Battlefield 3 Review
An enthralling, dynamic multiplayer experience with the visual and audio package to match
Multiplayer is a truly dynamic, engrossing experience that may have you screaming in pain or laughing in astonishment. Each match plays out differently and every squad requires different tactics. You might be using a tank to cover a highway checkpoint while an engineer repairs you. You could place a spawn beacon at the top of a crane and snipe the enemies hiding in the rocky outcrops below. A shotgun, with a blinding tactical light, is a fine choice through the streets of France in Team Deathmatch. There is great sense of being a part of a conflict much bigger than just the next encounter and each weapon feels comfortable. You may want to try the single player first as it introduces some aspects you will see online.
The single player campaign could be best described as an emulation of the pacing and style that has been a hallmark of the Call of Duty franchise. Even some of the smaller situations play out just like you’ve seen before. The campaign is also akin to the new Medal of Honor, decent but with presentation issues. It doesn’t matter though, the slick weapon handling and the decent pacing means it is better than the one seen in BC2. It doesn’t fall back on destruction as a crutch either. Apart from some set sequences the campaign has no more destruction than that other series.
During the campaign you step in the shoes of US Marine Staff Sergeant Henry Blackburn and Dimitri Mayakovskya from Russian Intelligence. You’ll be involved in a sniper mission at night, become a jet gunner, drive a tank, hide from a jet and have a fire fight in offices. The characters aren’t iconic so the story remains grounded and forgettable. All the action is over in less than five hours and due to the linear nature there isn’t much reason to revisit it. On normal difficulty it can be rather tough if you aren’t the type of player who likes to stay behind cover. Even the musical execution relies on the replaying the BF3 theme when the action concludes. The campaign falters mostly because of the problems that don’t fit with the script.
Numerous AI glitches, invisible walls and even some inconsistencies ruin the otherwise enjoyable campaign. Squad members will ignore enemies standing within an arm’s reach. Dead bodies sometimes disappear after only a few seconds. If you drive over enemies in a tank they will move through it like it wasn’t even there. An evacuation helicopter is blocked by an invisible wall if you try to board ahead of your buddy. The screen is also frequently occupied by a ridiculous ‘dirty lens’ effect as though somebody has sneezed over goggles you don’t even wear. The single player and co-op sections are subtle tutorials for the action you will see in multiplayer.
The co-op is a collection of six unique two player missions. Three missions are set during the poorly light night time, often making good use of the infrared scope. They last around 10-15 minutes and play out with enemies spawning in designated spots at specific times. You will cover a squad rescuing hostages, fly a helicopter and clear an underground metro. There is limited replay value because the structure is fairly predictable. More enemies spawn when you are detected during stealth sections and there are slight changes to enemy placement. Failure to complete the Quick Time Events in the last mission forces a restart. Still it can be fun to synchronize the perfect sniper shots across a canal in France. Unlocking weapons for multiplayer is the incentive, but you’ll need to complete over 30 missions to unlock everything.
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