The Frag Limit


Battlefield 3 – Review
July 1, 2012, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Hit Scan

Review Score:   84 / 100

Review Stats:

  • Gameplay – 8
  • Fun Factor – 9
  • Competition Value – 6
  • Replay Value – 10
  • Intangibles – 9
  • Total Score – 42 (x2) = 84

Game Information:

  • Platform(s) – PC, 360, Ps3
  • Release Date – October 25, 2011
  • Game Modes – Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush, Squad DM, TDM

The Nitty Gritty:

Hello everyone.  Today we are going to be taking a look at Battlefield 3 – Dice’s new heavy-duty modern-day, miltary shooter.

Dice spared no expense in the development of this game and it shows.  From the lush, crisp graphics to the loud, enrapturing sound to the tight, gritty battles, Battlefield 3 is a game that is meant to impress.  And it does.  Just like all the other games in the Battlefield legacy, Battlefield 3 has everything that one could expect from the franchise.  The big sprawling maps are back, as are the many different playable vechicles and the real-time destructable environments.   Additionally, the great host of weapons and personal araments introduced in Bad Company 2 also make a return (though this time the collection is even more comprehensive) and player/soldier customization again plays a huge role in compelling and enticing players to keep on playing time and again (often times for many, many hours in total).

In addition to all this epic goodness is a fairly extensive singleplayer campaign as well as a thorough Co-op experience.  In sum, the game is rather huge when considering all of its different parts and it gives players a lot of content to play with for a good, worthwhile period of time.  For our purposes here, however, we will not be considering the “total package” of Battlefield 3, but rather just focus on the multiplayer componant specifically.  And at any rate, the multiplayer componant will give us more than enough to discuss and critique for this review.  So let’s get started!

Gameplay:

Multiplayer is all about gameplay.  And with Battlefield 3 we have sort of a conundrum.  On one hand, bf3 offers a deep, challenging and fun gameplay environment which will keep gamers engaged and coming back for more for a long, long time.  On the other hand, bf3 dissappoints when considering gameplay balance and how well the game operates as a platform for competition.  To parse out these differences, I will be discussing the former aspect of “gameplay” here in this section.  And in the upcoming section called “Competition Value”, I will be discussing the latter aspect.  Hopefully, by seperating these two distinct areas of interest a clearer picture can be drawn about what Battlefield 3 really offers – both in a positive way and in a negative way.

So how does the gameplay in Battlefield 3 offer a deep, challenging and fun gameplay experience?  It does so primarily in two distinct ways.  The first way is through its offering of a huge sprawling world of options, customizations and player specializations.  In the world of Battlefield 3, there are over 55 different guns alone (9 assault rifles, 6 carbines, 7 light machine guns, 8 sniper rifles, 6 sub machine guns, 5 shotguns, 6 rocket launchers and 8 pistols to be specific – along with several faction variations).  There are also a whole host of weapon ”modifications” which allow players to tweak their weapon setups with scopes,  barrels, grips, lights, laser-guides and suppressors – among other things.  Additionally, there is also helping handful of grenades, mines, mortars and c4 explosives which add to the mix.  This gun-crazed and “armed to the teeth” environment makes the gameplay incredibly deep and challenging (challenging in that it can sometimes be quite difficult to fight, or contend with, a better armed or better equiped oppanant – or even just a smarter opponant who uses his resources well).  It can also be challenging for any given player to find a decent gun which he can feel comfortable with.  All of this nuiance and detail created by this sprawling world of weapons and armaments makes the game a real treat to play as one inevitably starts at the bottom of the food chain and has to work their way up through determination, skill and hard work (and a little luck).

The other way the gameplay succeeds is through the “Battlefield Experience” itself.  As we all know, the Battlefield series is known for its wild, intense and completely unrehersed “action-movie” type game scenarios.  And in Battlefield 3 we are heartily dealt more blockbuster, “wow that was cool – did that just really happen” moments that we can shake the proverbial stick at.  It is in these epic, winning moments that game really comes to life and it is in these moments that players want to play relentlessly, night and day, and non-stop, in the name and persuit of Fun and excitement.

