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    Battlefield 3

    Game » consists of 15 releases. Released Oct 25, 2011

    Battlefield 3 is DICE's third numerical installment in the Battlefield franchise. It features a single player and co-operative campaign, as well as an extensive multiplayer component.

    marlow83's Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360) review

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    • marlow83 wrote this review on .
    • 4 out of 6 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.
    • marlow83 has written a total of 9 reviews. The last one was for Battlefield 3
    • This review received 8 comments

    Something in the way (The Single Player)

    And with the release of Battlefield 3, we can officially declare that the Great 2011 war of the shooters has begun. And already, those of us who thought we would be Switzerland to Battlefield's and Modern Warfare 3's Axis and Aliied powers have found themselves taking sides. Having played the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3, I have arguably played the worst version of the game, but the main problem with the game is almost assuredly universal: the single player and co-op portions of the game are atrocious. The baffling story, idiotic AI, awful pacing, terrible level design, and small-scale firefights of the single-player make it one of the worst shooter campaigns I've played recently (and could very well have been THE worst if Duke Nukem hadn't been released earlier). But Battlefield 3 looks fantastic, even on the outdated Xbox hardware, and the multiplayer still works with the reduced player count and smaller maps. The multiplayer manages to capture the atmosphere of an intense battle, a feat that the single-player and coop modes fail at drastically.

    The narrative that Battlefield tries to tell is an absolute mess, with nary a relatable character or sensible plot thread in sight. The game follows Seargent Blackburn and some Russian secret agent named Dima. Blackburn is being questioned by some government organization about a plot to detonate a nuclear weapon in New York. As he describes what he knows, the player is teleported back in time to whatever mission Blackburn is talking about. It is a framing device that has been done (better) in other games, and it just comes off as extremely lazy here. Nothing particularly important or relavtory happens in the between-mission cutscenes, they are just half-baked excuses to make the setting change or to have perspectives shift to a different character. But other games have proven that some sort of justification for shifting perspectives is unecessary if the all the different pieces are related or come together in some way. Battlefield is about 4 years behind the curve.

    But the poor framing device is quite possibly the least offensive issue in the plot, given all the other problems. How about we start with the writing? Because it is largely abysmal. Listening to the between-mission cutscenes is like walking in on a conversation halfway through; new characters and events are brought up out of the blue, with no serious attempts to make the player privy to the events that have occured or the important figures in those events. Most of the in-game dialogue is a lot of generic military speak, complete with frostys and actuals and suppresses and the like. But maybe all that needs to be known about the writing is that the words "My chi is mad focused, yo" are uttered by one of the minor characters, without an ounce of irony. There is no character development to speak of, save the fact that the protagonist's CO sort of sucks at his job for some ill-defined reason. With the exception of one brief scene where 2 soldiers find where one of theirs was excuted, there is no scene that comes close to wrenching an emotional repsonse from the audience. But there is one fundemental problem with the story that is more damning than all others: the game's desperate attempt to try to be both a realistic war sim and an unrealistic action game. The "realistic" sequences are nulled by the fantastical sequences, and those fantastical bits are too reserved to be interesting; held back by the game's desire to emulate real war.

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    But it's not enough that the plot is terrible, the gameplay in the single-player is atrocious as well, thanks to awful design and AI. Again, the game's desire to enjoy the best of both worlds makes it shoot itself in the foot. It tries to mix openish combat (with flanking options and the like) with strictly linear corridor crawls, and the results are an absolute shitshow. The game defines the borders of the map with the "return to the combat area" nonsense from Bad Company, but those games were far less linear. A linear game as linear as this shouldn't have to rely on kill areas in order to make boundaries. There are even a few areas that will instantly kill the player (FOR NO REASON) if they move a few feet to far in a direction the game doesn't want them to. A great example of this is when the game forces the player to execute a stealth kill on an unaware enemy. The botton prompt to insta-kill him occurs when the player is unreasonable far away, and if the player moves another step closer to him, you get a game over screen. The enemy isn't aware of your presence, you just die. The game also uses the artificial border in place of good enemy AI and level design, using the "return to combat area" screen to force players to engage enemies at, say, long range, when the player wants to rush the AI (which is a viable tactic, given the AI's stupidity). The levels being designed in a way that allows the player to find spawn points is unacceptable. Add in that the AI will often just ignore the player, and multiple areas where enemies just respawn infinitely, and what you've got is a poor experience.

