Battlefield 3 PC single player review

Despite the fact that almost nobody buys Battlefield 3 for the single player campaign, EA and DICE have insisted that it is a very important piece of the overall experience. Having been forced to play my way through roughly five hours of glaringly tedious, albeit technically impressive gameplay, I can comfortably revert to the opinion I had going in: it really is not an important part of the Battlefield 3 experience.

The story fails to grip; the characters might as well be cornflake models dressed up in military garb; and the level design is surprisingly bland and uninspired. As much as I love modern military shooters for their multiplayer bits, I started to lose interest in the single player campaigns towards the end of Modern Warfare 2. Since then, the rest all feel the same in terms of game design and plot, and I am loathe to say that Battlefield 3 feels like a step backwards.

Battlefield 3 places you about as firmly on rails as it can without actually removing the need for your left hand all together. Players are herded down narrow corridors shooting indiscriminately as waves upon monotonous waves of enemies pour forth. These corridors are usually interspersed with having to climb a ladder, open a door, or squeeze through a sewerage grate – all actions which are activated with the “E” key.

Occasionally an enemy will get a little too close and you will have to engage in hand to hand combat. Had DICE been creative we could have seen a truly interesting innovation here, but sadly, these short skirmishes boil down to having to tap either the space bar or left mouse button when told to by the on-screen notifiers. For the most part then, the gameplay is extremely tedious and bland.

Having said all that, it is a very well built single player experience. The graphics are phenomenal, as you will know if you’ve watched any of the footage released to date. The Frostbite 2 engine really is that good, and the lighting, shadows, physics, destructible environments and textures really do scream “next-gen tech”.

The sounds are also breathtaking, from the detailed clattering of individual, moveable weapon parts, to some of the most powerful explosive sound effects I’ve ever heard, the sound effects are pretty much superlative. The voice acting is also very solid, so at the very least you have five technically brilliant hours of poorly written and lazily designed gameplay on your hands.

If you’ve played the single player campaign, then you might think I’m being unfair. After all, DICE does let you go for a ride in a jet, as well as a tank. You get to take pot shots at scrambling enemies from high up in the air with your thermal goggles, and there are even a few other diversions from the regular infantry based run and gun gameplay.

The problem? Well there are a few, actually. Firstly, we’ve seen pretty much all of it before, and the stuff that is new is poorly executed. I’m not kidding myself, I know these CoD-alikes make no pretence at offering open-ended or dynamic gameplay, but Battlefield 3 feels so much “on rails” that actions such as opening doors are reduced to quick time events, instead of being dynamic options which you have control over.

For instance, if you get to a door at the end of a corridor before your squad, you will not be able to open it until they arrive. You will have to patiently wait ahead until they do, and the “E” key pops up on your screen, prompting you to go ahead. It may sound petty, but it ultimately makes the game feel heavily restrictive and ultimately unexciting.

Another problem is that the characters are completely forgettable, and the plot bears such an uncanny resemblance to those delivered in recent Call of Duty games that it’s almost difficult to not constantly draw parallels.

The result is that I ended up not caring about the outcome of the game or the destiny of its characters. This coupled with some extremely basic AI, unimaginative level design, and generally uninspired game design, left Battlefield 3’s single player campaign feeling like more of a chore than something I would actually want to spend my leisure time playing.

Battlefield 3 PC single player review << Comments and views

Authors
  • Horny

    Player skill doesn't make a difference in the single player mode…*disappointment*

    (nice explosions though!)

  • The_Assimilator (real)

    But how would you have rated this game if it were released as a Call of Duty title? Seeing as the plot resembles it? Cliff Blezinski (Gears of war guy) said that the sad thing about the gaming industry if you release a title that's just as good as Gears of War in everyway, but if the title isn't gears, its something else, then the game will perform poorly simply because it doesn't bare the name

  • Tman

    MMmm "Players are herded down narrow corridors shooting indiscriminately as waves upon monotonous waves of enemies pour forth."

    So it's basically exactly like COD, only with phenomenal graphics, a great game engine and variety in the forms of tanks and jets.

  • Nigel Batter

    Wat kind ov review is dis 4da mst anticipated game ov da year??

  • Nigel Batter

    Wat kind ov review is dis 4da mst anticipated game ov da year??

  • COD player

    The single player campaign wasn't too bad hey, I think it just lacked a bit in the story line but other than that it kept me interested till the end. There is still room for improvement but it didn't fail. Bad company 2 had a boring single player though.

