Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Game Review - Battlefield 3

Trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi2tae2PmmU

Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_3

Let me start by saying this:  Good ole Battlefield gameplay, set in today's world!

If you played and liked Battlefield games before then you will like this for sure. 

I'll try not to talk about the competition between BF3 and MW3.  Isn't it funny though... they both claim to be part 3, but in reality it should be something like Battlefield 13 and Call of Duty 11.  Nice job publishers, disguising how you squeeze franchises.  I guess it helps hide the fact that their entire house of cards corporation is based off milking the crap out of 1 or 2 franchises.  Before ending this mini rant, I will say that at least the Battlefield franchise is made by one company, the next MW game always seems to be whored out.

Design - 18/20 - There's not much to say here except to give it a high ass score.  Their formula has worked for many years and if it wasn't badass there wouldn't be a BF3. 

Of course they include a deathmatch mode, but to me BF doesn't shine in deathmatch.  It's there if you like it though, so that's good. 

Also they included a Rush Mode, which seems to be the 2nd most played.  Rush Mode is an attacking/defending mode, the attackers must activate and destroy M-COM stations, 2 at a time.  When both M-COMs are blown up, a new set opens up, I think matches have 4-5 sets before the attackers win.  It's fun, but as you can imagine, if there's 1 M-COM left, it quickly is blown up or becomes a cluster fuck of grenades, tanks, RPGs.  Defenders don't win much.  (But if you are defending, C4 the M-COMs for tons o kills!)

Don't get me wrong, Conquest Mode is where it's at.  Tanks, choppers, jets, amphibious APCs, it's all there.

The level design works.  There are a few deviants from regular BF maps, like the subway map.  It takes place in the subways, so it's very tight for a BF map and essentially has a few choke points that are mega death zones of cross fire!!  You get guys with souped up machine guns inside those alleys and it gets a bit crazy.  I've heard more people get pissed on that map than any other.

This game has the tagging feature I talked about in the Gears review.  In BF3, you press the back button to highlight an enemy and for a short while that enemy will show up on everyone's radar and have a red icon above them in the world.  In the big open world environments of BF3, this really helps out the whole team.  I love this feature so much.  If you wanted to, you could find a sweet spot overlooking the map and sit there tagging enemies, and it could be very effective in helping your team mates kick ass and win.

One new gameplay element in this game is the "I shine my light in your eyes so you can't see, then I shoot you."  You can unlock a tactical flashlight to be able to do this, it's wierd but sometimes effective.  When someone does it to you, a giant portion of your screen goes completly white!!  One friend said, "Just shoot at the middle of the light."  Not sure what to think about this.

I've played this game for less than 20 hours but I've already laughed and screamed my ass off at the amazing, dynamic, emergent gameplay that these huge sandboxes has created.  The creative possibilities in this virtual war are some of the best in gaming!

Tech - 12/20 - I love this game, but this is where I will bash it a bit.  EA's servers suck balls.  Sometimes smooth as silk, but sometimes I get booted over and over and my connection is great.  Me and a friend tried to play co-op the other day, but he kept getting this "Cannot connect to EA servers." message and I didn't.  But I do get that message a lot, and it seems to be completely random and stupid.  Click multiplayer, the screen goes dark for a few seconds.. then "Cannot connect to EA servers.", but just do it 5-6 times and boom you get in.  LAME.

Trying to set up a squad to play with your friends is wierd, clunky and sometimes unresponsive.  Not only that, if you do start a squad in the main menu with friends and start a game, it will sometimes put you on different teams?!?! 

Also they have this thing called the Battlefeed or something, it's a giant eye sore on the main menu of the game that reads "Battlefeed: Not activated.  Go to this website and sign up then it will work."  WTF, I bought this game for a lot of cash and you've got this BS ad on the main menu.  Why are you trying to make web traffic out of me, I bought this game to shoot people?  If you really wanted to do this Battlefeed thing, just make it work in game.  I even went to the site to check it out, and it was down most of the time and not working when it wasn't down.  Whatever they tried to do here was EPIC FAIL, I'm thinking it was a lame response the MW3 Elite or something.

This is a game where you do battle, level up, unlock new equipment and battle again.  I'm on the main menu and I want to customize my character, click on "my soldier"... "Cannot connect to EA servers."  FUCK YOUR EA servers!

The only bonus points they get here is that they actually have a server browser.  Maybe it's the old school PC gamer I used to be, but that's cool.  And it's funny, the first week they had a message on the title screen, "Matchmaking isn't working so use the browser server."  haha.  Such a fun game, too bad all this stuff got wrapped up in it, kind of ruining the experience.

Art - 17/20 - Everything here is realistic, modern combat weapons and vehicles.  They look pretty realistic, yippee!  They do ALOT of stuff with lighting in this game, so much so that it can be confusing.  But some really cool stuff, like if someone with a red dot laser scope is pointing at your face, you get a red dot on your screen.  The lense flares, dirt particles, and suppression blurring (If I'm shooting and bullets are hitting all around you, your screen goes blurry... kind of cool.) all add up to a pretty interesting visual feast.  It's hard to see sometimes.  One time the sun was shining in my eyes, I was being suppressed and there was so many different colors on screen it looked like I had a laser pointer on my head, so I jumped for new cover, but it turns out it wasn't a laser, it was just tons of visual FX.  Is that good?  It felt kind of realistic when it happened.  HHhhmm....

The UI is dynamic and elements are put on screen where they actually are.  It has a lot of good info, like what status the control points are in, how far away they are, etc.  But sometimes there's too much UI in your aiming area, you have 3 control points, ammo drops, your squad mates, all have UI elements moving around.; more than a few times I couldn't see who I was aiming at through all the UI.

Production - 16/20 - That whole "Battlefeed" fiasco should've been handled better, in this case I think not trying would've been better than some crappy "me too".

But production scores big points for the audio in this game.  I have never heard audio so realistic; when bullets are pelting everything around you, bricks are crumbling, rpgs flying overhead, it all sounds so realistic it can be scary.  Not only the guns, but the tanks crunching through the environment and jets ripping through the air are amazing.

Value - 20/20 - If you like this game you can play it for 100s, possibly 1000s of hours.  I would play 90% of that time in conquest mode though. :)

Total Score - 83/100

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