I don’t usually apologize because I’m not usually wrong, but I have to make an exception here. Having played Battlefield 3 for the past few days, I can say with all certainty that this game has far exceeded my expectations. And to be honest, the more I play the online multiplayer, the harder time I have believing that Modern Warfare 3 can keep up with the competition. So without further delay, let me begin my apologetic love letter to all things Battlefield 3…
I’ve only played about a half hour of the campaign, and I can’t really speak to if its good or bad, though I haven’t heard great things. But we all know that’s not the main reason for buying such a game. No, the real reason people get Battlefield is to engage in huge multiplayer games. And that is what I have done. I complained in a previous post that the uber-realism of the game would probably turn me off (on account of dying all the time and all) but it has had the complete opposite effect. The utter realism of the game is engaging, intense, and immersive. I tend to sit as close to the TV as possible, white knuckling a Mountain Dew while I ride into town in the armored transport carriers, listening to the crackle and deep thuds of combat in the distance.
The game is unique in that you actually level up not only your person but your guns as well, earning ACOG sights, grips, underbarrel grenade launchers and flashlights along the way, and its deeply satisfying to see that you’ve earned some new equipment. The vehicle combat is simulated perfectly, and adds to the chaotic nature of war. I found myself last night picking people off from a first floor window when an explosion rocked the building, knocking down the wall I was hiding behind. I was nearly dead and dropped to prone, knowing there was a tank merely feet from me and was looking for the guy taking out his teammates. There was no escape.
That is specifically what makes this game so great. You will remember your multiplayer matches. I’ve done good in some games, great in few, but overall, you remember the experiences. The maps are so big and so varied that the matches never play out the same twice. As much as I loved Black Ops, and I most certainly loved it, you can’t deny that most games on Nuketown were basically the same game. Not here. Mixed with the fantastic sound effects that make the warfare in your face and as real as possible, graphics that are as good as any FPS on the market today, and the whispered orders of your comrades as you hide in the streets of Paris while a tank of your opponents drive past unaware, this game creates a real battle experience for you. Not a game or a match, but an experience. Everyone will have unique experiences, and they will be made all the more awesome if you have friends to play online with.
It was late last night and so I was just kind of exploring on a larger map when I saw an enormously tall crane towards the edge of the level. I climbed, and it took forever, to the top of the crane and could survey the entire level. However, I wasn’t a sniper and I only had a non-scoped M4A1, so there was no real tactical reason for what I did, I just wanted to get up there. Faced with the boring alternative of climbing back down, I took the awesome path of just sprinting to the end and leaping off, parachuting to the ground. When I landed, I found three enemies laying prone, about 4 feet in front of me, blissfully unaware of my presence while sniping my own guys. So I wiped them out, and immediately the game ended. I was almost out of breath when the scores were tallied and I was smiling ear to ear.
The game certainly isn’t perfect. Getting a server can be a pain in the ass. I guess DICE, while busy hyping their game as the COD-killer, forgot to, you know, prepare for what would happen if a lot of people actually bought the game. Lag isn’t really an issue except on the Tehran map, which oddly always has lag (at least in my experience). DorisfromNoris got the game on launch day like I did, but we still haven’t played a single match together because of server failures, which is a gaping flaw in my opinion. But hopefully patches or additional servers can fix this issue soon so that the full game, which is already great, can be fully enjoyed. But in the end, while I’m discussing ERISA 401(k) plans all morning, really what I can’t quit thinking about is that time we successfully held the entrance to the subway, blinded by flashlights and laser sights, by blind-firing into the escalator bottleneck before us.