Published on November 4th, 2011 | by Charlie
Review: Battlefield 3 (PC)
Summary: Charlie takes a look at Battlefield 3 (PC), is it any good? read the review to find out!
For well over a year, many people have found Battlefield 3 to be more anticipated than Modern Warfare 3. Why? Because of it’s engine of course. It seemed that for that entire year, all people cared about was how the game was going to look; not the story, not the gameplay, and strangely, people cared more about the graphics than the multiplayer. When people also found out that Battlefield 3 would not be on Steam, they were disappointed hugely. So many people (even myself) said they weren’t going to get Battlefield 3 because it was on Origin. I wonder how many people still kept to that, because I sure as hell didn’t. I wasn’t going to get some silly little spyware in the terms and conditions stop me from playing one of this years most anticipated.
Before I carry on, I must tell you that this is a review of the PC version. I played the game on “High” settings (until near the end when I turned it up to pre-made Ultra to see what it was like). My PC specifications are:
- OS: Windows 7 (64-bit) SP1
- CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition
- GPU: 1GB EVGA GTX 560 SC (nVidia)
- RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance
So as you can see, I have a pretty fair set up to be honest.
The story is what lets the Single Player down so much (as it does in most FPS). For some unknown reason, your character suddenly jumps off a bridge and lands on a moving train. From what you can gather (as first) is that you are after some man. You fight your way to the front, only to have a gun pointed at your head. Then the game goes back 8 hours earlier, where a soldier known as Sergeant Henry ‘Black’ Blackburn is being interrogated by two unknown men. Apparently, Blackburn has mentioned that there is going to be a New York terror attack happening soon and Blackburn has information on how to stop it. Of course, the two men doubt him, so the entire game is essentially a sequence of flashbacks telling the story on how Blackburn found out such information. The ending is extremely weak as the game just… stops. Once you’ve finished the final mission, you’ve finished the campaign. I mean how silly is that, because DICE could have at least given us a cliffhanger into Battlefield 4, or something “Bad Company” related or something (there is something that happens but a) It’s not anything special and b) I ain’t going to spoil what it is anyway).
The thing that holds the single player together is essentially the engine and the amazing cinematic moments that occur. I will applaud DICE for it’s cinematics because they don’t all happen at once. Unlike games such as Modern Warfare 2 (where it’s cinematic after cinematic after cinematic), DICE spreads out the “awesome” moments equally. Some levels you should definitely enjoy will be where you actually take full control of an M1A2 Abrams tank, and where you fly in a Su-35BM Flanker-E. You don’t take full control of the Su-35BM Flanker-E in the single player, which to be honest can be considered a good and bad thing. It’s bad because it would be good practice for when you get to use one in the multiplayer, and it’s good because they are actually really complicated to fly in the multiplayer, so the back seat is probably the best option until you know what to do. Unfortunately, the single player campaign can be completed in around 6 hours on Normal difficulty (I literally completed the campaign the same day I got the game). Your equipment in the single player is essentially the things you should have; your main gun, a secondary gun (possibly), your pistol, your grenades and so forth.
The main thing people seemed to only care about in Battlefield 3 is the engine itself. Frostbite 2 makes it’s debut, and believe it or not, if you have the game on low settings, the game still looks pretty decent. Of course the higher you go, the better it will look. As mentioned, I played on high settings and the game looked outstanding at first. Having my game on high didn’t do too much frame rate damage, but there were a couple of screen tears here and there. I also went up to ultra to see if my PC could handle it, and the frame rate dropped by about 15. Despite there being slightly more screen tears (not as many as there was for RAGE on PC initially), my computer handled the game really well. From a distance, the environments and graphics look outstanding. It’s when you get really close up to the graphics that they start to look a little off, but that’s pretty much expected with all graphics. There are a few things that do let the engine down, and one of those things are the bugs. You might be walking down an alley way with walls that have been spray painted. One moment, the spray paint may be there and then when you move a couple of meters forward, the paint disappears. You move back and it’s returned (this is on High graphics by the way). Other things that let the engine down is how it just randomly makes an object disappear. For example: there’s a tank coming towards you. You go grab a rocket launcher and you blow it up. Yay! You go stand behind it for cover and then all of a sudden: Blam. The tank is gone right in front of your eyes and so is your cover. I know the engine is just trying to save polygons (I study Video Games development, so I know of such things), but come on DICE. With your engine, you’re trying to be as realistic as possible, and yet you decide that getting rid of something in front of your eyes is the best way to do that? Another thing you may notice is that there’s no water splashes. Something so effectively simple, and DICE has just gone and ignored that. So when soldiers walk over a river to cross a border, they all look like Jesus walking on water. Sometimes you’ll even see character AI walk through walls, or through each other too. If Frostbite 2 is so powerful, why haven’t DICE addressed these issues? I know some of what I just mentioned are simple, meaningless things, but at the back of a person’s mind, they’re rather important. The day an engine is the most powerful is when an engine creates it’s own grass (as in it’s not just flat textured grass and that the engine literally creates it’s own blades of grass).
