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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Battlefield 3 worthy for multi-player game lovers

I know what you’re thinking. Despite the fact that I am not psychic, I can hear your very thoughts on this review —“Adam, you’re reviewing a game that came out in November of last year?  How can that be relevant?”

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It’s a good question, really. Oftentimes reviews are rushed out the door on the day of release, praising day one impressions of multi-player and giving the single player campaign too much weight as the only thing the reviewer actually had time to play. Unfortunately, I don’t think this accurately reflects today’s games, especially those in the same category as Battlefield 3, where the focus in on multi-player, and where issues can become exposed only months after release. A more accurate review would be post-mortem: a dissection of mechanics and bugs that occurs after a million people have ripped up the digital battleground, not before.

In case you’ve been living in self-imposed isolation to save the world from your great and terrible power, Battlefield 3 is the latest entry in a long line of multi-player focused games that are based around shooting other people and blowing stuff up. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Battlefield 3 trades in the lush colorful environments of its predecessor (Battlefield: Bad Company 2) for the dry brown deserts of the Middle East (sigh). The Middle Eastern Modern War Shooter genre is now more crowded than the World War II genre was about four years ago, so luckily we shouldn’t have to endure these too much longer. They’ll move on to, say, Antarctica or Mars.

If you’re wondering about the single-player, don’t. While the campaign flirts with being a cool imagining of what a war in Iran would look like, it quickly devolves into the “Lets-Imitate-A-Call-Of-Duty-Campaign-Badly” sort of thing that the last couple games — “Bad Company,” “Bad Company 2” —have fallen into. But where the last series of games — “Bad Company” — had at least a few memorable characters and some humor to provide some levity, this newest batch of characters has all the comedy and personality of a funeral to match.

In other news, the enemy spawns are infinite until you cross an invisible line — there’s a nuke and terrorists involved, blah, blah blah; this campaign was done better in 2007’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.”

Much worth your time, the multi-player is awesome. The “Battlefield” series has been long known for awesome multi-player that encourages teamwork, and “Battlefield 3” is no different. There are three main modes: the classic Team Deathmatch, Conquest, and Rush. Conquest is based around capturing points on the map and whittling down the other team’s number of spawn tickets, and Rush is based around attacking and defending points on the map while whittling down the attacking team’s number of spawn tickets.

While they do sound similar, each mode has its own play styles and quirks that manage to make each match unique.  Battlefield 3 has that valuable property in games that allows me to get three or four kills in a match — as opposed to 10 or 20 — and still have a fun time. It is a true achievement in multi-player game design due to tight controls, relatively balanced game play and encouraging teamwork.

There are some issues, however. First, if you have a PC that can run it. I suggest getting Battlefield 3 for that instead of console; consoles do not support the 64 player limit that PC has and some of the larger maps feel abandoned. Second, the drab environments of single player hold over into multi-player and all the bloom lighting in the world cannot save them. They just seem blah. There are no maps that truly stick out as great, especially without the “Back To Karkland” map pack.  The cool maps so prevalent in Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 2 are absent; in their place are dry, safe (from a design perspective, at least) desert and city environments. Other than Caspian Border, that map is awesome.

Graphically, Battlefield 3 is really, really pretty. Wonderful texturing, liquid animation and the best lighting engine I’ve seen ever combine to make Battlefield 3 a graphical experience. On the PC especially, one can almost even see the dust motes suspended in air.

The sound design is so good it deserves a paragraph all to itself. The sounds in Battlefield 3 are simply without parallel.  Gunshots, explosions, frantic shouting, even just running — it all sounds spectacular. This is a game that begs for surround sound and to be turned up to max volume. Your neighbors will hate you for it, but Battlefield 3 is a game that needs to be loud.  It just sounds so good. I really cannot stress this enough.

In the end, if you like multi-player first person shooters, you owe it to yourself to buy Battlefield 3. Despite its problems, it’s still the most engaging multi-player game on the market by far.  The graphics are great; the sound is stellar, and this is one of a very few games where the PC version is truly better in every way.

If you’re a misanthrope, however, don’t buy it — the single player campaign is nowhere near worth $60.

Battlefield 3 is rated M for mature.

By Adam Schoelz

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