You buy a Battlefield game for it’s competitive multiplayer and this is most definitely where it’s at for Battlefield 3. The game features nine maps that scale in size depending on the game mode you play. On the PC the max player count is 64 while on console it’s 24. The first time you enter a full 64 player battle it’s simply awe inspiring; jets and planes battle overhead, the rumble of tanks fill your ears, and explosions kick up dirt everywhere. You can see for what seems like miles on a map like Caspian Border, once again, showing off the game’s graphical prowess. Other maps, like Grand Bazaar, while still large in scale, have you winding through the streets in a more infantry based style of combat. There’s a good variety in the combat situations throughout all the maps keeping things fresh and fun.
Battlefield multiplayer was built on the game’s conquest mode, that is, capturing flags and holding them to score points - but making an appearance in Battlefield 3 is a variation of Bad Company’s “Gold Rush” mode simply called “Rush.” In this you have two teams, one attacking and one defending. The attacking team must destroy two targets to progress the map forward while the defenders are obviously trying to stop it. The slick thing about this mode is it turns the maps into a multi-tiered affair, after each objective is destroyed another section of the map opens. Perhaps this is most evident in Operation Metro, a map that we saw on display heavily in the beta. In it you’ll go from outdoor battles to indoor skirmishes, back again to fighting in the streets of Paris.
The class system has been reduced to four from five - Assault, Engineer, Support and Recon. Each serves their own purpose on the battlefield and each has their own upgrades, unlocks, and team abilities that you’ll earn the more you play with that class. Battlefield 3’s multiplayer is deep, addictive and downright fun. You’re going to be here a long...long time, especially when you factor in Battlelog.
Battlelog is EA’s online website that’s a bit like Facebook and a bit like Halo’s stat tracking. You can track your unlock progress, see your accuracy at a glance, look at the results of past matches, and build platoons with friends. On the PC, Battlelog actually serves as the launching point for the main game - including creating parties with full voice chat. It’s a bit jarring at first, launching a PC game from a website, but it really does work. Every mode is supported via this method including the game’s cooperative mode.