Battlefield 3 Review

Taking a different tone to MW’s slapstick, 100-metre knife-throws and air strikes, BF3 achieves the atmosphere of an actual… well, battlefield. This is serious war, fought by land, air and (a little bit of) sea. The underlying game mechanics reward teamwork and caution rather than gun-and-run. Here, Battlefield 3 blows away the competition with a FIM-92 Stinger.

All of BF3’s multiplayer modes revolve around respawn ‘tickets’. Each respawn costs one, and whether you’re playing Rush, Conquest or Team Deathmatch, it’s all basically about not getting killed, while depleting your enemies’ tickets. The twist is in how you go about doing this – if you take over all of the control points in Conquest, the enemy starts bleeding tickets, for instance. There’s a nice tactical depth to each of the modes, but it’s the superb level design and vehicular involvement that really get you using your noggin like Sun Tzu.

BF3’s vehicles are the stars of the show. Even if you’re on foot, the chaos from tanks, choppers and planes making a mess of each other brings every round to life in a manner that single-player rarely achieves – regularly creating moments ten times better than the campaign’s set-pieces. Every vehicle type is powerful enough to take on a spree, yet still vulnerable enough for a humble grunt to take out.

Finding that balance between vehicles, ranks and nudging players toward thoughtful play is a shining achievement from DICE, and BF3’s compulsive, varied and fine-tuned warfare makes it the best Battlefield game yet. But even online, it isn’t perfect. Some loveable scamps (read: words too coarse to print) have already found certain hacks that ruin everyone else’s game, which is fun.