Dear Battlefield 3,
It’s so nice we have finally had a chance to get to know one another. You know, I was raised to never judge a book by its cover, and I am glad our relationship didn’t end on our first impressions. Because let me tell you, we got off to quite the rocky start. Leading up to your release, all I could talk about was how awesome BF3 was going to be…and than the beta came out. Now before we get carried away, I want to make it clear that my entire Battlefield experience over the years has taken place on a console. I realize BF was born and raised on the PC, but what can a man do with this awesome Xbox 360 in front of him. Back to the beta…
Needless to say, more time was spent dissecting the problems with the beta, than actual time spent enjoying the experience DICE had presented us. With the Beta releasing so close to the retail release of the title, there was little hope in the world of console Battlefield fans. However, I had faith and then I find myself in line at midnight to snag the years “best” shooter, according to EA and DICE. Leading up to the release of BF3 I understood the sacrifices console players were going to have to make, but my experience with Battlefield BC2 was so rich, I was confident that BF3 would continue on its path to console glory. Not to mention, MW3 was looking interesting, but not quite on the same level as what DICE was trying to bring to the console space. With a player cap of 24, HD texture pack installs, limited map sizes, and overall streamlined version of BF3; I was optimistic to say the least.
Rewind back to launch day now….all of the hype and excitement, not so much anymore. I certainly had BF3 in my disk tray, but I certainly wasn’t experiencing all of those wicked trailer type experiences that got me in the front door. There were server issues, graphic issues, and short, lack-luster campaign. Trust me, BF3’s campaign was not the selling feature, because a 5-hour interrogation is not what I had in mind. I couldn’t help but think, I just played a 5 hour interrogation last year, it was called Black Ops. Campaign BS aside though, the multiplayer was suffering with some reputation altering problems, in my eyes. Now I realize the issues I may be talking about were not happening to everyone across the board, but for a game that emphasizes team work and state of the art multiplayer game play, I was not impressed.
Biggest problem…. I COULDN’T CONNECT WITH MY DAMN FRIENDS. Sure we could all play BF3 and enjoy its awesomeness, but we couldn’t connect together. Quick play, and the ability to join a squad from the menu were straight up broken for like a week. Kind of a bummer, and at that time it was the nail in the coffin for me. After 3-5 days of trying to squad up and kick some online ass, my love interest for BF3 had dwindled. I was sad, I felt like an idiot, “am I doing this wrong?”, “why does the whole world love this game?”, and I can’t latch on to that 25 minutes of awesome game play I keep hearing about. After all BF3 and other BF titles survive purely on interaction, and involvement of your fellow, diverse squad mates. I was not feeling the love, and before you knew it, BF3 was off my radar. We didn’t talk for months it felt like; this was nasty break up for sure. Although, I knew some changes were coming, and there was hope beyond the horizon, I just couldn’t believe at the time that a title so driven by multiplayer was fumbling with the most essential function. This, on top of alpha and beta game play streaming in for months prior to launch. This was a slap in the face to console BF lovers, but I know DICE, and I knew they wouldn’t let this baby go to rest without a fight.
While I was depressed and confused about my love affair with Battlefield, my friends around me did not agree. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, so I would pop in from time to time and check it out, but something eventually happened that changed my heart, and showed me the way of the Battlefield.
Incoming multiplayer update and Back to Karkand….
Now this is what I have been waiting for. December 14th 2011 is officially the date that BF3 swept me off my feet, and it was about damn time. Everything after this DLC pack and Update hit seemed to improve, it could have been my time apart that made me appreciate the changes, but something radically changed for the better. I instantly fell in love with the Karkand DLC maps, and finally understood what my friends were telling me about all those years ago when BF2 owned the PC shooter world. Battlefield was back in my life, and I couldn’t be happier. After all, all of the ingredients that make up BF3 are exactly what I look for in a game, perhaps that’s why I was so frustrated with my prior lack luster experience.
I want to state that I love this game, and this is the epitome of modern combat and teamwork. Never have I seen game play like this on a console, and a game like BF3 has set the bar so high that the competition better be taking notes. Regardless, DICE just seems to know how to cover all of the little things, and their attention to detail is astounding. Thank you DICE for all of your hard work and dedication, this game blows my mind on a regular occasion, and literally makes me scream and jump out my chair, something only Halo has done for me in the past.
I’m not done yet, after all Battlefield, we have only just begun. After discovering what BF3 was all about, I quickly took my soldier from a measly Rank 5 all the way to Rank 31 in a matter of weeks. This game instantly replaced all other shooters in my life. I felt like I was introduced to BF3 with beer goggles on, and I had finally taken them off. The game was gorgeous, the frame rate was perfect, the animations added a sense of natural movement I hadn’t seen before in games, and the variety of guns actually felt like a variety of guns. Each weapon has a personality and a purpose. Learning to handle the variety of SMGs, Assault Rifles, Pistols, Anti Vehicle weapons has almost been a meta game itself. The amount of unlocks and customization gives that much more opportunity to personalize your BF3 experience as well; changing a red dot sight, to a Kobra sight would instantly change how I felt about a particular weapon for instance. After unlocking and discovering the power of the UMP-45, I knew I was in love. Leading your shots, and watching bodies drop around you has never felt so good. Good gunplay is rewarded, and sloppy play will get your ass kicked. I appreciate a game that, if I sink time into learning that craft, will reward me with kick-ass game play. Battlefield 3 provides that sense of accomplishment and shows you that if you learn your role and weapons, you can be a valuable asset to any team.
Weapons, maps and everything else aside, the component that separates BF3 from the rest of the shooter pack is the vehicle action. This component alone makes BF3 a man amongst boys. No one does vehicle action the way DICE does, and that’s fine with me. Now, I am no pilot, but I am one hell of a tank driver. If I can hop into a T-90 or an MI-Abrams at the beginning of a round of rush…game over! I must have been a tank driver in a past life, because damn, when I am behind the wheel, shit hits the fan. I love commanding a tank and working in tandem with a talented engineer, this is a great relationship that can end matches very quickly. Vehicles are scary in BF3, because if you have a talented tank driver, or worse an actual pilot, they can instantly command the pace of game, and keep you indoors for a long time. I once had a chopper pilot destroy my team going 56-0, we were in awe of his skill, and it just shows that we can all play BF3 a little different, and make it a personal experience. My personal tip, if you want to destroy in a tank, learn to use the Coaxial LMG effectively, this gun rips everything apart (other than enemy tanks). Vehicles define the BF3 experience, and quite frankly make the whole experience so unique and powerful.
Battlefield 3 is a generation defining console title that should not be neglected by shooter fans. If you have not tried yet, or haven’t tried it enough, reconsider your time spent on your console. One of the factors that opened my eyes to BF3 was playing with a good friend of mine who was high up in the ranks. He taught me things like if your Tank is above 50% health, it will heal itself, tips like that changed the way I play the game for the better. I am glad that I was able to rediscover a game that will potentially shape and shift the way modern combat shooters are constructed from here on out. Call of Duty doesn’t need to be afraid, because frankly BF3 is in a league of its own. It doesn’t need to compete with CoD, its more of its big brother. I love you Battlefield 3, and I know you love me back. Thanks for reading if you made it this far; quite frankly I just had to express how this game affects my gaming lifestyle. This is teamwork and shooters in their finest hour. Next question, what’s up next for DLC, BF3 2143 anyone?