Quick Thoughts About My Battlefield 3 Review

Editor's Note: We ended last week at Kotaku without any review copies of Battlefield 3. So did a lot of other outlets. Console and PC copies arrived in our laps today, a day before release, but a select few outlets, including our pals at Joystiq, got a PC copy last week and reviewed it today.

We weren't the only ones puzzled by this, which brings us to Joystiq's Battlefield 3 PC reviewer, Arthur Gies, who explained on his personal blog, Pragmagic, his own unusual review experience, which we're republishing here. He gave the game a 4.5 out of 5, criticised the campaign but praised the multiplayer highly. He got flack, of course and wanted to set some things straight. Take it away, Arthur...

So, I reviewed Battlefield 3.

The times where Battlefield 3 does its damnedest to go toe-to-toe with Call of Duty are the times it stumbles the hardest. But when DICE is doing what it's always done best, Battlefield 3 is a uniquely mesmerizing multiplayer game with a seemingly endless number of ways to feel like a success.

Man, what a mess. Battlefield 3 might be the biggest game I've ever reviewed, and I can't imagine a way in which the review situation could have gone worse. 3 days to review the campaign and finalised multiplayer is doable. Obviously, since I put a review up. But it's not ideal.

But less ideal has been everything surrounding the review and Battlefield 3's release. I won't dwell on the weird goalpost moving that DICE and EA have tacitly encouraged over the last few days by insisting that console reviews can't be done because of a day one patch that, I guess, would fix anything anyone could possibly find wrong with the game? That's practically unheard of before a game comes out, and having reviewed… one, two, three, four EA published shooters over the last two years (Bad Company 2, Medal of Honor, Bad Company 2 Vietnam and Crysis 2), it was especially surprising here. Put more clearly, EA has never done this with any of the games of theirs that I've reviewed. Even Bad Company 2, which I believe also had a day one patch, was reviewed on debug hardware with a near-final version of said patch.

I just think, having played it, EA made some huge miscalculations in aligning it so closely to Modern Warfare 3. It seems obvious to me that they were scrambling to get it done, and they pushed it right down to the wire. I guess we'll see how things pan out, in that regard.

I think the hardest thing in all of this was scoring my review. Usually it isn't so difficult, but here, the lows were so low, and the highs were so high…

I wonder if I was nicer to the campaign than I should have been. It's not actively bad, usually, but it's nowhere near what I would consider good, or even acceptable, really. And co-op stinks.

I essentially had to write off two out of three modes in the game. It's a situation where I have to hope that someone wondering about the game who sees the score will read the review and understand what I tried to say. If they skipped the text, saw the score, and bought the game expecting great singleplayer, then yeah. I feel bad about that.For the number, or stars, or whatever, I just looked at the joystiq rubric again and again, going back and forth between four stars and five.

That sounds silly, I know. But I take my job seriously. A four on our scale is a must play for (and I hate this phrase) fans of the genre, a five, a must play for everyone. So eventually I just decided to split the difference. Battlefield 3 is a must play for anyone who likes multiplayer games. So I gave it the four point five.

Is that a cop out? I don't know. I hope not.

Other things… I wonder why I got a copy of the game when so many other people in the press didn't. Joystiq is a big, big site, don't get me wrong, but still. People I greatly respect got shafted, and it's hard to understand why that would be. I'm hoping I wasn't selected on the basis of what EA thought I would give the game. That's the kind of shit that keeps me up at night, figuratively speaking.

Speaking of being kept up at night, it's late, and I worked all weekend. So I guess that's all I have to say about it for now.

Arthur Gies writes about video games for Joystiq, but we don't hold that against him. He does it well. Follow him on Twitter and read his work over at Joystiq. Republished with permission.


Comments

    I'm starting to really worry about my console version... (I know the PC version is superior, but my computer just can't take it and I don't want to buy a new one right now)

    A month ago - really excited.

    After the beta (which I'm aware wasn't a demo, i didnt like Op Metro, the bugs weren't the problem) - still kind of excited.

