hold up. I totally forgot to mention...there are vehicles in this game! Actual ones you can control, not like that other big-money action franchise. Humvees, tanks, jets, helicopters, all that good stuff is yours for the driving...and destroying, of course. Get a few friends in the chopper and run down an enemy outpost with an onslaught of rockets and .50 caliber gunfire. Music to my ears.
Speaking of which, the sound is quite impressive with this game. Gunfire sounds are comparable to their real life counterparts, and the overall atmosphere is swimming with the deafening boom of tank rounds, the shouting of brothers in arms, and the roar of a jet ripping through the air. Sure, it doesn't have a powerful score written and performed by an acclaimed composer/scorewriter, but when a game can bank on a high-quality sound like this, no music is really needed, to be quite honest.
The graphics...wow, I'm still catching my breath from all the awesome visuals. The game uses the new Frostbite 2 engine, which is capable of rendering high-quality graphics and more detail in terms of rendering buildings and landscapes, as well as damage done to structures. Firing tank rounds at a building breaks it away at an increasing rate, until just the supports are there. In other words, don't hide in a building too long when an Abrams tank is rolling around; you WILL get killed eventually. The character models also run off of ANT technology, used in EA Sports games like the FIFA series, which allows for more realistic character movements and interactions such as dragging bodies or mounting weapons to terrain. All in all, an amazing aspect of the game that speaks volumes about where EA and DiCE are headed with this series.
So, that's basically all I have to say about this fine piece of game. A well-crafted experience that, despite few kinks and some desired tweaks, will keep you coming back for more. If you are still on the fence as to where you want to take your online combat, I strongly recommend heading out to the Battlefield...and holding all your Calls, while you're at it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/18/12
Game Release: Battlefield 3 (Limited Edition) (US, 10/25/11)
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