‘Battlefield 3′ Review (Consoles)

Oct 25, 2011 by  

Battlefield 3 console review

Game Rant’s Rob Keyes reviews Battlefield 3 (PS3/Xbox 360)

Fans of the series have waited over six years for Battlefield 3, the next installment in the core Battlefield series, the Bad Company titles notwithstanding. Like Battlefield 2, DICE’s first game to make use of the Frostbite 2 engine was designed for the PC first and foremost, with a somewhat scaled-down version coming to the consoles.

After a problematic, yet very popular beta test, DICE promised to rectify the common issues and deliver a comprehensive first-person shooter experience, including a single-player campaign and a co-op mode to go along with the franchise’s flagship multiplayer offerings. After all the hype, does Battlefield 3 deliver on the promises of DICE and Electronic Arts to offer a worthy competitor to the Call of Duty franchise? Read on for our review of Battlefield 3 on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

In short, Battlefield 3 is a great looking, must-play video game for FPS multiplayer enthusiasts and veterans of the Battlefield franchise. For gamers looking for an enthralling campaign or a deep and replayable co-op experience, it’s best to go elsewhere.

To aid in the fight against Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 includes a single-player story mode not dissimilar from the campaigns of similar shooters. Outside of a cool intro and an interesting twist late in the game, the story of Battlefield 3 serves simply as an excuse to forcefully string together different scenarios, environments and vehicle missions to showcase the game’s visuals, explained through a weak-scripted interrogation of sorts and the game’s protagonist living out flashbacks of his experiences and that of a few others.

Battlefield 3 Review - Air Vehicles

The campaign however, although presented well, doesn’t take full advantage of its potential, both from a story and gameplay perspective. Running about 6-7 hours long on normal difficulty and strangely featuring no flying missions (players play a co-pilot in one sequence), Battlefield 3 is extremely linear with a boatload of quick time events that offer a few cool moments but no memorable story bits or characters. In the end, it plays out seemingly only as the first two acts of a three act story.

Battlefield 3 also includes a standalone co-op mode, entirely separate from the story. It allows two players to play through a variety of combat scenarios, taken mostly from the game’s campaign, but not all are accessible from the get-go and must be unlocked in succession.

Players have the option to play with a friend or hit up the public servers for a wingman, which often results in dropped connections or client disconnects when one of the players exits a match. When this happens, or if both players get downed within the mission, the game doesn’t provide a way to quickly replay without going through the menus, selecting a map and difficulty all over again. The game does not support local co-op through splitscreen or system-link so the only way to play with a friend is if they’re connected online from elsewhere.

The co-op was a bit of a wasted opportunity and DICE could have taken the 4-player squad system from the multiplayer and offered something a little more substantial in creating a fun and accessible pick-up-and play mode. As it is stands, the co-op feels tacked on like the campaign to instill more value on Battlefield 3 as a whole, but like the campaign, it’s minimal and does little for the genre and series. Players can however, earn experience while playing co-op which helps them unlock weapons and mods for the standard multiplayer.

Battlefield 3 Review - Graphics

The multiplayer always was and remains to be the singular focus of the series with Battlefield 3 and if players are looking for that, they will be satisfied with what we can safely say is the legit competitor to Call of Duty we’ve been waiting for.

A big concern for the console variants of Battlefield 3 was how its multiplayer was heavily scaled down from the PC for the consoles. Instead of 64-player conquest mode, a match on PS3 and Xbox 360 maxes out at 24 players. For the most part, the smaller maps and lower player counts work very well and there are only a few maps and instances where more players would be beneficial.

Conquest mode in multiplayer is what defines Battlefield 3 and the franchise to date: Work with a large team and utilize vehicles to capture and defend strategic points scattered along the map. The team that holds the most earns itself forward-located spawn points while the opposing team’s ticket total depletes at a quicker rate. Rush mode offers a similar experience, but pits one team on the offensive while the other holds the line, so to speak. Standard team deathmatch has been added, where combat is restricted to infantry only. To get away from the heavy armor, deathmatch will be a popular mode, especially for players familiar to standard FPS gameplay.

