by Jaye Sonia
When it comes to the Battlefield franchise, I’m a little late to the game (pun intended). While I did get a chance to play the original Battlefield 1942 when it came out in 2002, I never really got into it. Like most of my friends, I was absolutely in love with Bungie’s Halo. It was the game to play and each subsequent release just got better. This lasted up until I moved to Kuwait. It was here that I discovered the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games. As a result, I missed out on much of DICE’s Battlefield franchise.
Fortunately for me, most of my coworkers were big fans of the Battlefield series and when rumors about 3 started to circulate, they raved about it. I decided to check what others were saying. After a trip to YouTube (and some time spent reading comments), I started getting excited and combed the web for more information. This led me to BF3Blog.com. Soon after, I was caught up in the Battlefield 3 hype. So, when the game released last November, I went out and picked it up.
I’ve been playing since.
This is, of course, a small (but incredibly fun) problem because I find myself playing a lot more Xbox than normal. In fact, it’s making it hard to sit down in my office without firing it up. It’s also made it harder for me to attend to a lot of those other important things – things like writing, playing World of Warcraft, or harassing people on Facebook. Oh, and don’t get me started on Skyrim (and the time I do not have to play it).
What’s so awesome about this game? Well, the maps for one. Unlike so many of the other games I’ve played in the past, the maps have a great deal of detail that is user-responsive (the destruction is all powered by DICE’s Frostbite 2 engine). So, when you plant some C4 on a wall and blow it open, the debris rains down and stays down. In some cases, this debris can even kill an enemy (or you). I’ve died more than a few times from “bad luck” when the wall of a building fell down on me. Not fun. The size of the maps is also a big part of what makes this game awesome. Whether you’re playing Operation Firestorm or Caspian Border, you’re going to find all sorts of nooks and crannies to hide in and – if you’re good enough – snipe from. The game also takes into account fields of fire (from all directions), so a good team can hold locations and even pin down enemies in their home base. The Metro map (during a CQ game) is a great example of this.
Of course, there are vehicles to take into account, as well. Depending on the perks unlocked for a particular type of vehicle, you can do all sorts of things. Generally, heavy armor rips through the ground troops pretty quick, but those same troops are laying down C4, mines, and then blasting you with RPGs, as well. All in all, it’s a pretty even playing field in that regard.
Also – driving tanks over cars just wins.
But it’s not just tanks. It also has a host of other vehicles – everything from the Russian Su-39 to the American MH-6 “Little Bird.” So, whether you want to drive around the massive maps (Operation Firestorm, Caspian Border), strafe ground targets (Kharg Island) or hover over the small, concentrated ones (Damavand Peak, Noshahr Canals), you can. Better still, the vehicles have their own unique weaknesses. So, ground troops can remove vehicles from the field of battle, as well. So, you have a host of targets – both in the air and on the ground – to consider.
Overall, I’ve found the game to be incredibly balanced and individual soldiers are capable of as much damage as their armored counterparts, without exception. So, while I love getting in my tank time, sometimes it’s safer to just snipe.
Battlefield 3 is enjoyable in campaign mode, offering an immersive and interactive setting. The opening dialogue reminded me of several service members I know and definitely entertained me. However, the game really shines when you put in Disc 1 and select multiplayer. Not only do the dynamics of the game change (the fields of battle open up considerably), the number of players (with varied skill levels, tactics, and goals) changes how each map is fought almost every single game. Even if you have an established routine, you find others that are ready to counter it or who have developed their own work-around. It requires a lot of teamwork and even strong, solo players will find coordination to their advantage when playing certain games (like CQ) on larger maps (like Caspian Border).
But this wouldn’t be a G&G article if I didn’t share a little inside info – tips in this instance – that might just make your game easier (especially if you play an engineer).
1) Engineers – mine choke points. For example – If you’re playing on the Russian side of the Canals map, don’t be afraid to rush forward and mine the launch ramps – liberally. Not only will you get more than a few “vehicles destroyed,” you’ll also grab some nice kills. It also limits vehicle availability to the American side.
2) Support – C4 is your friend. Not only can you mine choke points (as you would with… you know… mines), you can also plant it on light attack vehicles (like jeeps) and drive them into bigger things (like tanks), jumping out shortly before impact and watching them roll right into the enemy target (and making a very big boom). Extra cool points when you turn the helicopters into bombs.
3) Assault – There’s something exceptionally cool about being a medic with a shotgun, but it’s even cooler on small maps like Metro. Not only can you drop a lot of meds out for team heals (and points), you can become a pretty reliable flag defender by keeping your squad healthy. The cool part about the shotgun, though, is what you can do with it when you keep on grinding. After a magic number of kills, you get a scope for it. Yes, I typed that. If you haven’t seen it already, pop over to YouTube and enter in “Viking Shotgun.” You’ll see what I mean. It’s simply brilliant.
4) Recon – While I tend to hide and snipe when I play this class, this class becomes more of an asset when guided weapons unlock for your various allies and you unlock the SOFLAM. At that point, you can simply paint targets and let your allies hit them from cover. Hello, Mr. Javelin…
5) ALL – Just because you have flares, doesn’t mean you should use them. If you’re new to air combat, don’t pop flares as soon as you see the “lock” icon. Wait until you see the “Inc” (for incoming) icon and then hit your flares. Otherwise, you’re eating that missile.
6) ALL – Fly and snipe. Just because there isn’t a ladder doesn’t mean you can’t get there. There are a few maps with amazing sniping locations that can’t be accessed from the ground. But get your buddy to fly you up and you can really harass the enemy.
I’d like to give a special thanks to the guys on my regular B3 squad (Xbox Live) for all their advice, tips, and tricks: Archangel1onu, ToxicAnimal, Inside_Yo_Car, Voorhees76, and Pirate-Roberts77 – all of you make this game just a little more fun. I’d also like your dog tags now.