Diamond in a Shitstorm
Battlefield 3 is arguably the best online FPS of this generation.
If you can read past that first sentence, and swallow it then this isn't the review your looking for *Waves hand slowly*, because as great as it is, BF3 has been launched with a whole battalion of accompanying problems. Yet it remains a great game at its core. The rating you will give this game depends largely upon how much internet drama shit your willing to wade through to get at BF3's diamond center.
It should be noted that finding BF3s goodness is as easy as booting up multiplayer and pretending that single player does not exist. The first thing you are going to notice about BF3 is how dang pretty it is. I usually do not allow graphical supremacy to sway me, especially in the crowded FPS genre were any other innovation is seen as too risky, but Frostbite 2 really should be commended for delivering such great visuals along with the destruction engine and fantastic sound effects. The battlefield you play on feels great and changes over the course of a match. Areas of heavy fighting sustain devastating damage. Cover can crumble then break under enemy fire, or evaporate from a well placed tank round. Once while me and my squad mates huddled in a beaten gas station, recovering from successfully repelling an enemy push, an enemy tank rolled in. Being late to the party had not improved the drivers mood. He spotted my buddies head poking out a window. With a single thunderous shot the wall exploded, sending my buddies rag doll body flying along with debris. Sunlight burst into our ruined sanctuary, illuminating the metal monstrosity and the carnage of the battlefield beyond. We scattered into other rooms (myself out a back window) as the tank engineer hammers home his message a second time, he isn't pleased his comrades are dead. Even while getting your ass kicked, the destructible terrain, lighting, visuals, and sounds engage your brain and create an entertaining atmosphere.
I promised myself I would not mention CoD, but it has to be done. The singleplayer feels very similar to a standard CoD single player, and I write that while setting aside the fact that they are both modern shooters. The story, villains, plot devices, pacing and game play of single player are all hammy overused cliches. Multiplayer is the reason you should pick up a modern shooter, and as I have already stated the multiplayer is great. The flame war that is going on between CoD fans and the BF community is artificial and ludicrous. Both have an RPG xp element, one has vehicles, one does not, one has (insert weapon) the other does not. Ultimately CoD seeks to emphasize an individuals trigger skills while BF focuses on teamwork, tactics, and a "bigger picture". If you only have the money and or time for one of these titles you should pick up whichever of those two themes sounds more entertaining for you personally, and ignore the internet drama-conflict building between the two games.
There has also been some royal pooch screwing on EA's part with the console releases. One was the broken promise of PS3 content, one which EA has no intention of resolving. The graphics are not as great on consoles, because this is a PC game ported to console. Computers are stronger machines, so this reoccurring complaint seems odd to me especially considering that an Xbox has such limited RAM. To top it off I had to jump through some technical hoops to get my copy working properly on the release Tuesday at 3am. Many complaints about the game, are not actually against the game itself but about EA's Origin, and technical issues with EA servers on consoles.
I feel bad for DICE.
DICE has crafted a phenomenal engine, built a great game, and yet it appears forces outside their sphere of reasonable influence have done their best to botch the launch of a fantastic title. I highly recommend checking BF3 out, rent it for your console first if your not sure, but do not let the superficial criticisms of this game detract from what really matters. An extremely strong core of entertaining game play.
Battlefield 3 has made concessions to attract newer generation players. Your considerably less beefy than in BFBC2, and many of the old school nuances of BF2 have been cut or glossed over, but Battlefield is still battlefield. Do not let nostalgia keep you from returning to this fantastic series. Despite having only 1 hit point the stunts you can pull in this game are still comparable to BF2, and now arguably more impressive. Battlefield 3 delivers everything the series has always promised, and that is why I gave this game a 5/5. I knew what I wanted, what to expect and I got exactly that.
Against all external odds BF3 is looking to cement its place as the PCs #1 multiplayer shooter. Whether or not you can take part and enjoy yourself depends on whether your willing to look past superficial blemishes and love a game for its golden heart.