What You Should Know: Battlefield 3

For a better part of the year, EA was setting up Battlefield 3 to be the new game in town when it comes to modern warfare-themed shooters. In fact, one can point to the Bad Company 2 video that served as a direct response to Infinity Ward’s infamous Fighting Against Grenade Spam PSA as the first salvo in an attempt to dethrone what many consider to be the king of modern combat shooters. Furthermore, EA’s marketing slogan for Battlefield 3 was “Go Beyond The Call.” Shameless, right? As the release neared, EA was confident that the work DICE had put into the game was more than enough to lure people away from Activision’s precious cash cow. Now that Modern Warfare 3 has been released, there is sure to be a considerable amount of noise coming from each camp as developers and fans alike draw battle lines for your money and Game of the Year accolades. The purpose of this discussion is to cut through the cheers and jeers and present clear cut information on what you can expect with Battlefield 3 in order to determine whether or not it is the game for you.

The Campaign Isn’t Entirely Pointless

Yes, the single player campaign is formulaic and derivative. However, it is hardly something that was tacked on at the last minute. Parts of the narrative will be familiar to those that have played Black Ops and Modern Warfare, but that’s what happens when another company sets the benchmark on how a modern combat narrative plays out. There are a great number of good things to see in the campaign, such as the jaw dropping dogfight over the skies of Iran and witnessing the destructive fury of an earthquake that rips through a dense, urban sprawl. Although single player campaigns in war shooters tend to function as last minute tutorials for the multiplayer component, this at least has some meat on its bones.

Multiplayer Isn’t About Reaction Time

For most multiplayer shooters, the key to victory is who can shoot the other guy fast enough. It is incredibly easy to get discouraged by this fast paced style of play because the core players more experienced, have honed their reaction time, memorized map layouts and equipped the best in-game perks, tipping the balance in their favor. Battlefield’s multiplayer comes packaged with several different game modes beyond deathmatch which allows all players to earn a sense of accomplishment by helping out their team. The Conquest and Rush game modes are popular among Battlefield players because the goal of the round is to not score the most kills, but to capture enemy targets.

Multiplayer maps for Conquest and Run are large, allowing (and rewarding) you for thinking outside the box. You can approach a situation any particular way: do you grab a tank and assault from the front or do you follow a small squad and flank from the side? I recall one Conquest session that involved our team’s checkpoints getting taken within the first five minutes of the round. Finding ourselves constantly beaten back as we attempted to taking the closest checkpoint, I decided to bypass it completely and ran to the very last checkpoint, taking it without having fired a shot and help get our team back on equal footing. This “on the fly” manner of gameplay is thrilling and never gets old and by throwing vehicles into the mix, no multiplayer match is truly the same.

Battlefield 3 Is Not Modern Warfare 3

Both are just two different games, each with their own unique benefits. Simple as that. Modern Warfare has its own set of gameplay mechanics and structure while Battlefield is of a completely different mindset. Whether one is better than the other is completely up to how you prefer your multiplayer experience. I’m trying not to sound biased in this comparison, but while Modern Warfare has greatly improved multiplayer, Spec Ops and a horde mode, Battlefield lets you pilot jets, tanks, and gunships. The question isn’t “is one better than the other,” its “what kind of multiplayer experience do you want?”

If you want more information on Battlefield 3, check out our reviews for PC and Xbox 360.

Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.