    Current excitement level - hmm.

      Absolutely agree with you here. Couldn't wait for the BF3 beta to come out, although my excitement level (from the sounds of it) dropped a lot more than yours. And now I'm just ... nervous.

        +1

    Sounds like EA's decision to be selective with their reviewers stems from fears of a metacritic rating less than 9.

    All the reviewers have been hating on the campaign, but I've found it to be pretty decent so far.

    I think if EA were to have put offline bots into multiplayer it would have more than made up for a lacklustre singleplayer campaign. If they suck at storytelling then how hard would it have been to give us a shit load of bots for those singleplayer guys to really enjoy the game without other ppl yet experience Battlefield they way it should. Leave the railtrack experience to COD since that is what they do best.

      I agree, decent AI bots flooding offline multiplayer would be far, far better than a singleplayer campaign.

      Dammit, now I'm disappointed that this isn't what they've done.

        i had many an enjoyable gaming sesh against bots and getting scores of 100-2 and feeling 'like a boss'...good times

          Absolutely agreed.. I am very very disappointed they dropped offline multiplayer with bots.. I'm holding out hope for an update, but not too optimistic..

    I wouldn't even mind if the Battlefield games dropped single player. I don't buy it for the single player anyway!

    And it might even help if CoD dropped a mode too. They might get it right, then.

    Welp, since I was only interested in the single player I guess this saves me a few bucks.

    Why is there such a rush to get reviews out before the release date?

    The people that are going to buy it day one or doing so regardless of reviews.

    Who buys MW or BF games for the single player??? boggle.

      MW2 single player was fantastic. BC2 was horrible.
      I probably wont bother playing the BF3 single player once I had a look at the pretty graphics.
      BF3 is multiplayer.
      MW3 is singleplayer, co-op, and the tried and tested quick action multiplayer.

        Modern Warfare 2's single player campaign was TERRIBLE. Black Ops felt like Citizen Kane after that train Wreck. Say what you want about Treyarch, but the single player stories are always AT LEAST halfway decent.

          Agreed. CoD4 MW's SP was amazing good at the time. MW2's Single player was an over the top and downright corny. I found Medal of Honors SP a lot more enjoyable.

      I do.

      I enjoy, well maybe enjoy's not the right word, multiplayer... but single player is where it's at for me.

        Don't know why but for some reason I'm reminded of the classic Dracula line:

        "I don't drink... wine."

    I'm planning on not playing the campaign for at least a month.
    Battlefield games are about the multiplayer and should be proud of it.
    Bots are a good idea. That's how I played BF 1942

    I honestly feel so sorry for people who are going to have to play Battlefield 3 on a console.

    It just isn't the same game. At all. Not even close.

    PC = 64 Players (Which means more vehicles, Bigger maps, Next Gen graphics, Way more freedom of choice with control (You can use a Keyboard/Mouse/Gamepad/Joystick) etc.

    Consoles = 24 Players (Which means less vehicles), Smaller maps, 6 year old hardware which means really bad graphics, probably lower than PC can actually go, can only use gamepads.

    Even though a PC to play Battlefield 3 at console graphic levels (But with all the PC features) is extremely cheap these days because the consoles are 6 years old, it will still be two or three hundred dollars more than a console will be and some people sadly just can't afford that..

    And for that I feel very sorry for them indeed!

      Oh and before someone goes "A few hundred more than a console? What about the peripherals, the monitor, the computer chair to sit in blablablabla whine!"

      Remember that to play a console and make it look half decent you have already bought yourself a HDTV which raises your playing costs at least $500-$1000

        I've already got my console all set up because I also like to watch DVDs and Blu-Rays. I have an i3 laptop, which even though it meets the min spec in my experience those are always bollox and you need much higher to get a smooth framerate.

      "Really bad graphics." Jesus, you act like console players are playing it on a fucking Sega Master System. Pull your head in.

        Pull my head in? Hit a sensitive spot did I champ?

        It's all there, plain as day, the graphics on the console versions of this game LOOK NOWHERE CLOSE to the PC version.

