The Battlefield series has always been a strong presence in the online FPS genre. Being more than a match for Call of Duty, Count-Strike and ARMA just to name a few. Since the release of Battlefield 2 in 2005, Battlefield fans have had to wade their way through Bad Company, Heroes, 1943 and 2142 before a true thoroughbred Battlefield would hit the shelves again. BF3 was a truly worthy successor to Battlefield 2, being critically well received across the board. But does it deserve the praise? Lets take a closer look at Battlefield 3.
The first thing that Battlefield 3 had on its side was the fact it was the first game in the franchise to use the new Frostbite 2 engine. The engine is designed to make things look good and for the game physics to behave realistically, and it does the job exceptionally well. The graphics in Battlefield 3 are staggering, especially when played with Ultra settings on PC. The graphics still rival some games being released today, and Battlefield 3 came out in 2011, this shows what a good job Dice did when making BF3. The Frostbite 2 shows off impressive visuals as well as a powerful physics engine. Trees move realistically, walls crumble and blow out when hit by explosions and water acts like it is supposed to.
Shooting in the game feels really satisfying. The realism of the guns falls neatly between Call of Duty and Arma II, while having some realistic properties the guns are still easy enough for the average Joe to use. Games like ARMA put a lot of realistic gun handing into the game where BF3 has some leeway. The only complaint players have seemed to have is that assault rifles are generallyover powered compared to other guns. This point becomes almost negligible though as most players in a large game will be using assault rifles or sniper rifles, so if everyone has an advantage, it stops being an advantage. The ease of use is a huge positive for the game as it makes it accessible for everyone. The more casual gamers will still get a kick out of getting a kill every so often while enjoying the intense game play, while the more hardcore FPS gamers will be rewarded for their time and effort put into the game.
The vehicles in the game range from being very simple and fun, to very advanced and unforgiving. The basic 4 wheeled jeeps are very easy to drive, with a somewhat unrealistic approach to driving physics. The jeeps usually feel very glued to the road and power slides for evasive driving are nigh on impossible. The same can be said for the quad bikes, they’re literally small jeeps but they handle a little more ‘floaty’. They’re much easier to flip if you’re not being careful.
Once driving around in a moving target becomes old, you can jump into a tank which is basically a moving target that can take the hits. Tanks control as you would imagine, they’re on tracks so they go forward and have an awful turning circle unless they’re stationary, where you can turn on a dime. Practise can really make perfect in a tank though as some of the best tank users in the game can go almost whole games without dying, having a friend who likes to play engineer always helps though.
Jets and helicopters are where things really start to get tough. Helicopters are easy to pick up, but hard to master and they can take a lot of hours of practise before you become a free kill for a rocket launcher. Jets however have absolutely no mercy. If you want to be a good pilot you better make sure that’s all you do. Jets are hard to pick up, very hard to get good, and extremely hard to master. We’ve all seen the videos of pilots jumping out of their jets, killing something and re-entering their jets but it takes a truly dedicated pilot to pull off a feat like that. I would say give jets a go if you’re curious, but if you don’t have much interest in them, you’ll just find them frustrating. If you want to learn to fly without the worry of take-off and landing, try one of the jet-only maps, even if you aren’t a good pilot, they’re still very fun and a great laugh if you have a group of friends playing together.
The maps are all great, well designed and fun to play. Whether you’re fighting a massive 64 player conquest map, or making your way through a rush map, each map has it’s own unique feel and fun factor. My personal favourites are the Battlefield 2 map remakes from the Back To Karkand DLC (my favourite of all the DLCs). These are what Battlefield 2 players had been asking for for many years, BF2 with improved graphics, and finally they had their wish granted. Other note worthy maps from the DLCs are Bandar Desert from the Armoured Kill DLC and is also the biggest map in battlefield history, the close-quarters maps which have a very Call Of Duty feel to them, and the jet only maps which spawn you in a jet and let you dog fight the other team. All the DLCs add interesting new maps to the game, whether they’re bringing new game types, game mechanics or just new environments.
So with Battlefield 4 around the corner, does BF3 have any life left in it? In all honesty, yes and no. Although Battlefield 4 ups the ante with even better graphics, a much more advanced physics engine and a more polished feel, Battlefield 3 is the game that really showed the industry that Battlefield was still a name to be taken seriously. Battlefield had it’s missteps after Battlefield 2, and Battlefield 3 helps you to forget all about them. So it’s time to shine may have come and gone, but BF3 will always be the game that pointed it’s younger brother in the right direction.
|+||Accessible to everyone|
|+||Good balance of realism and arcade|
|+||Back to Karkand finally brings back classic Battlefield 2 maps|
|+||Wide range of play styles|
|-||Over powered assault rifles|
|-||Somewhat unrealistic driving|
|-||Very steep learning curve in jets|