Game Reviews XBox 360 Battlefield 3 Xbox 360
 
Battlefield 3 Xbox 360

Battlefield 3 Xbox 360 Hot

Editor rating
 
1.5
User rating
 
0.0 (0)


Accessibility At A Glance Battlefield 3 Xbox 360

1.5

   
Precision > Maybe Read the detailed review please
One-Handed > No Avoid this game
Deaf Gamers > No Ummm, I would read the detailed review
Subtitles > Some Character text is present but not ambiant
Colorblind > No Some challanges, but playable

About the Game

Class
Commercial
Genre
Maker
EA
Release Date
October 25, 2011
Multi-player
Yes
Licence Category
commercial

 


Battlefield-3


Battlefield 3 was supposed to be the Call Of Duty killer, the game that would finally challenge Modern Warfare’s juggernaut dominance at the top of video game sales charts. It was supposed to be the game that built on every lesson learned from Battlefield: Bad Company and Bad Company 2, and Medal Of Honor

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Battlefield 3 Xbox 360
Battlefield 3 Xbox 360
Battlefield 3 Xbox 360

Editor review

Battlefield 3 Xbox 360 2011-11-01 19:15:30 Scott Puckett
Overall rating 
 
1.5
Mobility 
 
2.0
Visual 
 
1.0
Hearing 
 
1.0
Scott Puckett Reviewed by Scott Puckett    November 01, 2011
Last updated: November 01, 2011
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 was supposed to be the Call Of Duty killer, the game that would finally challenge Modern Warfare’s juggernaut dominance at the top of video game sales charts. It was supposed to be the game that built on every lesson learned from Battlefield: Bad Company and Bad Company 2, and Medal Of Honor. And while Battlefield 3 may yet come to be what EA advertised it as, it will have to do so solely on the strength of its multiplayer, because the single-player campaign is so woefully underdeveloped that it makes the limited and thin story in Medal Of Honor seem like it was written by a literary giant.

Players step into the shoes of Henry Blackburn, a Marine Corps Sergeant, who uncovers a terrorist plot to detonate nuclear weapons in Paris and New York. Briefly, players will also take on other limited roles, largely to advance the plot. Cutscenes consist of Blackburn being questioned about the terrorist plot, not unlike the story in Call Of Duty: Black Ops. And that’s about it. There is nothing as emotionally resonant or satisfying in Battlefield 3’s single-player campaign as the moment in Medal Of Honor when air cavalry swooped in to save a squad from insurgents streaming out of the hills, or Homefront’s helicopter flight to begin retaking San Francisco.

And honestly, that wouldn’t be such a problem if the single-player campaign served as an effective tutorial for the multiplayer experience and prepared players for flying jets and helicopters, but the closest that Battlefield 3’s single-player campaign comes to that is briefly putting players in a jet to manage weapons systems. It does provide some instruction on driving a tank and operating tank weapons systems, but that’s really it. Even the game manual (included on the disc instead of printed and enclosed in the case) omits information about how to fly helicopters and jets (and also ignores driving ground vehicles). And since Battlefield 3 follows on the heels of Bad Company, a game with a clever and engaging story, and Bad Company 2, a game which changed the characters from somewhat inept but extremely likable soldiers to epic bad asses, it must be judged in part by comparing it to those two titles and in every single respect, the single-player campaign falls short.

How short, you ask? I received Battlefield 3 late Tuesday, but was unable to begin playing it in any real way until late Wednesday evening due to DLC code problems. Without any marathon play sessions or massive time investments, I had played the single-player campaign to completion before the AbleGamers’ Game Night started on Thursday evening. To put this into perspective, I tend to be a gamer who explores and wrings every last bit of content out of a game – many reviewers estimated Rage as a 9-10 hour game at best. My playthrough took 22 hours and change. Medal Of Honor, a game which critics estimated at a 6-7 hour playthrough, took me somewhere between 10 and 15. I like to explore the game world, to see what there is to see, to find hidden stuff and so on. And the single-player campaign in Battlefield 3 took me no more than six hours to finish.

In short, if you don’t have any interest in multiplayer, avoid Battlefield 3. It’s a poor value for players who are only interested in single-player campaigns.

Now, for players who like or love multiplayer, Battlefield 3 is an amazing experience. Even on consoles, it looks and sounds fantastic. There is always something to do and a way to contribute, regardless of how proficient players may be at player-vs.-player combat. Battlefield 3’s multiplayer, like Bad Company 2, offers a few roles with customizable loadouts based on what the player has unlocked, but even the starting kits allow players to help the team.

