Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Review: A Masterpiece In a Patch or Two

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Patch Notes


Xbox 360




The scale of Battlefield 3’s multiplayer is gigantic; yet, where the game really shines is in the details. It’s this balance of macro and micro that make this one of the more fully-packed, yet polished, first person shooters of this generation.

The Scale

Battlefield 3’s online multiplayer is huge. It does everything: expansive and wide open terrains, large scale battles with many soldiers on the field at once (up to 24 on consoles and 64 on PC), vehicles like tanks, helicopters and jets, intense destruction, and a worldwide social networking system called the Battlelog to back it all up.

Where it all begins, though, is in the multiplayer menu. In this menu there are three initial options: quick match, for those who just want to choose a game mode and a map without being too picky; server browser, for those who want a more customized experience; and leaderboards. Quick match allows you to choose from five different game modes and nine different maps, with more on the way in the form of DLC.

Conquest allows two teams to battle it out over a number of flags, the number depending on the map. Whichever team has the most flags captured will have an easier time lowering the enemy team’s ticket count (lives). Many would consider this mode to be the staple way to play Battlefield, and in this iteration, it’s no different. The beauty of this game mode is that it requires strategy and communication. You need to stick with your squad, decide which flag you want to take, and how you are going to take it. Do you flank the enemy from the side, or attack head-on with helis and tanks? It goes much deeper than this, however, and it is one of the richest and most rewarding ways you can play battlefield.

Rush is a much more intense and focused game mode in that you are given only two objectives to attack or defend. Once they are taken, the map opens up to a new section, allowing the battle to progress almost like a story. Some of my only complaints lie in this game mode, however. I found some map layouts to be extremely unforgiving to the attacking team. Two examples I can think of is the first base in Tehran Highway and second base in Grand Bazaar.

Team deathmatch was an interesting and fun game mode that made its debut in Battlefield 3. Surprisingly, it actually works quite well. Since DICE has given us many customization options for our weapons, it really allows us to play the way we want to play and to shine more as an individual, rather than a team. I also love how quickly it is possible to re-spawn after death, making it a very fast paced game mode. It’s a great to just have some fun shooting other people without having to worry about an objective. It’s also a great place for newcomers to start in order to get a feel for the gunplay and basic mechanics of the game. For a new addition to the Battlefield series, it almost does a better job than some other shooters who have been doing it for years.

These three game modes are where I have spent most of my time up till now; however, squad deathmatch and squad rush are just more compact versions of their bigger brothers. One thing I would have liked to see in the quick match screen is the hardcore and infantry counterparts of each game mode. Right now, this is only selectable through the server browser.

A server browser in a console game is something uncommon, but it should be in every shooter with dedicated servers. DICE really went above and beyond with the console market by allowing us to choose our servers that we want to play on. Many options are available here, on PC as well, of course, including presets, ranked/unranked, and region. Battlefield 3 has three different presets for each game mode. Normal is fairly self explanatory; it’s the core battlefield experience with vehicles and regular HUD, health and damage. Hardcore takes your HUD away while increasing damage and lowering health. This makes for a very realistic and intense type of gameplay; however, expect the pace of the match to be much slower. Infantry is your regular Battlefield experience, but without the vehicles. This might be another good starting point to learn the game modes without having to worry about choppers and jets bringing the pain. Unranked servers are currently unavailable at the moment but should be later on and should allow for many customization options.

It would also be great if DICE could add tutorial servers, where we could  practice our piloting skills, for example. Of course, it’s always great to be able to choose your region so you know you’ll be getting a good connection. Ping is also viewable for each server before selecting.