Lets move onto the Co-Op. It’s a selection of 6 different missions, all which take between 10-30 minutes to complete, possibly more if you sucked that bad. What’s different about these co-op missions is that you can’t just choose any co-op mission, as in order to unlock the third co-op mission, you need to have completed the first two. And in order to unlock co-op missions 4 and 5, you need to complete the third co-op mission and so on. The first two co-op missions are rather different, where one will have you on ground level, defeating many enemies than run towards you, as well as destroying tanks. You need to make sure none of your enemies or any tanks reach past a certain point, or you lose that co-op mission. The other starting co-op mission see’s you in a UH-1Y Venom, where one player is doing all the main shooting, while the other player flies and shoots missiles. In this mission, you are to protect a group of marines as they reach their destination. On ground level co-op missions, when a player is downed, the other player has to pick up the other, or else you lose the mission. There’s also a difficulty level for the co-op missions, where obviously the higher difficulty you play at, the higher score you can obtain. While the co-op missions are rather fun and each have their own aspects, it’s still not enough if you combine the single player and co-op playtime, unless you count the multiple playthroughs of the co-op missions (and maybe the Single Player if you really wanted to go back through it).
But of course, the multiplayer is where it’s all at. Sort of anyway. A new feature to the Battlefield franchise is Battlelog, and in order to enter a match, you need to use Battlelog. It’s actually rather a change to the usual in-game multiplayer menu and is a rather interesting feature. Your statistics are rather specific, and when you finish a multiplayer game, a pop up will occur with tonnes of information about the match you just played. You can access the statistics for up to 16 recent matches, so Battlelog is a great feature. Sure, there’s no menus, or flashy pop ups, or pretty colors that appear on the screen, but Battlelog just proves that it’s not really needed for the statistics part of the game.
To access a multiplayer match, you can either choose a quick match, or you can flick through a bunch of available servers. Yet again, Battlelog likes to be specific with it’s options, allowing you to choose the game modes you would like to play in, the region the server is based in, the map you’d like to play (some multiplayer servers may just play the same map over and over), free slots and more. But there’s one thing you notice when you are on this screen: There are only 9 maps. Personally, when you release a game with multiplayer in it, you should ship with at least 14-16 maps. I know most copies of Battlefield 3 had the “Back to Karkland” bonus that’s available in the Winter, but that just isn’t the point. The main stuff is when you are inside a match itself. When you load up a server, you get this massive customization screen, where you can choose the class you wish to play as from:
- Assault – Their main perk is healing a comrade. This class mostly deals in close combat attacks, with their chosen weapon of choice being, of course, assault rifles.
- Engineer – Their main perk is fixing broken vehicles. This class tends to have firearms and rocket launchers, as well as being the one with all the gadgets.
- Recon – Their main perk is carrying around C4. This class tends to be sniper rifles most of the time.
- Support – Their main perk is handing out ammo. This class tends to have machine guns.
When customizing, you can do things such as changing the colors of your characters clothing, adding a scope onto your weapon, choosing your weapons, and all the rest. My main concern about the customization section is that you have to change everything whilst the match is already running, meaning you’re missing out on potential kills while you change the color of your characters clothing to make him look bad-ass. It would be great if you could do all of that while you are on Battlelog as well as doing it in-game, so then you can change your weapons and other items any where, whether it be in-game or just before you choose a server.
Many of the multiplayer maps are just remakes of single player levels, which is slightly a disappointment, as I would like just one multiplayer where each level is original content. There are 9 maps, as previously mentioned, which I still think is not enough. In total, there are 6 multiplayer modes (again, not enough. I hate to compare to Call of Duty, but if you compare the modes, Call of Duty has so many):
- Rush – One team has to try and bomb the control points, while the other team has to protect the points until the opposite teams counter drops to zero.
- Squad Rush – Just like Rush, except there are added squads.
- Team Deathmatch – The first team to reach the total target of kills wins the match. Matches can be over very quickly if there is a 32v32 match.
- Squad Deathmatch – Just like Deathmatch, except there are added squads.
- Conquest – Each team have to try and capture flag points. The more flag points you control, the slower your counter drops. The first team to reach zero loses the match.
- Conquest 64 – This mode is like Conquest, except 64v64 matches are allowed, and there are two extra flag points.
While these modes add variety with each one, personally DICE could have worked a lot harder and added more maps and game modes to last gamers a life time.
You are able to use vehicles freely in multiplayer depending on if a map contains them or not, but some vehicles may require practice to even use them.
While Battlefield 3 is graphically impressive, it just seems that DICE seemed to only care about showing off the engine. The story is rather pointless, but contains quite a few cinematic moments that may get your heart pumping. The multiplayer has been well built even if there is a shortage of modes and maps. Battlefield 3 mostly does what Medal of Honor failed to do (for one, you don’t always die as soon as you respawn. In Battlefield 3, you actually have a chance to move before you’re shot… most of the time anyway).