The launch of one of the biggest games of the year is now behind us and, for those who have read our Xbox 360 review of Battlefield 3, you will know that this game has so far rated very highly around these parts. It was preceded with a lot of hype, and it's early release - prior to the release of it's main competitor (Modern Warfare 3) on November 8th - was an obvious and concerted effort to capture the market.
Does it fare as well on the PC? Let's take a look...
The single player game is interesting with a solid storyline to follow, however - like the six mission co-op - it really is there to make up the numbers, and it shows. It's not awful or anything, but... it's not going to get people that excited. If you're keen to find out more about it, Angus covered it nicely in his review.
So let's peel back the covers on the multiplayer game. You have 4 basic player classes to choose from. Assault is designed for those who like their combat up close and personal, while the Scout is your sniper who likes to reach out and touch their opponents. The engineer has the skills to repair vehicles and the support unit is your heavy weapons team member who forgoes accuracy for volume of fire. What is impressive in Battlefield 3 is how the multi-tiered character advancement system ties all of these classes together.
The more kills and games you win, the more points you accumulate. As you rank up (thanks to those points you just earned), more perks - such as camouflage, pistols, etc - become available. Depending on your class, you also have points applied to your specialty - each of which have their own ranking system that opens up improved kits (better primary weapons and scopes etc). There are also kits for vehicles and aircraft.
So although you are an assault player, if you take the driving seat in a tank you can rank up a tank kit. There are a lot of unlockables and perks to get, too, and this alone can easily result in feeling the need to play just one more game to get that next unlock.
There are eight multiplayer maps to play on, and you could not get a more varied set: -
The Caspian Border
A wide, sweeping valley that is mainly grasslands - with a factory complex at its centre. With some smaller industrial areas - intersected with roads, a highway, and a canal it is one of the bigger maps. With the starting points requiring you to cross a lot of open ground, the foot-sloggers get it rough. Rocky outcrops and wooded areas closer to the middle make up for it though.
Longer than it is wide, this was a favourite of ours. The central area is a large mining tunnel. It's dark, close, and full-on combat pretty much from the get go.
Close urban combat over a couple of city blocks. The Market is a nasty choke point where the bodies tend to pile up in the central alleyway.
Basically a U-shaped set of hills surrounding a small town and port area. It usually descends into snipers on the hills, with tanks and fighting vehicles battling in the town. It’s a tough map with a lot of flanking opportunities.
A port city that is criss-crossed with roads and canals. As the US have assault boats, attackers have a lot of opportunities. Helicopter assaults also mean that any spawn points you have captured need to be protected.
A big oil refinery in the middle of the desert. Some insane distances if you are on foot, but - thankfully - there is a lot of heavy armor on this map.
Yes it's been done before, but this underground map is set in a modern day metropolitan railway. It's a map with a lot of choke points, but invariably combat happens around the main ticket office, with each side trying to command the escalators and stairwells.
This one is a little beauty of a map. A river with two bridges, each of which is fortified. It's well balanced with lots of options and some brutal combat on the bridges.
Kind of speaks for itself, really. With some wide and dividing roads, mad tank driving is the order of the day. If you are on foot, look both ways!
One of the great features of all of the maps is how a lot of the terrain features are destructible. Not only can you blow holes in the wall, but some of them you can reduce to a pile of rubble. With the return of the ability to go prone, the wonderful array of terrain objects gives the player a lot opportunities to hide (we had a memorable game where we were within 5 metres of an enemy sniper and both of us were unaware of each other's presence for a good 10 minutes). There is no doubt that the graphic quality and depth of detail is a significant step up in the genre.
Continue reading on page 2.