Liam McAleavey ’13
The year is 2014. The United States is at war in Iraq, and things are starting to heat up again. A group of Iranian militants known as the PLR have begun to spread their reach beyond Iran’s borders, and are becoming more and more aggressive with the US Marines in Iraq. You play as Sargent Blackburn, a Marine who is the only person in the world who knows that the PLR will be attacking New York, and the game switches between you being interrogated by the C.I.A. and carrying out missions as you tell your tale. Unfortunately, it seems that through varying circumstances, some caused by fate, and some caused by yourself, you will have to stop the PLR alone.
The game is extremely good. In fact, there is not much that I can say to contradict that statement at all. Yes, the campaign was a little cliche, but how the missions play, how the physics engine works, how the graphics look, how the gun physics work, are all just so smooth and intelligent. As many of you probably already know, the Battlefield 3 engine was completely revamped, and is now called Frostbite 2. I wasn’t initially sure of how the game would work differently because it was still a Battlefield title, and that means less in your face cataclysms like Call of Duty, and more actual gameplay and story like Halo and the previous BF’s. However, the graphics are so much smoother that they were in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and the reactionary events are much more present like in Medal of Honor. Honestly, they did a very good job blending up the core aspects of the game and giving them a new form, and I think that this is probably the second best shooter I have ever played. (Most of you will probably hate me for my favorite, but it’s true).
The campaign only lasts you a good solid day of playtime, and that wouldn’t really sound appealing to most. “Oh boy, another shooter that only lasts six hours, whoop de doo…” However, this is not the case. I said one solid day, and that means I played it from about 10:00 in the morning to probably around 7:00 at night, and that means that it took me about nine hours. I also had already played through the first three or four missions, so that adds an extra one and a half to two hours, making the total come to somewhere between ten and a half and eleven hours. So yes, Call of Duty, this campaign is almost three times as long as yours. (Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has a six hour long campaign, and I think I’ll probably finish it in four.)
The missions are mostly varied, and just to take a snapshot of that, the first four missions have you being under attack by the PLR and having to defend yourself from their onslaught, then sneaking through the streets at night trying to find your squad and get to safety, then working as the co-pilot in an F-15 as you rain hell down onto your enemies, and finally leading a full frontal assault on a PLR stronghold. For the rest of the game you will work as a Russian agent, drive a tank to save your fellow Marines, and then eventually save the world. When all is said and done, it’s worth your while.
The game also leads you through a series of co-op missions, similar to some of the campaign missions, and has you do this and that to save the world again. You really do need a good friend to help you play through the co-op, as these missions are surprisingly harder than those in the campaign, and you need a good amount of teamwork to get them done. Unfortunately, the only good friend I have who owns BF3 never seems to get on at the same time I do, so it’s hard to co-ordinate playtime. Therefore, I have only played two of the six co-op missions. I don’t think these were quite as fun as the singleplayer, but they were still good.
Ah, yes, the legendary multiplayer… Battlefield multiplayer is famous for being unique, and this game is no different. The maps are quite heterogeneous (for those of you who don’t know what that means, they are very different from each other), and there are quite a few of them. While the core gameplay for each of the game modes stays the same, the maps add a lot more variation to the multiplayer that keeps the game alive and, well, not boring. The guns also work really well this time around (unlike the terribly unbalanced BC2) and have an unlock system that is fun and enjoyable to use (hint, hint, MW2…).
Basically, for every ten kills you get with the gun, you get a new attachment, regardless of the attachments you are currently using. In other words, you don’t have to use a red dot sight to get a holographic sight, and instead can use whatever modifications you like best. Not only that, you can have three of these little gadgets on your gun at any time, putting one on the sight rail, one on the barrel, and one on the under-slung rail, unlike Call of Duty, which seems to think that it is physically impossible to fit more that one attachment to your gun unless you are a high ranking officer, in which case you can have two as long as one of them isn’t a grenade launcher. But I digress, ranting on CoD will come soon enough… I suppose to summarize, the multiplayer is balanced and enjoyable, with noticeable improvements from previous games, and new tweaks that keep you coming back to it for more.
Want to see more? Visit Liam’s blog for all of his reviews so far. Next up is Skyrim!
Photos from battlefield.com