The DICE-developed EA title Battlefield 3 is a game that will keep gamers busy as the Dickens. That's as in Charles Dickens because it's truly a tale of two game modes.
While most gamers who pick up games like Battlefield 3 probably don't pay much heed to it, there is a single player mode that's available to play through. It's very plausible that the developers know that (A) they should include it along with the game's popular multiplayer modes and (B) not too many people will play it. Maybe that's why despite it's excellent graphics (especially when it comes to the interrogation scenes), it provides an underwhelming experience for as epic a game as Battlefield 3 had been hyped up to be.
Outside of the game utilizing the very unpopular quicktime events here and there, the story is simply uninspired. In short, it revolves around sneaky Russians, dusty Iraqi alleyways, and a U.S. Marine being questioned by a couple of civilians with Homeland Security about some presumably classified stuff without a J.A.G. present. For as realistic a game Battlefield 3 is in the battlefield, in the interrogation room it's a bit of a stretch.
The overall single-player experience is lackluster and, while it has potential to be great at points, fails to really keep the player engaged. Players can only handle so many bullet-filled corridor runs before they want something different. If there's one thing, though, that the single-player campaign is good for, it's preparing newer players for the firefights of the extremely good multiplayer modes.
Battlefield 3 is one of those games where people will continue to play the multiplayer modes long after the game has gone out of print (assuming the servers are still kicking). Outside of having a good assortment of multiplayer modes including co-op missions and team-based CTF play, playing BF3 multiplayer simply gets one's competitive juices flowing. Allowing for four types of classes and a number of different builds (called "kits" in the game) for each, players can eventually find a combination that works well for them.
Yes, there will be many times when a lower-level player will be overmatched by those with better equipment and experience, but that comes in time. Luckily experience isn't only gained through the fragging of one's opponent. Rather, it's also gained through experimenting with different kits, using the game's various vehicles (which are, in a word, sweet), and completing objectives. Even simply being near a flag as it's being captured by teammates can net a novice player an easy 200 points towards his next level. While it's not to imply that experience points in multiplayer are handed out like candy, but neither are they impossible for newer players to earn.
Play experience aside, one other thing of note is the game's visual presentation. Briefly mentioned a few paragraphs above, Battlefield 3 is a great-looking game. Making use of the Frostbite 3 engine (a fact that DICE is so proud of that even the game box takes note of it) atmospheric effects like like lighting, water/mist, and even destructible environmental pieces look the best they ever have -- even on console. Those who do decide to suffer through the single-player campaign will be well-rewarded with video game eye-candy, though the tendency for felled bodies to simply vanish into thin air while the player is looking at them is rather disappointing.
Battlefield 3 offers two distinctly different gameplay experiences with its single- and multiplayer modes and, graded separately would probably receive "C+" and "A" grades respectively. That said, I will be splitting the difference. Letter grade aside, Battlefield 3 is easily one of the better shooter titles of the year.
Final Game Guys grade: B+