Skyrim out… Battlefield 3 in!

Since receiving it at Christmas I have been clocking in some serious hours (for me at least) on Battlefield 3.

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The first thing I did when I got the game was have a crack at the multiplayer – and have not stopped playing it since. It’s so addictive that, even now in February, 8 weeks after getting it at Christmas, I haven’t even played the single player campaign! That’s OK though, I’ll get around to it one day and I asked Santa for the game knowing I had a hankering for some good online shooter action.

The game I received was the Premium Edition – a more expensive edition but loaded up with a code to unlock all of the DLC (some still yet to be released) for the game. It’s like the ‘Season Passes’ on Gears of War and CoD.

So – here are thought on the Battlefield 3 multiplayer…

Gameplay

The multiplayer gameplay, for me, is nothing less than superb. The Battelfield games have always been of the highest quality as far as I’m concerned and this one is no exception.

The gameplay model is traditional Battlefield. You have a choice of four avatar types – Assault, Engineer, Support and Recon. Each class has a particular specialism; the Assault are the medics, Engineers focus on vehicle assistance/destruction, Support carries the ammo and Recon are the snipers & scouts. Each class has a range of unlocks unique to their specialism and can easily cater to a variety of gaming styles. (I use the Assault class a great deal – they are armed with pretty versatile assault rifles and you can rack up tonnes of exp. with health packs & revives)

BF3 Classes

Unlocks are accrued through building experience points or by completing challenges (called ‘assignments’ in game). This has really appealed to the acquisitive nature in me and has had a great deal to do with the addictive quality of the game; numerous times, when I should have been going to bed, I notice I’m only one good match away from the next level or unlock and just have to play on (Naturally!). Experience points are accrued by kills, team actions (such as healing a teammate) and gametype objectives (such as capturing the flag).

So far then – not much different from previous Battlefields. I do admit that the game offers more of what I love about Battlefield games and that is certainly winning me over. However, while this is true, with Battlefield 3 it’s not just ‘what’ it offers, but ‘how’ it offers.

The multiplayer has a wide range of gameplay types to suit all types of demands. The achievements and in-game unlockables promoted me to give all the game modes a good go and now find I’m quite happy to just drop into any available game server regardless of gametype going on – all have something to offer. While I’ve certainly enjoyed getting stuck into Battlefield classics Rush and Conquest I have also enjoyed engaging with new gametypes like Gun Master, Scavenger and Tank Commander; all of which bring interesting new twists to the online FPS.

The game looks stunning. Some of the maps are simply incredible. The little touches of detail are what really stand out – the sun in the sky, the snow peaked mountains in the distance, the ripples on the water, and the different clouds have all been details that have stood out to me.

Speaking of maps; not only do they look good but they are great to play in and offer lots and lots of variety. There are some great vehicle maps for those who like to drive a tank or fly a chopper. There’s some interesting close quarters locations for an ‘up close & personal’ skirmish (these are my faves). There are war torn cities and mountain valleys for the avid sniper. It’s got a little something for everyone and the online matchmaking screen makes it easy to select gametypes and maps to suit your mood or preferences.

BF3 Armored Kill Official Shot

One interesting twist on Battlefield 3 is the ability to rent an online server. This allows the renter the ability to set the pattern of gametypes and maps, as well as giving them admin control powers such as the option to kick players or change the win criteria. I’ve mostly seen clans renting servers online. It’s not feature that’s been particularly popular with me – too many renters set specific rules about what weapons you can use or arbitrarily kick you to make room for friends or clan members. I’ve also seen some renters set rules that specifically lay out how they expect you to actually play the round!

Oh, and if anybody has any tips on how to fly the jets I’d welcome them.

Achievements

I’ve got 430 out of a possible 1,480 GS from just my online multiplayer gaming so far. There appears to be another potential 450 from the single player campaign that I hope to get a good chunk of (when I finally pry myself away from MP). The remaining points are for online multiplayer cheevos I’m yet to unlock and for the co-op levels, which I’ll likely not bother with.

The multiplayer achievements I have unlocked so far are pretty standard for a FPS really. Obtaining certain ribbons, killing with certain weapons/vehicles, discovering map secrets and levelling up all contribute to the acquisition of the achievements. The achievements are obviously geared to cater to just the sort of player I am; as they have promoted me to put in the hours trying out gametypes, maps and weapons I might not have ordinarily explored but did do for the achievement.

BF3 MP Screen shot

For the more casual FPS player or Battlefield franchise noob; some of the achievements may be quite a challenge or a bit of a grind to acquire. For example – the weapons achievements from the premium edition map packs require tens kills with each expansion pack weapon; straight forward enough for 20GS, until you realise that these weapons require unlocking with the completion of assignments, and then it starts to feel like a lot of effort for 20GS. That is OK for me though – I’m in the game for the long haul.

Would I recommend it?

I most certainly would. After approx 40 hours of online gameplay I’m still going strong; the sheen has not gone even after all that time. The game has a great range of variety and each mode has got enough subtlety and depth that promotes playing in different styles and finding interesting tactics.

The game looks good, is well made, and highly addictive. What more could you want?

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