While evidenced in all multiplayer modes, team deathmatch especially emphasizes some of the game’s multiplayer issues. On occasion, small objects will block players from moving, whether it be a small step at the opening of a building or a tire laying on the road. The real problems though, come with spawning where players can re-enter the fight on top of a live grenade, right beside an opponent, and worst of all, even right in someone’s line of fire. The other odd issue is that between matches, when the game is loading a new map or the next round, there is no option to exit to the main menu – Players must wait it out until the game loads in order to back out.

Battlefield 3 Review - Lighting and Lens Flares

The retail edition of Battlefield 3 ships with only 9 maps, 3 less than its predecessor at launch. Maps like the Caspian Border – which feature air vehicles – often involve lengthy traveling distances on foot and extended periods of time without combat. While large maps are part of the Battlefield tradition, it’s not fun having to wait when no vehicle is available.

Multiplayer is inherently unbalanced by nature of the vehicles which makes team strategy and tactical play a necessity. Unfortunately, there are little in the way of team organization options to help bring strangers together and most Conquest and Rush matches are more or a less a session of team deathmatch with a shifting killing ground.

The commander role from Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 was removed for Battlefield 3 in an attempt to make the game less complex, but since the game is very complex relative to other shooters anyway, it’s now missing that additional dynamic of having a leader instructing the squads and squads issuing orders to their teammates. Squads on their own do little outside of allowing players to spawn on each other so in the way of team organization on the battlefield, it’s up to the strangers to do their part if not playing with friends over Xbox Live and PSN, since  in our experience, few online use headsets to communicate with other players.

When players do work together and take advantage of the game’s four character classes (Assault, Engineer, Support, Recon), wonderful experiences are waiting to be had, and the combination of defending/assaulting different areas of the map with supporting teammates through health and ammunition sharing is what Battlefield is all about. The same must be said for taking advantage of the game’s vehicles.

Battlefield 3 Review - Vehicles

All of the support functions help players earn more points to level up quicker and unlock more weapons, equipment and upgrades for which there are a lot. Players with better weapons with better scopes have a noticeable advantage over players of lower levels, so earning points through map objectives and taking advantage of the added details of suppression fire and marking enemies will go a long way.

The big question on every console gamer’s mind is how the Battlefield 3 graphics look on the consoles, especially when compared to the PC. There is a significant difference and users are recommended to install the game to take advantage of Battlefield 3′s HD textures. With the HD textures, Battlefield 3 looks very good, especially in the campaign, but it’s not industry-leading compared to titles like RAGE and some may be let down by the limitations of the current generation consoles for which Frostbite 2 can’t be fully utilized.

The Frostbite 2 engine shines through literally with the zealous use of lighting and particle effects, blinding lens flares and a very high contrast which all work to trick the naked eye. They allow for some eye candy landscape shots on the console editions of BF3, but up close, there are textures and foliage that look dull. The effects, while visually impressive, can actually hinder gameplay when traversing dark areas or looking in the distance for foes. It even directly plays into the game for players who add tactical lights to their weapons to blind foes in close quarters.

The animations however, are awesome. Players landing from a tall jump, punching out their parachutes from a fall or leaping over cover all look like soldiers actually performing these physical actions and do help create a more realistic combat experience. It successfully adds more immersiveness to the details in like gravity-affected bullets and realistic gun recoil and sound.

Battlefield 3 Review - Multiplayer

It needs to be noted that Battlefield 3 is not a beginner-friendly title and setting up the game is an annoyance. To play the game, a day one download of 167mb is required, undoubtedly there for last-minute patching after the beta. After this, the user is prompted to install the game to employ the HD textures – on the Xbox 360 version this requires disc-swapping – and this is followed by the need to input the online pass code in order to play online. Users will also need to sign up to Battlelog separately if they haven’t already to take advantage of the advanced stat tracking. That’s just to play the game.

