A frantic, heart-pumping opening sequence, where you escape from the clutches of some seriously bad guys before negotiating a fast-moving train, which happens to be full of heavily armed terrorists, sets the scene for Battlefield 3, probably the most complete, most addictive, most immersive and most fun game in the Battlefield series to date.
In a manner beloved of game developers in recent years, you’ve no sooner negotiated the action-packed first level, when you’re whisked back in time to when the story actually begins, in Iraqi Kurdistan, nine months earlier. Playing as Sergeant Henry Blackburn, you and your fellow US Marines are battling a terrorist organisation called the PLR, who have staged a coup in Iran. Indeed, it’s not long before you uncover a nefarious plot for large scale attacks on the West, involving actual weapons of mass destruction, Russian arms dealers and more double-crosses than an average John Le Carré novel.
Like previous Battlefield games, you change characters as the action progresses, commanding jet fighters, tanks and even stepping into the shoes of a Russian agent trying to stop a nuclear attack in Paris. The fact that the developers manage to fit these very different viewpoints together seamlessly, while varying the action greatly, is to the game’s credit. When you add in a co-op mode and a wealth of multi-player options online, Battlefield 3 really starts to represent a worthwhile long-term investment. Add in stunning graphics, incredibly immersive environments (such as the foul-mouthed Marines listening to Biblical Johnny Cash tunes on their way to the front), top notch voice acting and a plot that’s terrifyingly believable, and you have probably the most intense and best shooter since Halo 3.