When people think of First person shooter (FPS) games, Call of duty is almost always the name that is synonymous with FPS gaming. For better or worse, COD has been a juggernaut when it comes to FPS console gaming. However, in February 2011, DICE (EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment) revealed they were working on Battlefield 3, and this sent shockwaves through the gaming community. For the first since 2005, they were releasing a direct sequel to Battlefield 2, one of the greatest FPS games of all time. Not only was Battlefield 3 highly hyped, but it was also coming out a week before Modern Warfare 3. It quickly became a Battlefield.vs. Call of Duty competition for FPS supremacy. This became an indirect message to infinity ward that after 4 years,their reign as the kings of FPS games was being challenged and possibly coming to an end. Now after almost a year of both games being released and all the hype is gone, did Battlefield 3 dethrone Call of Duty as the king of console FPS games?
Graphics, Sound, and Setting:
Battlefield 3 is set in the near future. The game is mainly a multiplayer game, but it does have a single player campaign mode. In the single campaign, you take control of various military operations such as a force recon marine, a Russian spec ops officer, an F-18 fighter pilot, and a M1A2 tank operator. The story of Battlefield 3 is surprisingly interesting and engaging. As you progress through the story there are many twists and turns. The main themes of the story are an upcoming war in 2014 which spans from Iran to France. Battlefield 3 does a good job of blending the action and the story together. Overall, Battlefield 3 has a solid single player story.
While the story is solid, a huge question that many people wonder about are the graphics. When DICE showcased Battlefield 3 at gaming conventions, the graphics looked phenomenal. The footage of the tank and the sands of Karkland were absolutely incredible. The level of detail was unseen in any other game before this.
However, all that footage was pre-rendered and expected to look good. When put into a real-time setting with thousands of changing variables, did BF3 deliver the same amount of intensity and rich realism in it’s graphics? It absolutely did. Battlefield 3 is simply put a beautiful game, DICE put $100 million dollars into marketing and it’s apparent they wanted to show off a product they are proud of. Battlefield 3′s graphics are made on a new Frostbite 2 engine and new character animation technology called ANT. The frostbite engine allows the game to create immense details, dynamic shadows, and smooth textures all throughout a large environment while it’s all destructible. The ANT character animation is incredible, every soldier looks incredibly realistic with facial expressions that change when the action heats up.
The single player campaign in Battlefield 3 spans many locations including Iran, New York, and Paris. Most of the areas are urban with many buildings and DICE did a wonderful job adding clear detail to each area. There are a lot of vibrant colors and Battlefield 3 has great distance terrain.
The graphics in the multiplayer maps are also very impressive. There are 9 main maps, not including the downloadable content. These maps are Caspian Boarder, Damavand Peak, Grand bazaar, Kharg Island, Noshahr Canals, Operation Firestorm, Operation Metro, Seine Crossing, and Tehran Highway. Each of these maps has it’s unique elements and style. DICE did a great job of making the multiplayer experience different in each map. Caspian Boarder is a forested map, which is really large. It contains buildings and forests and is excellent for sniping and using vehicles. Damavand peak is set in a dark and rainy market place. Kharg Island is set in a rocky island and has an ocean surrounding it. Noshahr Canals is set in an industrial area with various canals you do battle in.
Seine Crossing is a bright colored map focused in Paris. Tehran Highway is the last main map and it’s focused in an urban area in Iran during the night. Overall, the graphics in Battlefield 3 are exceptional, from the single player campaign to the diverse multiplayer maps, there is plenty of variety in each map graphically.
The sound in Battlefield 3 is some of the best sound quality I’ve ever heard of any game. Each bullet whizzing by sounds sharp and realistic and when you get good enough you can pinpoint where it came from. The tanks, jets, and other vehicle sound effects are all amazingly realistic. The voice acting is superb, and it really feels like your a part of the action. The game also features a 19 track official soundtrack composed by Johan Skugge and Jukka Rintamki. The sound in Battlefield 3 is very impressive. Overall, the graphics in Battlefield 3 are exceptional, from the single player campaign to the diverse multiplayer map, there is plenty of variety in each map graphically.
Controls and Gameplay:
The controls for Battlefield 3 are your standard First person shooter controls. They can be customized, but the default setting is pressing L1 to aim and R1 to fire, movements done by the left analog stick. The right analog stick allows you to move the camera around. Holding down the analog stick allows you to sprint. Pressing triangle allows you to change weapons, circle is used to interact with objects in the environment, square is used for reloading or picking up a weapon, and the X button is used to jump. The right and left diagonal buttons are used to switch between technologies you have, the up button is used to toggle laser sight, and down is used to toggle between firemodes such as automatic and burst fire. The R2 button allows for a quick knife, while the L2 lets you throw a frag grenade. The controls are easy to learn, but difficult to master. Learning the controls for driving a tank or flying a jet can be confusing at first, and do have a small learning curve. Overall, the controls are fantastic for Battlefield 3.
While the graphics, great sound quality, and interesting story all powerful and set the foundation for a game. None of these things hold a candle to the most important part of games. The gameplay is the heart and soul of games. DICE had a bold task when creating gameplay that would be fast, exciting, and intense enough to knock Call of Duty from it’s throne as console gaming king. The team at DICE delivered in many areas, but also fell short in quite a few.
Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbite 2 engine. This engine allows for fully destructible environments, advanced physics, and real-time radiosity. All of these things basically mean that the physics and graphics of Battlefield 3 are vastly improved for every pretty much every game before it. Bullets are able to penetrate through walls seamlessly, the front wall of a building can be blown open from a tank shot, a grenade can send debris flying everywhere when it explodes. Battlefield 3 is one of the most realistic FPS games out there. So many things can happen, but the frostbite 2 engine streamlines them and allows the game to run smoothly by rendering textures at a fast rate. This allows the action and excitement to happen without any lag. There are 3 modes of gameplay in Battlefield 3: the single player campaign, a co-op mode, and multiplayer mode.
The single player campaign looks great and has many different locations, however it can get a bit repetitive. The fact of the matter is that Battlefield 3 is primarily a multiplayer game. The single player campaign is a good way of learning the basics before you go online or in co-op, but it offers no real replayability. It would have also been nice to see the offline map mode from Battlefield 2, where you can play with bots. However, Battlefield 3 does not offer this.
The co-op mode allows you to team up with a player online and complete 6 missions. There are a variety of objectives that you and your partner must complete in each mission. Co-op can be a lot of fun when your playing with a friend, however Battlefield 3 doesn’t offer any split-screen co-op. This can really suck if you have friends over, as theres no way to play together unless you have 2 PlayStation 3s.
The multiplayer mode is the main attraction of the game. In Battlefield 3, there are 6 multiplayer gamemodes: Conquest, Rush, Team Deathmatch, Squad Deathmatch, Conquest Domination, and Squad rush. Each gamemode has a different objective and playing each one is a different multiplayer experience all together. Some gamemodes require precise teamwork, while others can be every man for himself. The Conquest gamemode is the classic Battlefield 3 gamemode, in which two teams fight in a large scale map for control of various bases. This gamemode is best suited for teamwork and vehicle warfare. In my opinion, conquest is still the best gamemode. It’s exciting and you have a variety of ways to gain points.
In Rush, there are two teams. One team tries to attack and destroy an M-COM station, while the other defends it. Squad Rush is essentially the same, but in a more confined environment. Team Deathmatch is another classic mode where you are part of 12 person team vs another 12 person team. The objective is basically to kill as many enemies as you can and reach a certain amount of kills as a team. This mode doesn’t have any vehicles and is all about just going out with guns blazing and killing as many people as possible. Squad Deathmatch is the same as Team Deathmatch, but instead of 2 teams of 12, there are 4 teams of 4 people battling each other to reach a certain amount of kills. Conquest Domination has two teams of 8 people fighting in a close quarters location. It’s similar to Conquest, essentially the same, except for it’s more confined and has more tactical planning when attacking a base.
When you select a gamemode, you are given 4 classes to select.There is the Assault class which are the infantry soldiers but also the medics. Selecting Assault allows you to rack up kills and also revive dead teammates. The Engineer class is able to repair vehicles and carry rocket launchers to take out other vehicles. The Support class is a class that provides others with ammunition and also carry heavy guns that are able to kill many enemies. Recon is the last and final class, and they are the snipers in the game. Recon is useful for taking out opponents from a distance.
Battlefield 3 puts a huge emphasis on teamwork and squads. Each class has major strengths and weaknesses, and to succeed and win being able to utilize each one is essential. Upon joining a conquest game or any other gamemode you are placed into a squad. Being able to come up with tactics and choosing the right classes for the right situations is what makes Battlefield 3 stand out from other First person shooter games. Battlefield 3 has VOIP support meaning you can communicate on a headset with your teammates, it also includes ingame messaging. Battlefield 3 is a solid game if you play it without any other friends, but with friends it’s quite simply one of the best games ever made. This game thrives on teamwork.
One of problem of this game are the maps. The same maps that are very detailed can become annoying, because they are very large. You can go minutes without any combat, and also health is lost very easily. It’s very easy to die in this game when you first start out. Another major problem is all the downloadable content. You’re not obligated to buy DLC, but the game does feel empty without having all the maps and items. The DLC can bring the $60 price tag of Battlefield 3 all the way up to $125. One huge problem in BF3 is that this game requires you to have an online pass. New games come with an online pass, but used games don’t. An online pass can only be used once, and buying a new one costs $10. This was done to boost sales, but it really does hurt the resale value of Battlefield 3.
Is this game worth buying? Final Thoughts:
Battlefield 3 does a lot of things right: the graphics are incredible, sound quality is outstanding, and the multiplayer is very diverse and exciting. However, it also misses in a lot of areas. No split screen co-op, no replayability in the single player campaign, no offline maps, expensive DLC content, and gameplay that can become repetitive after some time leave so much to be desired. Battlefield 3 is ultimately not the revolutionary game that it was hailed to be when the first few minutes of footage were revealed. At the same time, it’s by no means a bad game. When you buy Battlefield 3, you’re getting a solid, finely made First person shooter. It’s similar to Call of Duty in the FPS aspect, but the squad based system, vehicles, and large maps make it a very different experience. I would highly recommend buying Battlefield 3, it is one of those games that you can find yourself coming back to over and over again. Battlefield 3 is a solid game and a definite buy for PlayStation 3 owners. I give it a 9/10.
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