Battlefield 3 is a game developed by DICE and published by EA. Before release this game was subject to immense hype and being called by some as the Call of Duty killer. I finally get the game after almost a year of it being released and I can safely say this miss fired on so many levels.
This game can be split into two parts really. Well lets start with the down right awful which is the campaign. The campaign is an illogical mess that is very hard to follow. The basic premise to the story is that you (as Sgt Blackburn) are being questioned over the events that just happened. You then go back in time and relive these events via several people. This sounds simple and it would have be if the events you play were in some sort of chronological order. Well they are not. I felt a bit confused about what was going on and where this level slotted into the story. At one point you are fighting in Iraq/Iran and then you are playing as someone else (GRU operative Dima) in Paris Then you go back to Iran/Iraq. Then you go back to how Dima got to Paris. The story isn't helped by shoddy dialogue which just adds to the confusion. The characters in the story are instantly forgettable. I can barely remember their names and often I was looking up on the internet who each character was and how I have met them before.
Graphically the campaign in nothing to brag about. I often found some textures didn't load and the environment looked very bland and something I would expect from a title several years ago. One positive, I would like to mention about the graphics, is the level where you parachute in. This is the only moment in the campaign where the graphics look top notch. Character models look very much Battlefield like and the variety in equipment each soldier has is a nice touch. Lighting in the campaign is generally excellent. My main criticism is the shiny look DICE has made everything look. The game doesn't look gritty but almost pristine and new with way too much screen glare added. LED style lights seem to be the only choice of light in the Battlefield universe. There seems to be no variation at all (I mean there isn't any unnatural yellow glow you see in urban areas in real life).
Playing the likes of the Battlefield: Bad Company series you expect there to be a good level of destructibility. Sadly there isn't. Some barriers can be destroyed and off course (as it seems to be a common theme to have this in every FPS) pillars can be damaged. Despite this the destructibility is very realistic. It is just a shame only a select few items can be destroyed.
One thing that annoyed me about the single player was the combat and enemy/friendly AI. The combat seemed to follow a set formula which got very repetitive. A vain attempt was made to try to mix things up with quick time events. These were just infuriated. I shouldn't be playing quick time events (especially in this quantity) in an FPS. They were often poorly executed and added nothing to the experience. I have read that Andy McNab was the game's military tactics advisor. This may sound impressive but the end product is a slow, hoard like experience. Let me explain. I often went into an area and wanted to take the fight to the enemy by quickly moving forward cover to cover. Well the friendly forces didn't want to do this. It quickly became apparent that this game was to go to an area, stay behind cover, take out waves of men and then move to the next area (rinse and repeat). The enemy AI was equally as bad. Often they thought they were in cover and they were not. The sometimes just stood out in the open waiting to be shot and they never tried to use momentum to overpower you nor flanked you. It removed any sort of challenge to kill the enemy. You can easily end up standing behind them without them even noticing and in some circumstances they could be looking right at you and not engage you at all. I found friendly AI would just ram you if you were in the way of their predetermined path. What I do not get is a game can come out in 2011 and still have this problem. I have seen games at the beginning of this console generation (with lower budgets) not having problems like this.
The game campaign can be quite punishing. Despite the enemies' dumb AI they can shoot. It takes a couple of hits to take you down on Medium difficulty. This is fantastic, however checkpoints seems to be quite far apart. I found myself endlessly repeating certain sections which could have been broken down into smaller parts.
Another main problem with the campaign is the amount of glitches in this game. Too many times have I had to restart a level because a glitch stopped me from playing. I will rattle through a couple, of many, examples of glitches I came across. On the Tank mission I somehow managed to exit the Tank but couldn't move or get back into the Tank. Another glitch occurred while switching weapons when you are attacking Mehrabad Airport as Lt. Hawkins in an F-18. I had to destroy some aircraft but I had the wrong weapon out and couldn't switch. People seemed to just teleport around the levels. This games was released almost a year ago and the fact that these glitches haven't been addressed in unacceptable.
This game does get a lot better with its multiplayer and co-op experiences. Co-op is fine and I haven't experienced any problems with it. It is just boring. There was nothing here that made me want to keep playing and felt like it was only included to just have that tick on the box. The Multiplayer is good and by far the best part to this game (not hard considering) but still there are major problems in the design to it which I will come onto in a moment but first the multiplayer's graphics and gameplay.
I have to do a separate graphics segment for the multiplayer because they are stunning. Yes you read that right. The multiplayer's graphics are far better than the campaign's. I was shocked at the level in detail and how beautiful the environment looked.
The gameplay is the same as the campaign. The movement is very fluid and scaling obstacles looks natural. I am finding levelling up takes time which has become problematic for a new user while everyone has been playing for quite some time. The customisation options are aplenty which is fairly rare for an online FPS.
Now it is time for some negatives. I felt the online experience didn't transition very well onto consoles. The main problem was the maps were too open for the amount of people. On most game modes I often found my self running around just trying to find someone. Sometimes the online experience did get a little hectic but it should be happening more often. There was just too few players to the size of the maps created creating extended periods of nothing going on. The maps needed to be scaled down. There wasn't much destructibility either. I often felt disappointed I could take down structures like I could in the Battlefield: Bad Company series as it completely adds a new depth to the way objectives are carried out.
On the face of it the multiplayer looks like it was designed with teamwork in mind but once you go deeper you realise that you are not punished for going rambo style on the enemy nor do you get a special reward for working as a team. What this has created is that no-one works as a team. It seems pointless being a supportive class as you do not get much reward for it.
In both the multiplayer and single player the sound and weapon design is excellent. Weapons feel and sound like they will do some damage. Explosions sound completely different at different ranges and even setting this game up with something as simple as a 2.1ch speaker system enhances the experience ten fold. I often felt the explosions were going off next to me.
Overall this game is a total miss. The campaign is just dire with its incoherent story and shoddy AI. It feels that the campaign was a real last minute job. The co-op is a bit boring and feels it was added just to tick some boxes. The multiplayer is by far the better mode. However, the idea of vast open environments hasn't transitioned well from the PC as you could find yourself wondering around trying to find anyone. Also the general design hinders any sort of teamwork option as you are not really rewarded for your support actions.