When the Battlefield 3 strategy guide arrived at my doorstep, I was NOT prepared for how massive it was. I was even less prepared for how much it was for the multiplayer over the single-player campaign. Isn’t the whole point of multiplayer to just shoot others? Do you really need a guide for that? Well…Battlefield 3 was an interesting introduction to the world of FPS multiplayer, and in that introduction, I learned how useful a guide can be for a total n00b to the multiplayer experience.
But first, there is the single-player campaign. The campaign itself is super short–I, as a relative novice to the FPS realm, beat it on Normal in about 8 hours–but the walkthrough made it seem a bit longer with all of the extras packed in. By extras, I am referring to tips and tricks as well as Achievement/Trophy notifications for performing certain tasks, but the guide also had “Know Your Jargon” callout sections that defined real military acronyms and well, jargon, that the game uses in both dialogue and mission explanations. I loved these sections the most, I have to admit, because my husband is in the military. It was fun to learn terminology I hear him use all the time when he’s on the phone–not the combat terms, but other everyday terms–and I liked throwing pop quizzes at him to see how much he really knew. (We actually got into a debate about which definitions were correct or really, more correct, as my husband is Air Force and these definitions were Marine, according to him.)
As far as the campaign advice goes, it was spot on. I learned quickly that I’m not a great military strategist, so occasionally I needed some advice as to the best places to run to, where it’s easiest to shoot this or that enemy, or where it’s best to destroy a tank or a bomber. I typically did my own thing, and then when I died repeatedly, I sought the guide for advice and suddenly got past that portion with ease.
But really, considering how lackluster the single-player campaign really is, we all know that if you’re going to play this game or even use this guide, you’re going to be using both for the multiplayer experience, which is massive.
There are an incredible number of maps, and each map is unbelievably large. As a newcomer, I was baffled at how I was always dropped so far away from the action and how long it would take me to travel to it. It’s a huge testament to the developers for creating an immersive world so large, and it’s an even bigger testament to the guide writers to map it all out.
I never could find a time to play with my friends, so I was often all alone in the multiplayer. If it wasn’t for this guide giving advice on which maps to pick and where to stake yourself out depending on which class you were, I would have given up entirely. Since I have no talent at flying anything, I knew to stay away from the maps that required use of helicopters. Since I absolutely hated the tank missions in the single-player campaign, I knew to stay away from tank maps as well. It was great to learn which soldier class fits what type of player ahead of time, as we all know I have absolutely zero patience in trial and error. And really, with multiplayer, it’s hard to go through trial and error since everyone in the map seems to be a complete expert at everything, even on day one launch.
Other than how heavy the book is, I found no problems with the strategy guide. Prima Games’ writers did an exceptional job for such a massive multiplayer game in Battlefield 3.