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Battlefield 3 Review

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Developer: DICE Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 25, 2011 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Step aside Call of Duty – there’s a new sheriff in town. Battlefield 3 launched to an enormous marketing campaign blitz blanket televisions and websites with $50 million worth of ads. On display was a game that looked extremely promising with its awe-inspiring graphics and fast-paced action. The good news is that the game lives up to expectations, perhaps even surpassing them.

While Battlefield has long been a PC gaming staple, console gamers have mostly focused on Call of Duty. EA wants to change that with Battlefield 3. The focus is clearly on multi-player, although a single-player campaign also exists. It seems more like a generic after-thought and is clearly a rip-off of Modern Warfare’s Middle Eastern levels, gunship missions and over-the-top action.

The multi-player is where most people will find themselves in Battlefield 3. Like almost all EA games these days it requires an online game pass, which basically means that if you buy the game used you will need to pay EA money just to get online. We haven’t hidden the fact on this site that online passes are an assault on people’s property rights (and it’s worth noting that Call of Duty still does not use them), so the value of the game takes a hit from that standpoint.

Even with that said, Battlefield 3 is a superior multi-player experience. It feels like the next logical evolution in online shooters while Call of Duty remains unchanged for the past five years. Minor annoyances in Call of Duty, such as the inability to customize your weapon load-out, are addressed in Battlefield 3. Much larger complaints, such as the ever-annoying problem of campers in Call of Duty, are made much more difficult in Battlefield 3 with an emphasis on teamwork and open levels rather than hard-to-find camping spots.

The maps are sprawling, graphically stunning, and highly destructible. You may think that you are safe inside of a building, but have your back to it for just a few seconds and a tank shell could bring the entire wall crumbling down. I am usually not a big fan of vehicular combat, especially in first-person shooters. Battlefield 3 does it in a way that is not only balanced, but actually makes sense. This game would be unplayable if vehicles were not included due to the size of the maps.

By far the most consistent annoyance in Battlefield 3 is the unpredictable nature of spawn points. You will often start a match either facing an enemy or having one within a few feet looking directly at you. This is especially a problem in the Team Deathmatch mode where the maps have been condensed. Other modes allow you to spawn on your squad mates wherever they are on the map, so if you spawn in the middle of a gun fight it is your fault and not the game’s.

Unlike Call of Duty, which does a poor job of encouraging teamwork, Battlefield 3 puts a heavy emphasis on it. Really it is imperative in certain game modes. Try taking out an enemy base by planting bombs without the assistance of your team. This innovative mode gives you two initial targets and a limit of only seventy-five lives. If you run out of lives, it’s game over. The team on defense simply has to prevent both targets from setting off. If both targets do go off, however, a new set of two targets become the focus of action. Ultimately it takes three different sets of two targets to win this mode, so on paper the defense has an advantage, but again, it takes a good amount of cooperation when you are being assaulted with everything from Humvees, tanks, fighter jets and helicopters.

Battlefield 3 is the game for you if you like online first-person shooting action. I would go so far as saying that it is the king of online multi-player. The number of options given to you will satisfy any gamer. Want to be a sniper? Sure thing. How about a mechanic that can repair vehicles? They have that too. If driving tanks is your thing or flying helicopters, Battlefield 3 will give you a hard-on. It plays like a refined version of last year’s moderately well-received Medal of Honor.

Finally a game has come along that can proudly claim to have surpassed Call of Duty in a number of areas. Fanboys from both camps will argue over the merits of that argument. I’ll certainly be the first to admit that it depends on your style of play. However, a few things are indisputable. Battlefield 3 looks like a crisp shooter with graphics that closely resemble real-life while Call of Duty is using an engine that is beginning to look dated. Battlefield 3’s multi-player puts a heavier emphasis on teamwork and its game modes punish camping. I still think that Call of Duty has a better control scheme and streamlined menu system, but it has changed so little that they have allowed the competition to out-innovate. If you have to choose between the two, Battlefield 3 is the more memorable online experience.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.1 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review