The Assault specialization allows players to throw down a medical pack to heal teammates. The Support class can drop ammo packs to resupply teammates’ ammunition. Engineers can repair vehicles and have a rocket launcher from the start to eliminate enemy armor and vehicles. To clearly illustrate how easy it is to contribute, during one match last night, I finished as the highest scoring player on my team, despite having a 0.276 K/D ratio overall (meaning I get killed almost four times for every time I kill a player on the opposing team). Battlefield 3 effortlessly does what Brink tried to do – it offers true squad-based combat with interdependent roles.

That’s not to say that multiplayer is without flaws – some maps are slaughterhouses and feature chokepoints that allow whichever team reaches that area first to effectively control the rest of the match. In short, teams can lose the match on some maps before the match really even starts. Likewise, there is no tutorial system for jets or helicopters, nor does the manual provide instruction for those vehicle types. There are always spawn campers and opponents with better reflexes and cheap kills and so on. Battlefield 3 doesn’t fix many of the problems people have with online multiplayer, but it does provide players with less skill or more limited abilities an online multiplayer experience which is not solely dependent on their twitch reflexes and ability to run up killstreaks.

Ultimately, Battlefield 3 boils down to the multiplayer. If you like a slower, more tactical and team-based approach to multiplayer (and I do), Battlefield 3 continues to do everything that Bad Company 2 did right, but uses larger maps and offers more vehicle types (even if using them largely amounts to guesswork). If you prefer a frantic, run-and-gun experience, Battlefield 3 simply isn’t the game for you. And if you were hoping for a single-player campaign consistent with the quality storytelling present in Bad Company and Bad Company 2, you will be sorely disappointed, as I was.



Accessibility Issues / Concerns

Given how flawed and problematic the single-player campaign is, assessing the accessibility in it almost seems pointless, especially considering that I can’t recommend buying Battlefield 3 for the single-player campaign at any price in good conscience. Simply put, buying this game for the single-player campaign is a mistake. Even renting it for the campaign is a mistake. You’d be better served renting or buying a game which focuses on a single-player campaign, especially considering how difficult multiplayer can be for certain disabilities. With that caveat out of the way, let’s get the single-player accessibility out of the way so we can address the multiplayer accessibility.

Battlefield 3 offers four stick and four button layouts for each type of combat – soldier, vehicle, aircraft, etc. Practically, it yields sixteen possible combinations for each and combinations which place movement and firing on the right and left sides of the controller. The single-player and multiplayer campaigns use the same controller schemes.

There are a number of accommodations and problems unique to the single-player campaign. First, Battlefield 3 is subtitled, not closed-captioned. It’s possible to hear enemies before seeing them, and that is not communicated to deaf gamers. The subtitles are in a sans serif font which is not letterboxed but usually contrasts well with backgrounds, but they do not identify who is speaking.

Gamers with precision and mobility concerns will likely experience problems – sniper rifle sway is present and requires pressing down on a stick to temporarily steady it. Precision, despite aim assist, is important and on higher difficulty settings becomes critical since enemies seem to be able to withstand multiple headshots before dying. Several quick time events appear in the game and require players to press the button, bumper or trigger displayed on-screen to continue without any sort of logic or relation to actual game controls. Battlefield 3 also includes a toggle aim option, which allows people to select whether they press or hold the trigger to aim.

It’s likely that low-vision gamers will have the biggest problems with Battlefield 3, both in single-player and multiplayer. Gamers with a form of color blindness should know that Battlefield 3 doesn’t use color to convey meaning – sights don’t turn red over hostiles, as one example. Reticles are always the same color. While the game includes red-dot and holographic sights and green heads-up displays and so on, it generally avoids the common color combinations which are problematic for people with a form of color blindness. However, using infrared scopes in the jet and in missions may present challenges – the IR view in the jet displays targets in white while everything else is a shade of gray. Using an IR scope on a weapon shows everything in green but people, who appear in shades of yellow, orange and sometimes red. In multiplayer, members of your own team have a small blue icon over their head while enemies are displayed in orange.

