The campaign of Battlefield 3 opens with a mechanic that has been a feature of many of the latest blockbuster FPS’s of recent times. You start with an ending scene, then spend the rest of the game figuring out how you arrived at that point as the plot unfolds. The main protagonist, Sgt Henry ‘Black’ Blackburn is interrogated by government agents. As he tells his tale of bravery you play as the characters in his story, revolving through several scenarios as both allied and enemy forces. The theme of playing as different characters to advance a plotline is one we have seen in previous games of the same genre.
The missions through the campaign contain some of the most breathtaking moments in video game history. It’s said that the major game releases of today have the million dollar budgets akin to big summer blockbuster movies and we can really see that come to the fore in Battlefield 3. The improved Frostbite 2 engine is working overtime as buildings collapse around you and explosions are a truly 360 degree experience. Battlefield’s infamous deformable environments are still very much apparent, where blowing a hole in a wall to get to the enemy is just as much fun as it always was. The only criticism is that these moments could’ve been more widespread as we have seen in earlier games of the series.
The use of vehicles such as tanks, helicopters and planes in the Battlefield series has always been one of the elements that raised it above the competition and this is none more so apparent than in the latest instalment. From blasting through the desert in a 40-ton Chieftan tank, to soaring through the clouds in a dogfight with enemy jets, Battlefield 3 makes you feel like a true badass, unlike the vehicle sections in Modern Warfare 2 where there isn’t really a sense of involvement as you’re more often than not a passenger to the action.
Battlefield 3 is the first game in its series to try and create a synergy between a well thought-out single player campaign and a strong, varied multiplayer. The latter here is a beautifully presented tour de force on how it’s done and has set the bar for shooters to come. However, the cues (and curses) of its peers are all far too evident. With the latest instalment in the all-conquering Modern Warfare series out now, Battlefield 3 needed to have a campaign that made it individual. However what’s here is a sad attempt at one-upmanship that fails to make the impact that it truly deserved.
Even with its campaign shortcomings, Battlefield 3 is still an incredible game.