Yes, yes, we did a beta review of BF3 and we were negative about it. And frankly, the beta deserved it. However, 4 of our LP members have since bought the game, and we have an updated review for your reading pleasure. These reviews are plucked from our emails and posted here. They are frank and mostly unedited (some personal info removed). So...
Bear in mind that these updates are stated after playing over several days, so don't disregard any inconsistencies, just understand that the information came in as things were being discovered. I make intoductions in italics.
Having said that, here is our medic, Crackback:
First the Multiplayer
Vehicles make the game a billion times better. I played Conquest mode (Domination). There is great parity with the vehicles fast moving jeeps which can be wasted by a single tank blast, powerful but relatively slow tanks, the jets are rather disconnected from rest of the action but dogfighting is fun and the have the power to devastate the Tanks. I noticed that the kill totals are quite a bit lower and strategy is more key than CoDs run and gun strategy. Maps are HUGE. The sound is awesome. The visual effects are decidedly better than the beta although I would prefer less of a washed out look and maybe something more colorful. There is an impressive amount of detail when it comes to environmental interactions bullets hitting stuff looks great. As for gameplay the framerate is noticeably not up to par with COD. But beyond that it is pretty smooth. One of the worst things in the gameplay actually has nothing to do with programming. NOBODY TALKS! It's like playing in church without the crying babies. Kind of eerie. They added a large X whenever you get a hit on an enemy. There is now feedback to the controller when you are taking hits and riding in the vehicles. I'm still getting used to button layouts but she drives pretty well. I haven't tried any match making yet.
Now that I’ve got some time under my belt with multiplayer and am starting to get the hang of it… This game is actually pretty rad. Do you remember when you first played COD and it was kind of tough because you had been playing Halo with all of the ridiculous jumping and a million shots to get a kill? The transition to BF3 is similar. But once you start to catch on this game is pretty epic. I think actually that epic is the right word to explain the main difference between it and COD games. The scale is just much larger. The maps are insanely good. You can get to the top of every building. There are tons of places to hide or ambush so its not like you enter an area and checking the same few corners and moving on. When a tank takes a bite out of a building and the floor above you collapses you can kiss your booty good bye. I died in collapsing buildings twice tonight and it was fun. I also got to be on the giving end of the and logged a quad-kill on a building takedown. There are no real choke points in the maps. You can’t employ a static defense to get the job done. Unlike COD you are really best off it you move and work as a squad. Lone wolves get picked off pretty quickly. The vehicle play is a blast although I still SUCK at flying anything. The attachments for the guns are cool. A flashlight on the end of a gun will blind an enemy when it is pointed right at them. Same with a laser sight. See red? You’re about to be dead. The night vision scopes are a huge advantage. Not like the fuzzy white thing from COD You get a nice clear outline of the opponents without losing too much detail in the environment. Spawn traps are nearly impossible due to squad spawning and vehicle spawning. As I have played I have noticed that the gameplay is really pretty smooth too. None of those weird glitches in the maps like in the Beta. Actually… in retrospect the Beta is like the underdeveloped twin to this game.
Next the Campaign
After one hour I'm sick of the F word. Although very linear I think so far the campaign has been pretty interesting and fun. The look and feel of the game are great. There are a couple things that bug me such as the fact that your squad mates are largely props, ever firing and never hitting. Also there are these little interactive sequences where you engage in hand to hand combat which requires you to press arbitrary sequences of buttons to win the fight. If you don't.... You die. First time around you will almost. Certainly fail meaning you go back to the last check point and try the button sequence again. If I wanted that I'd play guitar hero. The AI sucks. No innovations there at all. In fact if you run and flank an enemy they will keep firing straight ahead right up until you tap them on the shoulder. Pretty stupid. Otherwise the first impression is that.... I'm impressed! The guns are fun to shoot and do far the game is believable.
Now here is the downer for the Conans and K’Tals out there. There is very little in the way of clout. Yes you have a rank and all but I haven’t seen a way to evaluate your opponents or to have them shake in their boots when they see your KD or win ratio. It’s not a stat game.
