This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to EA DICE's military-themed first-person shooter Battlefield 3
, which reviewers describe as "the most polished entry in the series." Battlefield 3
currently earns a score of 92 out of 100
Game Informer's Dan Ryckert scores Battlefield 3
at 9.5 out of 10
. "Modern first-person shooters have started to resemble big-budget Hollywood blockbusters in recent years, a trend that has received both praise and criticism from gaming audiences," he notes. "Being shuttled from one explosive set piece moment to another can be thrilling, but when this formula is overused it feels like you’re on an on-rails Disneyland ride.
"While the Battlefield 3
campaign isn’t devoid of this feeling, its multiplayer offers a much more natural (and rewarding) sense of large-scale action. With dozens of players battling across nine massive maps in tanks, jeeps, helicopters, jets, or on foot, multiplayer matches feel like a genuine war rather than a small-scale skirmish."
The multiplayer aspect has seen a number of minor tweaks. "Rather than delivering sweeping changes to the series’ multiplayer format, DICE chose more subtle tweaks for Battlefield 3
," Ryckert says. "As with Bad Company 2
, players can choose from four classes, but the assault and medic classes are now merged (with the now-open fourth slot dedicated to the LMG-toting, ammo-dropping support class). I loved both classes in Bad Company 2
, so the ability to throw medkits and revive teammates while utilizing assault weaponry feels ideal."
In addition: "Rush, Team Deathmatch, and the squad variants are solid modes, but with the return of 64-player matches, Conquest is once again the star of the multiplayer show. In my time on the game’s pre-release servers, I never encountered lag. Even in massive battles featuring dozens of players and vehicles competing over a single flag, the action proceeded without the slightest hiccup. The size of the maps, variety of vehicles, and overall scale of Conquest rounds make for some fantastic moments that couldn’t be recreated if you tried."
fans hoping for the most polished entry in the series won’t be disappointed by this massive sequel," Ryckert writes. "Multiplayer maintains the high level of quality DICE is known for, and the campaign is the best in franchise history. Outside of the annoying Battlelog and a tacked-on, uninspired co-op mode consisting of six short standalone missions, the only downside to Battlefield 3
is the lack of substantial changes to the multiplayer formula. However, that shouldn’t stop longtime fans and newcomers from enjoying one of the best FPS experiences in gaming."
Ryan Winterhalter at 1UP.com gives Battlefield 3 an A- grade
. "After a lengthy detour with two console-exclusive titles, a trip to the future, two Bad Company
games, and two free-to-play releases, the game hailed as the true successor to Battlefield 2
has finally arrived," he begins. "This is no Call of Duty
clone; it genuinely deserves the title Battlefield 3
"Before diving into the heart of Battlefield 3
, I should address the window dressing: Namely its single-player campaign," Winterhalter continues. "This portion of the game really is a round of terrorist whack-a-mole, just like Call of Duty
. You'll face an unending wave of brain-dead suicidal terrorists until you manage to inch your way up to whatever checkpoint controls enemy spawning, take a few seconds' break, and do the whole thing all over again. It's not bad, but it is frankly uninspired."
Winterhalter finds that multiplayer is where the game shines. "What fans are really throwing down their $60 for is the multiplayer, which manages to marry modern FPS tropes (like the progressive unlocking of weapons and abilities) with the massive mixed-arms battles of previous Battlefield games," Winterhalter explains. "Most maps are populated with an amazing assortment of helicopters, tanks, mobile anti-aircraft guns, and jets."
Winterhalter continues: "Upgrades come at a decent rate if you're putting hours into the game, and the sheer number of separate ways to level up means that if you're stalled on one you can focus on another. Even when you're not being rewarded with new stuff, the game lets you know how close you are to leveling up at the end of each match just to ensure that your brain is hooked to a steady dopamine drip. Even when I didn't earn anything in a match, I enjoyed watching BF3
enumerate and quantify my successes at the end of each round."
is a game that's informed, not bound, by both its predecessors and its competition," Winterhalter summarizes. "It takes what made the series great in earlier games and marries it to the innovations from more recent BF
titles. The single-player and co-op campaigns both have their issues, but the multiplayer component is worth the price of entry alone."
Joystiq's Arthur Gies gives Battlefield 3 4.5 out of 5 stars
. "Multiplayer is Battlefield 3
's sharp edge, but the singleplayer is the point of its blade," Gies writes. "DICE and EA have shown it repeatedly, and you can see why – it shows well. Everything is put together like DICE expected you to look at it. Characters move naturally, the lighting is beautiful, and explosions are often scary in scope and impact."
"But it's not much fun," Gies warns. "Battlefield 3
's campaign isn't just a straight line, it's tactically linear. Firefights almost always unfold the same way. This is partly due to enemy AI that often seems stuck to a six foot leash from where they initially appear, but it goes deeper than that. For all the talk of destruction and immersion, Battlefield 3
's campaign is a step backward from the manic calamity of Bad Company 2
. There's no more blowing holes through walls to make an alternate route. Environmental destruction is cosmetic or scripted."
finds [its] identity and soul in its multiplayer," Gies asserts. "Battlefield 3
is the most fun I've had playing a shooter online since Bad Company 2
. The class based play allows for players to select a role and succeed in it outside of the basic 'kill more guys than guys kill you' model. If you can step out of an obsession with the mythical kill/death ratio, you can die again and again and still have fun."
"The feel of Battlefield 3
's multiplayer combat is unmatched," Gies praises. "Combat in Battlefield 3
is now closer to what it was in Bad Company 2
, with an emphasis on tactical decision making and smart shooting over twitch reflexes (though there is some of that). The reintroduction of going prone to the series allows for more fluid strategic movement, as running across an open space and diving to your belly is a totally viable option during some firefights. It's another of those Battlefield Moments. You can't get it until you play it but, once you do, every game will have at least one."
"If solo play is your primary motivator, then it's hard to recommend Battlefield 3
as anything more than an audio-visual treat," Gies concludes. "The times where Battlefield 3
does its damnedest to go toe-to-toe with Call of Duty
are the times it stumbles the hardest. But when DICE is doing what it's always done best, Battlefield 3
is a uniquely mesmerizing multiplayer game with a seemingly endless number of ways to feel like a success. It's not revolutionary, but it's the best Battlefield
game, and that's saying a lot."