Battlefield 3 review
It’s been several years in the making, but the long-running Battlefield series has finally reached a third official instalment. The combination of infantry-based warfare and vehicular combat made the original game an instant classic, so Battlefield 3 has some huge combat boots to fill.
Although its mainstay has always been addictive multiplayer carnage, BF3 is the first game in the main series to receive a fully fleshed out single player campaign. Played through the eyes of several different characters, the locations are varied and the action is intense – nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and the threat of a third World War ratchet up the tension, but the game rarely stays true to the freeform nature of the series throughout its six hour storyline.
Battlefield 3’s single player is more like a roller coaster ride than the playground that was Bad Company 2 – each level is filled with collapsing buildings and destructible cover, rendered beautifully in the stunning Frostbite 2 engine, but you’re never given the option to carve your own path using explosives or vehicles. You’re restricted to a single linear journey through each level, forced to wait for your teammates to kick down doors in order to progress and made to endure unnecessary quick time events that result in instant death when failed.
Even with these problems, the game still maintains fantastic pacing and looks absolutely phenomenal. The improved Frostbite engine easily makes Battlefield 3 arguably the best-looking game available on the PC today – incredibly accurate destruction physics, high quality textures and lighting effects that border on photo-realistic in places are all simply breath-taking. Equally impressive are the phenomenal sound effects. Rockets and gunshots reverberate through tunnels, weapons feel satisfyingly meaty and explosions temporarily deafen you, creating a disorienting effect that makes it difficult to place enemies by sound alone. You’ll need a monstrously powerful graphics card to enjoy the game with all its graphical bells and whistles enabled, but with the right hardware you’ll be amazed at what modern games are capable of when developers concentrate on the PC rather than underpowered consoles.
The single player experience does little to distance itself from the other heavily scripted shooters currently occupying our hard disks. In spite of this, we still find ourselves coming back time and again for another go. Why? The phenomenal multiplayer mode.