Within the game itself, there are no tutorials for beginners to learn the vehicles and this is experience breaking when jumping into the second co-op level with someone in the pilot seat of a helicopter for the first time. The game’s HUD and menu when in multiplayer is built strictly for players of previous Battlefield games or similar shooters.

It would have beneficial if DICE had more time to polish the game, but even on the consoles, what they have crafted is an excellent multiplayer game for dedicated players to invest their time in.

Battlefield 3 is now available for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

-

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

*Screenshots taken from PC build of Battlefield 3.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

36 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. V_V

  2. very good review.

  3. Man Campaign was glitchy. The most common was Friendly and non Friendly NPC running into walls/shooting the wall they are covering and a few times there body parts to most of it would go into the wall. But I wont let the Cons go against the Pro of the game. I really much enjoyed flying the F-22 Raptor. SOOO MUCH FUN. And the story seems so far pretty nice. I’ve only put in 4 hours into the Campaign.

    You said it best Rob
    “It would have beneficial if DICE had more time to polish the game, but even on the consoles, what they have crafted is an excellent multiplayer game for dedicated players to invest their time in.” Companies like EA don’t seem to notice the importance of polishing a game. I do in fact believe if they polished the game just a little bit more that it would of been WARGASMIC! XD Liked the Article good review.

  4. So far, I’m enjoying both solo campaign and the multiplayer. Not many other problems yet that I haven’t already encountered since the beta, and I hope it stays that way. The solo campaign isn’t great, but kinda reminds me of the Black Ops story line, with the main character being interrogated and forced recall everything. I feel more involved in the story than I did with Black Ops, though.

    I agree that EA should’ve pushed the release date back to give DICE more time to polish the game and touch up on things. Sometimes I feel like game companies don’t bother testing things out on their own to see if they have fixed what they were intending to fix or maybe implement another small little thing here or there to improve the gameplay (ex. not being able to exit out of the lobby when changing maps after games).

  5. Frankly, that’s about what I expected. It sounds like you’re saying it’s exactly what was in the advertisements. They gave us what they said they would, and did it with a smile and a handshake. But they didn’t surprise or wow anyone.

  6. Sounds like this is how most reviews are. Guess I will pass on this title. I know Battlefields strength is MP but I could have sworn they were talking about their Single Player was going to be longer and improved awhile back but it seems like a lackluster COD:BO knock off and 2 player co-op seems like a joke. I’m still hoping this definitely gives COD some competition though. Just wish companies would try more when it comes to offline (atleast make it balanced) or add a great co-op experience.

  7. Was this review written for people that are CoD fans? Several things you complained about are necessary for the Battlefield experience. And the point of the entire multiplayer is that if you don’t communicate, you lose. It’s part of the fun and enjoyment if you like battlefield, and will really only disappoint people who don’t like battlefield anyway.

    • No.

      There are LESS options for team management. You can’t issue orders and the commander role was taken out. They should have a mode that includes these because as it stands, teams don’t function over Xbox Live and PSN.

      • Honestly Mr. Keyes everything that I read about BF3 on GR has been biased so you cant say that it isnt for CoD fans. Call of Duty is always full of glitches, is unrealistic, and full of kiddies that love to snipe with a pistol. The single player is solid. And as far as the multiplayer for team management if youre in a squad with your friends give orders that way.

