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Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360)

As a lot of gamers know, the Battlefield series has a new member of the family. Battlefield 3, released on October 25th of 2011, is their latest project and their newest player in the constant competition between the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises. With this game, the developers made a great deal of promises about it being better, stronger, and more interesting than anything that had come before it. Considering the successes of Battlefield 2: Bad Company and the other games that have taken gaming audiences by storm, that’s a pretty bold promise. Did they deliver?

Well, that depends on just why you bought the game. Yes, I know that’s a fence-sitter statement. Yes, I know it’s not definitive. Give me a moment to explain.

Battlefield games have always had a massive fan base when it’s come to the multi-player aspects of their games. With a balanced set of classes and kits, massive playing fields, and more or less stable online play, how could they not? It’s been a selling point of the series for several games now, and as long as they keep up the quality of their games and innovations towards it, it will remain so in the future.

On the other hand, we have the Battlefield single-player modes. I’m relatively certain I just sensed a few of you wincing at that, and you know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t, let’s just say that Battlefield has started resting on its laurels a little too much when it comes to multi-player gaming and not doing enough to engage those who aren’t as interested in the online style of play. Sorry, but it’s true.

But all of that has been applied to the other games in the Battlefield franchise. What about Battlefield 3?

Well, let’s say that you’ve never played a Battlefield or Call of Duty game before. I can’t say that, but let’s say that you haven’t. Let’s say that you picked up the game for the single-player mode, thinking that a game series as popular as this has to have something that you can entertain yourself with, characters and a storyline that actually grabs your attention and holds onto it for the whole ride. Let’s say that you wanted to just grab a controller and start shooting up your enemies while fighting alongside comrades in arms. Computer comrades, to be sure, but comrades.

You’re not going to get that. Remember what I said before about Battlefield resting on its laurels? That is quite apparent with this game. The developers seem to have poured almost all their attention and work into the multi-player of the game, leaving little to nothing original in the single-player. Although the single-player takes advantage of the new physics and graphics that were put together for the multi-player, the game doesn’t feel like it was really meant for people to play by themselves. It looks good; in fact, it looks great. But the single-player mode just doesn’t live up to the graphics and the other portions of the game.

Now, does that mean that the single-player is not worth getting? No. The single-player is worth playing through, particularly if one is willing to overlook that most of the main storyline is a flashback sequence, explaining how the main American character got into the situation he’s seen in. The voice-acting is done well, and the graphics show off the many destructive elements of the game in breathtaking, if linear ways, and there are points when you feel like you’re actually in an epic war period, but they aren’t quite as common in the game as one might like. The new parts of the game – such as jet flight – are cool, but they aren’t used to their full potential.

Regarding single-player mode for Battlefield 3, I have to say that it’s a secondary mode at best, much like the zombie mission at the end of Call of Duty: Black Ops was a secondary, albeit bonus, mission.

But if you actually know anything about the Battlefield series, and actually own the game, you bought it for the multi-player, and that is where the meat of the game is. With a vast collection of maps exceeding the list of choices you had for previous games by miles, the addition of Team Deathmatch, and the inclusion of jets as new offensive vehicles, the developers of the game managed to bring a near perfect world of war to the masses. Teams can be formed easily and quickly between online players and the matches are often filled to capacity with eager soldiers waiting to bring down their opponents.

Of course, there are some problems in the multi-player, just like there are for any game. However, most of these are more personal opinion than genuine problems. For example, there have been reports that some of the environment is now harder to destroy than the previous entries in the series. Something like this really depends on the player; some will find it a good thing, others won’t. The same can be said about craters no longer forming from tank shells or artillery landing in the field. Again, this is a negative to some players, and a positive to others.

Perhaps the only changes that approach a true negative are the changes to the kits one chooses between in multi-player. The original four kits have been revamped and revised. Though there are still four total, they are renamed: Assault, Engineer, Recon, and Support, with the Medic from the previous game removed and its abilities shifted around to the other kits. Now it’s the Assault kit with the medical tools and the Support kit that has the light machine gun. With only four kits to choose from, I was almost expecting the game to have some problems being balanced between them, but Battlefield manages to pull it off with surprising ease. The only problem I noticed is that the Engineer class is just a little bit overpowered, able to take on more situations than the others, or at least take them on with less difficulty.

Overall, this is a game that someone interested in single-player would be better off renting rather than buying. The gamers that are more interested in the multi-player, however, are encouraged to get this and never let it go. In terms of mass destruction, virtual tactical operations, and sheer multi-player gaming fun, Battlefield 3 has delivered all we could have hoped for. A good, perhaps great game.


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