“The war for this city is nearly over, and we are gonna end it today.” — Cole, briefing Campo and Blackburn
Henry Blackburn and Steve Campo are on a building overlooking the Misfit’s LZ. Blackburn is ordered to take out the lights. Throughout the rooftops, the player then needs to protect Cole and the squad from PLR forces across the streets. After Cole reaches to the next street, Blackburn and Campo go down on the street level. In these events, the player must avoid contact with the PLR as it is required for the player to sneak through checkpoints – from alleys up to overpasses. When you reach another rooftop, you are again required to secure Cole’s team. Blacknurn then goes down a few buildings and finds the place where Jonathan Miller was executed, before gunning their way down to another sniping position, to assist with Misfit teams’s assault on Al-Bashir’s presumed location. It takes several enemy waves as the Misfits search the location. After fending off the PLR, Al-Bashir tries to escape in a vehicle, the Blackburn sprints to the top of a nearby building and shoots out the tires to Al-Bashir’s vehicle, disabling it and incapacitating him.
Blackburn and Campo then go to a mall for cover, fending off the oncoming PLR forces until they can be extracted with Al-Bashir. Afterwards, when extracted by a V-22 Osprey, on the verge of death after a medical injection, he then tells Blackburn information about Solomon, and his plan to detonate the two remaining nukes and how he was betrayed by Solomon. Al-Bashir then dies, while Campo and Blackburn check his cellular phone for extra intel.
- Alright…it’s been exactly a month since I last wrote about Battlefield 3, so let’s pick things up from where I left off last time and get started. First things first: high above Tehran, the graphics look beautiful, and the opening atmospherics are in the right places at the mission’s opening. There’s a rainstorm, and the first goal is to kill some lights so a V-22 Osprey can drop off some Marines.
- The IRNV scope provides visibility under low light conditions and only makes a few appearances in the campaign. In the multiplayer, I’ve unlocked it for several of my favourite weapons, although I am typically found in bright maps at close quarters, preferring the Kobra RDS for all of my engagements. The IRNV scope was altered a few times for competitive balance, making it useless at ranges greater than 20 meters after one infamous patch, although this was remedied slightly in September 2012.
- I don’t spend nearly enough time as the recon class with the conventional loadouts: there is a learning curve to sniping in Battlefield 3, adding realism in that real-world sniping is incredibly difficult. Most of my deaths in multiplayer come from the assault or engineer class: I am only occasionally killed by snipers, contrasting Bad Company 2, where I die frequently at the hands of the infamous “bush wookies” and take great joy in shredding one at close range with my LMG.
- The mission takes on a more repetitive feel after the initial sniping mission and the player needs to descend to ground level to make their way to the next destination. In “Night Shift”, the secondary weapon is the Heckler and Koch MP7; it has one of the highest firing rates in the game and is unlocked for multiplayer upon reaching a co-op score of 37000. The MP7 has a very large horizontal recoil and is inaccurate at long ranges, but it excels as a close-quarters weapon, like the other personal defense weapons.
- Anyone who has driven at night on a rainy or snowing night will attest that real life has a lot of glare, dust particles and smudging. Before I forget to mention it, the player is equipped with a M40A5 in this mission as their primary weapon. The campaign gives one much more ammunition, and the choice of any weapon combinations, turning a good player into an unstoppable destruction machine. For obvious balance reasons, the multiplayer lowers the player’s ammunition capacity and health, as well as allowing only one primary weapon, such that players depend on other teammates.
- Lightning from a thunderstorm occasionally lights up the scenery. In this mission, both of Blackburn’s weapons are suppressed, making this a stealth mission. However, the atmospherics in this level lack the same immersiveness as does Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s “All Ghillied Up”; I first played the latter two summers ago, and no other modern military shooter even comes close to matching the feelings that mission evokes in me.
- Blackburn eventually reaches the room where Miller was executed, although by this point in time, nothing remains of that execution. Even though there’s no one here, this site feels a little eerie now because we know what had went down here.
- This level is almost dark enough to feel like a horror movie, although because one is armed to the teeth with a diverse array of weapons, the effectiveness of various ghosts and spirits would probably decline because the reaction to being confronted with such is to pump it full of hot metal. This is partially why most horror movies strip away weapons: to ensure that the characters are most vulnerable.
- After providing sniper support for the Marines below, Al-Bashir attempts to escape on a vehicle. The game will switch the player automatically over to the MP7 after, and it took me several tries to shoot the tires off his vehicle, owing to how dark and sudden this scene was. In the end, I made it, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a next post about “Rock and a Hard Place”.
- The last part of the mission is to defend Al-Bashir, who was injured from the car crash, until extraction occurs. During this time, wave after wave of PLR show up, and stealth stops being a significant factor. It’s time to ditch the MP7 and pick any weapon of one’s choice to fight back the onslaught. Once the map quiets down, there’s an exit to the side of the mall: it took me nearly ten minutes to find it the first time because it was so dark.
The last time I did a Battlefield 3 talk, it was over a month ago. The last time I saw a mission in a game also called “Night Shift”, I was playing 007 Nightfire, and the aim of that mission was to infiltrate an office tower to secure intel surrounding Phoenix International’s dealings. This time, the goal is to land a group of Marines on the ground to secure a high-value target, Al-Bashir. Set during the nighttime, the mission is very dark, and begins with a fun but short-lived segment involving shooting out the lights to the landing zone using the M40A5 with IRNV scope, straight pull bolt and a suppressor. I have yet to earn this gun and its attachments for myself in the multiplayer, but it’s quite an entertaining weapon to use, and the IRNV scope makes the weapon well-suited for the very dark environments seen in “Night Shift”. The mission, however, slowly starts to wear on as time passes, being a very repetitive series of tasks that involve providing covering fire for other Marine squads, then meeting up with other units to assault additional positions, ending with a nighttime firefight with the PLR after Al-Barshir is captured. At the very end, there was some difficulty in finding the exit. When everything is said and done, I would consider “Night Shift” to be similar to “Operation Guillotine” as one of the weaker missions owing to the comparatively duller scenery throughout the later parts of the mission, and tedium in engaging the PLR forces. However, after this mission, Battlefield 3‘s campaign picks up again come “Rock and a Hard Place”.