Fun Factor:

Well, as I just noted, Battlefield 3 can be a real blast to play.  And the overwhelming majority of this “fun-ness” comes from the well-known and much-apprecitated “Battlefield Experience”.  No other franchise has yet offered any sort of competition, or clone, to this winning gameplay combination (which is a real puzzle) and the Battlefield games remain the sole providers of the chaotic, but controlled, and the random, but intentioned, pre-eminant “sandbox shooter” gameplay offering of the digital warfare arena.

So what exactly is this experience all about?  This experience is about a number of different things and it can be represent through a number of different actions or action sequences.  You may find yourself base-jumping from an impossibly high ledge one moment, shooting a plane out of the sky with a tank round the next moment and then spraying the enemy down with a mini-gun on a helicopter that your buddy is piloting after that.  The combinations available for these crazy action moments are incalculable as there are simply so many different ways to do something that is both really cool and also feels like it came directly out of an action movie.  Indeed, this is what the Battlefield 3 games have always been about: Creating an open world where one action will positively affect another action should the timing and the psychics of those actions be in conjunction with one another.  If you shoot a sniper round while lying prone in small shrubs on top of a distant mountain at a helicopter coming toward you, you might just kill the pilot with a head shot if your aim, trajectory, and accucracy are true.  The ballistics and in-game mechanics will not prevent this from happening, but instead, they will allow it (and promote it) and this is what this makes this game so darned fun to play.

Competition Value:

Let’s now get back to the other aspect of the “gameplay” that was mentioned above in the Gameplay section.  In that section I mentioned that Battlefield 3 suffers on the level of competition by failing to provide an adequate platform for competitive play. Battlefield 3, while damn impressive in many areas, does not really offer an even playing field for the benefit of tournament or league play.  Its sheer size and depth are exciting and compelling, but that really has no bearing on how great the actual competitive multiplayer experience really is.

Essentially, what prevents Battlefield 3 from being really great, is also what makes it “epic”.  The scale and immensity of the game are exactly what end up bogging down and imbalancing the general competitive gameplay experience on a broad and unforgivable level.  This problem underminds most everything that the game is trying to accomplish – at least for hardcore gamers.  For the console players and for the casual players, perhaps there are no issues and everything is hunky-dory, but for us hardcore PC players, who have been fragging for some time, these issues of gameplay imbalance cannot be forgiven.  The incredible arsenal of weapons, gadgets, customizations and specializations are fun and exciting, but unfortunately there are too many inherent advantages and exploitations in such an arsenal which can be used to skew the general competitive “setting” of the game.  If there were about a quarter as many weapons and customizations then perhaps this issue would be irrelevant.  But as it stands now, there is just too much lee-way in the technical functionality of the game itself to be considered a serious contender for competitive gamers.

Replay Value:

As already mentioned, Battlefield 3 offers a wide range of gameplay options through it’s vast and comprehensive weapon’s offering.  This offering gives players a lot of content to chew on – maybe more than necessary – and will keep gamers busy for many hours.  This aspect of the game is one of the strongest aspects – if not the strongest aspect – of the game in general.  Players can easily become addicted to the formula and wish to level up and unlock everything possible.  And this will take awhile.

Intagibles:

Battlefield 3 gets a solid rating in the area of intangibles because it just offers so much excellent content across the board.  From the stat-focused Battlelog.net program to the awesomeness of the near-chaos gameplay to the all-round fun factor, this game is just a blasst to play.  The game is greater than the sum of its parts – and being that it has a lot of parts, the sum total is quite great.  Even priced on the high-end of a modern day, triple-AAA title, this game still provides hours of worthwhile entertainment – despite its lack in the area of competitive gaming.

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