Battlefield 3 Review
An enthralling, dynamic multiplayer experience with the visual and audio package to match
Changes to gameplay make subtle but vital alterations to how you play. Players can choose to opt out of a medic revive if they would rather spawn somewhere else. Revived players take a long time to get back on their feet and any medic worth his salt must take up a frontal defensive position or clear the area. Prone is back from BF2 and it is well balanced due to the transition speed and movement on the ground. Suppressive fire blurs enemy vision and keeps their health from recharging if they are hiding behind an object. Conquest flags are clustered together on larger maps so infantry can move between capture points quickly without needing a vehicle.
Vehicles can now be disabled after taking significant damage. When vehicles are disabled they struggle to move and emit flames, a death warrant for those in the air. They will slowly drain health and eventually kill the occupants in a vicious explosion. Drivers can get out and repair, try to do as much damage as the clock ticks down or run away. Vehicles must be repaired by Engineers before they become mobile again. This makes for some interesting encounters around flaming tanks and jeeps.
Jets are back for multiplayer and they aren’t powerful beasts like they were in BF2. They tend to stick to themselves, fighting other jets or helicopters. They are helpful against ground vehicles, being able to make fast passes with machine gun fire or rockets. Jet use against infantry is extremely limited because there is no bomb that kills soldiers trying to capture a flag. It’s disappointing that you actually need to do some damage with a jet before you can unlock the essential flares. In the rare situations when you get to dogfight in the air it can be a heart racing experience.
There are a few gui and network issues that may be ironed out within a few weeks. Some servers and can cause lag known as ‘rubberbanding’, where you move 10 steps forward and the server warps you back 5 steps. Spawns can be atrociously bad, placing you just ahead of a camper or directly behind a savvy attacker. The ineffective commo rose doesn’t send a chat message to your team and the mini map is a confusing mess no matter what zoom level. The chat box is rudimentary and you can no longer click on the map to select a spawn point. These basic problems are almost unforgivable. Thankfully the visual and audio presentation is almost flawless.
Visuals are one of the areas that Battlefield 3 truly excels. It probably is the best looking game to date. The main improvement is the execution of lighting with radiosity, smoke shadows and natural highlights. Effects are also amazing with fire and explosions filling the world with even more destruction. Vehicle carcasses remain on the battlefield as the graveyard builds. Player animations have been greatly improved and it’s amazing how much authenticity this adds. If you knife somebody from behind your character will physically turn them over, stab them in the throat and rip off their dog tags. Extremely satisfying when you are the attacker and humiliating when you are the victim.
The audio engine also plays a big part in the feel of battle. Hearing bullets crack in your ear is enough warning to get down behind cover. Being momentarily deafened by a tank shell as it booms on the wall behind you will leave you at a disadvantage. It’s electrifying to hear a rocket descend down an alley as it barely misses your shoulder and smashes into the neon sign behind you. Even players emit offensive calls for help or screams of exasperation as they are suppressed by enemy fire. It’s hard to forget the audio and visual impact of a Jet crashing a few steps in front of you.
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