Battlefield 3 review

Battlefield 3 review

T3 4
  • While we are waiting to post T3's comprehensive 3D tech review of Battlefield 3 on the PC, we are posting a shorter version of CVG's excellent review of DICE's stunning action title

    Battlefield 3 review

    Love

    • Multiplayer
    • Frostbite 2 game engine
    • Optmised for PCs

    Hate

    • Single player campaign
    • Not quite the full package
    • Need a new PC to play

    DICE has just made one of the best online military shot em ups out. And, thanks to the revolutionary Frostbite 2 game engine, it is the prettiest way to do battle - as long as you play it on a PC rather than a console.

    Battlefield 3: Game Engine

    Put simply, it's every bit the revelation DICE boasted, though it's true impact is most telling on the small-to-medium scale rather than the epic one EA felt compelled to show off in the game's marketing.
    For instance, the much-vaunted ability to level tower blocks manifests just the once, and still feels inorganic - much like the way the tech was deployed in Crysis 2, for instance. Our favourite mission in the entire game - the peerless Parisian foray that is 'Comrades' shows off Frostbite 2 at its most devastatingly effective.

    BF3 appears to signal that the next step in videogame realism - at least when it comes to blowing stuff up - resides in destructible environments, making a rival shooter like, say, Rage feel both painfully antiquated and impotent. There's also a visual breadth to, well... battlefields that's simply unparalleled. We bought the farm countless times just because we were too busy standing in stunned reverence at the sheer destroyed majesty of our surroundings.
     

    Battlefield 3: Multiplayer

    One thing that definitely feels genre-leading is the multiplayer. If you're confident venturing online (and to clarify, it feels much more polished and traditionally Battlefield than the recent open beta) this game is essential. We've said it before of Battlefield games, but the team at DICE know how to create compelling, perfectly paced online experiences. Actually, scratch that - DICE know how to craft the tools and environments, which can be transformed into near-perfect multiplayer.

    However, despite being so accommodating, Battlefield 3 loses none of its online savagery. If anything, we found this game to be slightly more aggressive than Bad Company 2. That's encouraged by some of the smaller maps, such as Grand Bazaar - a finely balanced maze of dangerously open squares and twisting kill-zones, and by the wealth of kit on offer.

    Battlefield 3: Single player


    Compared to the outrageous scale of the grander multiplayer maps, BF3's campaign might initially - surprisingly - come across as rather claustrophobic, despite the convincing smoke and mirrors and illusion of sprawling battlegrounds. In short, there's tons of handholding, and at times it frustrates. On the one hand it'd be easy to criticise BF3's campaign for its unoriginality - sniping, bombing, flying, tank-driving, one-man army, squad-based sections all say 'hello!' at one point or another - but, heck that's the nature of war... and the way the majority of these are executed is mind-blowing.

    Battlefield 3: Weapons

    The fabulously fleshed-out weapons roster all sounds dizzyingly authentic, explosions rock the room, screams rend the battlefield... gamers with a decent 5.1 (or better) surround setup will revel in an aural feast. Sound design is often underappreciated by gaming critics and gamers alike, but even if you're fairly ignorant when it comes to the various booms and bangs it's impossible not to be smacked of gob here.

    The Battlefield series' campaigns have always been unapologetically tricky; fail to respect the enemy and the screen will rapidly fade to black. For this reason it's a mite tricky to discern BF3's length - there are twelve missions in all, but two essentially frame the narrative and whiz past in a jiffy.

    Battlefield 3: Gaming on a PC

    As an aside for the tech-heads, we were able to play BF3 at a steady 30+fps on an i5 750 overlocked to 4.1GHz, 4Gb of DDR3 PC3-12800C7 1600MHz Dual Channel RAM and a Radeon HD 6850 with Catalyst driver set 11.9 with all settings on Ultra plus full antialiasing and anisotropic filtering with ambient occlusion set to HBAO but Vsync off. In other words, damn-near full eye candy. Not bad for a machine that's powerful but hardly bleeding-edge. Considering that BF3 looks significantly more impressive than any other game we've played on our rig this year - Witcher 2 arguably aside - that's all credit to DICE).

