It delivers scorching multiplayer, fitting of its decade-long pedigree of famously expansive big-team battles, but stumbles over a generic single-player campaign that feels like a different game. While DICE may not deliver a memorable story here, it doesn't need to when Battlefield 3's online warfare raises every bar imaginable, delivering one of the best multiplayer experiences of the year. I doubt Battlefield purists will complain much about the campaign, honestly; I know you're enlisting in this battle to bring down entire armies online.
From the beaches of Kharg Island to the hills of Damavand Peak, Battlefield 3's multiplayer maps provide an immediate sense of scale. Everything about their design screams size, personalization, and the need to take creative initiative to succeed. Choose to pop headshots from the prone position, spin barrel rolls in a jet outfitted with personal unlocks, or see how many dog tags you can knife from your opponents; Battlefield 3's multiplayer is about the freedom of choice.
The online fight feels like a geography lesson (in a good way). Depending on the game mode, each map utilizes a different area or shifts wider and wider as gameplay progresses. You might not see half of a map like Caspian Border or Seine Crossing during your first few Rush matches. Yes, certain areas feel empty and repeated map elements like shipping crates conjure deja vu, but the sense of scope is exhilarating. Where many online shooters teach you the nooks and crannies of every map, Battlefield 3 is a wide sandbox that encourages variety and exploration. Battlefield 3 shines in matches with 63 other players, where every bullet has a new enemy's name on it.