And this is a good place to begin talking about accessibility issues in multiplayer game modes because that’s really the key accessibility issue for multiplayer – size. The maps are huge, players can go prone to reduce their visibility and it can be difficult to tell who is a friend and who is an enemy until someone starts shooting. Even with maximum brightness, the game can still be dark and it can be almost impossible to see enemies, even for players with corrected vision. Oftentimes, the best option is to watch for a muzzle flash and then fire in its general direction. Of course, if the flash came from a sniper rifle, it’s probably too late. And Battlefield 3 actually adds problems for gamers with vision concerns – laser sights and tactical flashlights obscure opponents’ vision, lending an additional degree of authenticity at the expense of low vision gamers being placed at an additional disadvantage.

Gamers with precision concerns or with use of only one hand will likely encounter difficulties as well – players use the d-pad to access gadgets, will use both sticks and triggers extensively even if they aren’t in a vehicle, and often have to react to threats almost instantly. These challenges aren’t total barriers to multiplayer and gamers with controllers tailored to their disability will likely have an easier time with them, but they are noteworthy concerns which are likely to present problems for disabled gamers.

The multiplayer modes will likely be extraordinarily difficult for deaf gamers. Multiplayer modes are not subtitled, not even recorded narration about an enemy being near a location. Deaf gamers will experience problems in the single-player campaign, but the multiplayer is likely to be virtually impossible due to the lack of audio cues.

As one final note, the menu system in Battlefield 3 is a bit of a problem. The only time players seem to be able to leave a match without the game considering it quitting is between matches, yet there’s no clear way to leave the match between matches beyond exiting the game entirely (which is what I’ve been doing). This is more of a nuisance than an accessibility issue, but many disabled gamers struggle with playing for extended periods of time, and no one likes to feel like a quitter.

Ultimately, the fundamental issue with Battlefield 3 is that it’s a multiplayer game with a very thin and poorly conceived single-player campaign, and the multiplayer component presents a number of challenges for a variety of disability types. Disabled gamers who do not enjoy online multiplayer should avoid this game because it simply doesn’t offer any value for anyone looking for anything other than multiplayer. Disabled gamers who enjoy multiplayer will likely find a lot to enjoy here, particularly if they appreciate team-based play.



Mobility: 2
Visual: 1
Hearing: 1

My original purchase price: $59.99
Recommended purchase price: Do not purchase for the single-player campaign. Players who greatly enjoy online multiplayer will likely be satisfied with the game at current retail pricing.

At A Glance

Precision: Precision is critical in Battlefield 3, especially in multiplayer modes and those modes are emphasized due to the shortness of the single-player campaign. Gamers can still contribute to teams by resupplying ammo, healing teammates and so forth, but will likely find it difficult to get kills at longer ranges. Otherwise, Battlefield 3 presents accessibility issues consistent with most first-person shooters. Recommend rating of 3 out of 10 for single-player, 1 out of 10 for multiplayer.

Deaf Gamers: While Battlefield 3 is subtitled, it is not closed captioned and players can often hear enemies before seeing them. Multiplayer modes are not subtitled at all despite having recorded narration. Recommend rating of 3 out of 10 for single-player, 1 out of 10 for multiplayer.

One-handed: Battlefield 3 offers toggle aim, but still uses a large number of controls for both single-player and multiplayer modes. Multiplayer moves at a rapid pace and gamers without a controller tailored to their disability will be at a sizable disadvantage. Otherwise, Battlefield 3 presents accessibility issues consistent with most first-person shooters. Recommend rating of 3 out of 10 for single-player, 1 out of 10 for multiplayer.

Subtitled: Battlefield 3 is subtitled with a sans serif font and generally sufficient contrast to read the subtitles. Speakers are not identified. Recommend rating of 5 out of 10 for single-player, 1 out of 10 for multiplayer.

Color Blind: Although Battlefield 3 doesn’t seem to have issues that would be problems for gamers with a form of color blindness, it is a game which is very difficult for gamers with vision concerns. This seems to be the best place to note those concerns. Recommend rating of 3 out of 10 for single-player, 1 out of 10 for multiplayer.

Checkpoint / Save System: Battlefield 3 uses a checkpoint save system in the single-player campaign, with checkpoints relatively close to each other. Multiplayer saves at the end of each match. Recommend rating of 7 out of 10.

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About the Author
Scott Puckett
None of your business.