If I was asked to compare the Beta experience to the actual game experience (not saying I was but…) I would give the Beta a 3/10 and the actual game is about 8-8.5/10. I would recommend renting the game from Blockbuster and trying it out. It’s worth at least the $7 or whatever to try the real game. It’s definitely not everybody’s cup of herbal tea and I know how discriminating you are Enforcer but I don’t know you might like it. -Crackback
From our legal department, Hulio:
I got in last night and played all three game types for a total of about two hours. The lasting impression the next morning is that the game is gorgeous. One of the maps takes place in the very early morning hours and it really feels like it. The lighting is awesome, the graphics are great, there are lots of vehicles, and nearly everything is destructible. Contrast this to Cod which always seems to place battles in the middle of the day, no vehicles, no destruction.
Dr. J and I played coop for about 30 minutes with minor success mission-wise. Flying the helicopter is difficult to get the hang of, but is fun when you figure it out - just like in 1943.
The other thing that stands out is that the MP maps are huge. In some cases the tanks and Jeeps are necessary just to get to your objective in a reasonable amount of time.
I can't speak much about the lobby system. They had server problems for a while, but that cleared up at about 10:00. The one thing I can complain about is that there is no way to leave a lobby between games. You actually have to wait for the next match to start, and THEN back out. Lame.
Two more things:
The kill cam sucks. It shows your killer head-on and only from the point after he killed you. So you can't tell how he saw you or where he came from.
The second thing is that I really liked being able to pick whether to respawn at a set point, or right next to a squad mate. Big improvement over COD in that respect.
On a scale of one to Conan, I give it 3 diamonds. - Hulio
And from our Cinematic department, Buster:
Here's something you could put in a review:
EA customer support is unresponsive. Over the last 2 days I've posted on their glitch forum and submitted my phone number and email address for their "next available rep" to get back to me (1 and 2 days ago). The online live chat option had a 30 min wait the first night and now it isn't even available anymore.
So, last night I started the campaign and was impressed with the visuals. Faces and expressions are getting really close to realistic nowadays. As well as lighting and sound design/effects. Running and body movement physics are smoother and super realistic too. I didn't get too far, though before the good Dr invited me to a party chat and I accidentally clicked to join party and game: freeze...
I won't lie, I'm pretty peeved. I am going through the same problems that I was having with the Beta. I wish I could say something about the gameplay but I simply can't get past the main screen. I downloaded the HD content and put in the online code and nothing would work, it just kept saying that the connection to EA server was lost then I get stuck in a loading screen (exact same problem that was happening with the Beta) until I have to dashboard and try again.
I looked online and this is what I found:
This is ridiculous.
Not impressed. Maybe the Beta was a sign.
All I can contribute for now is a title for the article: (cue sad music) Battlefailed 3: the greatest game that you wish you could play with your online friends.
(6 days later, Buster still cannot play MP without it freezing up on him - and of our group, he was the only one really looking forward to playing this game!)
Lastly, from our resident all-around gamer, Marc Madness:
I just completed the game's campaign on HARD and it was very hard...not. I beat it in roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes. I think if I was on an easier difficulty I could beat it in under 2 hours.
They copy the same story telling technique from Black Ops. Your character is being interrogated and everything you play is a flashback leading up to when the character gets captured. The story itself plays out like a cheesy military fiction piece that Conan might write. There are nuclear weapons, Russians, soldiers disagreeing with commanding officers, and lots and lots of F-bombs.
I enjoyed the gameplay, sounds, and graphics. I never died once during a scene where I had to push buttons. It's not hard to push the "A" button when the screen flashes "A" and it gives you a couple of seconds to do it.
No rats killed me, in fact I never saw any rats anywhere.
The AI was decent, I never had any issues with them. Though I will say that on hard the game cheats big time (which I hate). Enemies literaly spawn out of thin air, they can take you down (and only you down) with one bullet from all the way across the map. The reason it too me four and a half hours is because I spent a lot of time army crawling from point to point.
There is a level where you drive a tank and it is the best tank sequence I have ever played in a game.
For multiplayer, Buster's not alone, I have a couple of friends who have not been able to log in and play since the game released. I thought about trying it out today but the EA servers have been down for most of the day.
I'm not going to give it a try. It's not worth the hassle and the game has a higher resale value with the unused online pass.
Glad I checked out the game but it is way overhyped. MW3 will soon execute it. -MM
And there you have 4 reviews from non-paid gamers (no one gets paid to post on LP, note the lack of ads here). Some of us are tempted to get the game if MW3 doesn't pan out very well. We say this because MW2 should have had a public beta, and IW really screwed the pooch with all the glitches, exploits, hacks and oversights that could have been eliminated with a public beta.