Let me start this off that I am not a fanboy of any specific shooter, just good games. I have both xbox 360 and PS3 and am unbiased in my reviews as I enjoy both for different reasons. On to the review...
First, I have no idea what all the negative reviews are for. The game isn't without a few flaws, but in no way warrants a 1 star review. This is EA's blockbuster shooter that's set to compete with Infinity Wards MW3 for the calendar year of 2011. A lot of time an energy went into the game (and they even released multiple betas on all platforms to ensure they were meeting their customer's demands). Here is what you need to know:
- The game ships on multiple discs.
- Disc 1: CO-OP/Multiplayer/High Resolution Textures (requires 1.5GB for the installation of the high resolution textures if you want them (THEY ARE OPTIONAL))
- Disc 2: Campaign
- Thoughts: The game is enormous and can't be fit onto one disc. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. You're trying to run a game on hardware that's 5-6 years old. Due to the restriction of DVD sizes, compromises had to be made. I'm OK with this and you should be too. If you have a 4GB console, you may have to opt out of using the high resolution textures. However, the game can still be played without them; it's just not as pretty.
- The main reason many people buy this game is for the multiplayer, which I can say as a Battlefield Veteran that this doesn't fall shy of expectations. It plays similar to Battlefield Bad Company 2, which is a good thing. The settings were tweaked from the initial beta release. It isn't call of duty, so don't expect it to play that way. It's slightly slower, meaning that decision have a greater impact to the game.
- There are 4 classes to play as, with each offering their own unique contribution to the battlefield (suited to fit multiple play styles). You don't have to be the best killer on the battlefield to contribute to the team and get towards the top of the leaderboards. I've seen people go 6-9 and get top rank by performing supportive actions and taking objectives.
- The maps are big and require thinking and tactics. They can easily accommodate the 12vs12 team sizes.
- The graphics are fantastic if you've installed the High Resolution Textures.
- EA utilizes dedicated servers and has a fantastic system in place that lest you choose the best server for you.
- The "Server Filter" is fantastic and robust. It permits you to filter by Game Type (TDM vs Conquest vs Rush etc..), Region (US vs Europe etc..), Desired Map, Number of People in game (VERY IMPORTANT, SEE BELOW) Etc... In addition, you can see your ping to the server, which will let you choose the best server for you.
- The vehicles are great and a nice addition to the big maps.
- Destructible environments make for some interesting gameplay. It's nice to be able to take out sniper cover, or collapse a building a troublesome sniper keeps using....
- Cannot collapse the M-Com buildings anymore, which will make for a better game.
- Can go prone, which is a nice welcomed back addition to the Battlefield series.
- The customization and ranking up is fantastic. Customization and unlocks work like this:
- Overall rank unlocks items available to all classes. This happens with each game regardless of class.
- Each class has its own unlocks, which comes with kills and objective taking, so you could easily have all the unlocks for one class and none for another. Experience only accumulates for the class type used in the game.
- Each weapon has its own individual unlocks. For example, ulocking the grip for the AK47 will only be available for the AK47. The grip for the M16 will require you to use the M16 and get kills with it.
- The one major downside to the game is that the party system can be frustrating at times.
- You can have a max party of 4 to search for games.
- If you quick search, your party may be split up and put on different teams with the server being close to max capacity.
- Utilize the "Server Filter" to join a low number game (maybe 10 at most). This will decrease the chance of your party splitting up. If you are split up, watch when other parties join and just change teams to end up on the side with friends. Choose an open squad and all agree to join it. Problem solved.
- Once on the same team, the game will keep you together, so overcoming that initial obstacle is the hardest part. Not really that hard, but slightly frustrating.
- Although the environments are destructible, they aren't nearly as destructible as Battlefield Bad Company 2.
A Few Quick Multiplayer Tips:
- Having a few friends to chat and play with will have a large impact on the game, especially when utilizing the vehicles and one of your buddies is an engineer. If you don't have friends to play with, just make sure you join a squad so you can spawn on multiple team members. This is a tactical game and communicating can have a large impact.
- Use spotting by pressing the back button (once your crosshairs are on the target to mark) to mark enemies on the map. This will bring attention to enemies on the map in case you can't kill them or want help (think tanks, which will get your engineers to shoot at them with their rockets if your a medic).
- Don't run into the enemies base alone. This isn't call of duty and you'll die quickly.
- If you're the last man in your squad alive, STAY ALIVE. You'll get additional points for teammates spawning on you, plus if you die you teammates will be close to the action and you can respawn on them. Spend your time in the action, not running across the map.
- This game rewards objective players, not KDR fiends. Going negative is no big deal. It's a team game.
- Utilize your team. Stay with them for easily taking objectives and taking out enemies.
- When utilizing the vehicles, wait for other team members. Having someone on the gunner of your vehicle offers a lot of protection.
- If you're using the vehicles a lot, use the engineer class for repair points. If you have a teammate with you, they can cover while you fix.
- While this is a nice feature, this clearly isn't the main focus of the Battlefield 3 (BF3). From what I've played so far, it seems a bit more linear than Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2). In BFBC2, you could blow a hole through any building and make your own path. In BF3, there are less destructible buildings. In addition, the enemy AI doesn't move much from their initial spawn location. The single player isn't bad, but not fantastic either. I'm still working through this and will update later once I finish.
- I have not had the privilege to try the co-op yet, but I will review once I do.
Closing Thoughts: This is a good game and I give it a 93/100. It's fun and enjoyable, in particular with a squad. I deducted points for the too linear environments within the single player and the frustrating party system in multiplayer. If you're one of those people that buy 1-2 games a year and like FPS, this is a must buy.