I’ve been in and out of the Battlefield franchise over the years, and I generally have a lot of fun with it when I actually sit down and play. The series has always offered a decidedly different take on what a shooter can be, and the latest entry doesn’t veer from that goal. Battlefield 3 is a bombastic, large scale shooter with a lot to offer, and as long as you’re down with its sometimes overwhelming level of mayhem this is a multiplayer experience that’s well worth diving into.
I should note up front that I haven’t touched either the single player or co-op portions of Battlefield 3, and I don’t plan to. I came to this game for a purely multiplayer experience, and on those terms it delivers in spades. It continues the series’ tradition of creating thrilling large scale battles, and its classic Conquest mode remains the most exciting way to play. The control points scattered around the map are a wonderful way to focus the otherwise hectic action while simultaneously allowing players plenty of freedom in how they approach things. Not only do you always have the option of being on offense (taking points) or defense (protecting points), but the four different, equally viable classes do a great job at giving you even more options between those two extremes. From doling out med-packs to shooting rockets at enemy tanks to holding down a courtyard with a sniper rifle, everyone can find a role that both suits their style and benefits the team. That’s perhaps the best thing about Battlefield 3; there are countless rewarding, beneficial ways to play past simply being a good shot.
That in itself is a pretty incredible accomplishment on Battlefield 3’s part. Given how huge and hectic any given game is (I’ve been playing on PC, which supports a whopping 64 players at a time), to constantly feel like you’re having an impact on the game’s flow is highly satisfying. It’s all made even better by the game’s unparalleled audio design. Bullets and explosions sound absolutely amazing, and have a raw quality to them that make them effective without necessarily feeling “gamey”. The visuals are equally stellar, making Battlefield 3 a complete technical beast in every way. In fact, my only substantial gripe about the game is that while its sheer size and number of options can often be one of its biggest strengths, it can also be one of its biggest weaknesses. At times there is simply a bit too much going on. When bullets from twenty or more opponents are whizzing by, tanks are closing in from both directions and aircraft is exploding out of the sky it can be tough to get your bearings and figure out exactly what you can reasonably accomplish. The biggest casualty of this is when safe respawn locations become hard to find, as nothing is worse than dying within seconds of spawning, which happens more often than I would like.
The only other meaningful critique I could level against Battlefield 3 is that it’s very much like previous Battlefield games. This is a game you’ve probably played before, but it’s at least as good as any game in the series, and is also a different kind of shooter compared to what else is out there right now. It completely nails the act of creating large scale multiplayer mayhem, and while it may be a little too crazy for some, Battlefield 3 is otherwise pretty awesome.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.