on August 3, 2012
DISCLAIMER: Let me start off by saying that Battlelog and Origin are external programs, and therefore are not part of this review. After having used both for a few weeks I can find nothing wrong with either, and they have never given me any problems. Also, I will be using Bad Company 2 as a basis for comparison, as opposed to Battlefield 2, considering BC had an earlier version of Frosbite and is also a prequel.
CAMPAIGN - 3/5
The campaign consists of 12 missions following the stories of playable characters Henry Blackburn, Jonathan Miller, Jennifer Hawkins, and Dima Mayakovsky through flashback of a Russia-US conflict/misunderstanding relived by Blackburn during a CIA interrogation. I won't give you the full story, but I will say, though lacking in story and originality, the campaign was still a blast. It loses one star for being predictable and unoriginal, and another simply because I found myself in a cutscene every five minutes being prompted to hit either Space, E, or LMB at the right time, or else restart from the last checkpoint. That being said, the single player still has those "I feel like such a bada**" moments, like skydiving out of an AC-130, riding in the gunner seat of an F-18 during aerial warfare, crawling, running, and jumping on, around, above, below, and in a speeding subway train, and, most comically, riding shotgun through Paris with a driver who wouldn't know a traffic law if it hit him in the face with a flamethrower.
MULTIPLAYER (IN THEORY) - 6/5
On paper, BF3's multiplayer is easily the best of any game in history. The center of everything are reinforcement tickets. Each respawn costs the team a ticket, and the team that reaches zero tickets loses. In certain modes, any team that controls more than half the objectives also bleeds the other teams tickets at about one ever 2 seconds. Thanks to Frostbite 2, amost everything is destroyable, any vehicle you see is driveable, and the map sizes are incredibly large. You will find that unlike some other games, your playing style has to change to suit each map, and different game modes within it. There are 7 game modes and 10 maps in this non-premium version, but that increases to 11 and 17 respectively with addons and premium. Since this is non-premium, I will overview only those maps and game modes.
Grand Bazaar - Real world replication of a city in Iran
Caspian Border - Fictional Location at the border of two European countries. A rural area, fun in any game mode and allowing for all different types of play.
Operation Firestorm - Fictional Middle Eastern oil refinery in a desert valley.
Noshahr Canals - Foggy seaport area, most likely fictional. US deploys from an aircraft carrier.
Operation Metro - Not sure if real or not. In and around the metro in Paris, France. Can get pretty intense in 64 player conquest.
Tehran Highway - Real world replication of an area in Tehran, Iran. Featuring large overpasses and roads, also taking place at night.
Seine Crossing - Real world replication of a few blocks of Paris, France, on the Seine river.
Damavand Peak - Fictional mountainous setting featuring space telescopes/radar beacons and several thousand foot cliff base jump on Rush mode.
Kharg Island - Fictional Middle Eastern desert island seaport/industrial area. US deploys from an aircraft carrier.
Rush - The attacking team tries to destroy pairs of M-COM stations, basically computer terminals. The attackers must arm explosive charges on 3-4 pairs of M-COMs to win. Once a charge is set, the defending team has 15-30 seconds to disarm it before it detonates. Once both have been destroyed, the map opens up a bit more, the defenders fall back to the next pair, and repeat the process. The attackers have limited tickets, and the defenders have infinite tickets. If, at any point in the game, the attackers run out of tickets, they lose.
Squad Rush - Refer to above, but with squads instead of teams.
Conquest Large - For higher player games. This focuses on the capture and control of various flags throughout the map. A flag is captured by being with 30 meters of it for a certain amount of time. This time decreases as more friendlies are within range, and increases if enemies are also in range. Controlling more than half of the flags (each map has a odd number) will bleed the enemy's tickets, and respawns cost one ticket. First to zero loses.
Team DM (Death Match) - Kill ALL of the enemies. Same deal with the tickets, but no control points to hold.
Counquest - Smaller version of large, usually for less players with fewer control points.
Squad Deathmatch - With multiple squads of four, see second previous.
The more points you rack up (that's right, points, not necessarily kills) with a certain vehicle or class, the more stuff you get. This includes accessories, addons, ribbons, medals, etc.
