by Will Murtha
Battlefield 3, like recent entries in the Call of Duty series, is not a single player game in any way. Campaigns in past Battlefield games were corny to say the least. Bad jokes and an overall childish feel turned me off to the last two Battlefield Bad Company games. But, Battlefield 3 tosses that aside and adds a more mature polish.
The campaign takes a page out of Black Ops’ book. It starts out like an action movie. An unnamed character jumps onto the top of a moving train and enters by kicking through a window. As you progress through the train you kill the usual: terrorists. The mission ends as you enter the conductor’s cabin and are knocked out. When the mission ends, the game then flashes to an interrogation scene (hence the Black Ops reference), where most of the game’s narrative take place. Sergeant James Blackburn, our protagonist, is being questioned about his past events regarding the war. Blackburn tries to convince the interrogators to let him go so he can stop an impending terrorist attack. The campaign progresses through flashbacks and memories of missions Blackburn participated in.
The campaign is by far the best in the series but still has some problems that can deter people from playing it. One major issue is how the game holds your hand through everything. It makes you do everything a specific way. There’s usually only one route from point A to point B. Since Battlefield is known for its vehicles, the campaign disappoints in the transportation department. Not enough vehicles are accessible for movement and combat.
But when the mission “Operation Guillotine” starts, the action and story start to pick up. While the issues I stated previously are still present, the mission designs make up for them. There are several moments where you can be blown away and just sit there and say “wow.”
Dice also adds a co-op campaign feature where you and a friend can take on more missions. The first mission takes place in a city where you must fight off waves of infantry and tanks while protecting your Humvees. The second mission takes place in a helicopter, one player the pilot and the other the gunner. Here, you must clear out massive amounts of enemies and artillery for your allies on the ground. While these missions are fun to play through, trying to get higher scores to outdo your friends and be higher up on the leaderboards is what keeps you coming back. Another reason to do them again is so you can get the achievements or trophies.
While most people may dislike the Battlefield 3 campaign because of the aforementioned issues, I very much enjoy it. It’s a huge step forward from previous Battlefield campaigns and the issues with the hand holding and lack of vehicles are not a big deal to me. The hand holding specifically does not bug me because in real war you would not stray off doing your own thing; you have to work with your squad to complete the objectives.
One thing that this game really excels in is its phenomenal graphics. Battlefield 3 showcases Dice’s Frostbite 2 engine. The visuals for the game are incredible and almost the best I have seen. Explosions look realistic and entire buildings collapse. This engine is breathtaking especially for the PC. On Xbox 360 you get the option to install the HD texture, which takes up 1.5 gigabytes but is a must do.
While the campaign has its issues, overall it is very good. The missions are much more focused and objective oriented than other first person shooter campaigns. Even though it’s more focused, there are many moments that will blow you away. The Frostbite 2 engine makes these moments even more memorable. Finally, if you need to get away from the intense and often frustrating multiplayer, Co-op campaign is a good option to include some friends in your game time.
Singleplayer/Co-op score- 8.5 out of 10