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Battlefield 3!

The latest installment in the acclaimed Battlefield series has finally launched, but will the much hyped title be able to live up to the high expectations?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

This gives our website visitors more of clear understanding of what to first expect out of the game when they initially pop it into their consoles.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page in the Rent vs. Buy section of the review and do not see the "final impressions" assessment then it's safe to say that you are reading our initial impression of the game. Once the final impression is up, there will be no further video or review done to that particular title.

Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

You can locate the final impressions assessment in the "Rent vs. Buy" section of the review (always located at the very end of all of our reviews). Here you will be able to read our final thoughts on the title and also see any potential grade changes that were made to the game as well (higher or lower). Should a grading change occur, it will be clearly noted with the previous grade, the new grade, and why the change occurred.

Although this approach is more time consuming and requires many more man hours, our entire goal has always been to provide the best and completely unbiased reviews possible and we feel that the inclusion of the Initial Impressions and Final Impressions sections will give you a better view of what to expect from a new game.

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An All Too Realistic Setting: Battlefield 3 takes place in Iran/Iraq with the user playing primarily as Sergeant Henry Blackburn, who is tasked with taking a squad to find and retrieve a US squad that was searching for chemical weapons.

However, the game is mostly told through flashbacks, as the game begins with Blackburn in an interrogation room, telling his story. Although it takes a little bit for you to understand what is going on, Battlefield 3 does a pretty good job of keeping you interested in the plot and wondering where it is going next.

Early in the game, the story can be a little slow and the stories Blackburn tells don't seem to connect all that well and oddly enough it seems like only some of what is being said has relevance and is important to the story.

The single player campaign where you are battling through several "operations" (missions) can get quite intense though and I feel BF3's firefights are very engrossing.

From running from sniper fire to fleeing tanks, BF3 mixes in unexpected cinematics with gameplay to create many "whoa!" moments, even in the early stages of the campaign. As well as that, there are a ton of weapons at your disposal that behave differently, and the average person would have serious trouble recalling all of the guns available to you!

There are even light machine guns with tripods that can be mounted onto nearly anything, essentially turning you into a fire-spewing juggernaut against hordes of enemies.

However, despite it not doing anything particularly wrong, I can't help but feel like the campaign just isn't as intense as it could be. The biggest comparison that most people would probably make is Battlefield 3's campaign compared to, say, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

I feel that while Battlefield 3 did have some solid single player, it doesn't reach its full potential. Games like Black Ops and Killzone 3 just have more addictive campaigns and instances where you are completely wowed.

Grenade Incoming: Aside from that the AI your opposition displayed impressed me quite a bit. Most of your enemies will take strategic cover and will only pop out when they are attacking.

They can be fairly easily flanked on the lower difficulties, but even on the "Easy" difficulty they clearly battle cautiously.

When you move the difficulty up, they are tougher to outmaneuver, are smarter overall and can kill you before you even knew what happened.

Battlefield 3 is certainly a challenging game, and throughout the campaign you will face many different scenarios in which "running and gunning" will earn you nothing but a quick death.

Well Worth That Extra Hard Drive Space: Outside of actual combat, Battlefield 3 has also gotten some attention due to the "HD texture pack" that is Xbox 360 users can install in order to get high-res graphics. As it has been widely publicized, the visuals on the Xbox 360 look very poor without the "HD texture pack" applied, and the game lacks "sharpness" as well as most details.

The problem is that the HD texture pack, which is an optional install for Xbox 360 users, takes up 1.5GBs of space on your Hard Drive. Aside from vastly improving the visuals, the HD texture pack does nothing and takes up a fairly significant amount of Hard Drive space.

If you're wondering about the PS3 and PC, they're in a bit of a different situation. The PS3 has the HD texture pack as a mandatory install (coming in at about 2GBs), and the PC requires you to install the entire game (including HD texture pack) before playing. The PC installation size sits at around 20GBs, although you will not need the disc to play the game after installation.

In my experience, I believe the HD texture pack is a huge improvement on the graphics and if you can spare the Hard Drive space, it is a no-brainer to download it. The difference between Battlefield 3's visuals with and without the HD texture pack is pretty shocking, and at best BF3 looks like a launch-Xbox 360 title without the pack applied.

Am I Playing The Beta: Aside from the slightly controversial HD texture pack, I found a couple of things in Battlefield 3 that did not impress me. For one, I experienced some odd glitches only an hour into the game's campaign that displayed a large, texture-less wall for no reason that appeared and disappeared randomly.

As well as that, when I was following an objective, I seemingly fell under the floor and into what looked like a red sea, essentially floating in the middle of a red abyss. I was able to move and get to my objective, but it was difficult to see and quite alarming when it happened.

These glitches brought back bad memories of the Battlefield 3 multiplayer beta that was plagued with glitches and poorly received. The glitches ended up fixing themselves, but it appeared to me as though the game was reverting some parts of the environment back to an old build where no textures or graphics had been applied.

I've yet to experience more than those couple glitches, but there is no telling how many more anomalies will rear their head as I continue to play through the campaign mode.

A Full Scale War: The multiplayer in Battlefield 3 is a large focus of the game, and while console players are forced to engage in only 12-on-12 firefights (PC gamers get to have massive 32-on-32 matches), the multiplayer was pretty fun.

Fortunately, Battlefield 3 didn't suffer from as many glitches as the recently released beta did, and the fairly wide amount of maps ware excellent (as I am sure most would agree, the "Operation Metro" map displayed in the beta wasn't exactly incredible).

Rent vs. Buy: Battlefield 3 does a lot of things well but doesn't strike me as an incredible, outstanding, can't-put-it-down kind of shooter. It is very good, don't get me wrong, and there seems to be something keeping it from reaching that elite or must buy status.

For being primarily focused on the multiplayer, I found Battlefield 3's single player to be pretty enjoyable. It wasnt perfect and some odd glitches made me raise my eyebrows in puzzlement at the game, but the campaign is really something that can eat up your time.

As far as the multiplayer goes, I thought the variety of the maps and differences between them really helped the multiplayer. There arent a ton of maps (only nine), but they are all varying in size and shape and I don't see gamers getting sick of the map selection anytime soon.

For the gameplay, if you played the Battlefield 3 beta I think you will find the full version of the multiplayer familiar. It is different from Call of Duty in many ways, and is a lot more strategic and slower paced, especially in the objective based modes.

As well as that, there is a slight upgrade system in place where you will be able to outfit your weapons with attachments such as bipods and laser sights, and as you play the game you will also unlock different weapons that, depending on your play style, could be better or worse than the weapon you are currently using.

In addition, vehicles have been added to the game and while not too commonly seen (they are basically specialty weapons), they add a nice layer of depth to the typical skirmish when you know that a jet might rain fire down on your from the sky at any moment.

The slower paced combat might not suit everyone, especially die-hard fans of the Call of Duty series, but I found it to be very enjoyable.

If you know what youre getting into with Battlefield 3 (a slower paced, but very well done game), there should be no problem picking up this title and adding it to your collection.

After spending more time with the game, I found the voice acting in BF3 to be impressive and everything about the weapon sound effects from RPGs to assault rifles help engross you into the experience.

I also believe BF3 can really suck up a lot of your time between the difficult single player campaign and the deceivingly deep and entertaining multiplayer.

Report Card

For being primarily focused on the multiplayer, I found Battlefield 3's single player to be pretty enjoyable and I believe BF3 can really suck up a lot of your time between the difficult single player campaign and the deceivingly deep and entertaining multiplayer. (Krakrabbit.com)

A


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