  • awesome review great job

  • As a colour blind gamer, the multi player is at times horrible.<br /><br />The colours used for squad member names and enemies are identical to me and anyone with common colourblindness. These sorts of things are game breakers. They determine whether it's worth playing the game or not. <br /><br />Battlefield 2 had colourblind friendly option but BF3 does not. An appalling omission.

  • @Blair<br /><br />They're saving colorblind mode for DLC :P<br /><br />In all seriousness though, are you red/green colorblind? I know that I had issues with BFBC2 until they patched in a colorblind mode and it does seems odd that they would omit that from BF3.

  • I'm the common red/green kind. Whenever enemies and friendlies are separated by orange, yellow, red or green it gets messy. <br /><br />They were clearly rushed to get the game out by release such that a few other features didn't get finished in time. Certain other menu options appear to have been left out for now. <br /><br />Given the male demographic of these games, they basically thought they would put 5-8% of its customers as a lesser priority. <br /><br />FPS games are about reaction times and knowing what to do right away. You don't want to have to think whether that tank is yours or theirs :-)

  • @Blair: First off, thanks for pointing that out. To me and on my setup here, the color showing up on hostiles is orange and a pretty bright shade of it. You pointing out that it can be problematic for you helps me better understand color blindness and what colors and shades can be affected by it. <br /><br />Now, there are two workarounds for the concern you're describing. Not joining a squad means no one shows up in green which, given the information you've provided, would mitigate the concern. It will result in less XP gained, but based on what you've said, it will allow you to play the game without the color green showing up.<br /><br />The other option is avoiding hardcore matches. I think I put at least a clip of ammo into my teammates in each match I play because I can't always see whether they're friendly or not so I err on the side of caution. Caution, in this case, being shooting them and realizing we're on the same side later. If you aren't playing hardcore matches, my understanding is that teammates won't take damage.<br /><br />Hopefully, that helps you enjoy BF3 a bit more. And yes, I'm aware that "don't join a squad" and "shoot your teammates" are crappy pieces of advice, but it seems to be the best option at the moment.

  • Thanks for the tips. I don't play hardcore modes for that very reason, Also, not being in a squad puts you at a disadvantage, not just in terms of xp but in terms of spawning. In Conquest, the base spawn areas are miles away from the objectives so if your team doesn't have a flag to spawn on then you need a squad member. Due to the sheer size of these maps, getting from your base to the objective can take forever.<br /><br />Dice have just released a patch for the PC version and no CB options are included. Given that they have not yet included CB options when they said they would suggests that the game is still very much undercooked. <br /><br />Another thing for those with general vision problems, if you are playing on the PS3 then you probably have input lag. That's lag that is occuring at your side, you move the controller and your gun moves slightly after. In order to work around that, people are changing their display settings to 576p which makes for a very unpleasant viewing experience. Textures behave erratically and people are even harder to pick out.<br /><br />The game isn't just bad for colourblind gamers, it's bad in general. Input lag, not being able to find games, only getting into games hosted in different continents. I can't get into a Euro hosted game in peak time and after that I only get thrown into US hosted games even when my settings said Europe. <br /><br />The irony is I have a feeling that by the time they patch some CB settings into BF3 I will have run out of patience with it anyway.

  • @Blair: You'll note that this review was for the Xbox version; given all the problems the PS3 has had this year, it doesn't surprise me in any way that the PS3 also has problems with BF3. Perhaps the PS4 will be designed for online multiplayer out of the box, like the Xbox 360 was ;-)<br /><br />Are you using the server browser to find matches? When we do a game night and play BF3, I always use the server browser to find a match so that we can remain on the same squad, and it allows me to specify a wide range of options, including match types and server location. It's not perfect and it isn't always a guarantee that we'll be on the same squad, but it improves the odds.<br /><br />And yes, there are a wide number of problems associated with not being in a squad - like I said in my last post, it was crappy advice, but the best mitigation currently available based on your described concern. Best available does not mean good - it means least worst. ;-)

  • When I used the Server Browser exclusively to find matches, the lag was quite severe. When I switched to Quick Match, I noticed it was better. I have no idea why because Quick Match finds you games according to your Server Browser settings anyway. <br /><br />I think I'll just wait for this apparent BETA period to finish. The highs aren't outweighing the lows right now. If it's not finished by Xmas, only the hardcore BF fans will botherr with it. So much then for the COD killer. :-)

  • BF3 now has Colour Blind support/mode. How effective it is I don't know but the feedback I've heard is mostly positive.

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