Battlefield 3 Review

Battlefield 3, the 2011 follow-up to Electronic Art’s smash hit Battlefield 2: Bad Company, was created with the (seemingly) simple task of competing directly with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which was released around the same time.  EA publically boasted that their newest Battlefield game would be far superior to Modern Warfare 3, and looked down on anyone who preferred Modern Warfare 3.  Do these claims hold any truth to them, or is EA just blowing smoke?  I spent a few weeks playing Battlefield 3 on the Playstation 3 and PC, and here are my thoughts.

Story

The story told in Battlefield 3 is just like anything else you’d expect from a first person shooter.  Once again the main story takes place around Iran and Iraq, though there are a few missions that take you to Paris or America.  You will get a chance to play as several different protagonists, and in a pleasant twist, some of them actually die, which has a tragic, more personal element rarely seen in other shooters.

Gameplay

The gameplay is what truly sets Battlefield 3 apart from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  Aside from the many different game weapons available, there is a lot of fun to be had on the absolutely massive multiplayer maps.   The maps are so big because the game will allow teams of up to 32 players battle each other, though if you have the PC version you are treated to 64 player teams, allowing for 128 player war scenes that Modern Warfare doesn’t even come close to touching.

One of the best things about this game is the emphasis on vehicular combat.  You will be able to pilot tanks, jeeps, small and large boats, and –best of all–  you can pilot fighter jets.  No other game will give you the satisfaction of gunning down some enemies on foot, boarding a fighter jet, and engaging in some dogfights high in the sky.  On the PC version, because the maps are bigger, you will also have more airspace for aerial battles.

The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy about Battlefield 3 is how quickly you are gunned down, and how hard it can be to survive on a map full of snipers.  In Call of Duty, you can usually take a spray of bullets or two and escape without dying, but in Battlefield 3 a spray of bullets could be enough to kill you and your comrade that was standing next to you.  This might mean long waiting times for bad players who will see more of the respawn screen than the actual game.

The last gameplay mechanic to note here is that the bullets are actually individually rendered.  This means that if an enemy is running, you should aim ahead of him instead of at him, and gauge the distance correctly.  With snipers it becomes even harder, yet more satisfying when you do get a kill, to land the perfect headshot.  You have to take into account the wind speed and direction, the weather, gravity, and your enemy’s movement speed and direction.

 

 

Graphics

Battlefield 3′s visual effects provide everything that Modern Warfare 3 does, and dare I say, goes above and beyond what its rival offers.  The details are so sharp that you are easily able to spot an enemy in the far distance and pick him off with your sniper (if you are skilled enough, that is!), and the environments are lush, vividly colored and vibrant.  The water effects are spectacular, and I found myself swimming more often than piloting a boat just to get another chance to take a closer peek at the water.

Conclusion

It sure doesn’t provide the same experience as Modern Warfare 3 for many reasons, including the vehicular combat, the realistic bullets and shooting, the gigantic multiplayer maps and teams, and the emphasis on fighting the enemy as a team.  Battlefield 3 is certainly more realistic than MW3, and piloting a jet fighter gives you a sense of being awesome unlike most other first person shooters on the market.  If you love team based gameplay, brilliantly designed maps, and just want to get a new shooting game that doesn’t take place in space or involve World War II, then this is the game for you.