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Battlefield 3 Suffers From Split Personality


By James Twigg

Hectic and mundane. Entertaining and boring. Addictive and off-putting. Game developer DICE has somehow managed to encompass all of these descriptions in a single title.

The latest shooter to hit the market, Battlefield 3, has an air of duality about it. On one hand is its impressive multiplayer, capable of entertaining players with gripping gameplay for months to come. On the other is its lackluster campaign that suffers from an underdeveloped plot and frustrating AI.

Judging the game as one overall product is impossible to do. The straightforwardness of the campaign is so drastically different from the open-endedness of the multiplayer that it’s hard to believe the same company is responsible for developing both aspects.

The game’s mainstay – the multiplayer – is a frenetic, adrenaline-driven experience that lives up to the Battlefield title in every sense of the word.

After hopping into your first match you immediately notice the sheer size of it all. The maps are enormous – large enough to fit 24 players on consoles and up to a stunning 64 on PC. One map even has a mountainside drop-off that requires players to skydive off of to reach the next objective. Walking from one side of a map to the other takes an unreasonable amount of time and more often than not a sniper will pick you off before making it halfway anyway. That’s where the vehicles come in.

Battlefield 3 saturates the maps with enough wheels and wings to make sure that trekking across the crater-covered landscapes can be made relatively quick. All of the classics are back, including jeeps, tanks, helicopters, and of course, jets. When all of these modes of motorized mayhem are up-and-running chaos and explosions reign supreme.

But it’s not the size or vehicular madness that defines the multiplayer experience – it’s the teamwork. Every aspect of multiplayer – from the objectives to the classes – is designed to encourage cooperation with your teammates.

For instance, while there are only two teams in a game, each team is split up into multiple four-man squads. Tossing out an ammo crate or a health pack – depending on your class – will yield points whenever a teammate makes use of them. But if a squad mate uses them your point total will be higher.

This point system is what drives the game’s very effective leveling system. Everything you do in the game earns you points and those points earn you new weapons and upgrades. Whether it’s blowing up a tank, capturing an objective or even just laying down some covering fire, Battlefield 3 rewards you for playing how you want to play.

Between its high-octane gameplay style and the huge amount of unlockable weapons and perks, Battlefield 3 will keep player’s coming back for months to come.

Battlefield 3′s single player, however, fails to leave the same impact and will have players trying to forget it as soon as they finish.

The biggest problem with the campaign lies in its storytelling. In traditional Battlefield fashion, the game switches perspectives from one soldier to the other throughout, but none of them are ever given any depth. The main villain is barely even provided with a motive. In a nutshell he’s a bad guy and wants to blow up some cities. That’s as deep as it goes.

It doesn’t help that the single player suffers from problematic AI either. You have a squad with you for the vast majority of the game, but it might as well be firing blanks for all the use that it is. At instances during the campaign, friendly AI and enemy AI will actually stand directly across from each other firing fully automatic weapons and neither will die.

Even the campaign’s gameplay seems to contrast with the outstanding multiplayer component. Where the multiplayer leaves you seemingly endless options to accomplish a task, the single player sends the player down a linear path and even forces them to take out enemies in a specific fashion.

The dull campaign drags down the title and makes what should be a phenomenal game, merely a good one. This is easy to forgive, though, as the multiplayer is some of the best to ever hit the genre and is where the player’s main focus will likely end up anyway.


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