  • Donald Steven

    Lol, that has got to be the most ludicrous set of scores I've seen. 2 for almost everything.

    Come mygaming, you dropped the ball this time. Maybe you could've given this game to someone more experienced to review? Because this game deserves no less than 5 for its score.

    It just goes to show how ungrateful the mygaming staff are. You guys get your review copies for free and then slag it off. And 9 for visuals?? Please just go jump off a cliff. It's hands down a 10! Unless you were playing on a crappy machine in which case I give you my sympathy.

  • JB

    I lost interest so quickly, thanks to the quick time events, black opp style story line and very buggy controls. The only part I though was pretty cool was the rat biting your finger, (has anybody bother to see what happens if you don't kill the rat, does he eat your eye or something?

    Thank god the Multiplayer is better than anything on the market at the moment.

  • @Donald Steven

    Your statement that MyGaming should rate the game highly because THANKS FOR THE GAME, GOV'NER is blatantly absurd.

    I do, however, agree with The_Assimilator that the game journo community is occasionally prone to double standards when it comes to franchises.

  • Unhaps

    I don't get the 9/10 score for Graphics either. This is hands down the best looking game what we've seen. What point of reference are you using for your scores, cause if this doesn't get 10/10, then nothing will. That precludes any game from getting 10/10?

  • Anon

    How does this game get the same 9 out of 10 score for graphics that Deus Ex does: http://mygaming.co.za/news/reviews/15002-Deus—Missing-Link-DLC-review.html

    Deus Ex was given generally lower scores for graphcis as most people felt that the game looked a bit dated.

    So according to MyGaming 9 out of 10 = dated. Therefore, by extension, BF3 graphics = dated? Wtf?

    I give this review 2 out of 10.

  • Kurike

    @ JB

    yeah, i missed the quick time event for the rat cause, quite frankly i wasn't expecting it!

    basically the rat makes alot of noise and tries to bite you, then an enemy soldier stands above you, throught the crack in the pipe and shoots you in the head, game over……

    quick time events, the only thing you gotta be good at is how fast you click the left mouse button, i just spam it everytime the game takes control of my character…….so effing lame

  • James Etherington-Smith

    The scoring isn't an absolute relative value in comparison to other games. It's to indicate that the graphics in this particular game are really quite good, be it for technical prowess and/or good art style and direction.

    Personally, I'd be hesitant to give any game a perfect score for graphics – nothing is ever perfect. The day something gets a perfect score, we will not need any new games. Knowing Nic as I do, I'm sure he'll agree with me.

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    Battlefield has ultra-realistic graphics, but that doesn't mean the art direction is necessarily that great. For all that it's very impressive, it's also a bit bland, to be honest. Fidelity and whatnot aside, it honestly doesn't look all that different to anything else.

    Deus Ex, on the other hand, did not have ultra-realistic graphics, but the art direction was extraordinary.

  • Donovan

    James. How you know Nic will agree with you bru? You his choob lytie exse? He make you vy tuckshop for him and chocolate and skyf? Lol, I'm only jolling with you bra. Shot for the review bru. The only reason to jol this number is for the sound exse. Any game that gets a 9 for sound has to be madhir. I got a lukka sound system in my cab so I wire my laptop through. Park in the back seat and jol with the sound bumping. My section will think WW3 actually started with all the bass I'll be offloading

  • James Etherington-Smith

    I lol'd.

  • @James

    Then, by your own admission, the rating system used is flawed. If you're using a scale of 1-10, where 10 indicates perfect graphics and art direction which are unachievable due to it being "impossible", then the scale is functionally broken. By your definition, readers can then assume that, whenever they read a review by James, '9' is the pinnacle achievement, where the flaws in the graphics/art direction are so minor as to be inconsequential. I assume that game journos have seen this image: http://media.photobucket.com/image/game%20review%20scale/Reconite/modernreviewscale.png, which highlights the absurd nature of review scores nowadays.

    On the plus side, I'm glad to see that the content of the review actually seems to align closely with the score break-down, although I'm still trying to determine what exactly constitutes the "Fun Factor". I also agree that deliberating on score meaning based on comparing two different games is not a feasible way of determining score meaning.

  • @@James

    The rating system isn't flawed, people's perception of the system is flawed.

