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Our Battlefield 3 review: Why we're splitting it up, and why console's coming late

We're just a few short days away from the launch of EA and DICE's biggest game of the year -- however, with reports of platform variations, limited server availability and day-one patches, we've seen no small amount of uncertainty about how we'll be handling our review of Battlefield 3. It's going to be unprecedented territory for us (the existence of this very post should be evidence enough of that), so we thought we'd be as up-front and transparent as humanly possible before said reviews go live.

Yes, reviews. We have received from EA the PC version of the game and, after hearing reports about the differences between the PC and console SKUs -- as well as news of a day-one patch for console versions of the title -- we've decided to review the two individually.

Our review of the PC version -- which, despite reports of day-one NVIDIA and ATI driver updates, our reviewer has running in single-player at maximum graphical settings at 60 fps -- will go live next Monday morning at 3 a.m. ET. We'll be playing on private multiplayer servers which EA has set up for early reviewers, giving us ample time to play through the title's campaign and online multiplayer offerings before this embargo.

Our plans for the console version of the game are a little less iron-clad -- we anticipate we'll receive the game on Monday, though it won't be in any reviewable state until we get our hands on its "day-one" patch. We're unsure whether this update will go live on Monday or Tuesday, but we won't be able to really dig in until it's been obtained, which will push our review back to the middle of next week -- again, without a firm date for the update, we can't determine a firm date for the review.

To my knowledge, we've never split up different SKUs of a game like this -- we certainly haven't during my time as Reviews Editor -- but in a case like this, the decision is somewhat out of our hands. The two reviews may end up being completely identical, as the two versions of the game may end up being completely identical. They may be different. They may have different star ratings, if those differences merit a re-evaluation of our bottom line. It's uncharted territory, and we hope we'll have your patience as we explore it.

We would never run a review for a version of a game that wasn't representative of the version that you, our beloved readers and video game consumers, would be spending your hard-earned money on. Similarly, we wouldn't run a review for a game that we hadn't spent enough time with to see everything it has to offer its purchasers and players. This plan, while unorthodox, is the only way to ensure we fulfill both of these two requirements while still delivering our review in a timely manner.

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