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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Game Play: Battlefield 3

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.


Steve S said...

Yeah I concur on the map design issues you ran into. There are several occasions where what to do was not clear and I died many many times because of it. For example, there's the moment when you're pinned down by a sniper. You're supposed to sneak up to the edge of the building and then I got the impression I was supposed to try to find and shoot the guy. Well apparently I just had to wait long enough and eventually a missile launcher magically appeared out of a squad mates ass, and then I was able to easily kill the sniper with that.

It seems like the flaw in the level design is that they make a lot of assumptions about where you should be standing and they tell you to do things that aren't a good idea. In one moment I was told to go make use of a mounted 50 cal on a bridge. Well standing up on the bridge, as implied, was suicidal. So I would go grab the gun, then go find a nice place to hide and shoot from until enough people were dead that I could proceed.

Steve S said...

Seems you weren't the only one who ran into the magic force field on the Osprey:

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