  • Donovan

    @ @James… Hey bru, how you can trust that scale exse? That thing rates anything between 8 and 9 (non-inclusive) as average. So you tuning me that of all the madhir games that came out this year, LA Noire, Deus Ex, all those games are average bru? And anything below 8 is considered to be skaapy. Ay bru, I dunno about you but that seems over swak. I Pro Evo got 80 and FIFA got 90. What you tryna say? That Pro Evo is skaapy by comparision? I don't know about you bru. But Whoever wrote that scale is parking swak with cherrie by the posie. That ou needs a stekkie big time.

  • Tarryn_STFU

    Read my name, and do accordingly. Jesus tittyfucking christ.

  • James Etherington-Smith

    Kindly do not put words into my mouth. I did not 'admit' that the score system is flawed, nor did I even use the word "impossible".

    Using a number scale to indicate a subjective opinion is never going to be quantitatively accurate, however it is an easy way to indicate our assessment of that particular aspect of the game for the tl;dr crowd.

    It still astounds me how people will scream bloody murder when something a slightly askew from their personal opinion on a game. The very reason services such as Metacritic and Gameranking exist was to try and aggregate a lot of differing opinions (reviews) on games to try and reach some sort of quantitative consensus, and even that isn't satisfactory for many – again, largely because they feel the aggregarted score doesn't reflect their personal opinion.

    If someone could actually come forth with the 'perfect' system for reviewing games, then please do and we will consider using it. Until then, this is just a whole lot of meaningless squawking about a single digit.

    I think too much stock is being placed in these score values. They aren't the definitive last word on the subject, and readers are of course welcome to disagree.

    There are many more reviews out there that one may find more closely aligned to their personal opinions; and those can then be bookmarked and re-read every day to validate that opinion if it helps them sleep at night.

  • @James

    You're starting to sound like Tarryn, please follow the advice given to her as well. STFU

  • The_Assimilator

    How about you remove my ip address ban so I can comment then? Or at least provide a reason why it was banned initially. If it was because an insulting comment was made toward staff after you posted that comment yesterday then I'll have you know that I only saw that comment after mine was posted. Both yours and my comment were posted around the same time.

  • @James

    Hit a nerve, did I?

    Excuse me for equating impossible with "nothing is ever perfect", and for not stating that your admission was inadvertent.

    I'll also ask that YOU not put words in my mouth (or make assumptions as to my intentions), thank you very much. I don't care what your opinion is on Battlefield 3's Single Player experience – the crux of my argument was how games are rated and how that scale is defined by reviewers, not how it was applied in this very particular instance.

    You'll notice, in fact, that I said that I was glad to see the content of the review aligns with the scores provided in this case.

    But you know what? Feel free that believe the reason I'm arguing with you was because I feel personally slighted about the rating over what is essentially the latest in a long line of whack-a-mole simulators if it helps you ignore the fact that "using a number scale to indicate a subjective opinion is never going to be quantitatively accurate".

    I mean, if it helps you sleep at night.

  • James Etherington-Smith

    @@James: Beyond making it clear that your paraphrasing was not correct, I was not addressing you directly.

    I continued to address the general issue of the review scoring system with my analysis on how people react to it.

    I've made my point and I'm now disengaging from this argument.

  • Battlefield Rage

    I see all teh Battlefield Fans crying hahaha

  • Jack Bauer

    SP was/is utter ****. MP rocks! Nuff said….

  • @James

    My 'paraphrasing' was 'fine', considering your 'contention' was that I 'put words in your mouth'.

    But debating with echoes is rather dull. I rate the participants' receptiveness in this argument 93.24% out of 5 stars, 93.24% representing the relative amount of non-receptiveness.

  • 575N0 GOOD

    are you guys still reviewing games on a 5750? is please get some other card.this game is freaking sexy

  • Ry4n

    I agree the single play is boring – but as mentioned who buys this game for single player?
    I played for 5min then hit Alt F4 – complete waste of time. But in my books the multiplayer scores 10s all the way no game atm comes close.

  • roskii

    Nic is just mad cause he got r0mped by some 8 year olds in Rush mode 😛 😀

  • Probably the only one

    ….I don't agree with the review at all. I've been playing the single player campaign and love every second of it. The graphics, the sound, the action…everything is mind blowing in my opinion. To me this review sounds like a problem connected with game reviewers. It's like "they have seen it all" so nothing ever impresses them anymore….fortunately for the rest of the normal gamers out there we can see past this, avoid the biased views of the rest of the lemmings and enjoy a game that obviously offers a lot and is well worth playing.

