Battlefield 3 Review
Welcome back old friend.
The PC community, let’s be frank, doesn’t get as many AAA titles as consoles do. And I’m not talking about genres such as MMOs and RTS games that wouldn’t be “fluid” on a console controller, but games that actually take advantage of the true power of PCs. So when you have a developer like DICE, who’ve built their pedigree on PCs, come back with a title that’s developed with much love for the PC gaming community, that’s something that should be celebrated.
Like many of you, I too was rolling my eyes at EA for trying so hard to compete with the Call of Duty series. All those adverts and not so subtle hints about dropping CoD and coming to Battlefield really was getting on my nerves, to the point where I was losing faith in DICE’s abilities to meet my sky high expectations for Battlefield 3. But DICE delivered, not in the entirety I was expecting, but they delivered just where it mattered.
Now Battlefield, as the series veterans will know, is not about a meaningful singleplayer campaign, but the brilliance of large scale multiplayer battles. So trying to compete with Call of Duty, a series that has historically had strong footing in the singleplayer campaign, seemed overly ambitious. And while DICE did manage to create a scenario that has plausible highlights and some really insane moments of overpowered glee, the whole campaign just comes off as little more than a few plot points hastily thrown together on a lazy afternoon by a team of people who’ve read one too many Tom Clancy novels and have just seen all of Michael Bay’s movies. So pretty much like Call of Duty then, except it’s less crazy, consequently it’s also a humdrum affair for the most part.
Being a AAA title means living up to the objectionable industry FPS standards of today, where a singleplayer campaign with multiple multiplayer modes just isn’t enough anymore, you also have to have co-op missions. Well, there are currently six maps that you can play with another friend, where the entire scenario plays like a mix between some of the most awesome moments of the singleplayer campaign and some extremely intense firefights you experience in multiplayer. I won’t deny, it’s a lot of fun when you’re playing with a friend of yours, but after you go through all the scenarios once, there’s little else to come back for. Sure, I would like to beat my friends’ scores, but I’d rather spend all that time playing multiplayer and getting better stats there.
So now we come to the one part where Battlefield 3 exceeds all expectations, easily making up for the lackluster singleplayer campaign and restrictive co-op missions. There’s a host of modes here, starting from the basics like Rush (32 players), Squad Rush (8 players), Squad Deathmatch (16 players) and returning after a long absence, Team Deathmatch (24 players). In TDM, there’s an “Infantry Only” option that removes all combat vehicles within the game, resulting in a good old fashioned, ground focused, gameplay. I wonder, though, how many people will be playing the other modes, outside of Rush, when the biggest mode that made Battlefield what it is will dominate everyone’s playtime.