Before I start the review I want to get something off my chest. The animosity between Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 fans is so thick that it’s easy to lose sight of what is exciting about both in the first place.
I respect and am very appreciative of the Call of Duty franchise. Why you ask? Regardless of your view on the series, Modern Warfare helped shape console FPS gaming with it’s accessible and addictive formula, for both single and multiplayer. That being said, I’m personally burnt out on it now. If you’re a MW3 supporter, good for you! The more people buying ANY video game and playing the shit out of it online, the better it will be for the industry as a whole as it creates competitors who want to excel. This just means better games for all of us in the future.
This is what’s pissed me off about most online publications lately, especially a certain site that made a “choose your side” map and “who will win the FPS war” videos to increase their website hits. Fuck you for stirring the pot, A., and B. who cares? Why is there such a strong need to try and prove that one game is better than the other? Respect each game for what they bring to the table and enjoy whichever one you want. The same can be said about which version of a game is best; Xbox, PS3, PC. Again, let people buy games for different platforms because there’s advantages and disadvantages to each one. Thank you for letting me vent, now on to the review!
-The HD Texture Pack Installation-
The Xbox 360 version comes on 2 discs. The first is Multiplayer, which kind of says a lot of where they think player’s priorities are, and the second is Single Player Campaign. The multiplayer disc also contains the high resolution textures.
There seems to be a bit of misconception as to what this is. The HD pack isn’t something that pushes the game to higher textures than what you normally see in a video game, more like it brings it up to par with what you’d expect and then a bit more. Because the Frostbite 2 engine is so new and does some really exciting things, the textures had to be loaded separately for it to really work.
Unlike the PS3 which has large internal storage by default, there are people out there who don’t have a hard drive for their Xbox 360. DICE had to make a playable version of the game that would still run, which is what they are calling the “Standard Definition” version. Not pretty looking up-close at all. The PS3 gets this automatically since the console requires download to play anyway, so it’s a smart spin how DICE has done it for Xbox, but in reality it would be a requirement if they had a choice.
Battlefield 3’s single player does what it’s supposed to, which is entertain and captivate. I went through the single player campaign and had a blast regardless of how scaled back it may seem in terms of being linear. If you can get through all the hype, and high expectations set in your mind because of it, you’ll see that there’s an awesome shooter here. There are truly some moments that will make your heart pound with anticipation, like the nauseating fighter pilot mission, and that’s how you know it’s succeeding.
Battlefield 3’s story is a simple, less-flashy, more realistic depiction of warfare. Small details like the appearance of a dirty camera lens that you’re constantly looking through to alway remind you that you’re in the shit. The campaign’s execution is similar to other shooter’s, take that as a good or bad thing. Again, the best way I can describe it is “simple”. Not boring, just a departure from extreme explosions and constant confusing plot twists like you might be used to in other modern shooters.
The gameplay is surprisingly smooth with a solid frame rate. Minor screen tearing occurred, but hardly noticeable. Beautiful graphics (HD-textures installed), realistic particle effects, buildings crumbling around you, and the best lighting engine I’ve seen yet on a console. There are more lens flares than a JJ Abrahams or Michael Bay movie! I was worried about how the Xbox version would hold up and am happy to say that it’s awesome! This is by far one of the best looking games for Xbox 360. Load times can feel a bit frequent, but nothing too terrible. P.S. the cutscene facial animations are really impressive!
The campaign took me about 7 hours to complete and is what I will call an “appetizer platter” of Battlefield. It gives you a little taste of everything so that when you’re all done with it you can say “man I wish I could do more of ___”. The best part is, you can…in multiplayer, and that’s where BF3 shines as bright as Frostbite 2’s lighting engine (see what I did there?!).
If you’ve ever played a Battlefield game you’ll know what to expect here, but you have no idea of how polished it really is. I’m talking large maps (yes, even on the console), fun vehicles, excellent team-based gameplay, cool weapons, lots of attachments, new camo customization, and more. I had fun playing the Beta, despite all the bugs, and this is a severely polished version of that. This game will carry you, your friends, and the community easily until Battlefield 4 is available. Grab the “limited” edition while you can because you get an entire expansion, Back to Karkand, for free.
You get the traditional BF game modes such as Team Death Match, Rush and Conquest (my personal favorite). You also have the option to play Co-op with a friend (think Spec Ops for MW2) which is pretty fun AND unlocks weapons and attachments that you can use in the completive-based multiplayer. That’s pretty sweet.
People have been saying that the HD Texture installation is reminiscent of a PC game. Sure. What’s more reminiscent is the ability to actually interface with the console-dedicated servers. It’s almost 2012 and this is the first game that really lets you drill down and customize game modes and server preferences. PC’s have had these options forever, and this is exciting for console players because you can literally play the game you want to play!
Environments are destructible, but I wouldn’t say to quite the extent of Bad Company 2. This is kind of a bummer and kind of nice at the same time. It shows that the game is adapting to fit an evolving experience. To be honest, what once was the coolest part of Bad Company is kind of shadowed by all the other things BF3 multiplayer offers. I’m talking better vehicles, faster gameplay, better content for each class, better controls, improved visuals, etc. At the end of the day, Battlefield 3 is in the top 3 online games to play for console, if not the top right now.
Battlelog is something I didnt get to play with because it’s currently unavailable. It’s a cool idea that let’s you view your multiplayer stats online, or via mobile app, and even lets you customize you load-outs outside of the game.
You don’t need a review score to solidify how much fun you’re going to have with a game. That being said, this game has enough included with it, and very high production value to justify the purchase. DICE really took what did and didn’t work in Bad Company 2 and improved them both. It’s great to see a developer try to push themselves by changing what they’re used to. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to adapt or die. Battlefield 3 has a fun single player and top-notch multiplayer that will keep you entertained for a long time. Ask yourself; what more do you really want out of a video game? I’m having a blast with BF3, and I hope to see you on the battlefield!
I give Battlefield 3 a 4.5 out of 5