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Battlefield 3 noob reviews

26 October 2011, Wednesday 1 comment

So! After the hellishly rubber bandy beta and equally hellishly long preload. We finally our get feet wet with DICE‘s latest offering. If you’re a fan of BF: BC 2 or even the not-quite-up-to-par MOH, you’ll be familiar with the company.

If you’ve never played any of the Battlefield series, a word of caution. This is not Modern Warfare, and this is not counter-strike. BF is a totally different beast altogether. It’s multiplayer on a scale well beyond CS and much more squad based and role dependent than MW. In this game you cannot do everything. Roles are specialized and specific to situations. You won’t be able to get by without your squad (or at least, not very far). If you’re wondering what it plays like. You can check out Battlefield : Play for free which uses the same net code but runs in a browser. It plays roughly the same concept and points wise, but is subject to latency and goes without all the fancy bells an whistles.

Now, on with the review.

Graphics: The final release is light years advanced from the beta. Frame rates are consistent, net code is solid and it looks pretty even at medium settings. Design of the weapons and technology takes wholesale after real world technology, and as such it could almost be mistaken for simply an updated version of the BF2 series. Obviously, with any new release there will be some bugs, but I haven’t encountered anything game breaking so far. Stress tested a 64 player map on ultra settings at 1920×1080 on my 2 y/o desktop, it started limping along but was still playable. The Frostbite 2 engine, clearly advanced from the Frostbite engine used in BF: BC 2, still features destructible environments and offers some interesting display options but does it all SO much better. You remember the mixed live action and in-game graphics trailer last week? Well they weren’t kidding, this game really does look that good. The only gripe i have is that some of the facial expressions in the campaign looked a little odd, but then again, I wasn’t exactly expecting LA noir so it wasn’t really an issue. No mistake, Battlefield 3 is a great looking game that runs well on a variety of systems and definitely has the chops to be a “prettiest game of the year” contender . I give it a 9.0

Sound: The sound guys have really outdone themselves with this incarnation of Battlefield. AK’s chatter convincingly and explosions whump and clang with a nice oomph. On a good 5.1 system (or even simulated 5.1) the angry buzz of bullets whizzing past your head will have you ducking behind the nearest cover in no time. Voice acting for the single player campaign was pretty good too, however the plot and script dragged it down to the point where you stopped paying attention after a while. The Battlefield theme is of course back, but remixed into bass and distortion heavy blob of sound punctuated with an occasional burst of static. Passable, if you’re into that kind of thing. Solid sound engineering and foley fx direction earns some major points but messy scoring and the lazy theme remix means this only gets an 8.5

Gameplay: To be honest. The single player felt like Modern Warfare. Even the overarching plot sounded cookie cutter MW (formula: Stolen nuclear weapon + Madman bent on destroying the world for no discernible reason + Misunderstood protagonist + lots of henchmen to put bullets into) A linear campaign told from the perspective of 4 individuals who are somehow all tied together(again with the MW plot device)in one grand global conflict over land, sea and air of at least 3 nations. Personally, I think it’s basically a collection of set pieces on rails designed to show off all the neat tricks the devs can do with the new engine. And it’s pretty rigid too, deviate from the way the devs meant it to be played and you’ll be rewarded with a nice steaming plate of “you have died”. Arguably, most shooters are like that nowadays, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, and thus my disappointment is blunted somewhat.

However. We didn’t pre-order this for the single player campaign did we…? The multiplayer is everything we’ve hoped and dreamed it could be. DICE has learned from their mistakes and refined their strengths into one of the most fun robust systems around. The rank, perk and gear unlock system will be familiar to anyone who’s ever played a BF game and all the classic game modes are back with a gusto. Conquest, rush, squad deathmatch all scale well with different sized maps to get you mojo on. 64 player conquest is a blast as usual. Classes have been lifted straight out of BF: 2142, which seems to be the most streamlined and balanced incarnation in all of the existing BF games. Vehicles have always been a staple in BF games, and this one is no exception, with the usual compliment of tanks, helicopters, jets and other miscellaneous modes of transport to round off the stable. Vehicle handling does take some getting used to though, but you’ll be pulling strafing runs in no time. The inclusion of the Battlelog system makes finding servers and friends even easier than before, and even has support for creation and management of clans (platoons) baked in. Boring, uninspired single player is overwhelmingly overridden by brilliantly glorious multiplayer (because admit it, that why you bought this game in the first place) for a 9.5

Overall: The game looks amazing, sounds on par with how it looks and fulfills, nay exceeds all our expectations as to how it should play while not being bogged down too much by the forgettable single player (use it to familiarize yourself with the controls, you sure a heck won’t want to be doing that when you go online). For this awesome effort from the DICE team (and just because I can hit the deck again) I give it a 9.0 overall.

Go buy this game. Do it now.

Then hit me up on Origin or the BF:3 Battlelog with this email “joethedude@gmail.com”, username: Aquillius, if you want to play co-op or a few rounds.

See you on the Battlefield.

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