An average first person shooter that is nothing more than the sum
What does it take to make a good game? Do you simply need a collection of good elements, like visuals, story, and gameplay mechanics? Battlefield 3 tries to prove this to be true by just having these parts, since they believe that this what it takes make a game good. However, they are wrong, and it is because of this focus on individual segments that Battlefield 3 fails to live up to its potential or its competition. Visually the game look great, it is one, if not the best, looking game currently out there. On the other hand, the story is what you would expect from a generic action thriller, with things blowing up constantly and bland characters with dull dialogue. Gameplay has a tactical feel to it which makes it different from most the competition. Be that as it may, these elements never seem to work or enhance each other. Battlefield 3 has a lot going for it, but it lacks a binding spark for the different aspects of the game that would have made this game special.
I need to mention that this game uses an online pass system. This means that since I rented the game, I did not have access to the multiplayer section. It is possible to buy an online pass from them to get around this, but I did not. So I will not be discussing the multiplayer of this game, but it does affect my opinion about the game.
Visually the game looks great, from the character models to its effects, it is apparent a lot of time was spent to make this game look amazing. The amount of detail on a character is excellent, it allows them to give certain characters a unique look, which in turn makes them more feel more like individuals than just objects. This sense of identity adds an element of realism for the game, and it is easier to relate with characters that you can recognize. Next, the effects for explosions, and fires are realistic looking which makes the game's atmosphere more immersive. Sadly the game rarely took advantage of this since they usually had the player going through unremarkable environments over and over again. I did run into some technical issues in the visual department like some textures and units popping in during the game. These technical issues didn't hurt the gameplay, but they were noticeable. Even though, the visual in this game are amazing, they don't affect gameplay one way or another, and the game's story and controls never take full advantage of the graphics to leave a lasting impression.
There are only so many ways that you can retell the same story before it becomes meaningless, so what most people try do is add a few unique elements to their retelling in order to differentiate theirs from the competition. Battlefield 3 does not succeed to do this, so what it ends up as is a generic action thriller that will seem very familiar to anyone who has played Modern Warfare (video game series) or watched 24 (TV show). The plot breaks down to the bad guys are up to something, only a small team can stop them, that team is on its own since no one believes them, which results in bunch of semi-random missions in order to stop the villain that no one wants to acknowledge exists. Like other first person shooters, Battlefield 3 has the user playing different characters during the game to show the conflict from different perspectives. This would have been nice if the conflicts themselves were interesting. However, the story is similar to a lot of other modern conflict plots, and has a timid war scenarios that don't take advantage of the powerful graphics the game has, so it comes off as a boring knock off. The story does the job of moving the game forward, but it never is able to capture an emotional connection to the user by either having great characters or scenarios.
One area that Battlefield 3 does distinguish itself from its competition has to do with parts of its gameplay mechanics. The pacing in Battlefield 3 is slower than most other shooters with more of a focus on being tactical, flanking and covering fire, than having quick trigger finger. It is still possible to just run in with guns blazing, but it is smarter and more safe to flank your enemy to get them from behind. However, this slower gameplay has a few draw backs. For starters, the game lacks the ridicules factor of running into a chaotic battle with bullets flying everywhere and everything exploding for no apparent reason. It would assumed that a game with such a powerful graphics engine would be perfect for producing a constant flow of amazing looking battles, but it doesn't. Most of the battles in this game seem more like small scale conflicts, since the story in the game not leaning itself to large scale fights. While a change in game styles is great, Battlefield 3 doesn't go far enough with it in some regards, while at the same time, it goes too far from things that do work.
When everything is considered the game comes out to be below average. The different areas of the game do their jobs and sometimes they do them well, but in the end they never meld together enough to make the game special. Also the game isn't as stable as it should have been, I ran into a few bugs during my play through that stop progression. In the end the game isn't what it could have been. Instead of having a good tactical first person shooter about military conflict and how it affects people in them, we get one that has a generic story that looks nice but doesn't play as well as its competition.