Teamwork is a huge component to the gameplay in Battlefield, and it’s important to be able to manage your squad easily. Luckily, a squad management system is just a click away on consoles and is easily available on the Battlelog for PC players, though I have not been able to test it out on a computer. Pushing start on consoles will bring up a list of all your friends online that you can invite to a squad. Once you are all squadded up, it’s just a matter of the leader finding a game.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and this is where some of my biggest gripes lie. I had loads of troubles trying to find a game with my squad, even when it was only made up of myself and one other. We would constantly receive notices of connection problems to game session or simply be kicked out of a game the moment we joined. Though, once we were both in a game together, and even if were weren’t on the same squad or team, it was a easy to either switch sides or choose our own squad to join. Of course, something like this could be, and hopefully will be, brushed off as a “day-one” or “launch” problem, including the sometimes fragile connection to the servers. I fully expect DICE to resolve these issues.

If you haven’t yet, make sure to sign up for the Battelog. This amazing little social network allows players to find and follow friends, view stats and unlocks in great detail, contribute to forums and even chat with others. Of course, for PC gamers, it will be their main hub for joining up with squads and finding matches, since all matchmaking is done through the Battlelog. In-game, console users get a small feed of updates on the right of the main menues. If you’d like, you can become a fan of the MP1st platoon!

Jets are back!

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  • Anonymous

    hate to say, but as for right now i like BC2 hardcore.. I don’t like how they have the minimap in BF3.. I mean if they going keep the minimap in BF3.. at lease remove where people are shooting you from.

    • plenty of hc servers have minimap turned off

      • Anonymous

        I play on PS3 and my friend and I look at each map to see if they have minimap turned off.. not one map have that.. I believe the PC gamers have that.. As for console’s I haven’t yet seen it 

  • Erik Olsen

    Oh Yeah?  How about the verdict is a 0.0, across the board.  If I can’t play the dam game who gives a crap how it plays for someone else?  I’m getting a refund and buying Activision!  MW3 may have some issues at launch as well, but at least I’ll be able to play the dame game instead of stuck with a crappy SP campaign….

    EA fail, EA loses more customers!

    • well, i have been tracking bf since 1942, its the same case, game comes out has bugs, in a few months its fixed. But in this case mw3 come out in 10 days and taht game is based on mw2 which was very stable despite its unbalanced gameplay that is now fixed.

      This is really gonna bring activision fourth while people have issues with bf3.

      and yeah i d rather stick with mw3, they have no hit delay, lan, mods, ingame server browser, cod elite which is better than battlelog at its free mode and you dont even need it to play on pc and its on steam.

      Just thought i pointed that out mw3 gets alot hate

      Oh and bf3 campaign is terrible, seriously might as well do the whole thing in machinima.

      “can i go there” NO you cant, you getting off the level, “but in cod i can take a diffirent path..” THIS AINT COD SOLDIER THIS IS REAL WAR AND IN REAL WAR YOU GO WHERE I TELL YOU TO GO.

      “yeah tank lets blow that wall, oh wait i cant, why?” BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED, you have to go where i tell you to go.

      NOW KNIFE THAT GUY “Yes sir, ok lets sneak behind that guy…. wtf you mean am dead? who shot me? there is no one else here” YOU DIDNT KNIFE HIM PROPERLY “WTF you mean i didnt knife him…ohh fuck it”

      “YAY a jet lets fly that bitch just like black ops and homefront, yeah dice is ahead, while in moh you only shot from the heli, they put a freaking jet for you…. to… fly???   OMG what is this i get to ride shotgun again?”

      5 minutes later:

      “YAWNNNN can i shoot already?”


      “allright, lets shoot, oh wait thats just flares”

      5 minutes later:

      LET ME SHOOT!!!!!

      and dont even get me started on  buttons appearing on the screen.

      SERIOUSLY wtf dice? in bc you got it, in bc2 and bf3 you mesed up bad.

      • If you are going to do nothing but deliver flak for Battlefield 3 based on nothing but opinions and hilarious misinformation, why even bother reading an article about it?

        • FACPALM

          First of all i thikn i said its a great game, second the singleplayer IS like that, and its a fact not missinformation. Now stop talking trash.

