I’m not usually one for hard work on my weekends, but lately there’s been an exception. My virtual country has called me back into service and I’ve been doing my part. When work ends and I get back home, I suit up, grab my rations (Coke and Doritos), my weapons (mouse and keyboard) and get online to take part in the online war zone that is Battlefield 3.
What is this game?
It’s a spiritual successor to Battlefield 2, although it directly follows Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Keeping in theme with the series, it’s a first person shooter where you pick a class that determines what weapons or equipment you can carry. Set in the modern day, this game takes us all over Iran and to a few other exotic locations (such as the river Seine in France) to battle against an opposing team.
Upon installing the game, probably the most noticeable change is the lack of in-game browser/community. Choosing a game, chatting to friends and checking your stats are performed through the Battlelog website, accessible with most modern browsers. This change alone caused a stir amongst many users, however, a lot of the hubbub has died down once people realised it’s actually pretty nifty. You no longer have to run through the process of starting up a process-intensive game just to check your level or see who else is playing. You also don’t need to be constrained to your “gaming rig” if you wanted to see how your platoon is going, since you can access it from work or even a tablet computer (don’t tell my boss).
In-game you’ll probably notice some new mechanics as well. For me, the biggest of these was the ability to “go prone”. The chance to lie down as one with the Earth and bask in the glory of Mother Nature (and I guess make it harder to be shot at and increase your accuracy) was missing from Bad Company 2 but is welcomed back with open arms. The ability to set up bipods for accuracy and a host of new weapons and equipment (yay, mortars!) left me giggling with joy as well.
Class-based warfare. It worked for the Battlefield series, the Team Fortress series and a host of other games and still works well to this day. The equipment of different characters really makes it a necessity for each team to have a few from different classes. You need some ‘assault’ classes to bring some medkits and “life” back into the team; some ‘support’ classes for when people get down to their last magazine; and some ‘engineers’ to demonstrate the explosive capability of enemy tanks and some snipers because everyone hates snipers (totally no bias here *shifty eyes*).
There’s also the now-familiar levelling aspect of the Battlefield series. The better you play the more experience you earn in the hopes of unlocking new equipment, camouflage and perks.
Finally, we see a continuation of vehicles and a reintroduction of fighter jets in multiplayer combat (last seen in Battlefield 2). I’ll leave it up to individuals to make their own minds up on the vehicles, however, I’ve found them a fun addition to the game and very necessary for getting between points/villages in larger maps.
What makes it stand out?
For me, I’d say the graphics and the more strategic gameplay the Battlefield series cultivates. It’s not all about running into the enemy base and “spraying’n’praying”. Crawling through grass, using cover and controlled bursts of fire are much bigger tickets to success. But more than that, working as a squad or team to take down objectives becomes a necessity and works as an excellent game dynamic.
Be wary if you want to take advantage of the beautiful graphics engine, you will need a powerful, gaming-focused computer. If your machine is a laptop (that costs less than $4000) or more than three years old, you might not be able to take full advantage of the game’s new Frostbite 2 engine. But if you can max out those settings, prepare to be awestruck by just how realistic and stunning the graphics are.
Get it. Whether it’s for the uni holidays, something new to play with partners or mates or just something to show yourself how far gaming has come in a few short years, it’s a great gaming experience.
PS: Don’t play the single-player. Like finding someone stole the pizza you put in the work fridge, single-player is a massive, pizza-less letdown of bad design and mechanics with a generic plot.