Gameplay: Battlefield is a game that is all about fulfilling a role. It’s important to note for newcomers that they should not expect to carry their team to victory as an individual, but to focus more on contributing to the team and working together to achieve the objective. Battlefield 3 gives you all the tools you need to be a great team player. It’s your job to pick a class, either assault, support, engineer or recon, and find out how you can use your abilities to benefit your squad. The assault’s job is to simply kill enemies and heal teammates, while the support class has the ability to easily suppress enemy positions positions and supply ammunition to teammates. The engineer’s job is to blow up enemy vehicles while repairing friendly ones, while the recon supplies teammates with enemy intel and can deploy squad beacons for teammates to spawn on. With all these roles, DICE has also done a great job of allowing players to play the way they want to, without imposing too many restrictions. This is mainly due to the large number of attachment and accessories you can add to your weapons and all the customization options available. All this plus a seemingly never ending unlock system gives Battlefield 3 some real depth.
So far, weapons seem balanced, though I’m sure tweaks will be made in coming days and months. When It comes to clases and points, it seems like most players are flocking to the engineer class who can rack up quite a number of rewards thanks to the many vehicles found on each map. Next in line would be the assault class, with their ability to heal teammates. The recon class seems a bit under-rewarded since most of it’s points come only from kills and spotting, but the support class was a bit left in the dust here. I barely see any on the battlefield.
Graphics: The visuals of Battlefield 3 are truly awe-inspiring. DICE has managed to create extremely detailed and believable environments while still keeping the sweeping draw-distances on all platforms. Maps like Caspian Border and Operation Firestorm can attest to this. On top of this, the Frostbite 2 engine is capable of including a large number of players and vehicles, including destruction, without the frame rate taking much of a hit, though screen tearing was still noticeable here and there. There is also some texture pop-in when viewing characters up-close in the killcam, but this is very minor. Visual effects like rain and dust on the player’s screen really add to the immersion, though few might find it obstructive. A note for Xbox 360 users: if you don’t have a HDD and aren’t able to install the HD texture pack, you can also use a USB flash storage device. (Highly recommended!)
Lighting: This is where the Frostbite 2 engine really “shines.” (Had to say it.) Fighting in dark areas like the tunnels in Operation Métro really show off its capabilities. Most light sources can be blown out, changing the look of certain areas. You’ll also notice the stark contrast when leaving a dark area and walking into the day light. You can almost feel the sun’s rays beaming down on your face. The only oddity I can seem to find is with the flashlight attachment. It sometimes seems much more pixelated than it did in the Beta, making it look almost cartoony. However, many times, I had to stop to really take in the forested areas in Caspian Border or just to enjoy the reflections in rain puddles.
Sound: While it is the graphics of Battlefield 3 that drop my jaw, it’s the sounds that turn me into the double rainbow guy. Thankfully, I had the pleasure of experiencing Battlefield 3 with a pair of Tritton AXPro headsets. If I had to sum up the audio in one word, I would say “clarity.” Sounds are very spaced out and extremely crisp. Each sound is very distinguishable from one another, especially with a 5.1 headset setup, the way I think everyone should experience Battlefield 3 at one point or another. Little things like being able to hear soldiers doing their exercises during a loading screen, or hearing soldiers cheer in the background after taking that first base in Operation Métro are a nice touch that really adds authenticity. Deafening explosions, thunderous destruction, sharp bullets whizzing by, and an insane number of VO lines all make Battlefield 3 one of the most immersive first person shooter experiences ever.
Animation: Using EA’s ANT engine, DICE is able to create some very realistic character movements. Enemy deaths are believable (despite some glitchy occurrences like enemies freezing in place when killed), and vaulting over obstacles and diving to prone have never felt so good. Responsiveness has been improved since Bad Company 2, but your solder still feels like a real soldier as he runs and wobbles his weapon.
Battlefield 3 will see an influx of gamers hailing from many different types of first person shooters and should provide a bit of something for everyone. If you want tight, infantry-based combat or large-scale, vehicle warfare, you will find it here. Even though “scale” would be the most fitting word to describe Battlefield 3, hopefully fans will notice the attention to detail DICE has put into it. Although there are a some issues with server connectivity and squad management, along with some odd bugs and glitches here and there, these are things that could easily be looked into by DICE who could provide fixes via future updates. Thanks to the power of their newly created Frostbite 2 engine and the amount of dedication they have shown to their fans, I believe DICE has accomplished what they set out to do in the first place: push the FPS genre into new territories and raise the bar to new heights.
Remember, this review is just the beginning. As the game itself will be updated and patched, so will our take on Battlefield 3. Some elements in the multiplayer are ever-changing and ever-evolving and could be significantly different in a couple months’ time. We want these changes to reflect in the review, so make sure to stay tuned to MP1st. If you haven’t already, please read up on MP1st’s philosophy of multiplayer reviews.
Make sure to also check out our Battlefield Co-op Review!
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