        The console level of graphics and Ultra on PC is the same as comparing a XBOX to a 360 game.

        But the graphics aren't even important. It's the gameplay that is and the gameplay on PC is worlds ahead of it's console counterparts, for reasons I stated in my original comment.

        And to McGarnical, if it meets minimum specs it will get at least a smooth 30 FPS (What the consoles get) on low settings at the very least (Which looks better than consoles do and will be rendered at a higher resolution than consoles)

        If you can run this game AT ALL on the PC, it is going to be better than the experience you can get on a 6 year old console which reached it's limit long ago.

          Stop talking, you're getting through. *Blah blah blah, can't hear you, going to buy xbox version*

          Not a sensitive spot at all. You're acting like an arrogant, elitist twat, and then jumping to your own defence before anyone's even said anything. I'm not sure whether to be amused or embarrassed for you.

          If playing with only 24 players on console means I get to avoid guys like you, so much the better.

            All of this sounds like playing pool.

            You can play on a full-size pristine table with a good quality cue each at some exclusive club.

            Or you can play on a smaller table that has bumps and scratches sharing one bent cue at a pub.

            Sure the exclusive club provides the "best" experience, but it depends on what experience you are after. Most of the time, after a day in the office, I just want the pub.

            The club probably even has a dress code!

            Wow, an arrogant elitist twat?

            I really did hit a sensitive spot.

            Get real mate, I'm not saying PC is better "just because" or that everyone should play PC.

            I understand some people can not afford to buy PC's and have to go with the cheapest option available to them if they want to play the latest games (Consoles)

            What I am saying is, is that if you have a choice between PC or the consoles, PC in this case, will win 150% of the time.

            The console versions of Battlefield 3 AREN'T Battlefield 3. They are Battlefield 2.5

              You claim people play the latest games on consoles because they can't afford PCs. Hahaha! No, you're not arrogant or elitist.

              Maybe they use a laptop instead of a desktop? Or a Mac? Maybe they just don't like gaming on PC.

              Also, please explain how in this one case PC will win one and a half times.

              PC gaming requires quite a commitment to actually keep your games running smoothly. Consoles are pretty much guaranteed to be plug in and play. PC games rarely run right first time and often need some sort of hand holding in the *.ini files and your drivers to keep at a stable framerate.

              Some people just like the ease of use offered by a console. I count myself among them, though I do steel myself and fire my laptop up every now and then when I have time to do the hand holding.

                As an example, I bought Deus Ex HR on PC (like a good boy) but have only played it for about 6 hours even though I love it. The frame rate, stable at around 45fps at first, now varies between 15 and 25 fps, and I just CBF fixing it. Seriously tempted to import an xbox copy just so I can experience the game.

    PC review from Game Trailers is here. See you guys on the battlefield

    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/pc-review-battlefield-3/722936

      And here's IGN's take on the PC version as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AacqQWurFqg&feature=youtu.be

    Frankly I dont care if the single player isn't all that, I'll play it just to get myself familiar with the keyboard layout for multi..

    The console versions look horrendous and the smaller maps are a disappointment, but even that isn't why I'm buying it on PC instead of Xbox.

    Playing shooters with a controller still feels like controlling a drunken monkey. Nobody has even gotten close to precision and responsiveness on gamepads. That alone is reason enough for me to buy it on PC. Larger, prettier maps is a bonus.

      Each to their own. I personally find gamepad much more comfortable, leaning back in a chair rather than hunching over my desk. I often plug a gamepad into PC games (eg Dead Space, Borderlands - each played much better with gamepad).

      I do remember when Halo came out I was really thrown by the dual-stick movement/aiming, but I got used to it.

      Everyone to their own.. I play every game on PC with my xbox controller. I like to sit back on the couch and relax rather then slouch over a keyboard. I'm an xbox user but feel its getting a little outdated so this setup combining the best of both worlds will do until the next console comes out.

    oh well.. if it turns out to be a dud we will still have the trailers :)

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