    But I still haven't reached the single player's biggest sin: It's fucking boring. None of the objectives are particularly interesting, with most of them consisting of "follow your AI teammate until something to kill appears, repeat." The battles are rather small, with naught but the aforementioned respawning enemies to fool the player into thinking they are in a large scale fight. The on-rails sequences (jet and tank-turret combat) are slow moving and surprisingly safe, since none of the enemies seem to pose a real threat. Oh, there are also many quick time events, and all of them are awful. None of the buttons correspond to a single action, and the animations in these QTEs move slowly. There is none of the urgency or demand for quick reflexes that can make a QTE exciting. Battlefield 3 is also rather terrible at letting the player know what to do, with absolutely no audio cues as to when a new objective has been assigned (more important than you would think), and misleading visual cues, such as the multiple occassions where your entire team forms up on a door, just for them to tell you to go to a different door. And there are simply too many times where the player has to wait for the AI to catch up in order to proceed. The single-player is just a mashup of poor design decisions. There is a co-op in here as well, but it is obviously an afterthought. With only 6 missions and the same AI problems as the single player, it's really not worth talking about.

    But fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is the excellent multiplayer mode. Us console kiddies are obviously getting a neutered version of the PC multiplayer, but the reduced player count and smaller maps aren't as bad as they sound, I promise. The multiplayer experience that is coming to consoles is essentially Bad Company 3 which, as a devout lover of the Bad Company games, is something a welcome with open arms. There are three modes here: Conquest, Rush, and Team Deathmatch. Conquest is the classic territory capture mode that Battlefield traditionalists have come to know and love, Rush is the mode from Bad Company 1 and 2 that Battlefield newbies like me have come to know and love, and Team Deathmatch is an adaptation of the squad deathmatch from bad Company 2, but that raises the player count to the full 12 v 12 instead of 4 v 4. So nothing here is really all that new, but the formulas that have been developed within the console realm of the Battlefield franchise are just as strong here as they ever were, and it's nice to have all the options available at the start. Conquest and Rush are easily the best options here, since the constant attack-defend scenarios that play out in both modes provide structure that the game would have lacked otherwise, given the inevitable lack of teamwork that will be shown by the console audience. The maps are nicely layed out and feel different enough ether in terms of combat focus (infantry/land vehicles/air, etc.) or in terms of the environment itself. The reduced player count does also help create less clogged chokepoint areas as there might have been otherwise. But what really makes the multiplayer so excellent is the atmosphere. The explosions, destrcutable environments, the whizzing of the bullets, all of it kicks up a survivalist instinct in the player that I have never seen recreated in any other FPS.

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    And that atmosphere owes a lot to the excellent quality of the visuals and the audio. Even on the Xbox 360 Battlefield looks damn good (as long as you install the textures), with some phenomenal lighting and camera effects. The textures all look astounding (until you get too close), the destruction looks great, and the vaulting/crawling animations the player sees from the first person perspective are a great touch. The only serious issue is that there is a lot (and I mean A LOT) of clipping. Gun barrels clip through everything, tank cannons clip through everything, and character models clip through every sort of wall.

    The audio is even more excellent than the visuals. DICE has always been incredible at gun audio, and they are still phenomenal here. Guns echo loudly when fired in buildings, and still induce panic when they are heard off in the distance. But what is possibly the most excellent aspect of the audio design is the sound of bullets whizzing by the player's heads and the pop they make when they impact the nearest wall or bit of ground is nothing short of perfection, and it is really what makes the multiplayer battles feel so intense. The only audio quirk is that some of the animations do not sync up to the audio properly in some of the single player cutscenes.

    The problem with Battlefield 3 is that it has one thing going for it: the multiplayer. Had the game only had its multiplayer component, it would have been a much stronger package. Hell, more resources could have been allocated to expanding on that multiplayer and making it even stronger. But DICE's attempts to include a token single-player and Cooperative mode do nothing but drag the game down. It's sad, especially since the Bad Company games (especially BC1) have shown that DICE can make a strong single player component. But luckily, no other game can even touch the studio's mastery of large-scale multiplayer. And depending on what you want from your FPS experience, that may be good enough.

    Other reviews for Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360)

      King of the Hill. 0

      Battlefield 3 is a game that should be looked at in a slightly different light than most others. The bread and butter of this title is in its multi-player and the bread and butter is mighty tasty. The single player campaign in a Battlefield title should be looked at as a secondary feature like most game’s multi-player portion is. That said the single player campaign itself is surprisingly well done and should not be overlooked.The multi-player in BF3 is essentially everything you like in Battlef...

      3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

      Currently the best FPS IMO 0

      I'm pretty happy with this FPS. There is an issue of team balancing that is not yet fixed though people still play. Having the ability to customize your character & gear is something I really enjoy. It makes your lethality unique. Though just as with any FPS, there is plenty of camping/snipers & in some cases people taking vehicles just to destroy them on your team....Of the two most popular FPS games right now MW3 & BF3, I would say it just comes down to preference with which you pr...

      0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

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