Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

Feel the full impact of battle like never before.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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It's a shame, then, that DICE's concentrated attempt at storytelling - a 12-level single-player campaign - falls completely flat, demanding a poignancy and emotional engagement it simply does nothing to earn.

Battlefield 3 screenshot

It's a bolt-on campaign so obsessed with military manoeuvres that you spend more time watching your marines preen and posture than actually fight in an engaging setup, with your comrades masking loading screens by barking their orders before kicking down doors. The attention to detail is nothing short of magnificent, but it's a real shame to see the player's role marginalised because of it.

Much of the game is shrouded in foggy night-time darkness, with DICE's environmental artists doing an admittedly splendid job of creating a gloomy rendition of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. A squad of US marines charging over a hill in Operation Guillotine is a gripping moment, showing that DICE does have the talent at creating stunning set-piece moments - they're just too few and far between to create an engaging campaign.

Going forward, if DICE really wants to ape the rollercoaster ride mentality of the corridor shooter then it'll need to learn how to better disguise its seams. Move out of bounds in Battlefield 3 and you'll be hit with an obtrusive 'return to the combat zone' overlay, followed by death, and fail to move in time with the script and you'll catch glimpses of enemy troops spawning out of thin air.

One of the more significant problems is that players run around with little agency or impetus, with DICE far too busy incorporating authentic military lingo to actually worry about whether the player is being effectively orientated into the action. Yet authenticity isn't enough, as the campaign devolves into a baffling action-movie plot with pantomime villain Solomon deciding he wants to destroy the world for a reason that is never stated.

Rounding off the package is a six mission two-player co-op mode, which is functional but never fun. Players are restricted to playing online, with no split-screen option available, and the levels involve the tactical dismantling of scripted sequences. Each level promptly becomes a particularly glitzy whack-a-mole, with enemies popping up in the exact same locations time and time again.

Battlefield 3 screenshot

It's also bloody hard, and with lengthy missions and no checkpointing you're likely to find yourself more frustrated than incentivised. The main problem is that DICE is clearly gunning for the score-attack mentality of Modern Warfare's Spec Ops mode, yet the end result is simply not suitable for this purpose.

Which leads to a difficult quandary: how do you grade a game such as Battlefield 3? The multiplayer mode is nothing short of essential, but at the same time it's hard not to be sorely disappointed by everything else on show.

Battlefield 3 isn't quite the Call of Duty killer many were wanting, then, and it's especially jarring to view EA's 'above and beyond the call' marketing brouhaha in light of the fact Battlefield 3 falls to its most damning lows when it's trying hardest to compete with the latter.

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14 Comments

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InvalidUser's Avatar

InvalidUser

If COD is the "Industry Standard" Gaston this has equaled it in SP and in MP left it for dust.

No comparison. Pfft 8/10
Posted 16:59 on 30 October 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Dude, nothing is worth standing about in the freezing cold at midnight for. Pre-order? ShopTo? You could have been playing it today!
Posted 09:42 on 28 October 2011
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

Disapointed in this review as it doesn't match the score that goes with it, all the way through the review was negative except for the multiplayer, so Is it a multiplayer game with single player bolted on or vice versa. I expected multiplayer to be the main focus as that's the only way to beat cod. But is it a worse campaign than cods cos if it is that's bad news as cods are not exactly great. I was planning on going to the midnight launch for this but now I'm getting second thoughts on wether to buy it all. So is it worth the late night and £40ish or shall I wait till after cod wen it's gone down?
Posted 20:49 on 27 October 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Strange how Blacks Ops got a 9. I think its the weakest COD yet.
Posted 10:33 on 27 October 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Just received my PS3 copy in the mail. 226mb update and installing now. Took no time at all.

Sucks that I have to work today though...
Posted 01:11 on 27 October 2011
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

An excellent review Martin "Rising Star" Gaston. Given how much time I sank into BFBC2's online mode it looks sounds like this game is a winner for me, despite your damning of their campaign mode.
Posted 23:12 on 26 October 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Gets a 9, Battlefield 3 gets a 8. Conclusion: COD is better than Battlefield! :p

Haha but no seriously good in depth review Martin. Enjoyed hearing your opinion, as always.
Posted 22:55 on 26 October 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Good review Martin, nice read which I enjoyed. I think I will get this come Friday, simply because of the multiplayer aspect. I did however liked the story in both BC1 & 2, but then it's me, who also likes Judge Dredd on the Megadrive, which the staff (ages ago now) hated it. :laugh:

Made my decision on getting BF3 after reading this. It's one of them games that I will like to play when I cannot be bothered to play anything else.
Posted 20:03 on 26 October 2011
dudester's Avatar

dudester

If you get a review copy will the pc version be reviewed separately?

Also longing it out for that Martin really? :D Nice review even tho battlefield won't be something I will be picking up anytime soon.
Posted 14:29 on 26 October 2011
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

How people will react to this review:

"LOLZ IT GOT 8 ITZ WELL ***** COD 4EVA MW3 WILL ***** ALL OVA BFS UNCUSTOMIZABLE CLASS"

A good review though, Martin.

A similar question to what I asked on the U3 review; if it didn't have single player / co op would it have been a higher score? How could DICE have improved the mp is the sp and co op weren't in this package? Finally, is BF's mp better than previous MPs offered by CoD?
Posted 14:04 on 26 October 2011
MrGloomy's Avatar

MrGloomy

I find most 'modern warfare military shooter single player campaigns' (what a mouth full) a bit dull and repetitive anyway. I've enjoyed both MW1 and 2's campaigns and Bad Company's single player campaigns, but they have never stand out for me to play them more than once. MP is my main interest so your review sums it up perfectly as far as I'm concerned.
Posted 12:49 on 26 October 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Excellent review Martin. Worth waiting for (heheh).

I only tend to get Battlefield for multiplayer anyway, so it sounds perfect for me.
Posted 10:51 on 26 October 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

Great review Martin

What I expected really SP was always going to be hit or miss. Most buy BF games for the online, The battlefield moments that only comes with that game.
Can't wait to jump online and master the choppers.

Martin do you think if the game followed the core BF titles and was just MP would of it gotten a better score, or a worst one?
Posted 10:39 on 26 October 2011
InvalidUser's Avatar

InvalidUser

The previous caller sums it up far better than me.

"Battlefield 3 isn't quite the Call of Duty killer many were wanting, then, and it's especially jarring to view EA's 'above and beyond the call' marketing brouhaha in light of the fact Battlefield 3 falls to its most damning lows when it's trying hardest to compete with the latter."

Summed up nicely mission complete Gaston roll on the weekend can't wait.
Posted 10:37 on 26 October 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Battlefield 3
8
Out of 10
Battlefield 3
  • Multiplayer
  • Sounds incredible
  • Co-op
  • Single-player
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 28/10/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: D.I.C.E
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 772 109
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