Saturday, November 05, 2011
Let's put this review into two distinct parts.
The offline campaign of Battlefield 3 is stunningly beautiful in parts and quite honestly one of the best written single player first person shooters in recent history. The story actually manages to make sense for almost the entirety of the game, unlike the plot line of Modern Warfare 2 which I could only describe as a wtfest.
Sadly, the graphics and decent writing get absolutely kicked in the balls by some completely rookie mistakes in level and game design. Invisible walls inhabit the otherwise immersive world in a surprising number of places. My favorite was after having held down the fort (metaphorically) for some time, myself and my fellow soldier finally made our way to an Osprey for escape. Hooray!
Except that my fellow soldier could run into the Osprey, whereas I was blocked by a force field of doom while getting shot at by enemy forces. That was until he started yelling at me to get on the ramp...
Worse, however, is the number of times your squad will be positioned in a spot which seems utterly reasonable ... and yet is actually a complete death trap. Try to position yourself in the same manner as your squad and you will get cut to ribbons.
These flaws aren't minor and they aren't rare. They trip up the game nearly constantly. If Battlefield 3 was a single player game - I would recommend giving it a pass.
I am absolutely enamored by BF3's multiplayer. Despite several warnings that the Quick Find may be malfunctioning - I have never had a problem jumping into a game. I think mute may be the default, because the battlefield is devoid of singing, guitar playing, racist, swearing and threatening sounds of other online shooters. The squad mechanics are simple and unobtrusive. The servers do not seem to be dominated by clans making teams one sided.
That last bit is, I think, very interesting. From what I can tell, BF3 seems to try to balance teams in between maps. I haven't gotten into many situations where a blowout appears to continually occur on a server. This is a massive relief. I haven't had a chance to dig into Uncharted 3 yet, but one of my huge complaints with the online play of Uncharted 2 was that their "buddy" system meant that veteran players could essentially mop up levels if they were friends and enough of them were online at the same time.
The vehicle mechanics seem well tuned. There's the occasional moment of having to run across long distances - but seems far more rare than BF2. The firepower of vehicles also seems well balanced versus available counter-measures.
I'll undoubtably get into Modern Warfare 3 over the holidays - but for the moment Battlefield 3 is definitely my goto game for online play. Uncharted 3 may well occupy for some time next week, but if Battlefield 3 was multiplayer only - I'd still highly recommend it.