“How much would you do for your country?” —Battlefield 3 tagline
After the interrogators state that Solomon is actually a US asset, they bring Montes in the room and try to persuade Blackburn to falsely confess that it was Dima who planted the nuke in Paris and not Solomon. However, as the two men leave after receiving a call that a train has been hijacked, Blackburn looks at a poster board with a map and several pictures. When Agent Whistler and an armed guard return from the phone call, Blackburn slams Whistler’s head against the table and knocks him out. The other guard then begins to strangle Montes. Blackburn rips a leg out of the table and hits the guard over the head with it, also knocking him out. As the two escape the room and go into the hallway, several guards start shooting at them: Blackburn ducks through a window at the end of the hallway and finds in an alleyway. He sprints over to the fence overlooking the railroad tracks. There is one small section where there is no fencing. As the train roars by, Blackburn jumps onto the train. Despite a rough landing, he manages to hold on. The scene then cuts to a subway station, with Black crawling furiously on the roof of the train. Blackburn then jumps feet first into a window, Blackburn encounters Solomon, wielding a .44 Magnum, which he uses to shoot at Blackburn. This causes him to slip and almost fall off the train. However, Blackburn proceeds to climb to the roof of the train. PLR operatives start shooting at him from out the windows. Blackburn moves up to the front car and busts in, only to be confronted by a guard and Solomon. Solomon initially knocks down Blackburn but Blackburn strangles the guard and then detonates the bomb located in the second car, derailing the train.
Both Solomon and Blackburn escape the burning train into the sewers. After a short chase in the sewers, including multiple engagements against PLR operatives, Blackburn finds a ladder and climbs to the surface, in the middle of New York City. The fight proceeds out on the streets of New York. Montes arrives with a stolen police car and picks Blackburn up, chasing after Solomon. After a car chase, with Blackburn shooting at the car, the police car rams into Solomon’s SUV and both Montes and Blackburn barely escape. Solomon then leaves his vehicle, and prepares to execute Blackburn. Montes tries to shoot Solomon, but is shot in the head, causing some onlookers to run in fear. As Solomon pulls the trigger, the cylinder is empty, and him and Blackburn then get into a fight. Solomon punches Blackburn several times, and Blackburn tries to strangle Solomon with his handcuffs. Unfortunately, Solomon pins him against the police car and brutally beats him. He then walks back to the nuke, with Blackburn falling to the ground. However, just seconds before Solomon detonates the nuke, Blackburn trips Solomon and beats him to death with a brick. Blackburn then finds the nuke, and disables it, putting an end to the nuclear threat.
- After busting out of the office, the mission begins as a repeat of “Semper Fidelis”. It’s now nighttime: Blackburn has been under interrogation for at least the entire day, but desperation kicks in and overwhelms exhaustion, as he knows that the nuclear warhead will detonate in New York soon. I will note that tonight, Daylight Savings Time resumes, marking a return of the sunlight and longer days as the Spring Equinox approaches!
- This time, I’m going to mix things up a little and use the UMP 45, a personal defense weapon that packs a bigger punch compared to the other personal defense weapons, but is lacking at longer ranges and has a slower rate of fire. The key to using this weapon in the multiplayer is to get the jump on the opponent to rapidly cut down another opponent, but in a face-to-face firefight, the UMP may fall short against the faster firing weapons.
- I’ve taken care to make sure that none of the images from my “Semper Fidelis” post are duplicated. There are only minor differences between the two levels as far as weapons go: for all intents and purposes, the mission “Semper Fidelis” can be seen as a cold open of sorts, dropping players right into the thick of things to pull their attention.
- Movement on top of the moving train is quite slow: the tunnels are part of the New York City Subway, which has some 1355 kilometers of track. The seventh busiest subway in the world, there used to be an unused section called the “Freedom Tunnel” that was home to graffiti artists and transients in the 1980s, but Amtrak reopened the tunnels in 1991 for regular use, and began a project to remove the graffiti.
- Battlefield 3 mercifully reduces the number of quick-time events after “Comrades”. Used sparingly, they can add surprise and urgency, but on subsequent play-throughs, they arrive with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season, making the game feel like a visual novel rather than a top-of-the-line shooter. Granted, I’ve nothing against visual novels like CLANNAD (which I am playing, incidentally) or even Go! Go! Nippon!, but when your machine was built to run games like Battlefield 3 on full specs, it’s expected that the game plays and feels worthy of your GPU.