    Battlefield 3: Verdict

    So Battlefield 3 isn't quite perfect incarnate and console gamers are already complaining that it's much better than on a PC. But across the board, the multi-player action is the best you can find online

    Full Battlefield 3 review on CVG

    Battlefield 3 availability: Out now

    Battlefield 3 price: £29.99 on PC and £39.99 on consoles

    Can Battlefield 3 compete with COD: Modern Warfare 3? Find out in our video below as we put the pair head-to-head

    For more Battlefield 3 videos and the latest tech videos, head to the T3 Video Channel
  • DICE invited Edwin Evans-Thirlwell along to get a hands on look at Battlefield 3 so we can coud give you the low down on how the Call of Duty rival is shaping up. We were only allowed to glance a segment of BF3 but what we saw, we liked  

    Battlefield 3 review

    Love

    • Multiplayer
    • Frostbite 2 game engine
    • Optmised for PCs

    Hate

    • Single player campaign
    • Not quite the full package
    • Need a new PC to play

    Call of Duty is the franchise you’ll hear DICE’s Battlefield series most often compared to, but there’s actually a world of difference between them. Where Modern Warfare 3 is still, despite some gun and class tweaks, a game for people who like to fight alone, Battlefield 3 is all about team play.

    Battlefield 3: Single player

    The single player modes are probably where the two shooters come closest – the basic idea is to run in a straight line killing stuff – but there’s still plenty to set Battlefield 3 apart. As new mission Operation Guillotine commences, we’re just one among many US marines galloping down a slope in the face of a mortar bombardment. Squad mates are bowled over by blasts to left and right – we barely make it to the bottom unscathed.

    Battlefield 3: Playstation 3 version

    Huddled under a graffiti-covered wall, we’re ordered to fire off an illumination shell before getting a leg-up over into the battle raging beyond. Though noticeably not as handsome as the PC version, the PS3 build we’re playing impresses with huge amounts of on-screen action, great lighting and detailed character models.

    Battlefield 3: Ravi Flanker

    Flanking is crucial in Battlefield, so we sneak down the side of the river bank below the wall and catch a party of dug-in snipers unawares. We’re armed with a rifle, its IR scope easily penetrating the darkness, but there’s a grenade launcher to use against especially stubborn goons and a shotgun for that up-close-and-personal flourish. Later, a grenade flies into a sandbag nest and blows half-a-dozen men into our laps.

    Battlefield 3: Up in smoke

    Battlefield isn’t always this blisteringly loud - Operation Guillotine polishes off with a brief, tense trip through an apartment block, shotgun in hand to smoke people lurking in closets. At one point we’re about to breach a door only for an enemy to kick it outward, knocking us backward but also, luckily for us, jolting our trigger finger.

    Battlefield 3: Exfiltration mission

    The second mission, a two player episode called Exfiltration, also spends a lot of the time indoors. Armed with silenced pistols, we team up with a fellow Marine to surprise patrolling guards and take out security cameras before they can trigger reinforcements. There’s a defector to rescue on the top floor, after clearing out the stairwell next to it, and then it’s back to the streets to escort a convoy of Humvees.

    Battlefield 3: Friend or enema

    Switching to a sniper rifle, we pick off enemies firing from balconies and windows before jumping aboard a Humvee to man a turret. Things go south shortly after, as our co-op partner attempts to rig a door with explosives while we rain death at an army of insurgents. He’s knocked down, and as we try to revive him, we’re caught in the crossfire. Game over till October 28th then.

    Battlefield 3: First thoughts

    Battlefield 3 is a blast. It’s nothing tremendously new for a first-person shooter, but it has the guns, technical mastery and depth to overcome that lingering sense of familiarity. Fold in a fantastic-looking online multiplayer, and you’ve got a stainless steel autumn must-buy.

    Battlefield 3 availablilty: Out on October 28th

    Battlefield 3 price: £34.99 for consoles and £29.99 for PC

    Want more on Battlefield 3? Watch our video below.

     

     

    For more Battlefield 3 videos and all the latest tech videos head to the T3 Video Channel

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