  • Well its pretty good but it has some issues, eg its mostly graphics and balanaced gamepaly there is not much new in it, even the weapons and the characters feel rather overused, even the colors are the usual, is it wrong to ask for something more considering how dice has made vietnam, 2142 and bc? Suprisingly even bf2 maps feel more colorfull.

    The game plays very well, its more balanced, no overpowered tanks and shotgun snipers, no magnum ammo. The problem is the hit delay that all bf games are famous for, it has less than bc2 and moh but its there. It really brings down the experiance.

    Sound is amazing, animations are pretty good although weapon sights and scopes are not as good as cod.

    Great game, pretty must standard US armry modern war shooter vs russians, nothing that we havent seen before in a bf game and a pretty bad campaign.

    Seriously after medal of honor, i did expect another cheap ripoff of cod but dice did it with bf3 campaign.

    Seriously WTF?

    On top of that, i could care less about “pc support” when the damn thing uses battelog and origin, seriously wtf? Its jut not as functional as steam and an ingame server browser.

  • It’s a good game, but it’s not perfect. Server side lag is a major problem still, hit delay and seemingly getting killed very fast get annoying. Jets are fantastically balanced, as long as you get the unlocks. Otherwise you have a weak chance of succeeding. Gunplay can be a bit sketchy at times, it can take an awkward time to kill someone at times unless you’re at close range.

    • Hit delay, main reason why i am not going crazy for bf as everyone ense, its there since 1942 and dice still cant fix it, one can blame the player limit but moh had it too and had pretty few players.

      Sometimes i shoot and take cover bullets register when i take cover, there is nothing worse than shooting someone and not killing him so you shoot again and again in multiple quick burst, you take cover, the other guy dies with 1 second delay and then you take the damage because he shot you since the bullets you fired at him did not kill him before he had the chance to react.

      No actual skill, just luck.

      • That’s the server side lag I’m talking about, that kind of situation only arises when I’m lagging/rubberbanding. It’s not the game, it’s the servers. That’s what’s keeping this game from being the best it possibly could

        • Considering how i dont care about graphics, vehicles and generic modern war universe, its no wonder i dont see why its so “great” cod deliver much more solid fps gunplay and proper hit detection till bf does that, it will be second place in my book and a game for people who value vehicles over gunplay.

          • You can’t honestly take CoD and BF and compare them as the same game. They have radically different game design philosophies. It’s fine that you prefer a game that focuses on the individual and doesn’t have vehicles, but you can’t make a legitimate side by side comparison to see which one is better, without at least addressing that, whilst they are both FPS they have totally different styles of play.

          • Oh, and the only reason Call of Duty doesn’t have day 0 lag issues is because they use P2P hosting system, not dedicated servers. 

          • Sanmer

            “a game for people who value vehicles over gunplay” not true. BF3 is a game for people that want a real shooting experience. I have played COD games since MW1 and i like em, but the truth is that it doesnt give you the real thing feel. If you have shoot real guns you should know what im talking about. Weapons in BF are designed in a way that you feel the difference between them in terms of velocity, power, impact,  range and sound. In MW all guns feel the same, it is just an arcade shooter. Not trolling, just my opinion.

      • Ben

        This is because you are at a certain distance from your target. And it is not a bug or form of lag. It’s a feature L2P 🙂

  • BF3 really won me back into BF’s world. In 4 days, I’ve unlocked my Jet service star… that should tell you something about how awesome it is 😉

  • OHMANe

    you cant use a USB to install the HD pack believe me ive tried and cried lol but its still a good looking game just wish theyd release a patch to allow us without alot of money and a hard drive to see what the game can really be visually. I know im in college and each dollar pretty much has an owner these days so if theyd allow USBs to be used then itd help alot

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  • BattleField

    I have fast speed internet and although I play this alot this lag never happened to me he’s right its not the game its the servers.

  • After 9 months… BATTLEFIELD 3 is still the best game ever created until BF4.