Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Personal Game Review - Battlefield 3

Guns, explosives, helicopters and tanks… 12 year old me would say something like;

“There is no guy on this planet that doesn’t like guns?!”.

But then I grew up and reality took hold of my stupid little mind. I now understand that there are some guys who think handbags can solve terrorism. I guess I have just experienced the exhilaration of firing a real gun under realistic circumstances, and having the mentality that it’s you or them while in the army cadets or just paintballing with friends. This exhilarating, team-based immersion is definitely one of Bettlefield 3’s strong points as DICE have managed to bring this multiplayer feature through from its previous First Person Shooter (FPS) games and given it new life with the new squad spawning mechanics.

“I need a medic!” being screamed down your ear could never sound more real when my brother or fellow squad mate is incapacitated in one of the many epic fire-fights which happen between both teams in many areas of the multiplayer maps. Now the maps are what really give the game its legs. The game boasts 9 varied maps, which with the addition of all 5 expansion packs will increase this number to 29 maps! The size of these maps all vary in size, with more compact, close quarters combat taking place with fewer vehicles drawing in an audience similar to that of a call of duty game. While other maps are much more open, with tanks, jets and helicopters becoming available to players.

Although having vehicles to command is extremely cool and presents some very cool vehicle battles, larger maps can become tiresome on the console versions as much of the game will be spent waiting for a vehicle to spawn, or sprinting from flag to flag across the map in order to try and get in the fight. This can cause combat to seem rare and long winded at times, making the game seem less personal and more of a long distance chore.

"Did you see that shot?!"

My brother cries as he shoots a foe from 400 metres away. The style of combat tends to vary between game modes and maps considerably, with large maps, showing tournaments between the snipers of both teams.  This style of combat is very unique in that the Frostbite 2 engine takes into account the forces of the world causing bullets and rockets to drop if fired at a long range. This means that players who use sniper rifles actually have to have some degree of skill to achieve a long range kill. This is an area where Call of Duty player may struggle with… you know, thinking about stuff.

The smaller maps, which include the Close Quarters expansion DLC give light to insane iron brawls. Lead and blood is spent and the gritty reality of war starts to shine through putting you and your team mates in the spotlight. These bouts are frequent and are seen in tight areas of the maps. It may be that a team is defending an M-COM station in Rush, defending an outpost in Conquest, or simply trying to earn a kill-tally in a team Deathmatch. Whichever is the case, these battles never cease to entertain, with squads on both teams constantly attempting new tactics, to try and flank or outwit the other team. The winners are usually the team with squads that work well together and present their skill as a certain class.

However, although the Frostbite 2 engine produces some staggeringly beautiful graphics, which makes the game both gritty and realistic; it does occasionally have some annoying little glitches and can lag substantially at times, which really ruins the game. Although DICE and EA have addressed some of these more comical issues; like the “zombie” glitch and some boosting glitches, the game still has some time out and lagging issues which can see you kicked from a game for no apparent reason.

“What about the storyline?” I hear you ask…

Well, there is a polished single-player campaign in addition to multiplayer. The story follows Sgt. Blackburn of the US 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and several other characters who are important to the plot along the way. Blackburn, the main protagonist is being questioned about events that happen throughout the game. I won’t give away too much, but the campaign does have some unique missions which give you a bit of a buzz. However, it’s something that has already been done and isn’t really that original. In fact, it has some extremely similar moments to that of the Call of Duty franchise. Specifically looking at MW2 and MW3. All in all though, the campaign is fun to play, with some unique and heroic feeling twists. Only let down, by some confusing events, muffled dialogue and repetitive combat.

The saving grace of Battlefield 3 has to be its multiplayer modes. With so many variations in play style and scale no battle ever feels the same. The amount of weapons and customisation choices far exceeds its predecessors and other games in the genre. Teamwork is key in this game however, so it is more fun if played with friends or friendly strangers. If you are more of a lone-wolf, then prepare to become bored very quickly…