STAFF REVIEW of Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360)

Monday, November 21, 2011.
by Brent Roberts

Battlefield 3 Box art Oh well look who we have here. We have a worldwide threat pertaining to weapons of mass destruction and instead of sending me another battalion like I asked for, they send me you. When we get back I?m going to give the boys in Washington holy hell but for now soldier keep your eyes open and your mouth shut because what I'm about to debrief you on is recently declassified intel from XboxAddict and what you learn could just save your life out there. We have been fighting this war for a long time but now things have become more dangerous than ever before, assemble your team soldier, and prep for the fight of your lives. You may have fought in other wars, but nothing will prepare you for this solider. Welcome to Battlefield 3.

[...Transmission Broadcasting...]

What we've learned over the years is that DICE and EA go through painstaking efforts to deliver the most realistic military FPS experience. They strive to achieve this goal by delivering some of the best graphical representations we have ever seen, combined with amazing physics, sound, and innovation. Creating a military FPS that not only guarantees a high replay value in the multiplayer, but also offers a suspenseful campaign, co-op missions, and a wealth of upgrades to almost every aspect of your soldier is no easy feat but DICE has a radar lock on bringing all of this to you in Battlefield 3. The world's stage is set in chaos as the threat of Nuclear War becomes more and more of a viable threat and your team have assembled to be the guardian angels of mankind by gathering any and all intel on possible weapons of mass destruction, and to confront and expunge the enemy on every level. Now that we have unveiled the overall assignment soldier let's discuss how you will maneuver your way through the warzone and achieve your success.

As you will be deep behind enemy lines and in constant engagement with hostile forces you will have to use everything at your disposal to obtain victory and come back home alive. There will be a lot of times where you will need to vault your way over obstacles then shift almost immediately to a prone position so play it smart, keep your head down, and then flank your opposition and use your abilities to drive the forces back and eliminate them.

As you become more familiar with the war soldier, you will gain perks that can not only affect you, but your entire squad as well. This is the start of a very in-depth customization that will give you every opportunity to play this war just how you want to. Your team will have many weapons at their disposal and each weapon will have three customization points that range from updated optics, bipods, laser sights, flashlights and more.

Not only can your weapons be customized, but your soldier themselves are granted multiple customization options as well. At your command you can customize your soldier to employ a wide range of accessories such as mortar launchers, remote control robots, spawn deployment points, c4 and more. While the ability to harness these customizations is important, victory can only be obtained if you successfully utilize the heavy armaments that will be provided for you. The controls may seem a bit touchy at first but once you learn the mechanics of the jets, helicopters, tanks and more, your squad will become an unstoppable force.

In terms of what you will expect to see when you hit the ground running, prepare yourself to see war like you have never seen it before. DICE brings war to life in iconic settings with the new Frostbite 2 engine. Every map of every mission is done with such meticulous detail that for the first time in a long time we get to experience the true physics of war. Buildings will collapse, explosions will erupt, and all of this will leave your eyes one amazing optical experience after another. Physical details such as the debris pattern after a breech or the small cloud of dust that comes off of a wall that gets hit with rounds of gunfire all help add that last push that sends the graphics of this game from great to flat out stunning.

While there is nothing like seeing a war unfold in front of your eyes, hearing the sounds of war itself is haunting in its own right. With multiple settings for the sound output, Battlefield 3 is an auditory gem in the world of military FPS games. The music score alone does not do this experience justice as you will note when you combine it with the sounds of incoming tanks, sniper fire, frag grenades exploding and more. There isn't really a greater sensation than lying prone undetected behind cover while you hear and feel an enemy tank moving right beside you and hearing the enemy chatter as everyone is on high alert and hunting you down.

While the singleplayer storyline is highly engaging, the true backbone of Battlefield 3 is the multiplayer experience. Acclaimed for providing gamers with a phenomenal multiplayer experience in the past, Battlefield 3 sets a new standard for military FPS. Be ready to encounter 24 player battles that range over the land, sea, and air while encompassing all the new technology and vehicle combat. Enjoy multiple gametypes such as what has been called the true Battlefield experience, Conquest, and a returning staple from Battlefield 1942, Team Deathmatch. Vehicles play a large role in the Battlefield games and that is truer now in Battlefield 3's multiplayer. Using customizable aircraft, helicopters, and other heavy armaments, teams will constantly wage war to see what side will triumph. There is more though behind the scenes of Battlefield 3's multiplayer though with the ability to search and select individual dedicated servers and filter your results based off of a wide variety of criteria such as lobby size, map, gametype, region, connectivity, and more. What this means to gamers is now they have a guaranteed way of locating the best possible Battlefield 3 experience for them. Another massive innovation to Battlefield 3 is the Battlelog. Think of this as an online record of all your Battlefield 3 actions from across the entire game. Here you will be able to do a variety of actions such as check on your unlock progression, form a platoon with your friends, and more.

While all this innovation and amazing gameplay are breathtaking, Battlefield 3 does suffer some shortcomings that would have made this title stand out as the premier military FPS game. For starters, since launch, Battlefield 3's multiplayer has been pegged with server issues. While other random glitches and bugs such as squad management, player loadouts and more can create some annoyance, having your entire multiplayer server connection interrupted frequently is like ripping out someone's backbone and seeing if they can stand upright. The core of the replay factor for Battlefield 3 lies in the connections gamers make to the multiplayer servers. If they can't connect and enjoy the game, then out it goes from the console.

The main story is surprisingly short and the online co-op consists of only six missions, and when you combine that they offer very little replay value, your multiplayer aspect becomes even more vital. Thankfully, the servers have become somewhat more stable and it goes without saying that DICE, EA, and Microsoft are working hard at correcting the issues. This year has some amazing releases and the ability to deliver a product that, will not only standout amongst the top during this year, but for years to come, is of the upmost importance with Battlefield 3. While this game does deliver some amazing gameplay experiences, there are multiple times when you sit there thinking that this game could have been better. That doesn't mean however that Battlefield 3 doesn't deliver at all; it means that gamers will just have to be patient as DICE and everyone work out all the details to deliver the Battlefield 3 experience we all know is out there.

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.4 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.1 / 10


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