“Are you alone, huh?!” —Solomon
Starting out in the middle of a New York City street overlooking a subway system, Sargent Henry Blackburn dives onto the train after hearing police sirens, and barely manages to grab onto one of the car edges as he slides off the top. He swings in, landing upon and subsequently takes down several PLR operatives with an M9. After doing so, Solomon can be heard in the background telling his operatives to kill the passengers on the train, explaining that “none of them are innocent.” Meanwhile, Blackburn advances through the train. He unlocks a door that had been jammed using an M1014. However, upon reaching the first corner, he is ambushed by a PLR operative with an AKS-74u. After a brief melee, Blackburn manages to take the enemy weapon and force the operative out onto the tracks, although losing the M1014 in the process. Blackburn then encounters Solomon behind an unbreakable window. He primes a set of explosive charges, and then walks away, whereupon Blackburn climbs out of the train and jumps from one car to the next, narrowly escaping the subsequent explosion. Solomon fires at Blackburn who stumbles and nearly falls onto the train tracks. However, he recovers, and manages to climb onto the top of the train. As he slowly advances, he is attacked by several operatives. Another explosion occurs on the car in front of Blackburn, allowing the marine to re-enter the train. After killing several more PLR operatives, Blackburn reaches a car that seems empty apart from a single operative, who raises his hands in surrender. Solomon ambushes him, and demands to know if Blackburn is on his own.
- “Semper Fidelis” is the shortest mission in Battlefield 3 and while it doesn’t do the Frostbite 2.0 engine full justice, I admit that seeing Battlefield 3 on a PC for the very first time was a very enjoyable experience. I had only previously played on a console, where the graphics are less impressive and the controls are more difficult.
- Despite the fact that Battlefield 3 is a little over two years old now and requires Origin to run, I think it definitely stands up against more modern titles as having replay value as far as the multiplayer component goes. The campaign doesn’t offer much exploration and is highly linear, being more of a technology demonstration, but where it truly stands out is in atmospherics.
- The first mission ends up giving players a very quick rundown of the controls in Battlefield 3. On a PC, things are very smooth and easy to control, save the quick-time events, where a missed key stroke could result in player death. I particularly dislike those events; even though they give an impression of urgency and surprise, they feel very much out of place in a modern game.
- Carrying on the trend from Battlefield: Bad Company 2, guns in Battlefield 3 are quite satisfying to fire. I will naturally be doing posts for every mission in the campaign, which means I’ll be supplying some of the internet’s only 1920 by 1080 images of the missions “Rock and a hard place” and “Kaffarov”: every other site I’ve checked has smaller resolution images, images of the game on lower settings or watermarked images.
- “Semper Fidelis” ends with Solomon pointing a revolver at Blackburn. It’s a rather unusual start to the campaign, where the story is told in a series of flashbacks. Despite complaints about the campaign, I enjoyed it for the atmosphere and graphics, although I do concede that the multiplayer, now that I’m more familiar with it, is definitely where the game’s value is.
It’s Christmas 2011, and a Christmas dinner of rack of lamb and prime rib has now passed. I was asked if I’d to try out Battlefield 3 on the Playstation 3, and I took that opportunity to do so. However, that particular copy of Battlefield 3 had only been played for the multiplayer and as such, the campaign remained untouched, meaning I had to start from the beginning. Aiming using a controller is rather difficult, although a controller does offer the tactile feeling when it vibrates in response to gunfire or explosions. On the Playstation 3 and a 1080p TV, Battlefield 3 looked reasonably impressive, and although I would only finish “Semper Fidelis” and “Operation Swordbreaker” in 2011, I knew that Battlefield 3 was something I would definitely purchase when I had a suitable PC. Two-and-a-half years later, the new PC materialised. After nearly three months of planning, the new PC was custom-built and shipped to replace an ailing Dell XPS 420, although a the time, I was awaiting Battlefield 4. What changed my mind? Battlefield 4 ended up being poorly polished, and with the woes players experienced, I decided that paying the full cost of the game was probably not the best idea. When paired with the Black Friday Origin sale (which put Battlefield 3 standard edition at eight dollars), I hopped on the chance to get the game. Of course, I’ve since had a phenomenal time in the multiplayer, but I also feel that the campaign (regardless of its linear nature and the occasional bug that throws a wrench in the otherwise photorealistic experience) is worthy of mention.