Let’s get the one thing that Battlefield 3 does best out of the way. Visually, this game completely blows the doors off anything currently in the genre. The Frostbite 2 engine is setting the bar for everything that comes after it, and it’s not going to be easy to clear. The level of detail in everything from uniforms to weapons to vehicles is tremendous. Explosions are big and satisfying, though preferably admired at a distance. The environments are highly destructible, which feeds into gameplay strategies in multiplayer. Character animations are pretty fluid but do occasionally stutter. But who can really complain? BF3, with the high level visuals and tremendous sound effects, definately has the ability to suck in any FPS player. You don’t even have to have a high-end theater style set-up to be able to respect what this game offers in sound. Even through the TV speakers you can really get into the intenseness of explosions around you, or the heart-thumping exchange of high powered gun fire. The extensive multiplayer aspect of the game will definately keep you coming back for quite some time. The amount of unlockables will persistantly motivate you to farm for more and more points. With the ability to offer all aspects of warfare into large multiplayer battles, definately shows why I believe this is the top FPS of 2011. I have some mixed feelings on the tactical flashlight. On the one hand, DICE certainly modelled it well, as it rather effectively blinds you as a player, not merely as some cheap effect placed on your avatar. On the other hand, it might have been smarter to have it turned off by default, since I’m morally certain that too many noobs are running around with the damned thing on because they genuinely don’t know how to shut it off. Other than the, for the most part, boring campaign mode, developers will have their work cut out for them trying to top this magnificent FPS.
There’s no questioning the fact that Battlefield 3 brings a lot to the table. It’s visually stunning and mechanically very sound in terms of gameplay. The shortcomings that are present, however, keep the game from reaching true perfection. This will not stop the community from growing. Indeed, I imagine that Battlefield 3 will have a strong fan following for a while.