One of the most highly-anticipated PC games of the year is upon us; Battlefield 3 is now available in North America! EA/DICE have finally delivered a sequel to the core Battlefield franchise, a proper follow-up to BF2. As you may know, the Bad Company games were experiments, console-oriented spin-offs that the developers admitted were never really meant to replace existing games in the series. They threw the PC gaming crowd a bone by porting the second one over, providing the first new Battlefield experience on the platform since 2142 was released four years earlier. It offered a pretty fun multiplayer experience to help tide us over, but now we’ve been graced with the next evolution of the modern military shooter, BF3.
Like BF:BC2, Battlefield 3
offers a full-fledged single-player campaign to go along with its trademark multiplayer action, a prospect that is relatively new to a franchise that has historically consisted only of online battles. I was able to start playing this segment of the game yesterday morning, ahead of the game’s official release at midnight. The bad news is that it was over relatively quick, but the good news is I can now tell you all about what I thought. Is it really a worthy addition to the core Battlefield
series, or just another bullet point on the back of the box? Read on and find out!
BF3’s story is told in flashbacks from an interrogation room, somewhat similar to the set-up in Call of Duty: Black Ops, but not as extreme. No, you’re just sitting at a table in a non-descript room with a couple of higher-ups asking you questions directly to your face. One of them is a bit of a loose cannon -- yelling, cursing, and getting physical with you -- while the cooler superior is constantly reining him in and giving the main character an opportunity to talk. That’s Staff Sergeant Blackburn, he stands accused of treason and the greater part of the campaign has you seeing things through his eyes. However, also like past COD titles, you assume the role of various other soldiers, as well; individuals from different branches of the US military and even a Russian special agent, depending on the mission(s).
While most of the campaign takes place in the Middle East, in and around Iran, you will visit several locations across the globe. Some of them even serve as a setting for one of the BF3’s multiplayer maps, such as Paris, Tehran, and ‘nameless desert with burning oil fields off in the distance.’ The mixture of urban locations, sprawling open landscapes, building interiors, and everywhere in between serves to keep things fresh, especially when around half of the time spent playing is at night-time. Environmental destruction is used to dramatic effect throughout the campaign, although you almost never have a direct hand in it, so it’s not near as awesome as it could be.