Battlefield 3 Review
Welcome back old friend.
The Conquest mode with up to 64 players on one huge map with 5 points to capture (multiple King of the Hill) is where the majority of Battlefield’s player base will remain, as indeed was evidenced by browsing the servers throughout my time playing the multiplayer. This one mode is where everybody will find a comfortable spot for themselves and then fulfill their roles as part of a large team while the battle progresses. And I’m not talking about the four types of roles here where as a Recon you can just hang back and snipe from a distance, or as a soldier you always rushing guns blazing into the enemy forces. Despite all the class segregation, the way DICE has allotted different weapons and gadgets to each class means you can change the “gameplay” to whatever you like.
So I can be an assault class and never kill a soldier or two in the entire round, yet still be on the top of the leaderboards because I was always on the frontlines distributing health packs and reviving teammates. I’m always in the thick of the action, but never directly a part of it, and still managing to have as much fun as any other player.
I haven’t flown a jet, nor have I tried to, as I leave those scarce assets to people who are clearly more qualified than me. Still, no matter what vehicle you drive or what class you play, everybody’s actions contribute to your team winning. So whether it’s an assault guy who’s just handing out health packs, or a sniper who’s tracking a jet with his SOFLAM for friendly engineers to rip their rocket launchers or tanks annihilating enemy forces both on the ground and in air, everybody can find some role that makes them happy, a pace with which they’re comfortable with. And the best part is that on 64 player map, you’re always in this state of mind that you’re part of a huge conflict and everybody around you is actively trying to accomplish something. There is a sense of visceral intensity and cold calculated shots that can only be experienced on the PC’s 64 player maps.
Another thing console gamers will never get to experience are Battlefield 3’s graphics. To say that the game looks amazing is like saying a brilliantly cooked filet mignon tastes great after someone’s been on the sea for years with nothing but fish to eat. And after the whole debacle with the DX9 release of Crysis 2, the PC industry hasn’t really seen a game to gloat about since the original Crysis. Battlefield 3 is literally why you’re going to upgrade your two year, heck even a year old, machine. Obviously not everything, but a beefy CPU and GPU are par for the course. And yes, there’s not as much real-time destruction as we have seen in Bad Company 2, but the environment does start to deteriorate very soon, with realistic chunks coming off rather than pre-defined blocks in a wall. And obviously you can always pull out an RPG or shell a wall with a tank should some pesky enemy scurry behind it for cover.
Another interesting feature for the PC version is the battlelog through which everyone has to go through on a browser page since there’s no Main Menu in Battlefield 3. To launch the game via Origin means to load up the Battlefield battlelog page which has all of your gameplay stats, awards, unlocks, etc. It is through here that you will start the singleplayer campaign, or get into a co-op mission or browse the server list. Adding friends on this is pretty easy, via Xbox Live, Facebook, etc. and all of you award unlocks and level ups will be published on a Facebook wall type interface that’s cross-platform compatible. Obviously this is something you can completely ignore and jump straight into the game if you want to.
Battlefield 3 is a representation of all that PC gaming stands for. An extremely beautiful looking game that takes advantage of the hardware in every way possible, resulting in an experience that’s so huge and fulfilling that it will keep you satisfied for years to come, especially with all the DLC map packs int he pipelines. I know we won’t see a truly revolutionary shift in the PC gaming industry for another 2 to 3 years, not until the next generation of consoles is out. Sadly that’s the state of the industry right now. But you know what? It’s all good, because with Battlefield 3 we have something truly special. Sure, the console crowd has also gotten taste of it, but we have the best part. Battlefield 3 has been a long time coming, and the PC gaming community has a new banner under which to stand proudly.
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