BUY FOR THE MULTIPLAYER
EA’s Battlefield series has touted itself and spurred its fans to tout it as the chief rival to and potentially better than the current most popular series, Activision’s Call of Duty. Who’s really to say which is better than the other, as each offers different experiences. But in the case of Battlefield 3, the real rivalry is not with Call of Duty, but within itself in the form of single-player campaign vs. multiplayer. The end result is incredibly unbalanced, leaving me to strongly urge everyone who prefers campaign play over multiplayer to leave this game on the store shelves.
“Unbalanced” is really the best description for the campaign. The gameplay flips from being easy to the point of boring to hair-pulling frustrating in a nanosecond. The same can be said for the plot. It also flips back and forth from being intriguing to boring, sometimes within the same chapter!
And when it comes to the plot, don’t look into it too closely or you’ll become just as frustrated as I was with all of the plot holes. So many things do not add up at the end, and if you think back on certain chapters, you’ll wonder why a couple of them were there at all.
Gameplay was fairly standard from what you would expect from a first-person shooter, although I have to say it was quite a rude awakening to come from Gears of War 3 and Deus Ex and suddenly no longer have the ability to take cover. Yes, you can lie prone and that provides some cover, but you can’t always hurl yourself flat on the ground when the enemy is shooting at you from all directions. That aspect is just me being a little nit-picky, I’ll admit that; however, my annoyance at the overuse of quick-time events (QTEs) is not. In certain situations, the occasional QTE is understandable, but the amount of QTEs thrown at the player, especially in the last few chapters, was down right ridiculous. The fact that the only way to defeat the final boss was with a QTE is unforgivable.
But enough about the lackluster single-player campaign. The real reason why people buy Battlefield is for the multiplayer experience, and BF3 does not disappoint. Unlike other multiplayer shooters, BF3 does its best to force players to play as a team. Individual soldiers can only level up if they perform actions that fit their selected classes. So if you choose to play as the support class–a returning class to Battlefield–you will only gain experience by supporting the other members, such as laying down fire while your assault members rush in. It brings in a refreshing element to usual versus style multiplayer games. Of course, like most theories, sometimes the team aspect is really only a theory and difficult to apply, as many people will just lie in wait and kill you for the fun of it instead of trying to accomplish team objectives. But hey, if you go in with a few friends, you can easily form a team mentality and play according to the underlying theory.
In reality, though, either method is a lot of fun–especially once you learn how to fly a helicopter.
As you have likely gathered, the experiences between the two forms of play are night and day. Not only do they come on separate discs for the Xbox 360, they feel like they’re two completely different games, created by two completely different studios. It’s unfortunate that the campaign leaves such a black mark on the game, but it’s unavoidable.
This is one of those instances that without a doubt, Battlefield 3 should have been a multiplayer-only game. If that is indeed all you care about, then you will have an absolute blast and find BF3 to be worth every penny. If you’re looking for a fun and well-developed single-player FPS experience, this is not the game you’re looking for. Move along.