The combination of constant visual feedback - real-time map, graphical overlay, etc - serves to focus the combatants’ attention on certain areas of the map, keeping the action pulsating while never feeling in anyway limiting.
If, for example, you simply want to log in, grab a jet and go wing-to-wing with the flyboys of the opposition’s army, then that’s entirely up to you. Similarly, if you want to head into the nearest concentration of concealing foliage and snipe at unsuspecting hostiles from half a mile away, you can. It’s as simple, and open, as that.
Iran here but will go forward more slowly
There are some blockbuster moves thrown in too. One map has the player base-jump from one compound to the next to get to subsequent objectives. Away from such extravagance, the more practical side of the game provides a choice of role - soldier, engineer, assault or recon – all with their own pros and cons. Gameplay options reintroduce Rush (attacking or defending set objectives) and Conquest (capture and hold). In a nod to the Call of Duty brigade, Battlefield gets team deathmatch.
An assortment of co-operative missions has also been thrown in for good measure, most ramping up difficulty to maddening heights as seemingly unending waves of enemies attack, all staged in environments borrowed from the single-player game.
A cagey affair
Occasional missions which task players to complete objectives while sharing vehicles make for a neat twist. That said, flying a helicopter is as likely to end in an argument as it is in triumph – something my 20-plus failed attempts at that very level can attest to.
In fact, once suitably up to speed, the only thing out there to spoil your enjoyment is other players. Get too many glory hunters, or people playing just to annoy - seriously, how much time do these people have on their hands? - and it’s time to head to pastures new.
Shooting through alleys
Get a bunch working together, however, and you’re in for a treat. Battlefield 3 consistently delivering some of the closest, most evenly contested battles I’ve experienced in a game of this ilk.
It’s rapidly becoming one of the most confusing aspects of the modern, multifaceted FPS: what do you review, the single-player game, the multiplayer option, or attempt to come up with some kind of average between the two? Battlefield 3 delivers a fair to middling, generic solo experience - albeit one with very pretty visuals - but then complements that with a huge and varied multiplayer component which will have all but the most hardy competitor running for cover.
If you’re going into this with no intention of going online then there are better action-adventure alternatives out there – Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City and Deus Ex: Human Revolution to name but three. But if you’re looking for deep, rewarding multiplayer then look no further. ®
More Games Reviews
Sorry but I won't be buying this one
At least not until LAN play is once again on the table.
EA has been continuously constraining the Battlefield franchise. In BF 1942 (the first title), you could have your LAN server, with bots if you wanted (ie not all human players) and you could choose among whatever factions were available for fighting on the map of your choice (one size).
This situation remained in the series up to and including BF Vietnam (the last patch of which controlled the foliage option for the bots and made the game a real pleasure). Then we got BF2, and the options diminished.
In BF2, you could choose map sizes to correspond to your number of players. A great option, until you found out that said option was not available for LAN players, only for official (pay-for) servers. LAN servers (ie your server) could only run the small maps for 16 players.
That was corrected by some community map makers who did a bang-up job of saying "screw that" and made the huge 64-player maps available for LAN play, with bots.
Then, of course, there was the progression system, not available for LAN players at all because you had to be on a public server to be able to use it. In itself, it was not really a problem, except that your LAN server would not allow you to play with stuff you hadn't unlocked on public servers. So you had the incredible situation of being forced to use the basic (lame) weapons on your private server. Why not the best ones ? To force you to play on public servers, of course.
So the community once again rolled up its sleeves and birthed a personal ranking server for BF2. Then the war started. With each patch and major update, EA did something that would break the personal server functionality, and the intelligent people behind said server would toil day and night to produce a patch to the ranking server in record time.
In the end, it became simply ridiculous.
Finally, with BF2 gone was the time where you could choose the factions for the maps. They were hard-coded into the map rules. Sure, there is certainly some very good explanation for that, but let's be realistic, hmm ? If they could do it in the previous versions, there really isn't any technical problem with making such freedom of choice available in BF2. I think it was to avoid certain "political" issues, like peoply whinging over the fact that some public server had Euro forces fighting against US Marines.
Now EA has entirely removed the LAN option. Maybe it's temporary (because that happened in BF2 as well, and EA relented with a patch), maybe it isn't. But one thing is certain : EA is once again doing everything it can to lock down the game and prevent people from enjoying it the way they want to. And I do not want to be subject to the mind-numbing amount of griefers and morons that infest public servers like lice.
With BF2 I did the resistance thing. I installed the official patches, and went hunting for the private ranking server patches. My friends and I played BF2 and the patch game for over two years. We had loads of fun, even though 58 out of 64 players were bots. Maybe even because of that.
I will not submit to the same shenanigans again. If EA does not open up BF3, allow LAN parties and private ranking servers, then fine. What it means is that BF3 is not a game for me and I will not buy it or play it.
The promotional material is stunning, for sure, but my friends and I have other games that are fun to play and don't limit us on purpose.
We'll find the Frostbite engine in some other game that is more gamer-friendly anyway.
I would say a few things against it
The 360 version looks unbelievably bad without the texture pack - we're talking N64 quality textures in places, just checking out review sites.
The PC version doesn't have LAN play or bots, and requires EA's shite.
Because of the above, pass.
Which is why you play on a console where you've already signed away all rights to the data it can get hold of.
Too bad no information was given about the necessity to install spyware on your computer to play Battlefield 3. Origin scours the computer to see if it can find any personal data to peruse.
I wouldn't go as far as awesome.
Average, more like.
No arguments about multi-player - it is brilliant in-game. The part that totally negates that piece of awesomeness for me are the loooong load times, and - even worse - the fact that you can only quit the game in-game, and not between game sessions. WFT?!?