- Once these bombs go off, “Semper Fidelis” comes to an end, but here, the mission continues after Blackburn extricates himself from the rubble. On closer inspection, “The Great Destroyer” has the most quick time events of any of the levels in Battlefield 3. Since we’re talking about visual novels, I will go back and play Go! Go! Nippon! again for my own amusement. It’s no substitute for a good Lonely Planet book and a good tour guide, but the game is quite entertaining and doesn’t require any GPU power at all.
- Fortunately for me, I’ve still got my trusty UMP 45 here. In the campaign, it does not matter which weapon one uses to complete the mission for the most part. Following the detonation, it’s time to take the chase to Solomon through the underground passageways of New York. If Futurama is to be believed, then in the future, New New York will be built over top of the current New York: the sewers of New New York appear to be at the same depth as Old New York.
- In my “Comrades” post, I mentioned the intrigue I had with the Paris Quarries and their haunted character. This section of “The Great Destroyer” is probably the closest one will get to fighting underground, although compared to the Paris Quarries, the underground passages in New York are probably less extensive. Blackburn is wielding a SG553C here, a carbine variant of the SG550 rifle (which was featured in Upotte!!). It’s unlocked for use in multiplayer after scoring 120000 points in the co-op, and even now, I haven’t played a single match of co-op yet.
- At some point in the near future, I will do a post about my experiences in the multiplayer component of Battlefield 3. I have decided that if I reach rank 45 before a half-year has elapsed since I purchased the game (i.e. before June), I will go ahead and pick up a copy of the Battlefield 3 Premium to gain access to the different maps and assignments once it goes on sale: as much fun as I am having now, I think it would be nice to pick up the additional features, especially considering that an individual DLC pack costs 15 dollars each, but I get all five DLC packs for a cool 30 dollars (when there’s no sale) if I purchase Battlefield 3 Premium. Of course, if I wait for a sale, then the deals get even better.
- The last segment of “The Great Destroyer” is a linear, quick time event-driven but beautiful section of the game. It’s a little anti-climatic, but with this, the campaign is done, and so, this concludes my series of talks for Battlefield 3. Next up on the programme is a special talk on Girls und Panzer and my impressions of the Infinite Stratos OVA. Beyond that, I have plans to do a series of talks on Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and naturally, finish my reflections on the anime I’ve been following this season (The Pilot’s Love Song, SoniAni, Saki: Zenkoku-hen, and Wake Up, Girls!). Falling into the May timeframe, I will do a talk on BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light. If time permits, I will also revisit Broken Blade, as well as Sora no Woto after the Gundam Unicorn finale comes out.
I beat “The Great Destroyer” Shortly after lunch on Christmas Day, marking the end of my campaign experience. After beating the game, I proceeded to the multiplayer, where I got a few matches in before being asked to drive some relatives to the annual Christmas Party. While the locale was different this year, I did end up playing some 007: Agent Under Fire (despite my incredibly vast knowledge of PC FPS, I’m still comparatively terrible on a console) and Enter the Matrix, old classics that bring back memories of an older day. The last mission in Battlefield 3 is something I’ve alluded to elsewhere before: I still think that shooting the bad guy while falling out of a plane and stealing his parachute is significantly cooler than beating someone’s face in with a brick. “The Great Destroyer” wraps up the story: after Blackburn escapes, he pursues Solomon to Times Square and narrowly prevents the last mission tactical nuclear warhead from going off. Granted, New York is saved, but the campaign doesn’t really explain what happens elsewhere as a result. In fact, the story in the campaign is disjoint and doesn’t always flow well in places, so the enormity of stopping Solomon is largely dependent on Blackburn’s word and what little we’ve seen from Dima’s side of things. However, despite lacking a good story and satisfactory ending, the Battlefield 3 campaign excels in visual impact and atmospherics, conveying to players the nature of military work. From just the campaign alone, players experience the kind of linearity associated following orders from higher ups and sticking closely to one’s squad and mission plan to get the job done; while most players were hoping for open-world type exploration, they were disappointed when the campaign was said and done. However, I’m not particularly disappointed by the campaign: first of all, I knew exactly what was coming, and secondly, my wish to play the campaign was to experience an interactive story. My wish of doing things as I please in a more open world is satisfied by the multiplayer, and next time, I will drop by to talk about where I stand with the multiplayer, having played some thirty hours now ever since I got the game.