  • JB

    The rating system should not take in account graphics, sound and all that other crap. The only thing that should count is the FUN factor. If its entertaining it should get a high score. How a game looks does does affect how much fun you will have and is worth a mention, but it should not be used as a score.

    Think of movies and you will understand. Movies don't get a good rating because it looked good, it gets a rating on how it entertained the viewer. This problem with scores are mainly they are reviewed by GEEKS and then they get scored like a GEEK.

  • KapteinKnipmes

    BF3 Singleplayer is like waking up next to a naked Jessica Alba. Then you realise you have no arms, legs or winky. You also then realise that she has a winky and is heading for a condom packet……..

  • Maxil

    @Kaptein
    SIES MAN! Snaaks! Maar nogsteeds sies, WAY te grafies…

  • Winkey Man

    @Kaptein big ups best comment of the day. Wink!

  • @donovan

    You choon like you from the tegs ekse. where you bly?

  • Donovan

    Watkind my bru. I bly in asia… Lenasia to be exact. You know how it vy's bru. The ma and bali don't take too well to all this gaming and all. They chooning me I must vy back varsity and kla my degree in advanced mathematics and computer science exse.

  • tbfg

    It`s to much like a movie, scripted to the 'does let you go for a ride in a jet' boring and interaction-less! Bioschock, now that was a FPS with a story

  • Rating

    I's has the puurrrfect rating system. Seeing as rating don't mean much anyway and are purely a subjective of the reviewer, why not make the rating system as broad as possible. Write the whole review and end it of one of four words as a rating. Great, good, average and bad. I can easily fit any game ever made in to one of those categories without over complicated with false numbers and everyone reading will understand it.

  • BeoTeK

    Great review MyGaming and keep up the good work. What some of these people don't realize is that this is a review based on the Single Player Campaign and not a review on Battlefield 3 as a whole. I couldn't agree more with MyGaming and their outcome. Well Done!

  • 0st0

    I understand the reviewers point. This games has spectacular graphics yes but after a while you get use to it and then you want to play something with a gripping story line. The Graphics isn't the only thing that matters…but I'll give it a 7/10 in total.

  • Joe Public

    Guys please write a review on Firefox 7. I can't browse your site without that piece of garbage freezing or locking up. Seriously disappointed at the way Firefox went!

  • Anonymous

    Been using FF7 since release. I can't say I've experienced that problem or, in fact, any problems to date.

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    @Joe Public

    I'm using Firefox 7 and haven't had any issues. Sounds like something else is wrong there.

  • igloonaut

    to be fair it is Battlefield. If I remember correctly BF2 had no single-player at all???

    As far as I am concerned the single player aspect is a little bonus. It is a 4-5 hour distraction from the main event which is the multi-player! I hope that the developers spent way more time on the multi-player aspect than on the single-player, as the average fan will put 50x to 100x more time into the multi-player than the single.

  • Joe Public

    I figured out what was the problem. Firefox freezes when you're on local cap and the site you're loading has some international content on it… Don't know how I'm going to report that bug to Mozilla, they'll be like 'Watz a local cap lulz'

    @igloonaut, BF2 did have a single player campaign. But the story was lame, and virtually non existent.

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    @ Joe Public

    Maybe try using an adblocker / Flashblocker when you're on local cap?

  • nakedpeanut

    Ya look I pretty much agree with this review. I've play allot of FPS and one thing this game lacks is imagination!
    The graphics, sound and epicness of battles are just awesome, BUT…
    BUT..
    I think we nearing the end of the modern day shooter..
    Just like people got tired of shooting nazi's in the world war 1/2 FPS titles, this story line or iraq/iran and WMD's ir getting a bit much!
    Don't even get me started on the quick time events…

  • Anonymous

    The Quicktime events in this game are annoying to the max! And the other thing I don't like is the poor support for the Xbox 360 controller. I simply prefer to play my games with a controller since I'm using a laptop, so mouse+keyboard ain't that great.

    The Xbox controller simply doesn't work during quicktime events, and the onscreen game commands still give you everything in terms of computer keys instead of switching the images to appropriate Xbox buttons.

  • Me

    Not sure if I get this review, I got the game for the online side and its great, besides the lag on large maps its everything I was looking for…

    Online is far more fun and there are a lot more players online = great game

  • Karmaa

    I smell a COD fanboy

Top