Battlefield 3’s five biggest failures
You’ve read about Battlefield 3’s high points – now, witness its lowest moments. None of them make this a game worth ignoring, but they do make it a game worth occasionally screaming at.
Close the curtains and read on. Our review paints a more well-rounded picture. Beware spoilers.
1. The villain’s pathetic
There’s a bit towards the end of Battlefield 3 when Solomon, Sergeant Blackburn’s balding, finely accented nemesis, appears to be on the verge of explaining why he’s decided to kill everybody with nuclear bombs. “It was never about victory,” he screams. Then you hit him with a brick. Shame, because we have literally no idea what the man’s beef is. Fearful, presumably, of appearing too interested in the mass-murderer mindset, DICE has left Solomon’s backstory and motivations up to guesswork. He’s a blank tablet with the word “terrorist” scribbled at the top.
2. EA’s fudged the Online Pass feature
We have mixed feelings about EA’s Online Pass system. On the one hand, we accept that developers have server and on-going game maintenance bills to pay. On the other, we still cling to the wholly unreasonable, laughable belief that when we buy something we’ve actually bought it, rather than the capacity to buy it again if we don’t have a box code. The latter complaint picks up pace when the code in question doesn’t actually work – as seems to be the case with many copies of Battlefield 3. Being told we should ask the shop for a new code is… unhelpful.
3. Enemies are hyper-accurate, or completely oblivious
Battlefield 3’s levels are vast, and generally awash with effects like grenade blasts, muzzle flashes and clouds of brickdust. This makes the presence of enemies who become aware of your presence milliseconds after you enter the scene more aggravating than usual. If I can’t see that guy standing behind the explosion two hundred metres off, how the hell can he see me? The only exceptions to the rule are the bogies the game wants you to kill stealthily, like the man in Operation Guillotine who manages to spend a whole 10 minutes with his back to a raging shoot-out.
4. The bottlenecks make our blood boil
Later in the campaign there’s a sequence where you’re assaulting a villa at the head of a Russian special forces squad. Passing the security checkpoint, you exit onto a road full of black Range Rovers. Explodable black Range Rovers. Not by you, though. You can’t explode the Range Rovers. There’s an RPG wielder at the top of the slope, an RPG wielder who blows up the cars in scripted sequence. And there are men with shotguns. And they can’t be killed while they’re getting out of their cars. All these elements are maddening enough by themselves, but crammed onto a single 50 metre curl of tarmac? Damn you, Battlefield 3.
5. It won’t let you do stuff
Can I open the door this time, DICE? Can I? It’s not like I’ve got a flesh-and-blood co-op partner to wait for. Why can’t I open the door by myself, DICE? I want to open the door, DICE. You need to let me open the door, DICE, or I’ll run off and write a feature about how you wouldn’t let me open the door. THE DOOR. HOW IT MOCKS ME. I’VE GOT HANDS, DICE. FINGERS TOO. SEE HOW I FLEX MY FINGERS, DICE? YOUR THROAT, DICE, MY FINGERS ROUND YOUR THROAT.