-Playing with a certain primary weapon will eventually unlock 10 core accessories like sights, tactical lights, laser aimers, etc. Every primary in the game has 10 core unlocks.
-Playing in choppers, either passenger or pilot, will unlock things like missles and flares and other things for the that type of chopper
-Same goes with tanks and mobile/stationary AA.
That's a basic explanation, there is a lot more to each vehicle.
MULTIPLAYER (IN ACTUALITY) - 4/5
With all the awesomeness I mentioned before, reason would show that the actual multiplayer would be just as awesome. Well reason be darned because every server is chock full of idiots who can't fly a chopper for their life, don't understand how to control objectives, refuse to drop ammo or med kits, and couldn't spot an Abrams if it left a track mark on their face. You will often times find yourself capslocking obsenities that you didn't even think you knew into the chat. After a few weeks, I've decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It makes it a lot more fun, and trust me, your W/L or K/D ratios aren't a big deal. You don't lose points for dying or losing.
Vehicle spawns are hugely different than BC2. BF3 offers you the option to spawn directly IN to any air vehicle. This is not always a good thing. Nowadays, whoever has the fastest mouse hand gets the jets and helis, even if they completely suck at flying. This is different from BC2, where whoever ran fastest or actually WANTED the plane could get to it ON FOOT. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a skilled pilot waiting patiently for a jet to appear only to have a complete idiot spawn into it about a billionth of a second after it appears, only to crash it into a tree at the end of the runway. Repeat. Repeat. Rage Quit.
This game offers four different class to play, each with unlockable stuff as you level up.
Assault - Assault rifles, Medical kit, shock paddles for reviving dead people, etc. This would be good if people actually dropped kits and revived dead teammates. A good class for n00bs to start with. Also, the shock paddles must be unlocked, which is an improvement from BC2 where the medkit also had to be unlocked.
Support - Heavy machine guns, Ammo kits, and unlockables like C4, Claymores, and a 22 MM mortar. When the mortar is set up, you get a section of the minimap, and crosshairs to aim your rain of death. Very effective for killing people who are bunched together.
Recon - YOU ARE NOT A SNIPER. You just have a sicka** rifle with a high power scope. But it's much more than that. Deploy a spawn beacon to make a place for your squadmates to spawn, like near an enemy base or on top of a tower. Pilot an MAV drone to get a view of the battlefield. Throw down a SOFLAM to laser designate stuff for your teammates. The recon class is what it says, reconnaissance. There is no sniper class.
Engineer - Assault rifles, and a choice of unlocks like a blowtorch to both fix friendly vehicles and destroy enemy ones, RPGs and IGLA missle launchers for taking out air targets, AT mines, and, most comically, a little Wally Bot (EOD Bot), which is basically a treaded bomb disarming bot with a blowtorch attachment that has the same effect as a repair tool. You can bring down enemy vehicles, arm/disarm M-COMs, blowtorch enemies to death, and, incredibly, disobey physics. I have been able to drive one off of the Caspian border antenna, which is 450M tall, and have it bounce twice, and drive away. Going up mountains is like it has afterburners on the back, and it just generally does not understand the concept of gravity. A very fun and effective tool.
If you use your class as you are supposed to, you will find yourself progressing faster than everybody else through the ranks, and people wont hate you.
Battlefield 3 is only a great game if played correctly. There is a lot of stuff to unlock, and be wise when equipping yourself. The campaign is fun, but nothing to die for. Don't fly a chopper filled with teammates if you suck at flying. Spawncamping/Baserape is 99% fixed. The enemy base will always be in the out of bounds zone. Only air vehicles can enter the out of bounds zone. You can only baserape with air vehicles, but seeing as the enemy base always has a .50 cal that shoots 5 bajillion rounds per second, it probably isn't a good idea.
If you are still reading this I salute you for putting up with my rambling, and, as you can see, there is way more to this game than you ever thought. I reccomend checking out youtube.com/usarmybf3 (not my channel) for some short videos on how to vastly improve your skill in Battlefield. Definitely worth the money, and if you install correctly, Origin and Battlelog don't ruin anything.