Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Battlefield 3 - Multiplayer Review

battlefield 3 error

I was torn between posting a late Battlefield 3 review that included a campaign review and getting something up sooner that focused on multiplayer.  I went with the latter.  So to those of you who really want to know the skinny on Battlefield 3’s campaign, my apologies to the two of you.  You’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Battlefield 3 has been hyped beyond belief, so much so that it has become EA’s biggest release of the year.  EA wants to steal the FPS crown form Call of Duty, but if this is the best we’re getting from this game, it’s not going to happen.

Let me get this out of the way first: The version of Battlefield 3 that was played for this review was for the Xbox 360.  Battlefield 3 is meant to be played on PC.  The graphics are better, the online arenas are bigger, and the game is said to run smoother.  I wouldn’t know about the “smoother” part for sure since I experienced the game on the 360, because that experience was anything but smooth.

Game crashes, party drops, booted in the middle of matches... you name it and it happened.  To put it succinctly, Battlefield 3 suffers every online woe you can imagine.  I spent most of my time playing “Rush” mode, which is the most enjoyable gametype.

Rush mode is an offense versus defense gametype that requires the offense to capture two objectives with a limited number of lives.  Once captured, a new section opens on the map with two additional objectives.  The maps are so large that Rush matches can easily take 20 minutes.  Just imagine my frustration when I got booted from a match after 12 minutes of hard work.

(You'll only see graphics like this if you have a top notch PC, not a 360 or PS3)

It wasn’t just me having the problems.  I played with four friends on multiple occasions, and there wasn’t one day that didn’t see any problems.  One special night had each of our Xboxes freeze on four separate occasions.

Common review scores for this game are in the 8 to 9 range, which is pretty shocking.  Reviews consist of opinions, and I can’t fault a reviewer for his or her opinion.  But when a game fails to function on a technical level, this takes opinion out of the equation.  Battlefield 3 either works or it doesn’t.  Sadly, it doesn’t, and it should be judged harshly for its faults.

The game’s graphics are underwhelming, especially if you’re expecting the crystal clear action from the commercials.  The commercials and every other video out there of Battlefield 3 are of the game’s PC version.  The console counterpart has less detail and a slower frame rate.

(I wish I could show you the console graphics, but PC screens are all that's available on the BF3 site)

Battlefield 3’s graphics are also inconsistent.  Objects and smoke effects look great in the distance, but they aren’t great up close.  The same goes for textures.  Textures look blurry and pixilated at close range. 

Other than graphics and server flaws, another annoyance is the post-game lobby.  You can’t quit out of your current group while in the post-game lobby.  Instead, you have to wait for the next match to start, and then quit from there.  You have to sit and wait for 60 seconds, plus another 30-45 seconds for the next match to load before you can quit your match.  This may seem insignificant, but that time adds up when it could be spent in the online arena.

Battlefield 3’s technical flaws hold back what could otherwise be called an enjoyable online shooter.  It’s a natural comparison to juxtapose Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty because of their realistic, modern war nature, but the truth is that these are two very different games. Battlefield 3 is far more team-based than Call of Duty, requiring good communication and exceptional vehicle use on gigantic maps.

The vehicles add a new element to the usual FPS play.  Don’t expect to hop in a chopper and get a 15 killstreak like in Call of Duty.  It doesn’t work like that.  Vehicles, if not used properly, are an easy target to take out.  There’s a definite learning curve for both ground and air vehicles.

Destructible environments have become a staple of the Battlefield series.  It’s another gameplay element that sets it apart from every other FPS out there.  Campers are no longer a problem when you can simply level the building that’s housing said camper.

Battlefield 3 has potential, but there are too many glaring online issues to call it elite.  The multiplayer modes are there to keep plenty of replay value on the battlefield, but your replays will most likely be cut short thanks to inexcusable server issues.  EA made the puzzling choice to go with the song “99 Problems” by Jay-Z for Battlefield’s TV commercials.  Now that I’ve played the game, the decision makes perfect sense.

 

7 out of 10

 

Pros:

There’s fun shooter action to be had when it works
Destructible environments give an experience only achieved with Battlefield

 

Cons:

A myriad of online issues
Subpar graphics on console
Causes complete game freezes

Article source: Battlefield 3 - Multiplayer Review

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