        • I think thats why CoD is fun? The fact they are not trying to make it realistic with perks and killstreaks. People find that fun. Ive been a BIG BattleField fan since 1942. BF3 needed more work before they released it. Sure we al wanted to play it as soon as possible but campaign for me and my family and friends was…. disappointing. Multiplayer is great don’t get me wrong i love it. . wish there was a commander role since I loved that about BF2! But since you can only talk to the ones in your squad and not your side of team(not 100% sure since my family are the only ones with mics that play the game) Its hard to bark orders to team mates. The Game needed a big polish before it was released. Like Keyes says “teams don’t function over Xbox Live and PSN.”
          The one thing I hate more then a Fanboy is a Fanboy. The way you talk about CoD makes wonder if your a BF fanboy. I swear fanboys will ruin games in the future with there constant bitching about other games that might be or isn’t better then the topic at hand. So you know I also Play CoD, BF and a s*** load of other games and I like them all for what they are and what they aren’t. BF is realistic but(in reality its not/Since it being only a game makes it not lol) And CoD you have Perks that let you fall with out taking damage.(sort of like the parachute for BF/Tap it right before you hit the ground and no fall damage. Sounds like the same as Commando Pro lol) Ok now im just rambling about what I hate about gamers. XD Fin~

  8. Great review ! Its exactly what I told my friends on my experience playing the campaign but ya got to love multiplayer Awesome

    • Thanks!

  9. I haven’t completed the single player campaign yet, but here is my opinion on the game. There should be 2 ratings for this. For the single player, I would say that on one hand I really enjoy how authentic a lot of the dialog and procedures are. The radio chatter during the dogfight mission, the procedure of taking off and landing on a carrier, the skydive mission, tank warfare, it all feels like they really consulted the experts to get all of the procedures and lingo spot on. But the whole guy telling a story thing just feels like a gimmick so they can squeeze in a lot of variety in gameplay without really strongly tying them together in a flowing story. For that, I would give the single player a 3.5 out of 5. The multiplayer on the other hand, solid 5 out of 5 for me. It is amazingly fun. My only complaints are the features from BF2 that were taken out. First, the jeeps need to have a horn. Second, from the beta the difibrillator (sp?) Didn’t kill enemies. Haven’t had a chance to try that out in this retail version, but if it still doesn’t, that is a MUST FIX for Dice… There also seems to be a bug with remapping keys. It keeps resetting to default if you go and try to remap another key later. Very annoying…

    • Oh, and no commander. Also to note, I’m on the PC, so my above opinions are based on that version.

      • Ya, that’s my issue. I want the command structure from BF2142 where commanders can give orders and support, and Squad leaders can as well.

        • I really hope they bring back Commander in a DLC or something…

  10. What DICE did with both Bad Company games was provide a really nice singleplayer campaign, finally giving me (so yes, my opinion here) a military shooter with a story I thought was worth following and playing through.

    Apparently, DICE went with a copy-COD approach to the singleplayer of BF3, so it only looks good anymore. Were the same writers involved as the writers of BC/2?

  11. Man, I wish I was able to do an instant replay and record this gameplay from last night’s MP. I was in a Caspian Border 64 player conquest server. I was running toward Hilltop and I look to my right because there was gunfire there. One of our tanks was there and was being shot at by a helicopter. The tank explodes but the helicopter was also damaged and was diving too steep and crashes into the ground maybe 30 meters from my character, I make a dash up the ramp and right then, two Fighters dogfighting dive down while one gets destroyed and its husk crashes down in front of me still on fire, teammates are on the hill top trying to capture the flag, there are enemy RPG’s flying by, gunfire rattling. Man, no way that kind of intensity can happen in any other game but Battlefield. Gotta love it.

    • That does sound epic. That’s the beauty of PC with 64 players.

      One thing though is that the airplanes have no purpose outside of shooting other air vehicles – they can’t really impact the ground battles.

      • Actually, in Operation Firestorm (Rush) a couple people were sniping on top of the building the final MCOMM station is in. None of my team could get inside, so I jumped in the plane and, after taking down the other pilot, was able to get a few runs over the top of the building, killing both.

        This was on the 360.

  12. I think the high contrast lighting works great and the game and adds another level of tactics to work with, like the use of the flashlight. Also hiding in the dark actually works

  13. So… When does the Battlefield 3 (PC) review come out?

    • This is the review for all three versions.

  14. this is the best shooter since crysis 2. people complain about the campaign mode but what shooter besides cryis 1, crysis 2 or gears of war, as a good campaign? none lol! the campaign still exceeds what you will find in any call of duty game easily! the multiplayer is the best ever on console. this is the best 60 bucks ive ever spent. i was pro COD until this title came out. now im fully backing battlefield!

    • I disagree. Crysis 2 was boring and Battlefield 3 is a PC game. I have it for both Xbox 360 and PC and PC is really the only way to go to enjoy it, and its large maps, properly.

      I thought the campaign for Black Ops was better (and complete) but BF3′s was still fun.

      • to each it’s own. black ops campaign(and a lot of people have already agreed with what im about to say) was probably the most boring campaign on any shooter. unless you want to scrap the bottom of the barrel and mention Body Count, BO’s campaign was dull and uneventful. and TOO long. i just wanted it to be over already. As was COD: world at war. Crysis 2 was the most fun I ever had playing a shooter due to all the capabilities you had with the nano suit. theres no other shooter you can honestly through at me, that allows you to do all what can be done in crysis 2. the graphics IMO,are the best on any console game, the gameplay was superb and new york city speaks for itself. but, to each its own. you like apples, i like oranges.

      • I agree, Batllefield 3 was fun, but Black Ops was better. To me Battlefield 3 felt like Black Ops set in modern day. The graphics on the PS3 felt like enhanced Medal of Honor graphics. If someone says BF3 will be superior than MW3, or say you won’t be buying MW3, I feel sorry for you.

        • Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m having a blast with BF3, on the PC. And the title of this review is “‘Battlefield 3′ Review (Consoles)” and the first caption reads: “Game Rant’s Rob Keyes reviews Battlefield 3 (PS3/Xbox 360)” So no, this isn’t a review for all three platforms, just the consoles. I guess someone with your level of observation skills would most likely appreciate the COD games more…

          • I was just about to correct myself.

          • Is that supposed to be an insult?

          • You need to write for gamerant Ken J

        • you guys must really be call of duty fanboys. the consensus amongst us hardcore gamers was that black ops sucked. i really dont have anything nice to say about that game other than zombie mode is fun. worse campaign and worse online ive ever played on a shooter. but again, to each its own. ill be getting mw3 but just for the campaign. ill still be busy playing bf3′s multiplayer for the forseable future.

  15. A big concern for the console variants of Battlefield 3 was how its multiplayer was heavily scaled down from the PC for the consoles

  16. Ken J,
    I love the description you gave. the reason battelfield is so great is bc everyone has these “battlefield moments”. No other game can emulate the intensity of battlefield. The thing I always notice is people who love Call of duty also seem to enjoy battlefield as well, but devout battelfield gamers such as myself absolutely loathe call of duty. This is coming from a guy who played CoD from the start back in 03 on the PC. I came into the Battefield game late but I recognized that it truly was a superior game. I’ve always thought that the BF games allow you to do so much more than the CoD games. When im playing CoD i feel restricted like im being lead down a path and just turkey shooting. With BF there is a little bit of thinking involved bc of the larger scale of the maps and the balancing of the different classes. BF certainly isn’t the most realistic game, but its miles ahead of CoD IMO. I enjoy the “clunkiness” to the weapons in BF when you shoot, theres actually recoil and you feel like your shooting a real weapon not a squirt gun or whatnot.

  17. I use to play Battlefield 2 all the time, before CoD4 came out on xbox 360 and me and my friends would play that. I slowly drifted away from PC gaming, to console, and over the past year i have returned to my PC because of graphical superiority over consoles. I bought BF3 for pc and Xbox, and it does look a hell of a lot better on PC, it appears to be a little faster paced, and has a better, more team oriented community. I bought it for my Xbox so i could play with my friends, and show them how horrible CoD can be, but sadly, the console version of BF3 does not life up to the PC version. We still play it from time to time, but i’ve found myself playing MW3 more then BF3 on my console, and i wish that would be the other way around. I’m rank 7 on console, and Rank 23 on PC.

  18. Thanks for the info i really thank you for it

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.